Humps (Hikes) at OCS

Hikes (known as humps) at OCS are one of the more difficult training evolutions that candidates will face on Brown Field. Preparation There are a few ways that candidates can help themselves prepare for humps. Most humps will occur before a major evaluation such as the Leadership Reaction Course or Small Unit Leadership Evaluation. You will spend the night in the field before the training evolution … Continue reading Humps (Hikes) at OCS

Know Your Most-Recommended USMC OCS Boot Socks: Fox River vs Thorlo

Blisters are caused by heat, moisture, and friction. Foot care and boot sock choice are important factors in preventing issues with your feet. Taking the extra time to care for your feet is worth losing sleep or gaining the attention of the Sergeant Instructors. Two sock brands that are common at OCS are Thorlos and Fox River. Personally, the Fox River socks are my go-to … Continue reading Know Your Most-Recommended USMC OCS Boot Socks: Fox River vs Thorlo

Example Mini OCS (aka OCS Prep Weekend) Gear List (2017)

What is “Mini-OCS”? OCS Prep Weekend, or “Mini-OCS” is a short, realistic weekend experience to expose candidates to facets of OCS before they ship. It prepares you for OCS, simply enough. We’ve written about it here before: My Mini OCS Experience Video Overview of OCS Prep Weekend   Your OCS Prep Weekend Packing List This gear list was shared by a candidate who recently (May … Continue reading Example Mini OCS (aka OCS Prep Weekend) Gear List (2017)

My Journey from Civilian to Marine Officer, Part III: TBS

Thank you to Lieutenant Schmuckatelli, a new Infantry Officer, who is sharing his journey through OCS and TBS with us. (Read Part 1: Pre-OCS here and Part 2: OCS here) The Basic School: You’re Not at OCS Anymore After 10 weeks of being a high-strung candidate having every waking moment scheduled for me, I was now a Commissioned Officer beginning the Basic Officer Course at … Continue reading My Journey from Civilian to Marine Officer, Part III: TBS

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”

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

Tale of the Tape: A Cheap, Easy Way To Prevent Blisters

The most common injuries at OCS which derail candidates’ performance are shin splints and foot blisters. A combination of excessive running and marching, sweaty or wet feet, and adjusting to combat boots lead to the perfect storm for blisters. Luckily there seems to be real progress made by science on solving this issue–pioneered by Standford scientists who work with runners covering over a marathon per … Continue reading Tale of the Tape: A Cheap, Easy Way To Prevent Blisters

Marine Corps recruiting poster "How do you know if you're cut out for the Corps?"

Application Advice from a Successful Candidate: Part III of III

Thank you to Candidate C for taking some time to share advice you learned through your long, yet successful, Application! Stay tuned for more parts throughout this week. What was your relationship with your OSO like? I worked with three OSO’s since I started my initial application for NROTC my senior year in college and two for PLC in college. The first OSO really was … Continue reading Application Advice from a Successful Candidate: Part III of III

Advice for Future Officers in High School

If you’re in high school and aim to become an officer in the Marine Corps, consider the following discussion and goals for your planning. The Realistic Odds and the Importance of Backup If 1 out of 3 OCS attendees fail (worse odds for females), and less than half of applications are accepted, your odds of becoming a Marine officer are tough even if you’re a qualified … Continue reading Advice for Future Officers in High School