A question on OCS/TBS
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  1. #1

    A question on OCS/TBS

    I was pretty sure that there was a thread on OCS but I didn't find it and so if it exists, I apologise and will not be surprised if this post is deleted immediately.

    I was wondering if anyone could tell me exactly what happens at OCS (basically a typical day), and TBS also (If you have the time).

    Many thanks

  2. #2
    A typical day at OCS:

    Reveille at OCS goes around 0530, lights on. However, most candidates are out of the rack around 0430 getting their stuff together for the day. This may have changed, but when I went through the CO was 100% committed to ensuring that candidates got enough sleep for their bodies to recover. We PT-d every day but Sunday. The PT sessions were run at faster paces than bootcamp. Also, there were more boots and utes runs. Unlike bootcamp, at OCS the candidates have access to the training schedule a couple of days out. Thus, there aren't really too many major curveballs. Candiates run the platoon. You are the Plt Com, Plt Sgt, Squad leader, etc.

    After the lights come on, the routine is like boot camp. Get on line, count-off, all of that stuff. Then, we did a quick field-day (5-minutes tops). The training schedule is jam packed at OCS. There isn't time to be messing around. I remember at boot camp, we could spend over 45-minutes playing games. Not at OCS. You play more games in one day at boot camp than 10 weeks at OCS. Usually, PT was first thing in the morning from 0600 - however long PT is going. Usually, expect 1 1/2 hours to 3 hours for PT, depending on what you are doing.

    Then its off to the chow hall, or they'll bring box lunches out to the barracks. Some mornings, we had chow first and then PT. That, of course, depends on which companies are using the PT field first.

    I noticed your profile is in London. At OCS, the individual that runs the PT regime is a British Royal Marine Colour Sergeant. The final PT you do at OCS is the Colour Sergeant's PT (other than the CO's moto run). The Colour Sergeant goes out his way to smoke the candidates, but its a fun PT session.

    After PT and chow, then its usually off to class. They just built a new classroom, but when I went through, we were in an old WWII aircraft hangar with dirt covered floors and no A/C. Usually, you will have a few classes in the morning. Go to lunch around 1200 - 1300. Then classes in the afternoon or whatever is on the training schedule. It varies tremendously because of stuff in the field.

    You will do various things in the field like Land Navigation, humps, and various other courses. Usually, during the 10-week course, you do the field work at the beginning of the week (Mon-Tues, maybe Wed). Then you have classes the rest of the week.

    You do almost no drill at OCS. Your Drill Instructors will try and squeeze drill in whenever they can. But, drill at OCS pales in comparison to boot camp. There isn't much down time at OCS. Part of the point of OCS is to see how efficiently you can use your time.

    Like bootcamp, personal time is supposedly around 2030 or something like that. Don't count on it. Lights were out at 2100 I think. That will sound ludricous for those of you that recently went to boot camp. I guess too many candidates were getting hurt, because a day at OCS is probably more exhausting than boot camp. They weren't getting enough sleep, so the CO was determined to improve the recovery of the candidates. This may have changed since the new CO came in. Nevertheless, lights will go out and most guys will be up for a few hours marking gear or writing essays.

    Drill Instructors don't smoke candidates on the quarterdeck like at bootcamp. They will assign you a 300 word essay instead. You have to write it on your own time, which is at night. For anybody that thinks that is too easy, trust me, I would rather spend a couple of minutes on the quarterdeck sweating a little bit, than stay up writing a 300 word essay. Fortunately, I only had to write one essay at OCS and it was for something I didn't do. I was accused of stealing the Captain's map pen. I had to write a 300 word essay on misappropriating property. I was later exonerated when the map pen was found in the Drill Instructor's desk. I still had to write the essay. Being a law student, I had no problem writing 300 words on property law. If you are not squared away, however, you could lose tons of sleep every night writing essays.

    The key to OCS is being efficient at night and maximizing what little time they give you. The daily schedule at OCS isn't that much different than boot camp. Only the Drill Instructors (called Sergeant Instructors) do not mess with the candidates too much. They don't need to. When you get candidates running a platoon, things will be jacked up enough that the candidates wind up messing with each other.

    Saturday morning you will have a long PT session and then an afternoon inspection before secured for liberty.

    A day at TBS depends on what is on the training schedule also. The environment isn't like OCS at all. Your schedule depends whether you are doing classroom work or field work. PT at TBS is largely on your own, but you may have PT sessions in the morning. All depends. Here is a link to the TBS training matrix, so you can see for yourself what the schedule looks like.


    TBS: https://www.tbs.usmc.mil/

  3. #3
    Oh yeah, somewhere on here there is a thread with a link to a Marine Corps Times video. The video does a great job depicting the daily schedule.

  4. #4
    I have to say sir that when I started this thread, I was not expecting such a thorough, clear and understandable post in response. That definately clears things up. One more thing and this could be a really stupid question, is TBS basically MOS School for Officers or is there MOS school separately?

    Thanks again Sir,

  5. #5
    Well, that's a good question...the only stupid question is the one that someone else just asked. You will have a separate MOS school. I wouldn't have expected you to notice this, but at the end of the training matrix for TBS, you can see the training schedule for the Infantry Officer's Course (for the ground officers). At TBS you get your MOS around week 14 (https://www.tbs.usmc.mil/Pages/MyMOS...t_Process.asp).

    Pilots and lawyers have guaranteed MOS's. TBS is 6-months long and is designed so that any officer is trained to lead a provisional rifle company if necessary. Of course, it also has the mission of making Lts into Marines, but in terms of MOS training, you will receive that later.

    I should clarify one thing about OCS. The daily schedule, particularly the PT, chow schedule, personal time, may vary between companies. If you asked several officers, you might get some variations, but that was the jist.

    Good luck.

  6. #6
    Good gouge sir- I'm shipping out for a 10 week PLC-COMB course on 060604, so it's always helpful to get some up to date and personal snapshots of what's going on.

  7. #7
    LivinSoFree - good luck this summer. Here's some tips I that would have made things easier for our platoon. Early in the course, Sergeant Instructors will look to you priors to set-the-example and assume platoon leadership positions. The first two weeks or so, candidates forget that they can access the schedule on the white board after hours. If you are in a leadership position, get the schedule ahead of time and keep the platoon well-informed. There is a little downtime while waiting outside the chowhall. I usually took a few minutes during that time to give the platoon a preview of the afternoon's schedule and what was on the horizon. From the beginning, try and use your candidate chain-of-command as effectively as possible. I mean, get your squad leaders and fire team leaders involved. At OCS, fire team leaders and even squad leaders are worthless for the first few weeks because they don't get used by the Plt Com, Plt Sgt, Guide, etc.

    Leadership at OCS is NOT the same as at boot camp. At boot camp, squad leaders and the guide all try and act like drill instructors by yelling and screaming. There is a time and place for that at OCS when candidates are running out of the squad bay to formation, but otherwise, boot camp leadership will get you nowhere. OCS leadership requires more teamwork and delegation at the squad and fire team level. Make your fire team leaders and squad leaders do the little things like check to make sure locks are locked, gear is packed, rifles are accounted for. When you are in a leadership position, don't try and do too much - because little things will slip through the cracks. Delegate. At least once, somebody in your platoon will leave a rifle in a squad bay...stand-by for a s***-house. Make sure that the last person out the hatch checks for rifles that got left behind.

    When I was Plt Com, our Captain was teaching a hip-pocket class under a tree. One of the candidates leaned his rifle against the tree and was not paying attention. A Drill Instructor from another platoon snuck up and stole the rifle. I was paying attention and saw the Drill Instructor sneak up. I just about flipped. I wasn't about to go take the rifle from the Drill Instructor. I let the candidate have it and told him to go get his rifle. He went and asked the Drill Instructor if he could have it back. There were a bunch of officers around, so the Drill Instructor gave it back after giving the guy some choice words. We all looked pretty bad. Fortunately, I was paying attention and the Drill Instructor didn't make it very far before we noticed. Things could have gotten really ugly if we had showed absolutely 0 situational awareness. The whole platoon still looked kind of bad there.

    The point is, you will have civilians that aren't yet as religious about their rifles as Marines. Make sure you have accountability of EVERYTHING. That will be your biggest job in a billet. Know who is on sick-call and why. Know where they are. When you are Plt Com or Plt Sgt, always be looking around paying attention (always pay attention, but especially when you are in a leadership position). During PT, you will have candidates that will get hurt on the O-Course and go to a Corpsman without telling anybody. All of the sudden, you may be 1 person short on your accountability. You need to have eyes in the back of your head for your candidates.

    You'll find that the civilian candidates will come to you frequently for advice. Be patient with them and help them out. Remember, you rate your peers at OCS. So helping guys out can be the difference between being number 1 or number 2 in the platoon.

    Also, PT is a good time for you to shine by calling lots of cadence. Be the leader that encourages team work during PT, because thats where the real unity is formed. If everyone is done doing pushups, but one candidate is struggling, get down and do the pushups with him. The other candidates will follow your lead. The OCS staff is paying attention during PT to see who is stepping up. Semper fi.

  8. #8
    This had been a fasinating thread to me as I had no idea how the Officers of Marines were trained. Thank you dscusmc for your visual and taking the time to share it here with those that wish to follow your lead sir. I have a question if you would sir. In my day a junior Officers greatest honor was when his Marines refered to him as "Skipper" is that tradition still the case today?


    No better friend/No worse enemy

  9. #9
    Lance Corporol Meyer front and center Marine! Congratulations on your acceptance to the Platoon Leaders Course (PLC) many apply and few are chosen. I know that you would rather I not do this publicly but you rate it brother besides RHIP. Its been an honor and previlege to watch you grow from a Poolee here to a Marine and it will be a further honor to see you become an Officer Of Marines.

    Semper Fi


    No better friend/No worse enemy

  10. #10
    SSgt. - I think that really is the greatest honor of being an officer - or even a SNCO. I'm not out in the Fleet yet, so I can't claim that honor, but that is certainly something I am striving for. When you've earned your Marines respect and they go out of their way to look out for you. When they refer to you as "Skipper," or "The Captain," or "The LT", or the "The SSgt."

    When I was enlisted, I don't think we ever used the word Skipper. I had a salty-old Gunny that used to refer to the Captain as the Skipper. If they had the utmost respect for them, the junior guys referred to the junior officers as "The LT" or "The CAPT" as apposed to by name, like "Lt Dirtbag" or "Capt Noname." Or, in conversations with other Marines they refer to you in the possessive, like "my LT" or "my Capt." If that is going on, then they trust you and the unit is functioning like its supposed to. Everything else will fall into place. S/F, Lt. Conway

  11. #11

    Exclamation Curious about my chances for getting into OCS...

    This is a great thread. It it wasn't indentified earlier. Here is a link to the "Class 186 - The making of a Marine Officer" series on the Marine Corps Times website:


    It is very informational...Now, onto my question.

    I am a former Marine with a RE code of RE-3p. I was accepted into the PLC program while I was in college, but went ahead and enlisted in the USMCR (Reserves) in meantime, too. While serving with my reserve unit in Battle Creek, MI, I was suffering from some congestion that I picked up durning the winter and was eventually discharged after it didn't clear up for a few months. That ended by bid for the PLC program and my time with the Marine Corps. Obviously, a very unfulfilling occurance. I desperately want to get back in. Do I stand a chance, given my current RE code? What do I need to do to make it happen?

  12. #12
    Well...I'm obviously not an OSO. That is who to contact (standard caveat). There has been some debate around in other threads regarding reenlistment codes.

    Starting with the OSO is the obvious starting point. I looked in MCO 1100.73B (Military Personnel Procurement Manual, Volume III, Officer Procurement Manual). http://www.usmc.mil/directiv.nsf/0dc...f?OpenDocument.

    Enlisted Manual for those that are curious (http://www.usmc.mil/directiv.nsf/0dc...0?OpenDocument.)

    I don't see anything expressely prohibiting your application on the basis of the re-enlistment code. I think the there are two thresh-hold questions:
    1) The type of discharge you received is important - preferably honorable, of course.
    2) Can you pass a physical?

    You don't have to answer those here. The point is that the Officer Procurement Manual does not even mention re-enlistment codes. So I would recommend: 1) contacting an OSO to get the ball rolling, 2) making sure you are staying in shape.

    Your question is whether you stand a chance. Because I'm not an OSO, I don't want to give any false hope, but a basic reading of the Officer Procurement manual suggests that if you meet the discharge requirements and can pass a physical, then you have a chance. Those aren't the only two questions, of course (age requirements, degree requirements, background checks, etc). But, based on what you said, I don't think the re-enlistment code will be a bar if the other two questions are met. You have some good things going for you (previously accepted to PLC and you are a Marine). S/F

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by LivinSoFree
    Good gouge sir- I'm shipping out for a 10 week PLC-COMB course on 060604, so it's always helpful to get some up to date and personal snapshots of what's going on.
    Congratulations and good luck. When will you be graduating/commissioning? I was going to go to OCS this summer, but I don't graduate until either December 08 or May 09, so I'm going to SOI this summer, then PLC split the next two summers.

  14. #14
    Excellent discussion and great insight- we've gotten a good number of briefs, but this has filled in some gaps for me. The devil is in the details, and this is full of them.

    I'll report to OCS on 4 June 2006, graduate 11 August 2006. Assuming all goes as planned, I'll graduate and commission in May of 2007, then it's go-time.

    Thanks for the congratulations and well-wishes.

  15. #15
    Side note- go back and pick up R.A. Heinlien's "Starship Troopers." It's still relevant to the Corps today.

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