Tips from a Marine infantry officer for surviving winter OCS

Big thanks to Zach B., Marine Corps infantry vet, for sharing some thoughts about how to survive and thrive at Marine Corps Officer Candidates School…in the dead of winter.

I recently realized that I departed for OCC (Officer Candidate Course) almost 6 years ago to the day – meaning that somewhere out there some very lucky souls are about to spend the next 10 weeks in Quantico, Virginia.

tips for surviving quantico ocs in winter

So, I thought I’d drop the guys at Sandboxx a line and maybe give you all some last-minute pointers on how to survive OCS from January to March.

Here’s how I started out and some of the principles that kept me out of trouble long after OCC 206.

1. Be First:

There are few things worse than being cold wet and, if you make it through OCS, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to be cold and wet as a Marine.

If you’re first in the chute for the water obstacles (like the Quigley) or some sort of challenge, you don’t have time to Continue reading “Tips from a Marine infantry officer for surviving winter OCS”


PFT Scoring: 2017 Updated Requirements

Your PFT just got harder! If you somehow missed it in the blitz of Marine Corps Times Physical Fitness Test updates, here are the tables, telling you the PFT scoring by age group. Overview: Updated PFT perfect scores For many of you guys, 23 pullups and 115 crunches are the new max. The perfect run time of 18:00 still applies. Not like you huffing and … Continue reading PFT Scoring: 2017 Updated Requirements

Guest post: “My Dad’s Letters”

Your OCS letters are a memorable source of encouragement and escape that you’ll likely save for years to come. Encourage your friends and family to write via mail or Sandboxx, but be careful about care packages or snacks. Rules on receiving those vary by unit. Our thanks to Marine Captain Jeremiah for sharing his personal story, originally appearing on the Sandboxx blog here. Military life can be … Continue reading Guest post: “My Dad’s Letters”

Welcome Video

  Welcome to all you aspiring Marine Corps officers. We hope the blog and our social media content helps you achieve your goals. Search for something specific, or browse around the topic of your choice. Don’t miss our unique and sometimes irreverent social media presence, where we interact with you most directly. Lastly, join Sandboxx as an officer candidate to get a tailored advice series of … Continue reading Welcome Video

Packing list update: bring this tape if you’re headed to OCS!

Thank you for reviewing our packing list, Second Lieutenant Will. The Fall 2016 graduate shared this update after his commissioning: But something for your packing list, that needs to go NUMBER ONE on the list is Kendall Covidien Waterproof tape. They’ve changed how sleeping works, which puts an absolute premium on night time time management and subsequently, gear markings. That tape, coupled with a waterproof map pen, … Continue reading Packing list update: bring this tape if you’re headed to OCS!

Ask an OSO Video

I interviewed Marine Corps officer Capt Stoddard, who is the Officer Selection Officer (OSO) for OSS Saint Louis today. We covered the top questions received on the blog and in our facebook page. Feel free to connect with either of us in Sandboxx as well. Note: we shot an hour of supplemental footage, containing advice exclusively available to future Marine Officers in the Sandboxx app. … Continue reading Ask an OSO Video

Your New Letters: The Military Phonetic Alphabet

Courtesy of the Marine Corps Association, see the old and new versions of the military phonetic alphabet. Made familiar in movies such as Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers (remember “Easy” Company?), this will be your new way to spell on the radio throughout your Marine Corps career. Just make sure you don’t use the wrong words! Continue reading Your New Letters: The Military Phonetic Alphabet

The History of Marine Corps Officer Candidates School

Throughout history, the road to becoming a commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps has generally begun with one of several programs at Officer Candidates School (OCS): Officer Candidates Class (OCC) Platoon Leaders Class (PLC) or The Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) Each course is designed to educate and train officer candidates in Marine Corps knowledge and skills within a controlled, challenging, and chaotic … Continue reading The History of Marine Corps Officer Candidates School

Oct. 26, 2004 U.S. Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, run to a building after detonating explosives to open a gate during a mission in Ramadi in Anbar province, Iraq.

The 7-Week OCS Prep Progressive Running Program

This program is designed to get you comfortable with longer runs, while also building the speed you’ll need to crush a 3-mile PFT or sprint through an obstacle course. We’ll test your PFT time twice, once at the end of the 3rd week, and again at the end of the 7th week. If you find it difficult to push yourself, try to time this program around … Continue reading The 7-Week OCS Prep Progressive Running Program