Know Your Boot Sock

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 Boot Sock

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PPPA (Push, Pull, Press, Abs) Home Gym Alternative

This is a recommended modification for a female friend just looking to lose some weight for her wedding by using Marine Corps-style PT. Get some! Instead of PPPA, do a circuit of sets of pushups, crunches, overhead presses, and lastly pullups or curls. So try doing 10 (girl) pushups, 30 seconds rest, 20 crunches, rest, 10 overhead presses, and finishing with pullups or curls, just some … Continue reading PPPA (Push, Pull, Press, Abs) Home Gym Alternative

One Easy Cheat Sheet to See if You’re Physically Ready for OCS

I challenge all candidates to achieve these minimum benchmarks before getting to OCS, and using them as training goals. This will put you in decent standing, but not the top of your class if these are your max sets. MALE Pullups: Max set 18 Pushups: Max set 65 Run: 21:00 3-mile Run: 880 meter sprint in 3:15 in boots (2:45 running shoes) Flutterkicks: Max set 60 … Continue reading One Easy Cheat Sheet to See if You’re Physically Ready for OCS

Recommended Motivation: Films You’ll Love

Candidates, there are so many motivators out there who bother me every day with questions like, “What more can I do to prepare for OCS?” that I am debuting a new series of posts. This summer’s posts will give you plenty of ways to use up all your time before OCS to get ready or motivated for your future Marine Corps life.

Today’s post: These are my personal recommendations of films to watch to either learn about USMC culture, history, or a general United States warrior ethos (vis-a-vis Band of Brothers).

The Pacific

The Pacific centers on the experiences of three Marines (Eugene SledgeRobert Leckie and John Basilone) who were all in different

The Pacific DVDs
The Pacific DVD set

Regiments of the 1st Marine Division. You should read the books it was based on–but wait for a future post on that. The program was lauded by critics but actually met mixed reviews by the Marines I know, due to the overall depressing mood. Historically accurate, it shows war for the hell it is, so don’t expect any “tales of glory” like an old John Wayne-type movie. Still, it’s important history and you should view the stories with the mindset, “one day, men such as those will be ‘my Marines,’ who I will be leading.”

Band of Brothers

Greatest war mini series ever. Not Marines, but soldiering is soldiering. The series holds many lessons of leadership and warfighting that will be highlighted at OCS and beyond.

Band of Brothers DVD set
Band of Brothers

Continue reading “Recommended Motivation: Films You’ll Love”

Commandant’s Reading List Books for Second Lieutenants

The Commandant’s Professional Reading List (also known as the Marine Corps Reading List) is a list of required annual reading for all officer and enlisted Marines, whether active duty or reserve. Any book off this list would be a great gift idea for a newly commissioned Second Lieutenant. Read Gen. Amos’ message to Marines in CMC White Letter No. 4-12: Reading in the Marine Corps… “Thirty year old … Continue reading Commandant’s Reading List Books for Second Lieutenants

Commandants Reading List Books for Candidates

The Commandant’s Professional Reading List (also known as the Marine Corps Reading List) is a list of required annual reading for all officer and enlisted Marines, whether active duty or reserve.

The great thing about the Commandant’s famous reading list is that most of these books are free. Download the other ones on your kindle, and you can easily knock out the required reading for candidates before you report to OCS. The Commandant’s Choice Books are great to have done before OCS, but not required.

Read Gen. Amos’ message to Marines in CMC White Letter No. 4-12: Reading in the Marine Corps… “Thirty year old body and 5000 year old mind”. The Commandant’s guidance and additional information can be found in ALMAR 001/13 dated 2 JAN 2013.

This post features two lists: Commandant’s Choice, which are for all Marines, and the list for Entry Level Officers, or Candidates.

Commandant’s Choice Books

All Marines are required to read these books.

A Message to Garcia

Cover Art

Story of an American soldier charged with delivering a critical message to a leader of Cuban rebel forces during the Spanish American War. He delivers the urgent missive with no questions asked, no complaining, and no hedging. The enduring and almost unbelievably simple message of the essay is this: When asked to perform a task, don’t ask How…? or Why…? or Wouldn’t it be better if? Just do it. This book is also on the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Reading List and Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Reading List.

Free Online: Free pdf ebook

Leading Marines

Cover Art

This publication describes a leadership philosophy that reflects the traditional strengths of the Marine Corps as an institution and attempts to define the very ethos of being a Marine. It is about the inseparable relationship between the leader and the led, and is as much about the individual Marine—the bedrock upon which the Corps is built—as it is about any leader.

FREE ONLINE: Marines.mil

The Warrior Ethos

Cover Art

Do we fight by a code? If so, what is it? What is the Warrior Ethos? Where did it come from? What form does it take today? How do we (and how can we) use it and be true to it in our internal and external lives? The Warrior Ethos is intended not only for men and women in uniform, but artists, entrepreneurs and other warriors in other walks of life. The book examines the evolution of the warrior code of honor and “mental toughness.” It goes back to the ancient Spartans and Athenians, to Caesar’s Romans, Alexander’s Macedonians and the Persians of Cyrus the Great (not excluding the Garden of Eden and the primitive hunting band). Sources include Herodotus, Thucydides, Plutarch, Xenophon, Vegetius, Arrian and Curtius–and on down to Gen. George Patton, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, and Israeli Minister of Defense, Moshe Dayan.

Available in multiple formats on Amazon

Help! My knee hurts. How can I run?

The “Candidates’ Curse:” Patellar Tendinitis Many candidates get patellar tendinitis, “jumper’s knee” or runners knee at OCS or while preparing for it. If you are truly injured in your preparation for OCS, you first need to be honest and open with your OSO. If you shouldn’t get sent to OCS, but attempt to “sneak” in, they will find your injury during medical inprocessing or the … Continue reading Help! My knee hurts. How can I run?

Candidate Q: How do I learn the basics before OCS?

Candidates, we are running a series of small posts which answer specific candidate’s questions. Feel free to submit questions as blog comments. If the information could help others, the question may be answered as a blog post under the Q&A category. Candidate Question: I am a recent graduate from college and have been feverishly training (physically) for OCS for about a year now. I’ve done … Continue reading Candidate Q: How do I learn the basics before OCS?