About

We believe in the importance of encouraging motivation, education, and preparation for future Marine Corps officers in anticipation of their trial by fire at OCS.

This blog is by a graduate of OCC-202 (fall 2009) and Marine Corps officer, active duty from 2009-2014. If you’d like to see my story from interested civilian to OCS to commissioning to TBS graduation, check out From Civilian to Marine Officer.

***I would not keep maintaining this blog if it weren’t for the positive feedback and constructive criticism from so many candidates, maybe like you. Feel free to contact me via a comment below–only I can see what email address you put in, if you want me to reply privately.  Thanks everybody.

The blog’s main author enjoying his time not at OCS

This site is not affiliated with the United States Marine Corps or any other U.S. Government Service or Agency.

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39 thoughts on “About

  1. I recently discovered your website and it has tons of extremely useful information. I’m currently preparing to go to PLC Seniors, your information is very helpful in preparing for my return to OCS.

    Thank you, sir.

  2. Great website sir!

    I’m applying for PLC this summer for aviation, my pre-application is good, my essay is good, my recommendation letters are excellent (most from SNCO’s or Officer prior Marines now in Air Guard, as I am prior service as well, Air Force), I’m currently working with a fitness instructor to help me do great in the PFT, and I’m studying diligently to take the ASTB next week. There are a couple of concerns for me: I’m going to need a age waiver (I will be 29 when I graduate from college), and I will need a tattoo waiver (tattoo is smaller than a hand blade but is still shows in PT uniform. Also when they took the pictures for the package, a very small portion of the tattoo peeked in the “V” of the short sleeve “C” khaki shirt.) I know you’re not part of the board that approves candidates but I would like to know if in your opinion I will encounter a really tough time to get that approval. The OSO did not seem too bothered by it, and he tells me that there is a “great need” for “SNA’s” in the Corps (Student Naval Aviators). I would like to thank you ahead of time for looking at my long comment here.

    1. Honestly, working so close with an OSO, they are the best source of information. That tattoo is waived, so you’re good there. Prior service is a plus. Age is my only concern. If you have superb PFT scores, then they won’t worry too much about your age, I would think. Honestly your overall package looks very favorable to me. Oliver, that’s the first I’ve heard that there is a great need for SNAs. We have a big pool of them just sitting around down here in Pensacola waiting to start flight school. But beyond that, get a high PFT score and good luck. You never know if you’re accepted until you are, so it’s just a guessing game until then.

      1. Thank you for responding so quickly sir!
        I would also like to congratulate you on your commission, I hope I can feel that joy and pride one day. I’m working really hard to get the best PFT score, even changing my diet to get optimal weight, etc. I have always been an athletic person in my life, and hopefully it pays off. Even though I might be a little older than some applicants, my mind and body feels in the best shape ever. I might be over-stressing the negatives, but the tattoo dilemma was really worrying me. Mostly because of the picture they took of me wearing the short sleeve “C” shirt (with no white crew neck undershirt), and the tattoo barely shows, but it still shows. Nothing is above the collar bone and nothing is offensive to the Corps or anyone for that matter. The OSO said he can work with that, I’ll just be one of the guys that always wears the white crew neck underneath. Once again, thank you for your time, and if you have any tips for me to have a better chance to get a “go” for PLC, I would definitely appreciate it if you share it with me.
        Thank you sir!

  3. Hi! I am shipping out on May 20th! I am very excited but super nervous! I am not worried about the academics or physical training, as I am in very good shape, but I am concerned about the mental aspect of it. Do you have any tips of how, mentally, to survive OCS, like examples of how they will try and intimidate/stress out/get me to quit? I am a very chill person in general, but someone that I know who went through in 08 laughed and told me that he can see me “getting there and being like wt***.” I know him well, and he knows me well, so for him to say this concerns me. I was fine about it, but now I am afraid that I am going to get there and get all frazzled and have a mental freak out session in my head and wonder why I did this. I feel like if I know exactly what to expect when I get there then I will be okay. My friend told me the first 48 hours is the worst (at least it was for him), so can you tell me what to expect in that time frame so I’m not totally thrown off my rocker, and get frazzled and accidentally fail to follow simple instructions and get sent home (that’s my biggest concern)? Sorry this is long, I just really need to know what’s going to go down in three weeks!

    1. Jessica, as you may have noticed, I have published no tips on the leadership testing and very little on the mental aspects. That’s because I don’t want an undeserving candidate to pass OCS just because of some tips or “tricks” they prepared ahead of time. Prepare yourself for stress, lack of sleep, pain, and plenty of fear and frustration. Within a few days you’ll be able to see what it’s all going to be like. You do NOT need to know any more than is on my blog to succeed at OCS. I didn’t even know the most basic aspects of it ahead of time, and am an officer now. All I will say is, fear will happen and don’t sweat it–you might think you’re going to die, but you won’t. If you really want to get through it badly enough, you will make it. Good luck. I’m not being a smart aleck but I hope you understand my points.

    1. For myself personally, it was missing my wife. We had been married only a month. I dealt with it by writing to her and reading a letter from her nearly every night. On the weekends when we got a little Liberty, we saw each other as much as humanly possible. Everyone is challenged differently.

  4. Dear Sir,

    I would like to know if candidates for OCS have to go to MEPS and if they have to take the ASVAB? I would also like to know, how long it takes from initial inquiry to acceptance into OCS. If candidates don’t have to go to MEPS, how is the physical examination accomplished. As I understand it, there are two opportunities each year for the course. Are the report dates pre-announced? Thank you.

    1. Hi Kevin, candidates do go to MEPS. No, college GPA replaces ASVAB scores for officers. Acceptance to OCS–ask a current OSO. Could be never. There are many report dates each year. You will be in contact with an OSO many months before you get a report date. Call an OSO!

      1. How much does a Naval Aviator’s preference effect the selection process? Obviously service requirements and an individual’s aptitude are drivers, but can you steer this at all?

        Is one community particularly popular compared to others?

        The blog is great, thanks. Look forward to experiencing it first-hand; contracted aviation waiting for the board to convene.

      2. First you probably get your first or second choice of “pipeline,” aka Jets, C-130s, V-22s, or Helicopters. Then after the next school, odds always change what your exact community (Harriers/F-18s/JSF) would be. Obviously if you get C-130s or Ospreys, you know your final destination sooner.

      3. First you probably get your first or second choice of “pipeline,” aka Jets, C-130s, V-22s, or Helicopters. Then after the next school, odds always change what your exact community (Harriers/F-18s/JSF) would be. Obviously if you get C-130s or Ospreys, you know your final destination sooner.

  5. Hey, I am seriously considering OCS for a guaranteed aviator track. I am a bigger guy, 6’1″ 230. A former college football player and personal trainer; I am around 8% body fat right now. What is the eating situation like? If I eat like a 180lb guy for 10 weeks I’ll be in extremely severe calorie deficit. Coupled with sleep deprivation and lack of recovery time that will really hurt my performance and exponentially increase my odds of an injury. Can you only eat 3 times a day? Are you allowed protien shakes or other supplemental calorie sources? gatorade, juice, supplements, BCAA, etc? Also I keep seeing a 6-8 year commitment, can I realistically be out in 6 or will that much more likely be 8? I’m already 25…

    1. You only eat 3 times per day, in a very very rushed situation. You probably can put away 3000 calories a day, however. After the first 3 weeks, you will be able to eat a ton on Liberty, but only then. No supplements or outside eating, whatsoever. You are right, your performance and everything will degrade substantially. OCS is about breaking you down, not building you up. As a football player and trainer, it will be a complete barbaric shock to your system. Many candidates lose up to 20 lbs, and many are dropped due to injury. The 6/8 years only starts 2 years in or so when you get winged. You’re looking at a decade commitment.

  6. Also, are you allowed to wear compression shorts for PT, humps, etc? I see all the pics of the 50’s style athetic gear but I haven’t run or lifted without tights on in a long time. Wasn’t there a problem with chaffing, support, etc?

    Thanks

    1. 50’s style PT, all the way. No compression shorts (at least when I went there). Expect lots of chafing, feet blisters, etc. I bled around the waist from the heavy packs multiple times. OCS is not fun, easy, or in line with modern recuperative-friendly physical training. The only good thing is that you can use bodyglide to mitigate some chafing. I put it on like it was going out of style. OCS is hell on your body. But it’s only 10 weeks.

  7. Hey, I have an interview with an OSO on tuesday. He told me to have some questions ready for the interview. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Try
      1. How long have you been in the Marine Corps and do you like it?
      2. If the USMC was a corporation/business what would its “corporate climate” be?
      3. How has your service affected your family life?
      4. How would Marine Corps service change or “grow” me?
      5. Do you have any regrets from your career?
      6. Where have you been stationed….did you like those places?

      1. Dane, listen, I peppered my OSO with questions for HOURS until making my decision. He patiently answered them all, and I made a life-changing decision with years of my life on the line with full confidence I was making the right question. If there’s anything that makes you nervous about service, you need to get that on the table and combat fear of the unknown (which is some but not all of the uncertainty) with more knowledge.

  8. Im just curious,

    1. What is the cut off age for OCS?
    2. Can you get an age waiver?
    3. Any tips on how to build up strength to do Pull Ups?

    Thanks !

  9. Sir,

    I am seriously considering going through the Aviation path of a Marine Office, but I have a few questions before I decide:

    1. How long will your contract be when being in an Aviation Position?
    2. Do you have to have a Pilots License or anything specific before joining?
    3. What tests do you have to take to get into an Aviation position?
    4. I’m female, will that set any limits on me?

    Thank you in advance, by the way this website has been really helpful and I’ve learned a lot from it!

    1. 1. Eight years active duty from pinning the wings (probably 11 years total), 4 years reserve.
      2. No training in flight whatsoever is required but it helps.
      3. ASTB–google it
      4. Yes. Check on size, weight, height restrictions especially. Very few women are the right size/shape/whatever for minimum safety requirements of ejection seats in jets, so it’s much more likely you’d pilot an Osprey or C-130 eventually.

      Lastly, I highly recommend you talk to as many USMC pilots as you can! Do NOT go into the 3 year flight school pipeline naively or ill-informed.

  10. I am inquiring who is incharge of this blog. Is it all connected to OCS in Quantico??? If so I have a request. Thank you

  11. Afternoon – would you please e-mail me at your convenience. I have some information that you may or may not find useful in answering some potential questions that arise on this awesome blog. Thank you, sir.

  12. hey man being prior service does that get you ahead in any way? i am a A1c in the air guard now and i do want to be a in the corps. when i am done with school. i will be 22 when i get out of school with 5 years in the air guard as a firefighter. any tips would be great. also do i still keep my awards?

  13. Good Morning Sir
    Just a brief question about OCS. I currently serve with 1/5 Regimental and get out within the next year and half. I have my scholarships and the like taken care of when i EAS but I was wondering what path is the best way to go for prior 03’s who want to go to IOC eventually. I want to be an infantry platoon commander with the Grunts again like my current platoon commander who is a mustang. I’ve heard differences in PLC OCC etc. But i wanted to get your take on which course is best suited for my path. Are there any differences in the way the course is run and do they run priors into the ground in all aspects more so than the kids right out of college?

    1. CJ,
      The best way is whatever way you get in! They are all almost identical, although at least with OCC you get through it in one 10 week shot. They do run the priors into the ground because you have a clear advantage in drill, USMC knowledge, and leadership. Just show up with a strong 300 PFT and you’ll do fine. Good luck!

  14. Hello sir, I’m interested in becoming a Marine officer and the path I’m choosing is AR enlisted-man, go to school full time and do the PLC program to get myself to OCS and even though I haven’t even made it to recruit training yet I already know that this site is going to help me so much. The tips, the community and their feedback, your extremely insightful feedback, the links, everything about this site is going to help me and answer all of my questions.

    I just wanted to thank you for this site. It makes OCS seem all that much more possible since I don’t feel like I’m in the dark about how to go about everything. Seriously, thank you so much!

  15. Hi Captain Weeks – I hope all is well.

    I’m currently in process of dropping weight, with the goal being to sit with my local OSO before the end of July to apply for Fall OCS. I was curious as to whether the dates for Fall OCS have been confirmed and released publicly yet? I’d like to have a date in mind that I can circle on the calendar.

    Would you happen to know the start date of 2018 Fall OCS? Thanks – I appreciate any insight you can offer on this.

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