The Path to Becoming a United States Marine Corps Officer: My Experience

Thank you to Ben for sharing this guest post! At different times throughout every year, groups of hopeful men and women are sent to Quantico Virginia in order to pass the USMC Officer Candidates School and become new 2nd Lieutenants. OCS is both a challenging mental and physical experience, but it can be passed. Here are a few of my experiences. The official mission statement … Continue reading The Path to Becoming a United States Marine Corps Officer: My Experience

My Journey from Civilian to Marine Officer, Part II: OCS

Thank you to Lieutenant Schmuckatelli, a new Infantry Officer, who is sharing his journey through OCS and TBS with us. My OCS: Officer Candidates Course 221 In November of 2015 I learned I would be picking up with OCC 221 in January 2016. Ten years after first stepping into a recruiting station, I had earned my place in order to attempt to earn my place. Now … Continue reading My Journey from Civilian to Marine Officer, Part II: OCS

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”

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

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: Skinny Lieutenants: Impossible!

Candidate Comment: This is more for peace of mind, than anything else, so feel free to take your time responding. I can run approximately a 275 PFT (I vary from around 270 to 285). However, while working out in a local gym, someone who used to be a Marine told me that I do not have the ‘look’ of a 2nd LT. Not a attractiveness … Continue reading Candidate Q: Skinny Lieutenants: Impossible!

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?

Interview With A Dropped Candidate

Candidate X did well at OCS physically, but ended up dropping with a new appreciation for his own strengths and weaknesses. He has graciously accepted an invitation to conduct an interview with the OCS blog as he prepares for another run at the grueling course. How far into OCS did you get? While I wasn’t able to successfully complete USMC OCS by our end date in … Continue reading Interview With A Dropped Candidate