Candidate mishaps

Candidate Mishaps: Mistakes at OCS

Thanks to all the candidates who contributed to our candidate mishaps stories. In compiling these stories, we had one criteria: they must be stories about candidates who were successful at OCS.

The #1 rule at OCS: If it can go wrong, it will.

Billets (leadership positions)

  • Early in the cycle, I was the Candidate Platoon Sergeant. As Candidate Platoon Sergeant you must report the platoon counts after every admin movement.  Unknowingly, I made the mistake of stepping into the staff box at the chow hall. A certain Sergeant Instructor corrected my mistake in this fashion. “Oh, candidate, you must have lost your mind. Get out of my box and go find it!” Later, said Sergeant Instructor made sure to find me during inspections and ensure I was getting the full OCS experience. Nevertheless,  this was a candidate mishap that would follow me for 6 weeks at OCS.
Candidate Mishaps
A candidate issues blanks to his fire team
  • At week 6 and I was the Candidate Platoon Commander. I was running to the parade deck and thinking about the many candidate mishaps that can occur in a platoon, especially the rifle count. When I arrived on deck, passing a certain Staff Sergeant, I paused to ensure I used the right rank while giving the proper greeting of the day. It was dark and I, for some reason, was unsure of his rank. He noticed my lack of immediacy and stared at me. I believe he was trying to think of something creative to say. He asked me if I had been given an essay that week. I said, “No.” He then issued me two essays for not giving the proper greeting of the day. I gave the proper greeting of the day, turned around, and went on my way. The next platoon in the formation was being watched by a Gunnery Sergeant. As I ran past her, I again paused to make sure I got the rank correct. The Staff Sergeant, still staring at me, called me back. He was unimpressed with my lack of immediacy in giving the proper greeting of the day to the Gunnery Sergeant. He asked me how many essays I had been issued this week. I said: “Two essays Staff Sergeant”. With much amusement, he said: “Good, now you have four.” This is how I received four essays in one exchange. It was a good start to another normal day at OCS.
Candidate mishaps
Pickup day Black Friday is a very stressful day
  • Candidate H had several candidate mishaps during his Platoon Sergeant billet. Our SI’s were gone this morning so the Duty Instructor kept checking in our platoon as we cleaned before heading out to morning PT. Randomly the Duty Instructor walked into our squad bay and nonchalantly asked Candidate H “Everything good?” Candidate H had his back turned to him and did not realize it was the Duty Instructor. As Candidate H turned around, he said “Yup” and gave a thumbs up. When he finished turning towards the voice he straightened up and his eyes grew wide realizing he just totally messed up. Calmly the Duty Instructor said, “Thumbs up? (as he made the thumbs up symbol)… Well, that’s a big thumb down (as he flipped his thumb down). Go touch the back hatch.” Candidate H ran back and forth down the squad bay touching the rear hatch and the front bulkhead till we left for PT. When the SI’s weren’t hovering, I don’t think a single candidate in my platoon said “No” to each other the rest of the cycle. It was always “That’s a big thumbs down.” Candidate mishaps are often funny afterward. You’ll look back and wonder how so many hilarious things happened.

Look for more candidate mishap stories soon


Successful Candidates, share your candidate mishaps with us in the comments. Or, email us at

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