Confessions of a Navy OCS Dropout

by Steve Wilkins · 348 comments

in Featured Articles, OCS

Reprinted with permission by the author, Greg Fisk

What follows is an account of my very brief experience at Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI. I’m not writing this because I’m looking for pity, but rather to offer advice to those who are in the process of applying so that they don’t end up in the same position I found myself in these past several weeks. I’ve also never read anything about what happens to the people who DOR or NPQ at OCS, so that might be something that people are curious to know. True, you shouldn’t be thinking about such things if you’re going to OCS, but I doubt that knowing will change anyone’s plans.

The short version of my story is that I didn’t make it through Indoc week at OCS. I had only made it to the part with the DIs and beatings and sandpits, but even after just those first few days I knew I wasn’t motivated enough to put myself through everything OCS requires of you. If there is only ONE piece of advice I can give prospective officer candidates, it’s to make sure you are absolutely 100% committed to the goal of becoming a Naval Officer. If you’re not, or even if there is something else that you think you also might like to do, you won’t make it. I understand (and saw for myself) that a large percentage of the people who DOR are prior enlisted who liked their job to begin with and decided that OCS wasn’t worth it to them when they could just go back to their old job, try to make Chief Petty Officer, etc. If you’re a prior and think that OCS is just going to be like boot camp all over again, you’re completely wrong, as every prior I talked to there can tell you.

In my case, I had an alternate plan that I gave up in order to go to OCS, and that was living abroad in China to fully learn Mandarin Chinese and eventually attend graduate school to study a China-related field  (probably history). The fact that I also wanted to do that means that I should have done it from the beginning, because once OCS started it turned into a no-brainer for me.

I applied to be an Intelligence Officer (and only Intel) straight out of college and I was really happy when I got it. However, now that I’m being honest with myself that was more because I wanted to work in intelligence than because I wanted to be in the military. You’ve probably heard this before, but if you’re applying to become a Naval Officer, you need to make sure your primary motivation is that you want to be a Naval Officer. If for example, you apply for SNA primarily because you want to fly and you think the Navy is a good way to do that, you’re going to have a hard time finding the motivation to make it through OCS knowing you also have options on the civilian side. Indoc week especially will give you a lot of “What the **** am I doing here?” moments, and you’d better have a great answer, because that’s the only thing that can keep you going.

So even though I went to OCS with a little bit of doubt and probably the wrong motivation, I was still prepared to work hard and figured that I could get through based on what I had read about it here and elsewhere. Wrong. The program is designed to weed out people like me, who don’t want it badly enough or think they might rather be doing something else. I thought I was prepared for the intensity of the program based on what I had read and heard, but you can’t understand what it’s really like until you’re actually there doing it. I won’t try to describe everything, but know that just because all the fun with your DI doesn’t really start until Wake-up Wednesday doesn’t mean that the first three days aren’t very stressful. You will be sore, sleep deprived, and barely able to speak long before you ever start rolling around in the sand. And once that starts, like I said, you had better be life-or-death determined to get through or else forget it.

A week or so before I finally went home, I heard the CO describe Navy OCS as the most difficult officer accession program in the military, which would have really surprised me to hear before I went. Now however, I’m inclined to believe it, even though I think Marine OCS might beg to differ. You will get beat (not beat up mind you). A lot. But the physical demands are just part of everything the instructors do to add stress, because that’s what they’re really after. It took me a while to figure this out, but the main purpose of OCS is not to make you into a good officer; it’s to put you into an extremely high stress environment for a long period of time to make sure you can function in it (and presumably let you learn how to be a good officer later with the help of the chiefs). Being intelligent and/or a PT stud will only help so much, because OCS is not primarily an intellectual or physical challenge. Like I’ve been saying, it’s all about motivation.

One quick piece of advice before I move on. I rolled into H-class right before I dropped, so I don’t know too much about it, but I do know that even though H-class is often likened to spending two weeks or more in a Siberian gulag and is definitely someplace you’d rather not be, it’s also not the end of the world. For some people it can actually be a much needed relief from Indoc week and give them time to get themselves more accustomed to OCS and better prepared physically and mentally. Though of course, it also means at least another two weeks that will suck. So if you happen to roll into H during Indoc week (and quite a few usually do), don’t panic. Just address whatever issue(s) you had and get yourself ready to class back up. Then go and be a leader in the next class, because you will have learned a lot of things that they don’t know yet. In fact, OCS wouldn’t work the way it does without the knowledge and experience that the roll-ins bring to new classes. If you want it bad enough, and as long as you don’t physically or mentally break, you will make it through eventually even if it means you have to spend multiple weeks in H.

I hope this next part will not apply to anyone who reads this, because I hope that everyone who is selected will be motivated enough to make it all the way through (even though in reality I know that won’t be the case). If you should happen to DOR or NPQ, you’ll move to what’s called student pool in another part of the base and be given simple jobs (fix this, move these, etc.) to do every day until all the paperwork is finished to get you released, back to the fleet, or wherever you’re supposed to go. You’re still getting paid as long you’re there, so you do have to work, but most days aren’t hard at all and you’re free to do whatever you want once you’re done for the day. For the paperwork, you’ll need to collect about a dozen signatures from anyone and everyone important, including finally the CO, and each time you’ll have to explain your reason for dropping. With each signature you get as you move along in the process, they’ll often try to talk you into not DOR’ing. Until the CO signs your paper, you still have the option of changing your mind and classing back up. Some guys did this while I was there, even though it of course meant being a huge target for a while. For one guy it even meant going all the way back to the seawall when he had been in his fourth week.

Student pool can be kind of a depressing place, because while some people are like me and just realized that they’d rather do something else, others were NPQ’d by an injury or have other issues and are pretty devastated, sometimes bitter. Everyone in student pool just wants to get out of there, but the absolute fastest that will happen is about three weeks to a month. And that’s if you’re like me and are just a civilian who doesn’t owe the Navy money for college or anything. For priors, program guys, and especially anyone with an injury, the process can take much longer.

So that’s about it. I dropped out of OCS after less than a week of being there. I don’t regret it because I’m confident that it was the right decision for me. My biggest regret is wasting the time and effort of the people who helped me get to Newport, as well as the time I wasted when I should have been doing something else. There were numerous reasons why I was attracted to the Navy in the first place which I haven’t forgotten, and I knew I was giving up a great opportunity. However, I never lost any sleep over my decision (I did lose sleep, but only because they moved the next Indoc class to the deck right above us) or seriously considered getting back in after I dropped, so I think it’s safe to say that I didn’t really belong there in the first place. I definitely have a new respect for those who have chosen to serve as Naval officers, but it wasn’t for me. I accept that and now I’m moving on. If anything I described about my situation seems familiar to any applicants out there, stop right now and think long and hard about whether this is something you really want to do. You don’t want to do what I did.

Good luck to everyone and I hope that whatever path you choose is the right choice for you.


{ 345 comments… read them below or add one }

sean July 17, 2008 at 8:38 AM

First and foremost, you know nothing about Marine OCS and to set the record straight Marine Officer Candidate School is the toughest entry-level military training program in the world from which I have actually graduated. Thank you and have a nice day. OORAH!


Ajeet January 5, 2010 at 1:08 AM

I have heard Marine drill instructors (who train the Navy OCS) say that the Navy OCS IS the toughest and more brutal than any other OCS. So, before you go spouting you big-shot mouth, know what you’re talking about or talk to someone who does.


Brendan March 30, 2010 at 8:25 PM

Ajeet, you better watch what your saying. Being a USMC OCS graduate also I have to state that Sean is correct. Experience the wrath of Quantico, Virginia and you will understand why the USMC is the most elite fighting force that the United States Military has to offer.

Sum1 April 8, 2010 at 9:47 PM

Brendan, I have to echo what Ajeet said. The Master Guns at OCS expressed it numerous times that in his opinion Marine Corps OCS was physically tougher, but when you consider the mental component of Navy OCS plus the physical stuff Navy OCS was the more difficult program. You can flaunt your “elite fighting force” status if you like, but I’m defaulting to an expert’s opinion who’s seen both Navy and Marine Corps OCS.

Ensign Shumuckatelle January 20, 2012 at 10:39 PM

I graduated from AOCS in ’77. One of my classmates had done the first phase of the USMC version of the AVROC program where you spend part of your Jr/Sr summer break in training, finish the next summer. Just before finishing college he decided to jump from The Corp to the Navy. He parroted the aforementioned comparison. The Marine program was somewhat heavier into physical training but the primary flight academics courses at P’cola provided an extra dimension of pressure/stress to the USN program. Pointing out the obvious, they were designed by the same entity (DON) and run by USMC DI’s so attempting to lay claim to more machismo by finishing one vs the other’s rather sophomoric. On the other hand, the program was WAY tougher back then vs the picnic in the park you youngsters went through ;-)

Chrystyan May 19, 2010 at 9:10 AM

Yes, because you’ve graduated from both the Marine OCS and the Naval OCS? Please do not sprout jargon when you are not well versed in all topics.

A Navy Officer would not make such a mistake to assume as you just did (2 years ago, rather ^.^)


Sara January 31, 2011 at 2:34 AM

Made it through 9 weeks of Marine OCS before an injury, and I will be going to Navy OCS this year, so I will be able to settle this once and for all. So I’ll let you know.

Lauren February 4, 2011 at 12:22 AM

Sara…I’m seriously considering OCS and have been wanting to talk with another woman about it before going to a recruiter. If you see this, please email me!

Navy Elite January 11, 2012 at 9:42 AM

Hi Sara,

I would like to ask you a couple of question about the OCS process. Would you please contact me you seem like the perfect person to ask a question to being that you have already been accepted to OCS twice. My email address is thank you.

Michael V April 16, 2012 at 12:43 AM

All these comments were really interesting and amusing. I’m pretty sure Navy OCS as all OCS’s are hard as shit, as being an Officer in the military, in any branch is no kids game. I look forward to joining the Navy as an Officer, completing OCS and graduating, and making a lifetime career as a U.S. NAVAL OFFICER (surface warfare or intel preferred) with the backing and approval of the NSA and CIA, who are my invisible friends of sorts. Thanks for the advice, but I’m a Citadel grad, have went through far worse of a hell at The Citadel and in the civilian world as an intel service applicant, and I will be proud to complete OCS and become a Navy Officer, regardless of how difficult it is. Thanks.

Joseph June 28, 2012 at 4:56 PM

I got on this thread due to an unrelated search. I know that the USMC DIs working in Pensacola were at a minimum doing their third tour as a DI, and had done at least one senior DI tour for Marine recruits. Out of the DI and DI under instruction in charge of my class, one is now a Marine Officer, and another is a Marine Warrant Officer. They both would attest to the fact that they made it harder on us than it was to go through their accession program.
Any program is only as hard as the requirement to get successful graduates, and timeline plus needs of the service are very big influential factors. We can all agree that the Air Force and Army programs are easier, having spent 6 years Enlisted in the Army and having several O and CWO friends there has given me a general indication of the program requirements. Marine OCS does not normally need to be as hard as Navy OCS due to the follow on mandate of TBS. This gives 6 months of extra time for experienced personnel to help weed out those that should not be leaders in the service.
All that said, as a Navy Pilot for the last 6 years, I would still recommend flying for the Coast Guard any day of the week, for no other reason than routine saves equals more job satisfaction. Anyone who isn’t in it for the flying, quit being whiny little bastards, suck it up and drive on. I don’t care what service branch you are in, whiners who have a constant need for pissing contests have no place as Officers.

Adam May 28, 2010 at 2:51 PM

Hey all you hard core guys, you’re being instructed by the enlisted! All that hard stuff and mean talk, well guess what dorks you did it for 3 months we do it for 20 or more years our discipline does not stop after baby boot camp! Dont even pretend you dont understand what Im saying all the times you saw your junior enlisted getting yelled at, standing at attention doing the jobs an officer would refuse, STOP TALKIN LIKE YOUR HARD! I am sere trained and been in and out of theater for years where were you when I was there? Did NOT see one officer there!? Yeah cause they were in there state rooms getting there meals made by real cooks and in air conditioning. It does not bother me to here you say your job is hard, it is, but stop the enlisted can’t hack it crap, WE train you we protect you, and america! we are dying look at the ratio! Finally to end a fight no one’s programs come close to the Navy’s program’s dont kid yourself! Marine’s we got everything you got, and much more we got DI’s at our recruit depot’s we got it all!
Remember this Gents no matter how bad you think you ever may have it as an officer and i bet there was bad days, it does not compare to the average enlisted man’s career.


Deaunta Dukes September 17, 2010 at 3:16 PM

Thanks for the motivation!!!i’ve only been in the navy 6 months and im 20 years old no kids no wife would going to ocs really be the best navy career move to make and havent talked to a whole lot of officers about the program

Lauren February 4, 2011 at 12:19 AM

Sara…I’m seriously considering OCS and have been wanting to talk with another woman about it before going to a recruiter. If you see this, please email me!

Alex June 26, 2011 at 12:31 PM

From what I could understand… You were taught a lot of things… Except, of course, writing skills.

Michael V April 16, 2012 at 12:46 AM

Props to you dudy, special ops is hardcore, I wouldn’t even try to do anything special ops. You guys are professional psychos. Good job with s.e.r.e. bro, later.

joseph April 18, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Nothing compare to BUDS training, it doesn’t matter if you are officer or enlist. After BUDS is only the beginning. HOO-YA SEALS.

Ashamed September 2, 2012 at 5:05 PM


Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to apologize on behalf of the enlisted community for that disrespectful and nearly illiterate post by “Adam”. Aside from the childish name calling, his statement was factually incorrect (i.e. there are absolutely no Marine Corps D.I.’s at Great Lakes as RTC’s). I can say with certainty that he also did not ever deploy into a hostile environment without Officer leadership, as not a single U.S. military unit in existence does so (With the possible exception of NSW following senior NCO’s, although Officers still lead in some capacity). More than likely, the person who posted that is not and has never been in the military.

Having spent 6 years as an Aircrew Rescue Swimmer (Naval Special Operations), I feel somewhat qualified to comment on the physical and intellectual rigors associated with military accessions for various programs. I can not however comment on OCS (until I finish my engineering degree and go through myself) beyond what I saw of Navy OCS while going through Rescue Swimmer School across the street when it was all in Pensacola, FL.

We’re talking about the absolute basics here. OCS is designed to get you ready to be the “FNG”. Nobody – NOBODY – comes out of OCS a seasoned or battle-hardened bad ass, unless that’s how they went in! So stop the pissing contest. I went through a 2 year training pipeline including SERE school, SAR school, Aircrew School, AW School, and FRAC, and I showed up at my first command as an FNG. And I KEPT MY MOUTH SHUT AND EARS OPEN because I knew enough to realize I had a lot more to learn. If you want to succeed in the military, that’s what you’ll do until you gain the experience needed. As an officer, you’ll seek out senior NCO’s and learn from them. OCS doesn’t make you a leader IN ANY BRANCH, rather it gives you the basic tools you need to learn how to be a good leader.

If you’re concerned about which branch’s commissioning process “puts more hair on your chest”, then you need to re-evaluate your priorities. There is always somebody tougher out there. The TEAM of Sailors, Soldiers, Marines, and Airmen, enlisted and officer, is what makes our military as strong as it is. We each have our own role. If missing a single link, the chain is useless. A rescue swimmer needs pilots to fly, and maintenance to keep the helicopter FMC, Admin personnel to process pay, etc… It’s the same for every job and every rank.

Rich T July 2, 2014 at 7:45 PM

I read all this and I have a son who is trying to get into OCS. The one thing I point out is leadship, just not from him, but the men under him. If you have leadership from the Seaman to the Officer, you will win. Yes, I spent 4 wonderful years in the Navy, now I wish I spent more. A great team listens to the Seaman, 2nd Class, Chief and etc. They all have idea and suggestions and a great team will listen to all. I was proud to be part of one of those teams on the USS Newport New CAV-148 and was with ComSecFlt. Ships company was second to none.

RWB January 25, 2011 at 5:54 PM

I do not know if you directed your ignorant diatribe at me or the person who created this website, but rest assured, such language is hardly becoming of an officer candidate or commissioned officer. I hardly think obtaining as military commission is a prerequisite for being an intelligent, critically-thinking individual. Rather, it simply shows that the person is capable and/or willing to “tow the line” in order to gain financial security and a measure of prestige—all of which are fleeting. When I was enrolled in Aviation Officer Candidate School at Pensacola, I did a lot of soul searching and decided that the price I had to pay was not worth the effort required; different strokes for different folks.


goodoldrebel March 29, 2012 at 10:27 AM

I think that your expressed thoughts accurately depicts OCS and a commissioning program. Some of us have do not need a uniform and symbolic artifacts on our collar to justify who we are. OCS is definitely all about ‘towing the line’ and being a sheep. Even a commissioned officer is still living like a ‘prisoner of sorts’. UCMJ is always over your head, even for the slightest infraction.

MG March 29, 2012 at 11:03 AM

Becoming an officer is not about justifying who you are by wearing artifacts on your collar. It’s much more than than that. One becomes an officer to lead a group of people. To have the responsibility and privilege of inspiring another person to give their best. It’s about giving your own life for some greater purpose. You cannot find the same leadership role in a civilian world because in the civilian world the chase is after the money, which sucks the glory right out of the bigger picture.

goodoldrebel March 29, 2012 at 11:51 AM

MG, I think you fail to realize that becoming an officer is most definitely about money and prestige, even more so than most comparable civilian occupations. Most don’t need bars to prove to themselves their self worth. The bars seem to satisfy some missing part of a developmental personality stage. Its all about high profile ‘ look at me in my shiny uniform etc.’ (especially in front of the mirror).

This idea of leadership presumes that most people are sheep and ‘need’ to be led as if they are ‘brain dead’. We all know that the CPO’s run the USN and officers parasitically bootstrap themselves to the hard labor of the enlisted. Most beings do not need to be lead, a group can by consensus function without any so called ‘leader’.

I’m not trying to burst your bubble but you can’t put on price on individuality. I can tell that you are a sincere person but somehow you apparently bought into the brainwashing and fail to see that most beings don’t need to be regimented (except if they are in prison). After all in the end we are all the same regardless of the superficial pomp and circumstances.
Anyway, thanks for the feedback. I appreciate the sincere response.

Michael V April 16, 2012 at 12:49 AM

So much negativity from these comments. I would think people would be more motivated about being an officer and OCS and all that. As for writing skills and comments, this is a blog, MLS writing standards do not need to be adhered to.

Hard core March 16, 2011 at 12:09 PM



RWB March 29, 2012 at 2:31 PM

GoodOldRebel…I have to give you kudos/props for being so forthright and honest with your viewpoints on commissioned military service. While serving temporarily(as a civilian contract employee) aboard a US Navy aircraft carrier at sea, a number of young midshipmen, male and female, were brought aboard as part of their summer active fleet experience. These young folks were polite enough and seemed fairly bright, but I could see in my mind’s eye their lives upon commissioning, pinning on the Ensign stripe and star. How can one not be affected, ego-wise, with being told one is “special,” the uniform, pay and benefits reflecting this, not to mention the overall admiration of society? Status simply changes most people, though they might be loathe to admit as much. I enrolled in Navy Aviation OCS at Pensacola after graduating from college, only to find that the math/physics aspect of classroom training hardly matched upon with my undergraduate preparation, which was liberal arts. I had always been poor in math skills, though my overall entry test score for pilot training was, oddly enough, fairly high. Long story short…I dropped out of Aviation OCS, returned home and could only find, in that poor economy, a job as a clerk on the midnight shift in a convenience store. Talk about total flip-flop insofar as ambition, educational investment and “status.” It was culture shock, something I could not blame so much on the military as fate, life’s circumstances, what we could call this “impersonal universe” we inhabit involuntarily. Whereas I’d have been given officer status and pilot’s wings, had I remained and successfully completed the training, then gone on to a high–paid aviation career with unlimited opportunities, I found myself underemployed and placed among the legions of “educated” Americans seeking “good” jobs. So, yes, military officer status does say to individuals who are commissioned that they are, in a sense, above the great unwashed masses. This is reflected in the decorum and treatment career officers receive. Example: It is a fact that, say, a 20-year Navy aviation officer is accorded numerous ribbons, awards and commendations during his/her career–accolades never provided to someone like a 20-year veteran of retail clerking or management in the civilian sector. And yes, it is true that our military personnel do have to face dangers, even death, in their jobs, but I could have had my brains blown out–for paltry minimum wages–while working for years on the midnight shift in a 7-11 convenience store. A fellow who perishes in the crash of a Navy jet is regarded as a “hero,” whatever the circumstance, whereas a guy lying in a pool of blood behind a checkout counter wearing a colorful 7-11 smock is seen as a “poor, unfortunate soul.”
So, yes, I largely agree with your viewpoint of self-respect, personal affirmation, and I also realize that the military has been held in high esteem since the days of the Roman legions long ago. I only hope that those individuals who achieve officer status, whatever the commissioning source, will realize how very fortunate they are and exercise a little empathy in the way they deal with theiir subordinates and, of course, civilians, for people are people, whatever the national origin, whatever their socio-economic circumstances. Again, thanks for the courage to post something that could be taken by some reading this site as controversial or anti-military. I know that is not your intention. You merely wanted others to look at life, in our out of uniform, with an open mind. While my liberal arts education did not prep me sufficiently for flight school, it did cause me to question things and make me more aware of the world and my–our–place in the scheme of things. (-:

goodoldrebel March 30, 2012 at 8:29 AM

Thanks friend and don’t punish yourself for giving up a commission opportunity. Anyone with a college degree has that opportunity. Let it go and be happy that you are more than just a little bit of a person who didn’t needs to be regimented into a pigeon hole type personality to justify who they are.

Roy March 31, 2012 at 2:42 PM

GoodOldRebel: As smart a guy as you are, you didn’t miss out anything in your early development as a reb. Do you not wear the black tshirt-black jeans uniform of Holly Woodies/Manhattan types, perhaps the frumpy/tweedie elbow patch college professor, the leathered out motorcycle costumes for Bikers, the little stretch spandex pants and plastic hat for bicycle riders, tatooed up hipsters, blue suit-blue shirt with red tie lawyer costume (purple tie for assistant U.S. Attorneys), country boy western shirt with Wrangler jeans costume, or the tennis/golf outfit for country clubbers, the old blue jean (Levis)-blue tshirt with sandals and scruffy beard or the Goth costume for Rebels without a cause, perhaps the doctors smock/scrubs for healers and hospital workers, even Roman Collars for priests, or police and firefighter uniforms, turbans for fortune tellers, berets for artists and Frenchmen, various Tux/gown costumes for Oscar/prom night, or football-baseball-hockey-basketball-swimming-soccer uniforms, big baggy lowfit shorts for dudes in the hood, is your baseball hat on straight or backwards, or even the casual Friday kacky pants for car salesmen. All those toads lack self worth because they wear their own uniform. BUT if you are really a dummy that missed out in early childhood development, parasitically bootstrapping on the backs of honest, hard working enlisted guys that could lead themselves by consensus, you then don (after long hard work) a Navy Officer’s uniform so as to prove your small self worth by leading sheeple. Thus, the Navy Officer in uniform is the ultimate looser in your sad little mind. What costume do you wear? All the fine military officers on this forum cannot wait to hear. Roy Tyson

scott December 20, 2012 at 11:18 AM

I would like to first say thank you all for your comments and insight. It is interesting to see the view points from the civilians, enlisted, officers and veterans of this great nation. There are many truths posted here as well as some “fish stories”, but each has a right to their opinion. That’s what make our country strong, the freedom provided for each. This comes with a cost though. For the average person to work and succeed, there must be opportunity, drive and a dream, whether it be for money, security, family, ethical, or moral responsibility. This is no different when putting on a uniform, branch of service, enlisted, or officer. The majority of time, success requires teamwork, collaboration, and communication, you cannot go it alone.

Each of us should be proud and respectful for the service to our country and also to our community. Without each working directly or indirectly, our country cannot succeed in being the greatest nation in the world. We each choose our paths for different and similar reasons. So please ladies and gentlemen, let’s not bicker or berate each other over who’s service, OCS, enlisted, or officer programs are tougher, or more prestigious.

We need strong business leaders in the private an public sector to grow our economy. We also need a strong military/ veterans to keep our boarders secure, prevent terrorists acts and provide a show of force to our adversaries. Thank you.

eagleston December 17, 2011 at 3:47 PM

Why do OCS? If you have a 4 year college degree apply for a direct commission if accepted you are commissioned on the spot then they send you to a easy 2 week knife and fork school and depending on what your field and degree is you could be commissioned as high as a LCDR. My class leader in DCO school was a doctor and he started out being commissioned as a LCDR and he did not have any prior service.


AD December 17, 2011 at 6:30 PM

Is what Mr/Mrs(?) Eagleston say, correct?

mr. eagleston December 18, 2011 at 12:51 PM

To: AD
Yes I am telling you the truth! I did it myself although I started as a Ensign. be advised as a DCO you will only be a restricted line or staff officer not a unrestricted line officer. You will not ever have a combat command at sea or be a aviator. You do have the possibility to command a shore activity example overhaul depot or aviation maintenance department on a carrier engineering department on a ship be intelligence officers, sea-bees, medical doctor, nurse, dentist. needless to say if your degree is in basket weaving you can probably forget it. To be considered for DCO usually to be competitive you need a Engineering degree NOT engineering technology, medical degree (Doctor) nurse etc. BUT if you are prior enlisted and have the technical and managerial skill set, what degree you have is not as much a issue depending what officer designation you are selecting. Masters and PHd and civilian experience are also helpful. I think some DCOs had non technical degrees got picked up for intelligence officers. Also be aware if you are enlisted now with a degree the officer recruiter does not get anything extra working to help get you commissioned the Navy has you already, you need to find the right one that will work for you for a DCO.
Good luck!

Miller February 24, 2012 at 1:51 AM

If you talk about OCS/ODS/DCO please make sure you understand the differences. DCO school is for reserve programs only. OCS/ODS is active duty programs, ODS is for only a select few, JAG/medical/chaplain/NR/Instructor. OCS is all other programs, Intel/pilot/NFO, etc. I am not saying eaglton is wrong just the major difference between them is active and reserves.

goodoldrebel March 31, 2012 at 6:23 PM


No offense, but it sounds like I really must have hit a nerve for you to go on a diatribe regarding what type of garb people wear. Have you ever heard the yiddish expression “Siz svar tsu zinie yid”? How would you relate your obsession about the wearing of clothing to that statement? You sound sincere but sorry to say somewhat defensive in justifying ‘who’ you are just by career or image.

We are all unique beings and should not be so rigidly pigeon holed into a character because of a status symbol. People are more than what they project by outward appearance in the mirror.

Nobody can sincerely buy a ‘life’ and a way of ‘being’ by donning a uniform etc. This is the point that I am emphasizing. This shallow justification of who you are based on what shoulder boards you wear is somewhat like a b rate theatrical performance.

Without individuality there would have been no Einstein. who didn’t need to be regimented or have accolades on his collar to make a material contribution to society. Anyway, I am not attempting to insult but I am not also willing to feed shallow egos that need to don boy scout level patches to justify who they are.

Michael V April 16, 2012 at 12:53 AM

Sorry for using the word “props” for the special ops comment/post. Perhaps I should have utilized more appropriate terminalogy. I’d rather be a Navy Officer and toe the Navy’s line and whoop some serious ass Navy style in the event of World War III, and if I die, I die, but at least I won’t live some meaningless pussy life and have my kids hate me and resent me there whole lives because I was too pussy to rock out and be the man. Plus, the Navy whoops ass and kills from afar during wars, the likelyhood of getting injured or killed is minimal, like the Air Force.

Pat August 1, 2012 at 3:28 PM

The so called knife and fork school is for Reserve officers who will go back to their units and drill. The DCO course is 5 weeks long and is for Reserve officers going on active duty. It’s the old OIS or officer indoctrination school whioch was 6 weeks long when I went through in 1983. I was prior enlisted prior to that and only 1 of 2 in our company with any military experience. I went to Army basic. My classses at OIS were similar to the other Newport schools and we did go through “Buttercup”. Most people who get commissioned don’t do it for prestige and pay to lord it over everyone. I always treated my enlisted with respect and quite a few went on to be commissioned. As a staff corps officer, I went in to use my education and put my skills to use. I did 32 years including 12 years active and 4 deployments. I’ve seen it all from E to O and ship to shore. You can do anything if you commit to it hard enough.

Logical April 18, 2012 at 12:50 AM

This kind of logic is pathetic. “My school is number one, because I go there! My school’s team is the best, because …. because it’s MY school!”
Very often people believe that their own experience trumps any other, simply because it is *theirs*. Honestly, there is no way anyone can know whether one training or another is best or worst unless they have experienced each training in question, and this situation seems unlikely because no one would be in a situation to complete the training on both sides. So being certain is foolish and the best thing anyone can do is defer to the judgment of someone who has experienced both in some way. All you can really do is guess based on limited and often second-hand information. To make absolute declarations on this is immature at worst and egocentric at best. My guess on the question of Navy OCS vs Marine OCS is this: If the Marines attracts a more physical person and the Navy attracts a more intellectual person, then Marine OCS is perhaps most difficult for Navy guys and Navy OCS is probably most difficult for Marines. This could potentially explain why the Marin DI at Navy OCS said it was harder. Difficulty is subjective to the individuals developed strengths.


mike ridge June 3, 2012 at 3:35 PM

Spoken like a true JARHEAD!! Nothing the Marines do compares with the SEALs or Submarine Service. Being a Vietnam era vet–I know!


zak July 22, 2013 at 2:12 AM

Is that seriously all you got from this whole thing. lol. I think it was pretty well written. Thanks author.


Adam July 24, 2013 at 7:34 AM

Yes… everybody graduated from “the hardest” bootcamp… “hardest program in the world”… where’d that come from? Have you attended every OCS program… ok then, in your own words “you know nothing about [other nations and branches OCS equivalents]“. No no, thank you and have a nice day =D


Adam July 24, 2013 at 7:40 AM

On a side note, I [unlike you Mr. Sean] CAN actually say that I’ve attended more than one services ‘bootcamp’ as a trainee and so, of the two of us, I’d like to ask you what vast personal experiences you draw your assessments from?


Nate August 2, 2013 at 11:33 PM


You have an interesting perspective and very self assured. What command are you currently assigned to? I’ll look you up and contact you there.


wilberforce July 26, 2013 at 12:28 AM

Hello, Sean. I graduated from AOCS in the mid-70s. Years later, during a shore tour, I was assigned (involuntarily) to recruiting duty on the West Coast. I would visit college campuses on a weekly basis with a Marine officer programs recruiter. We worked well together and had a lot of fun. Out of deference to the Marines, I would tell college kids that AOCS was the second toughest OCS program in the U.S. military (with the inference being that Marine OCS was tougher).

One day at lunch, my Marine partner asked me why I insisted on giving second-billing to Navy AOCS. I responded that I was positive Marine OCS was much more physically demanding. He agreed that the physical demands in Marine OCS were challenging, but he was adamant that AOCS was “tougher.”

Why? Navy AOCS combined rigorous PT with upper-division academics and psychological stress not found in Marine OCS. During the initial phase of AOCS training, the candidates were treated as if they were boots at MCRD. This total breakdown of individuality was vital to the success of the program. The later phases of training focused on making each candidate an integral part of a team before presenting the candidate with leadership responsibilities.

Not a perfect program, but when a DI acknowledged superior effort, you felt like you had really accomplished something special. A newly commissioned ensign out of AOCS will probably never realize that DIs really want their candidates to complete the program because they know AOCS can prepare them for even greater challenges in the fleet.

Now, my Marine colleague was also fond of telling college kids that the Corps was the greatest operational organization in the world…




gary sommers September 15, 2013 at 5:07 AM

beg to air force officer school is harder than the only look at push ups but we also have to learn leadership and problem solving..your brain just has to do it in the air force..hard is not just push ups but also academics..if marines are the proudest we in air force are the most admired…


haha February 21, 2014 at 11:46 AM


Don’t flatter yourself. I’ve been through Air Force OTS, and it is not at all hard. This coming from a man who was humbled by some real geniuses while I was there. OTS is not “hard” by any means, the knowledge that you must memorize and the tasks you must complete are busywork. Sure, you don’t have enough time to complete them; that’s to simulate the pressure of becoming a military officer. You will have many responsibilites to attend to that it seems like you don’t have the time to complete. If you want that commission, you’ll find a way. Its only hard if you don’t want it enough.

Rob September 25, 2013 at 2:18 PM

I’ve been through both Marine and Navy OCS and while the Marine OCS is more physically demanding, Navy OCS is by far more difficult all around. For one thing Sergeant Instructors at Marine OCS are not allowed to put students “in the pit,” but this happens regularly at the Navy OCS. Just saying. In fact I also rolled after Indoc week at OCS, the difference is that I rolled back in and finished.


Murph January 21, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Navy OCS is tougher because the DI’s have a chip that they aren’t at Paris Island:


NavyMurph May 9, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Here’s proof that Navy OCS is one-of-kind-kind: Fact is they don’t make movies or write books about Marine Corp OCS.


Nick July 12, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Good gouge on the book Murph. Definitely helped.

david thomas June 12, 2014 at 11:02 PM

I disagree. The US Army 18x program is tougher. It begins with Army Basic Training and Infantry School, then Airborne School, then to SFAS prep, then Selection, then the Q course. All in all, it takes about nearly two years. And this is entry level because they take people off the streets. I welcome your reply and I give my opinion in response to yours with all due respect.


Robby July 12, 2014 at 11:10 PM

I disagree that Marine OCS is the toughest military school. I don’t know if you herd of a small group of individuals called Navy Seals. They are silent professional warriors who undergo the world’s hardest training school. They undergo some of the toughest training in the U.S. military if not the whole world.


Steve August 10, 2008 at 2:38 AM

I am seriously considering Navy OCS right now. I am enlisted in the Army National Guard but have papers for a conditional release to go active Navy. I joined the Navy back in 1998 and dropped out the first 6 hours due to being overly exhausted and frustrated with all the freakin’ yelling while we were doing paperwork!! It’s just paperwork, I was thinking. Anyway, I was put in holding for 3 weeks and then sent home. However, by the time they sent me home, I had become accustomed to life and wanted to stay, but papers were signed and it was too late. So I’ve got my degree now in business administration which I hope will land me in crypto or intel. The only officer careers with business aptitude required (or actually accept the business degree) are AMO or Supply-which oddly enough has an age cutoff at 29, go figure, I’m unless the boards accept my business degree for intel or crypto, I may be stuck doing aircraft maintenance-which doesn’t seem that bad, it’s just not as sexy as intel (my wife would say). (I scored 94 on the ASVAB and all my line scores are 121 and above, so maybe the boards will overlook the business degree and see that I have potential for crypto/intel work). I did my basic training at Relaxin Jackson (Ft. Jackson, SC). We did sand pits and got smoked alot plus my wife is a real ball basher, so I think I can muster the OCS DIs when needed. That may sound arrogant, but in 12 weeks, OCS students out rank their DIs anyway-that ‘at least’ should motivate anyone(tongue in cheek). Out…


john May 12, 2010 at 10:22 PM

i am trying to apply for naval ocs. I have a high asvab score plus a very good oar score. My recruiter, however, says i need to get a congressmans letter of recommendation. Is that really the case?


D Brown May 31, 2010 at 7:41 PM

That’s not true at all. Just follow the instructions and your package will be enough to get you in. If it isn’t, then try again.

david thomas June 12, 2014 at 11:04 PM

Did you get in? I got an ELS in 1988 and I am trying now at the age of 43 to go in as an officer.


goodoldrebel July 1, 2014 at 7:28 PM

Wow, the economy has to be pretty dismal for someone to bang their head against the wall for 16 weeks of OCS at the age of 43. Life is all about time, not prestige or money. The last thing I’d want to do after 40 is look at sky and sea all day on a rust bucket out in the middle of nowhere while trying to romanticize what I’m doing when in reality all I’d want is to find a way to chase that little white ball around.

George September 10, 2008 at 9:38 AM

Very well said. I am applying for OCS as soon as I finish my Bachelors. Ive been doing all kinds of research and all that but this is a very good article to provide people with first hand expeience of what to expect. Even after reading this I still believe the Navy is the place for me but it helps out when self evaluating. “Is this right for me?” Sorry to hear it didnt work out but then again it did because you found what you really wanted. Best of luck.


leo September 18, 2008 at 9:43 AM

dude with everything in life you must wanted bad enought to go get it. just wanting to go there or become an officer is not enough.if you fail your objective is not because the beating was too hard or you physicaly and mentaly broke down. its because you didn’t wanted bad enough. picture this.if am at war in the field i expect my officer to stay calm and relax give us guidence be a leader. not panic.thats what am going to do untill magic word untill he shows me leadership. motivation can be found under a rock if you look hard enough but are you going to do with it?? i pitty the fool who said i will go and check it out. thats a disasster.let me give you some clues here. success is a challenge. if not you would see alot more successful people walking around. its a challenge. here is my last one even though am a student of life, DR Johnson said..” he who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.” so you want so i feel no pitty for you you dropped out not because it was hard you dropped out because you coulden’t handle it.


spanky May 31, 2011 at 5:12 PM

Go hang yourself. You are a disgrace to human beings and a complete
wasted of resources.


Michael V April 16, 2012 at 12:59 AM

Later. Thanks for the motivational words of wisdom.

Jason Jones October 3, 2008 at 4:24 PM

Hey Greg, it’s Jason Jones, we DOR’ed within minutes of each other. Remember, in Master Guns office? It’s funny…I’m considering attempting to re-apply now that I’ve “seen the beast”. Don’t know, I haven’t made up my mind just yet, and I don’t know if I could convince them to take me again anyway. Oh, by the way, sorry about taking that Intel billet…


ANH October 11, 2008 at 4:39 PM

Great article that should be on and for everyone to read.

Student Pool (Week 18)


Scotty October 22, 2008 at 9:43 AM

I can relate to your experience completely. I was NPQ’d, so my reasons for leaving were different, but the experiences that followed were almost the same for me.


jimmy November 11, 2008 at 1:03 AM

Hey man,

Just read our blog. I graduated OCS last month. I previously went to West Point and dropped out after a year and a half. I went to OCS as an effort to become an officer. I agree with you entirely. If you are not motivated then you will not complete the training, and its not for everyone! West Point prepared me, but OCS was ten times harder!!! no joke. The DI’s will slam you like no one else. But I appreciate your effort. You sound like a good guy who wanted to serve his country. But you weren’t quite sure. Best of look in whatever you do. Enjoy China!

Ensign Jimmy


Luke Tateoka February 23, 2014 at 4:26 PM


I’m a West Point grad that is looking to cross branch into the navy. I wanted learn more of your take on Navy OCS . Could we talk?


Dustin November 13, 2008 at 11:17 PM

I dropped on request from ocs in the marines in early january 2008.
I did exactly what you did. I had other options and wasnt there for the right reasons. I didnt feel like a failure, because no one understands how motivated you must be to get through the hell, like you said. I suggest you only go if your burning desire above all else is to be an officer.


goodoldrebel November 7, 2011 at 1:53 PM

I found that even after so many years, if you don’t give yourself time and a chance at OCS, it can still really bother you. I still can’t forgive myself for being so immature, lazy and irresponsible even after so so many years even though I did manage to become a professional as a civilian, I still wish that I could have had those experiences. If only the military understood that some candidates really wanted that as a career but were immature and spoiled enough to not put forth the perspiration required. If only there was no age limit and one could reapply. Wisdom is what you need to make it through the program. I could get deprived of sleep and function much better at this stage in my life. Physically, I can still run a 1:30 1/4 mile so I think my age is no issue. Oh well its nice to dream.


MG November 7, 2011 at 3:21 PM

@Goodoldrebel, I think quitting looks a lot more attractive to a person who has other options besides OCS. You know what I mean? There are people who don’t see themselves doing anything else but living a military life. To them, they don’t have other options but to go back to their civilian life. Civilian life is a “dog eat dog” world and not everyone is fortunate enough to have a shot at being the top dog.

Don’t beat yourself up too much. The fact that you knew that you had other options outside of OCS made surviving through it even more challenging.

Michael V April 16, 2012 at 1:04 AM

All these comments really suck. And you people would have never graduated from The Citadel. It sounds like a bunch of faggots from California posting these comments. OCS won’t be easy, but it won’t be as hard as you pussies make it out to be. You’ve gotta be committed to being an officer, that’s all. You don’t need mama’s prayers, or a jesus piece on your neck for good luck. All you need is motivation and balls. That’s it. If these comments are real, you are all bitches, and that’s all. Later.

Brian April 16, 2012 at 1:07 AM

I had a cousin graduate from the Citadel and he would be appalled at your posts. You are the worst kind of troll.


Richard December 6, 2008 at 7:23 AM

I want to thank you for your fantastic article: . I have my own personal web site and had in fact written a page about my experience of going into the Navy. I had specifically written that OCS is only for those really committed and then I found your article, which confirmed my beliefs. I am from class 13-08. I am not only a prior but I also had a good civilian career. So, I found myself wondering around week four if it was indeed worth it. I eventually concluded it was and now I find myself a DIVO on a warship in VA. I don’t like my current position but the light at the end of my tunnel is that I have a service agreement that will have me re-designate to Information Professional “IP” when I qualify SWO. With your permission I would like to link your article in my site to give information to perspective applicants. I, like you, enjoy helping others to decide their careers. By the way, what class were you in?



Gustav January 18, 2009 at 10:09 PM

I do appreciate very much your openness & honest personal account! Thank-you. I enjoyed your writing style … wish you much success in your true passion (Mandarin Chinese?)


Davis C. Bruce February 6, 2009 at 9:02 PM

I will tell you, that took a lot of soul searching and just plain guts to write what you did, and everyone has got to respect you for being so candid. And it is so nice of you to want to pass on what you learned to others, instead of just keeping it to yourself and moving on.
Knowing ourselves is one of the hardest things to master. In our success-driven society, making it, whatever it is, is paramount. To choose to leave an endeavor because it is not right for you, is to be commended. I wish more people were as honest and helpful as you. Good luck. Whatever you decide to do, you will do it well.


Sean Jin February 16, 2009 at 2:09 AM

Thank you so much for sharing your candid thoughts on this.
I am, to be honest, very nervous about OCS, which will be coming soon after my graduation from college in June, and I’m basically finding everything I can about it.



Joe Nav March 10, 2009 at 8:39 AM

Welcome to a different world, have a good time in the real world.


Rick April 29, 2009 at 1:48 PM

It’s very rare nowadays that someone would actually “man up” and admit that it was “him” and not “someone else’s fault”, that he didn’t make it. I spent the last 12 years of my 24 year career as a CPO and found most youngsters “officer & enlisted” wouldn’t own up to it whatever it was, was thier problem/fault. I’m happy to see you still have respect for the service and those that serve.

Thanks for “manning up”!


Jimmy P. June 6, 2009 at 4:23 PM

Hey man, I am thinking about becoming a naval officer, but after reading your comments about your experience I will definately think it over. I am 25, married w/ 2 kids. I possess a BBA and I’m also bilingual. I wanted to enlist at first but officers really make more money, so that is my goal. I hope I don’t drop out of officer candidate school, and really hope I can graduate from it. Could you tell me what they do in the swimming part because I am not a very good swimmer, I mean I can swim, but I am a slow swimmer. Let me know please, thanks,


Mari June 8, 2009 at 3:34 PM

Thank you for the comments and insight. I do not pity you just so you know – I think your words tell the tell and they were well thought out. I hope that you go far in your field and wish you all the success. Don’t feel bad about how much work and energy is put into persons like yourself in getting them to OCS. This is our job. Some people succeed others fail..but it looks like you will succeed.


Howard Mitchell June 18, 2009 at 4:12 PM

My son has just been accepted to Navy OCS. He of course is excited and after reading your article I decided to call him and sit down to talk to him.

How to I convey how un glamorous and difficult this is going to be?



Kenneth Holland June 19, 2009 at 12:51 PM

Thank you for the candid article which I was glad to read. Little info is given about eventualities in the OCS course, and your info is about the only one. My daughter went into the June 2009 class.
we get no info about how things are, but can imagine how tough it is. Here is wishing you success and happiness.


Kevin McLaughlin July 20, 2009 at 1:12 PM

How nice to read of Greg’s experience at OCS and how generous of him to share it with others who might be considering it. I had an experience similar to Greg’s, but let me say it was in the dinosaur era of 1977. Just out of college, I entered OCS Newport despite having been placed in the Supply Corps without asking for it. My original thought was to be a public affairs officer, but surface warfare would have been fine, too. As it was, I endured 11 weeks of OCS. The worst was over in terms of the grind of being a “civilian under military instruction” and underclassman, and it should have been smooth sailing to the commissioning ceremony. But I had serious doubts about the Supply Corps that eventually spilled over into doubts about the Navy, period. So I rolled out.

More than 30 years later, I still have mixed feelings about leaving. On the one hand, I’m glad I did and have had a rich and full life. On the other hand, I often wonder what direction my life would have taken had I stayed. Who knows? It’s the mystery of the road not taken.

Anyway, Greg is right. If you have a shadow of a doubt about OCS, don’t go in. Don’t let your dad, brother, sister, or friend talk you into it. On the other hand, if you’re in, think very carefully before you roll out. It may be a decision you’ll wonder about for the rest of your life.


goodoldrebel March 29, 2012 at 10:36 AM

I understand how you feel. Its hard to let go and not second guess yourself and feel that maybe you should have given ‘yourself’ the time to see it through. Just let it go and enjoy your life. Don’t let your ego get in the way of enjoying and appreciating life. Being an officer is mostly about ego and showing off the gold bars that shine very briefly.


Ron Bell September 6, 2009 at 3:21 PM

Interesting views you offered about dropping Navy OCS. I attended what was once called Navy Aviation OCS back in the early 1970s–and DORed after a few weeks because #1. I had no idea they would give us a math screening test, and if you scored low, you were put in a holding platoon and #2. my officer recruiter essentially lied to me, saying all you needed were basic math skills in flight school. My degree was is English and I’ve forever hated math. So, I felt proud to have scored high on the pilot aptitude tests given by the recruiter…but also felt screwed in that what I encountered was, well, hardly what I expected. FACT: I’ll not kiss any Marine DI’s ass in order to fly Navy jets and possibly end up burned like a marshmallow at a summer family picnic, hehehe.


MG November 7, 2011 at 3:40 PM

I would gladly kiss my Marine DI’s ass for a chance to fly jets; but that’s just me.


Sean September 18, 2009 at 10:13 AM


I want to thank you for being so candid with your experience at OCS. I am currently in my fourth week, just finished with RLP, and I want to let you know that reading this post before I got to OCS steeled my resolve to make it through this program.
I’m not out to fry anyone who decided the Navy wasn’t for them, but I am thankful that you are courageous enough to share your experience so others can learn from them (either to help them get through OCS or to help them realize that it’s not for them).


Chip Mason September 21, 2009 at 11:29 PM

This should be required reading before they administer the oath of office.


Paul October 4, 2009 at 7:42 PM

Thanks for sharing Greg.

Is it true that once you DOR you cannot apply for any other officer positions in any of the 5 branches?


Marcusthemarine October 9, 2009 at 4:28 AM

At least you were honest. Best wishes.


Mario M. Paz y Mino October 13, 2009 at 2:26 PM

Thanks for the honest comments of your article. My question: what happens to a person who drops out/flunks out of OCS? Do they have a service obligation as an enlisted man? That’s the way it used to be but wonder if it has changed.
Thank you


Steve November 18, 2009 at 7:54 PM

If only RE-1 DOR’s from OCS could get another chance regardless of age. Some of us just didn’t think enough of ourselves to give time a chance. My father was enlisted for 30 years (Korea and Vietnam)and was a great sailor even though I never really saw him. Anyway, I guess I will have to be satified being a mickey mouse civilian pushing a pencil or doing some other non vital function in the business community motivated by the all mighty buck. I did become a professional and actually created a sort of OCS of my own to prepare for a professional license, but I would trade it all for one more shot a OCS regardless of age. Hyman (Rickover) was still vital regardless of his age. I’m still in top shape and use that OCS stuff to keep myself somewhat squared away.


Carol December 20, 2009 at 12:11 PM

I graduated from OCS in 1985, which was in the days when AOCS (Aviation Officer Candidate School) was in Pensacola with Marine Drill Instructors, and regular OCS was in Newport the DI’s role was performed by the OCS upperclassmen themselves. I doubt that I could have survived today’s version of OCS with the Marine DI’s.

When I was there, it was 16 weeks long, with 8 weeks as an underclassman and 8 weeks as an upperclassman. We had liberty Friday night and Saturday afternoon until Monday morning as underclassmen, with Wednesday evening added as seniors.

We didn’t have an H class; rather, struggling students were simply assigned an additional 8 weeks – !!!!!! The 2-week H class is a great innovation.

This was a four month mental stress cauldron, and I’m grateful to have survived it. My following 20 years in the Navy included duty in San Diego, DC, Italy (3 tours), Monterey, CA, Norfolk, and Whidbey Island, WA. Pretty sweet.

No regrets, coyote.


Wayne Frese February 17, 2010 at 4:54 AM

Hi! I enjoyed reading your article. I spent 3 years in Combat Engineers in the US Army,working a lot with the US Navy Seabees. I was recommended to OCS,but left the service to pursue my career as an Electrician. I was proud to serve in the Military and one thing that couldn’t be stressed enough was “PRIDE IN WORKMANSHIP” which is a rare thing now in civilian life,unfortunately. Be it the Army,Navy,Air Force,Marine Corps or Coast Guard,pride in work is the order of the day!


Prior E January 20, 2012 at 4:33 AM

Whidbey Island was a wonderful experience, VP40 !
As a prior E, I utilized the Post 9 /11 GI BILL, collected more then 90K into my NFCU checking account, now with a B.S. in Business Management, I wonder what the fuss is all abt to become an Officer, the original poster of this blog wrote a long and hard dissertation about notta. You quit, o well, move on.

I am making really good money in a gov. job as a enlisted vet with an edjamacation, thought abt going back to Navy as an Ensign, but have yet to make that decision. Some comments were left abt Marine vs. Navy OCS, well lets just say I know Marines who cant handle Law enforcement work as a sworn peace officer and went to work for TSA and then Coast guard Vet that runs a platoon for the police force. It all depends on the person, there is no right or wrong, pride or no pride, in any result of an event.


Blake December 31, 2009 at 12:50 PM

Sean, you really exemplify what it means to be a MARINE. Muscles Are Required, Intelligence Not Expected. Learn to read, then respond. Thanks to the author for a good, realistic look at OCS.


John H January 3, 2010 at 11:58 PM

I am currently in the Navy and am currently months away from getting my BS. I am currently in the Aviation Community but I am wondering which community is easier to to become an officer in,either the Surface side of Aviation side of the Navy. I also would like to know everything there is to know about OCS so I am better prepared.


jared January 5, 2010 at 11:05 PM

this sean guy below me clearly cant ready. he said he didnt know anything about it, and said im sure marine guys will tell you how hard it is. i agree with blake. read the article man


Sara January 6, 2010 at 1:57 PM

Thank you Greg for your article! I am currently thinking about OCS after my graduation from college in a year and its great getting the truth from someone who knows!


Chris January 13, 2010 at 11:09 AM

As another who DOR’d out of OCS (this was back in 2004, when it was in Pensacola about 3 years before it moved back to Newport) I can tell you that everything in the above article is correct.

I was a prior who went in under the old NECP enlisted to officer program (now defunct). I went to OCS expecting to get beat, and get worked, and all other euphamisms for physical and mental stress. But I also expected them to churn out officers.

I’m not saying this in any way to denigrate the people that are coming out of OCS. They earned their commission. But, OCS is a weedout program, not a program that produces officers.

My first week there, at the first PT test, the DI’s ganged up on the person counting my pushups and situps and yelled at him until he couldn’t remember how many I did. When he just blurted out a number, it was far below the minimum required. I couldn’t believe it, and what was worse was that the DI’s stood there the whole time and sniggered at the situation, despite the fact that they knew exactly what was going on. I knew then and there that this program wasn’t for me. Any program that can take a thinking, educated person and in 2 minutes reduce him to a blubbering mess that can’t count past 30 was simply not a program I was interested in. And when it was relying on instructors who wouldn’t correct the mistake that happened right in front of them, well I knew that there was no way that I wanted to be an officer produced by this program.

So, I DOR’d, and I have never regretted it. I went back out to the fleet in my rating and made good use of all the training I had, turning a decent catapult maintenance program on my carrier into, in the words of one inspector, “The best on the east coast.”

And to be complete candid, there was the undeniable fact that only 2.5 years left in the fleet compared to the 5 years I would have had to spend out there was a big factor in my decision, as well.

As the author Greg says, do not do this program unless you are drop-dead determined to get through it. When I got there I was already mentally burned out (long story, no need to go through it here) and having doubts. What I saw quickly convinced me that the program just would not make me into the type of officer I wanted to be. There were other routes and other commissioning programs I could have tried if I truly wanted to be an officer.

If you have the least bit of doubt, don’t do OCS. It’s a tough program that will challenge every part of you, body and mind. It does what it was meant to do, and that is weed out anyone not sufficiently determined to make it.


Ron Bell August 1, 2010 at 12:32 PM

Chris, I’d have to say I fully agree with your experiences, for my own at AOCS were similar–it seemed as if it were simply meant as a weeding out program, not focusing sufficiently upon those factors that, I’d think, would make a good officer. Sure, it is good to ensure that aviators have the inner mettle/guts to not cave in, but to harass young college grads as if they are trash and idiots made me–and many of my classmates at Pensacola–wonder just what the rationale was. The night I DORed, my Marine Drill Sgt. asked me my alma mater. When I told him, he snarled, “Good. I’ll be sure to not let my son go there! Now get the hell out of my sight!” The “George Carlin” side of me wanted to backtalk him for such degradation…but I decided, “Hey, Ron, you were right. You were sold a false bill of goods by Lt. Chas. Long and Lt. Ralp Figueras, your recruiters.”


hs January 18, 2010 at 12:56 AM

I have been reading alot on NAVY OCS! With my talents, I have helped those less fortunate to needed resources fill paperwork ect in my community. I feel this is my way to serve those who serve us and protect our freedoms. Leadership is shown by example and people look to you for it because you have proven to them you can be counted on and trusted especially in rough times. I have no children, no mortagages or stuff to worry about. This is a time in my life I can prepare and do this! My parents are behind me, and my friends know when I do something I read up all about it and prepare and when I do it I will finish it-even if it kills me. (okay unless Im going to end up like fish chum but thats a different story). I really want this badly. Anything I have set to attain I been driven to get it and usually do or get close to it. Nothing worth attaining will be easy.
I been in civilian life for 20 years and the first 18 years of my life (child) my dad was enlisted for 20 years. He was the highest rank for non commissoned officer and loved it. I hung around him alot and got to learn about the army and the world. However I was more interested in having a civilian life, I was young and worked my way through college. I did however, write to my friends and relatives sent packages during the gulf war and when the war broke out 2002, our work place supported a whole unit for a year. Operational shoe box and we got updates when they arrived back to the USA. I have been around the world, on the bases so being in one place interested me at the time. At the time corporations late 80′s and 90′s where offering really great pay, benefits and retirement. Now pushing the age cap, corporations are not! I have a graduate degree and civilian world job experience and in great shape so I decided to explore Navy Medical. I thought I was too old (nope and pushing 4-0)My friend was Officer in the Navy, several of my family members were enlisted NAVY. I met with my recruiter, and she made no bones about it, it is competitive slot and it does take months for them to make a decision. She was excited however of my extensive experience of my internships and work related experience and hands on in four major natural disasters. She also stated that many come in not in greatest physical shape either(hey when your recruiter states your in shape that makes you feel proud)! Volunteer work and continue it helps too, even if it is helping volunteer at your church, asst instructor at the college, disabled local VA hospital put that down! That made me proud I currently dont have a job right now so just volunteering at the scuba shop! I told here about my life around the army bases for twenty years. And if I can handle living with a mean spouse for ten years, I can handle anything! (Again she could relate being her 1st spouse was mean too) However my goal is to stay in, no matter where they place me in the medical scope or where ever and to stay until I have to retire or transfer to a federal job (ie VA) Make sure you read as much as you can and check out the my space page for the navy I did and the person there forwarded my info to the nearest NM recruiter and I got a call in a week! (age cap will be raised from 42 to 48 this year gang due to the retirement age being raised!) Good Luck to all and your endeavors and thanks alot for the ensight what happens if you dont make it at least they do have options to serve!


Dennis January 31, 2010 at 7:24 PM

How true is this article! I started AOCS in Pensacola class 03-78 and DOR’ed after 3 weeks. I often wonder “what if”? I would like to make contact with any member of that class that reads this.


RYAN February 1, 2010 at 6:06 PM

I am going to OCS right after I graduate from OSU and im ready i am ordained to to it and im going out for NAVY SEALS to and i am going to spend 42 years in the navy but OCS weather its navy, marine or army is not a joke and its not a knock of like rotc and it is hard to get into


christiane June 22, 2011 at 10:55 PM

Are you sure about the 42 years?


Marty March 23, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Jesse your an idiot. A marine drill instructor who does not care about the product of people he puts in the naval service is an idiot. That Officer might be on a ship commanded by that shit bag. And as far as tank goes anyone who respects their uniform will respect the rank above them. Ohh by the way where does your “knowledge” come from. Mine comes from six years as a soldier in the United States Army as an Infantryman. Seen combat in Afghanistan for a year. Also served in a multi service command overseas.


Jesse March 30, 2010 at 9:52 PM

6 years? shut up part timer….


Alex November 10, 2010 at 1:11 AM

Jesse, you’re an ass. Why? you don’t respect the positions of others. You look for fault in anyone or anything. You bashed Marty for not going career and getting out after 6 years. You are un-fit to be an officer, not only that, would probably be an enlisted shit bag as well. Unless you are just playing cocky internet tough guy. IDK, regardless, this thread is for those who have been there to share there experiences with those who are considering. Not for arrogant jackasses to try to stroke their egos.
Now, I completed Marine OCS last summer, and it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I don’t care how tough you are (mentally and physically) it will rape you and leave you sniveling like a little bitch. At this point, I am undecided as to weather or not I will take a commission. Which is probably why I had a harder time at OCS then most OCS is real sobering as well it should be. As this article stated, its all about your motivation. Physical and mental toughness will only get you so far. You have to want to be there. My motivation was not quitting regardless of what I would do afterward.
Now you can talk about pussy this or pussy that, boot camp is harder… etc.. The truth is, everyone there, from all walks of life, prior enlisted Marines, kids out of college….we all sweat, we all were broken down, we all suffered the same, we all had the same thoughts, we all dropped out in the same ratio for the same reasons. In the end, we all had the same pride for making it through regardless of our reasons and intentions.

Personally, I commend all who have at least tried it, they have the patriotism to give it thought, and they have the balls to at least try it, unless there is a draft, the rest is just a life choice.

Mike March 26, 2010 at 11:37 AM

I appreciate all the talk that has gone on here on this thread. I joined the Air Force four years ago and I’ve been disappointed. Everything moves so slow, there’s simply no action and there is no respect for where it should be had. I sometimes don’t even feel like I am in the military. I made an attempt to become an Air Force officer by way of OTS, and my recruiter was the biggest piece of shit I had ever met. He was only doing his 6-and-out and he didn’t care if he truly helped me or not to get where I was going. I feel like it was the last straw for me and I’m willing to change branches.

All things considered about me, and after doing more thinking and introspection in my own life, becoming a Naval Flight Officer, or perhaps even shooting towards becoming a pilot is beginning to be all the more attractive to me.

As for Marine DIs…I have a tremendous amount of respect for Marine DIs, and frankly, I think I would feel privileged to be pushed by them the whole way. To know that I’m being pushed by DIs who pride themselves as being the epitomy of perfection, and knowing that they will expect nothing less from me, only brings about a big sense of pride that they will mold me into a damn fine professional Navy officer!


Chris March 28, 2010 at 3:55 PM

Thank you for posting this up. I’ve been looking into the Navy Office program but haven’t heard anyone elses story about the process. Been trying to learn more to see if it’s really for me and learn what they do in Navy OCS. Admittedly, after college I was aiming to go to Air Force OCS. It was just my first choice over any of the other branches but I didn’t accumulate a high enough score on the AFOQT to be considered. The recruiter even told me that they just don’t have that many open slots for additional officers currently.
Thanks for posting this up though. Somebody else asked this I believe but I’ll ask again. When you left OCS, did they automatically put you in enlisted ranks or did go back to being a civilian?


Call Sign : Turkey George April 12, 2010 at 1:41 AM

I’m a retired O-5 ship driver who went through OCS at NETC in ’68. At that time motivation was not a major problem for OC’s. It was either succeed or go to the fleet as an E-3. There was even the possiblity of ending up in the Marines. The Corps was running short of volunteers at that point and it even took some draftees in ’68-’70.
During my career (1969-1992) I always preferred OCS officers, We seemed to be more mature and possessed richer more diverse educations. NROTC and the Boat School are far too engineering oriented. They produce first-tour ensigns who have difficulty relating to those messy problems that come with leading other human beings.


Brendan June 1, 2010 at 7:01 PM

Jesse you’re my hero, good job telling these pussies whats up.


Arthur June 10, 2010 at 7:08 PM

Anything worth having is HARD TO GET


Ham June 12, 2010 at 2:43 PM

This testimony is absolutely true. I’m sorry the author felt he couldn’t make it through. Anyone can make it through as long as you don’t give up and you continue to learn. If learning means you must repeat orders back to a Drill Instructor while screaming and doing 8-count Body-Builders in the sand-pit with a fire-hose in your face, just suck it up and get through it. I was forced to hold my rifle over my head for hours while following my DI around Training Country because I looked at him. After I graduated my Gunnery Sergeant and I both laughed about it. Navy OCS was the best choice of my life and I’ve seen and experienced more than I ever imagined as a Supply Corps officer. I went from waiting on tables to waiting for millions of dollars of equipment allthewhile making incredible friendships with peers and subordinates. I know nothing of Marine Corps OCS, but you won’t find any Naval Officers trying to figure out which one was harder. Navy OCS was hard enough. After all that pain, nothing hurts anymore, and that is the pride I have as a military officer. Nothing hurts, any sleep is more than enough, strive for perfection.
If you’re planning on going to Navy OCS, talk to your recruiter about the expectations of a Naval Officer before you go, but know that when you come out on the other side, the world is much more manageable.
… and Master Gunnery Sergeant Fry told me the same thing about Navy OCS.


Kattie pie January 3, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Great Adivse. I am too venturing to the Navy as an Intelligence officer and I am on the other side of 30…I hope the motivation I have (which is my children), will get me though. But once I start something I don’t give it up with out a fight, at least that is what I’ve been taught to do. OCS sounds demanding but challenging which is right up my alley. Just another momento to add to the resume! Thanks for you advise.


Michelle C June 30, 2011 at 4:41 AM

Kattie Pie, Would love to hear about your experience as we have similiar circumstances and I am about to embark on this adventure.

Michelle C June 30, 2011 at 4:43 AM

This was hands down one of the best posts/perspectives so far after the initial article. Thanks for sharing.


Michelle C June 30, 2011 at 4:44 AM


Andrew December 4, 2013 at 5:56 PM

Thank for saying that. We need more positive responses on this page to follow the discussion and the article! Respect to all those who have gone and completed OCS, and more respect to those who took their commission, and even more respect to those who fulfilled their duties, and most respect to those who loved it so much, they went career!

I would really like to know more in detail from anyone who has these experiences and is willing to share or point my attention in the right direction. Please email me or direct me to another website, all who know of other relevant forums where posts are informative, accurate and positive in nature (even when critical). Thank you Ham, hs, and many other contributors for sharing.

-Andrew, OCS candidate in consideration/application for 2014 OCS
31 years old, New Mexican, both grandfathers Ret. Navy, father former USMC Capt.


pat June 21, 2010 at 2:44 PM

Well I’m a sea cadet and it has been nice reading all these comments and I really can’t wait for my 2 week boot camp coming up this Sunday. Every one of you are inspirations and to those that see in the military, thank you. Ill be in the navy in a few years if I don’t get accepted in the naval academy.


Fiona June 30, 2010 at 4:18 PM

The author of this post is very candid, it definitely put the fear of G-O-D inside me. Well, I am still in the paperwork stage but if I get the opportunity to get into the OCS, by G-O-D, I am determined to make it (let’s just say, I rather not think of failure, been there, done that and, I am not ready for that to resurface again).
However, let me get this straight, a weak civilian like me would have to endure a lot, understandable, I would have to have a steel backbone and a wall of determination, okay. Just one word of advice from you guys if you may, what should I prepare myself for the most, intellect, physical strain, multitasking or expect the unexpected? (something is telling me the latter might be the answer). Well, wish me luck ladies and gentlemen and as far as the Marine and Navy war of the words go, even a civilian like me knows that the training differs based on objectivity and mission statement interpretation.

Wish me luck ladies and gentlemen.


ENS July 23, 2010 at 12:14 PM

My advice to you is to be ready for the physical aspect of OCS. More people roll out of OCS for medical reasons. Be prepared to run at least 3 miles a day, 4 days a week, with strength and conditioning 2 days. Work hard on endurance rather than brute strength.
As far as knowledge goes – know your “BIG 3.” You will be miles ahead and will get more sleep. (Be prepared, you won’t get a lot of that for 12 weeks)
And just remember OCS is all a game. Play the game and you get your commission, don’t and you won’t! Everything the DIs and Chiefs do is to get an end result. You won’t know what that end result is until you finish, but they know what the best method of getting you there is.

Good Luck


Fiona July 23, 2010 at 12:38 PM


Thanks, I will keep that in mind.

Julian Acuna March 4, 2011 at 12:39 AM

What is the big 3?

ENS July 23, 2010 at 12:44 PM

Oh and keep in mind that OCS is 12 weeks long, but my class only graduated 28% of people in 12 weeks. Don’t be deterred if it takes longer than 12 weeks to finish.

Oh and OCS likes to test you to see how you overcome failure, since most of the candidates are successful, many don’t know how to react to failure. Be humble in failing…it will happen. Move on and don’t repeat the same mistakes.

Good Luck


Civilian August 26, 2010 at 10:28 PM

I went to Marine Corps OCS about twenty five years ago; didn’t make it. It’s bothered me my entire life. Failing was tough on my male ego, made me question my manhood. And it makes me sad that America is at war and I know I wasn’t good enough to fight for the country I love. I ran a 21:45 three mile and was the slowest guy there. I had no idea it was going to be a cross country meet. My neighbor was an enlisted Marine. I loved his stories about boot camp. I wanted to enlist but the MOS I wanted never opened up. I had a degree so I went to Quantico instead, without having any idea what OCS was going to be like. It wasn’t the Paris Island experience my neighbor told me about. OCS is very competitive. It’s something you’ve got to want and want badly. If you don’t, you’ll find out soon enough.


Adam October 19, 2010 at 4:39 PM


Don’t feel too bad, many Marines today routinely can’t do a 21:45 3-mile. My last PFT before I got out was a 21:45, and although I’m not proud of I do know that I was not at the back of the pack either. Not everyone can dot it in 18:00 flat or less. OCS is a ball breaker wheras USMC boot camp is mostly silly games mixed with ball breaking. I’m made it out of Iraq and Afghanistan, some friends did not. Bottom line: you are alive, you could be dead.


Adam October 19, 2010 at 4:41 PM

Ah, I wrote some typos, I was typing fast. So, somebody shoot me… you’ll miss and I’ll hit back center mass.

AJ September 22, 2010 at 2:50 AM

I’m going to talk to a recruiter this Friday. I’m about to graduate in the Spring with a degree in Marketing, but I have no real desire to do that anymore. So I’m going to talk to the recruiter about my options if I join the Navy and if and how soon I can get into OCS after Basic. I’m going to try and get into intelligence, and I’m pretty sure I’m smart enough to do that.

Seems like I have to work on my running. I don’t run because it’s probably one of the worst exercises you can do to your body, but of course it’s required in the military. And all that conditioning is just going to make me lose muscle, but I guess I have to make sacrifices.

But I’m going to join whatever branch of the military can give me the most benefits. And that excludes the marines. So it will be Army, Navy, or Air Force.


Adam October 19, 2010 at 4:45 PM

We don’t want you anyways.



James February 1, 2012 at 7:16 PM

anyways is not a word.

Denise September 28, 2010 at 9:17 PM

I’ve been contemplating OCS and I don’t know whether to be thankful that I found your site or regret it…I’ve been told by Navy Officers before that the Navy is a “good option” for people who don’t have other choices and I shrugged it off because I just thought they were being self-deprecating about their job, but now that I read on…I feel like I’m getting the same sense. I almost have the exact same prospects as you: I majored in Mandarin Chinese and I’m debating between just going to grad school elsewhere for more regional studies or go through OCS->get work experience as an Intelligence Officer -> then go to NPS for regional studies. The thing is, it’s the financial assistance for NPS that is a deal maker for me, plus the work experience. I don’t want to sound like a gold-digger for the aid either because I would find the bonding and leadership experience valuable too, but your blog kinda makes me second-guess myself. My boyfriend is going through OCS at the moment for NUPOC and I have heard of all of the “activities” already, but prior to him mentioning any inkling of military career I would not have thought him the “type” to make it through OCS. Then again, given his degree in Mathematics, he was facing college professor or NUPOC…hmm no-brainer there, which supports the cynical “only option” idea…Do you have any feedback/ advice given my motives for joining? Frankly I’d like to have an idea from here first because I find the Recruiter’s Office quite intimidating…


Civilian October 5, 2010 at 6:21 PM

Everyone has some pretty interesting prospectives on the OCS. I spent a year in military school and loved the structure, discipline and no tolerance for wining bullshit. I enjoy civilian life but have often think about joining the military. Most honorable thing a person can do for his/her country. I am not too worried about physical demands to get through school, as most of you said “If you want to do it, stick with it and you will.” I feel lately like I am surrounded by lazy, incompetent, un-motivated people who fuck shit up all the time and there is never any consequences for their actions. Military doesn’t put up with this nonsense crap am I right??? I would love to be surrounded by people who can hack it and are create solutions, not more problems. Can do attitudes, not I don’t feel like it. I finished college and am 26. I live in the mountains where I ski all winter and dirtbike all summer (work in-between). Im physically fit and enjoy civilian life but there doesn’t seem to be too much purpose for me out here anymore. I read all the previous blogs above and just want some insight from those of you in the military who are in, or have completed this program. Is it worth it now that you have finished? Is it everything you hoped it would be. My father, both grandfathers and three uncles were in the Navy and all of them enjoyed it. I just wanted to get outsiders’ prospective from what the military is like now. As I am sure its changed in the last 30-40 years (or mabe not).


Adam October 19, 2010 at 5:04 PM

Do you have a degree? If so, become an officer. If you want action, become a CIA Clandestine Operations Officer. You don’t have to have prior service in the military for that, but it helps. Another option, since you are into outdoor stuff and want to keep training for that then become an officer in any branch and go special operations – Army Special Forces, Navy Seals or Marine Corps Reconnaissance/Force Reconnaisance/Marine Corps Special Operations (MARSOC), even the Air Force and Coast Guard have fast action elite units. Don’t just be one of the enlisted, be one and command them as an officer. You can write back if you want to know more from my experiences in the USMC and training with and deploying with other services. USMC will take the longest pipeline because you will be pushed in to a regular infantry officer billet before attending Recon/MARSOC pipeline training.

At every level you will deal with bullshit and be “surrounded by lazy, incompetent, un-motivated people who fuck shit up all the time.” Though, in special operations you will find that less and less to a point reaching zero. Oh, but they will fuck things up and be incompetent too, that’s just life and human nature.

If you want off time then I’d consider a cushy job in the Air Force, Army, or Navy. They have bases all over the globe, wheras as a Marine you will maybe get a chance to be in Hawaii or isolated on a small island of Japan, hey there’s always Guam!

If you are single, then go for it. If you have a degree or want an additional degree get the military to pay for it. They all have payment or repayment programs, some better than others. Become an engineer/architect and have the Navy pay for it and be stationed around the globe on USN/USMC bases. I work aboard a Marine base as a community planner and if I had to do it all over again I’d be a Navy CEC Officer and get my masters paid for with no drill time until I graduate. Then again, I just might do that.

I lived in Jackson, WY (Jackson Hole) for a bit and would have probably been in your shoes if I stayed and didn’t head back for my senior year.


Matt October 20, 2010 at 1:20 PM

Once you get your paperwork in with your recommendations and everything, how long does it take to get accepted/rejected into OCS? How often do they have classes. I’m 28 and will be 29 in nine months. Thanks to all for the insight and help.


RedCell November 2, 2010 at 1:13 PM

It took me 1 month and 1 week to get accepted to Navy OCS. I graduated from UGA with a 3.6 and got a 49 on the OAR. Im going to Navy OCS in January. Im also 6’3′ 190 athletic and black, which apparently helps ALOT. Sorry if you arent.


Kattie pie January 3, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Hey Red Cell,
Did you leave yet? I will be applying in Feb of 2011. Wanted some advised..if you are still in a position to talk then hit me back…


Red Cell January 25, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Kattie Pie,
I have not left and will not until Sept. 18th 2011. The Navy decides that so dont bank on your recruiters words as to when youll go.
For advice, there are a number of things to watch for. This is based on my knowledge + conversations with other entrants and Navy personel.
1. Be realistic on your letter of motivation. Dont just spit out the becuase “I LOVE AMERICA AND HATE MUSLIMS!” bullshit. Be real. I joined cause it was second to an option to work for a family business that fell through. To me family comes first, country second. I made that apparent. Aside from that, I really did want to join. I love physical labor, I love mental challenge and I like to prove myself against others. I like to win basically.
2. Letters of rec should be the shit. Get them from high ranking Navy officer personel first. I had a Lt Comm friend of mine I met a couple years back. Next, probably any high military brass. Army, Air Force.. Anyone that can comment on your discipline. I also had a neighbor who happened to be my best friends dad who was an ex Master Chief who trained the SEALs in hand to hand and CQC for 15 years. After that, anyone of good standing in our nation. I had a professor and a business owner to round it out.
3. Your credentials will speak for themselves. I did excellent in school, played rugby, and did all manner of martial arts all my life, kept in good shape, and worked construction on up to project management for most of my college career. All in all, your creds should BLEED success as the only option. Let your motivation represent your choices to highlight when in comes time to fill in the blanks.
Good Luck on everything! And don’t worry about taking a physical test as the Navy has suspended them for entrance. You just better be in shape when you get there. (Advice on that is run.. A LOT. Atleast thats what im told.)

Student Nurse November 13, 2010 at 9:37 PM

Does anyone have any info on becoming an officer if you have a nursing degree and liscence? Is the process the same/different? Do nurses attend OCS? I hear that the Navy is in need of nurses so I’m looking at it as an option to get great experience and serve my country.


Burrows December 8, 2010 at 9:37 PM

I’m not an expert on the commissioning path for nurses. However, I just graduated from OCS and saw the nurses at OTCN. So I have a little knowledge about what they have to do.

Nurses go through ODS, not OCS. They are already commissioned when they arrive at ODS. ODS is only 6 weeks long and a lot less intense than OCS. ODS is for Doctors, Nurses, Lawyers, Chaplains etc. They don’t have Marine DI’s yelling at them; instead they have RDC’s (chiefs). I’m not sure about their physical requirements, but when I was at OCS it seemed like their morning PT was our warm-up (I’m probably biased though). At ODS they “teach” you how to be an officer where at OCS they forge you into a leader/officer.

Hope this helps!


Civil Engineer-Ben November 15, 2010 at 5:58 AM

I was wondering if someone could help me out with a few questions that I have about the Navy’s Civil Engineering Corp. My main concern is that I believe I’m not academically competitive when compared to others who are applying to OCS. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering with an overall 3.1 GPA. I have also passed California’s FE (Fundamental of Engineering) examination. However, when I hear that the only individuals being accepted have a 3.5 or higher, I feel a little discourage. Can anyone help me out who has applied to OCS recently, preferably as a Civil Engineering Officer?


Jim Mather January 3, 2011 at 11:49 AM

My son leaves this Wensday for Naval OCS. He is a former Marine SGT, got out of the Corps in 2006 and went to college to become an Officer. He is married and has 3 children, his wife is in the Naval nursing program and when her degree is complete in May she will automatically be commisioned because she already completed her OCS training. Many are correct that OCS just like bootcamp are a weeding out process, weed the weak out early then they can train the rest. You will be crawling through pig shit for 12 weeks, but be advised that you will get a shower on the other end. It is designed to be as stressful as posible from every angle imanigable, from day one to the end. The military only want the mentally strong regardless of the branch, you need to be able to crap, figure out grid coordinates, talk on the phone and bark orders at the same time all while remaining cool, calm and collected. Our family has a long history of military, Grandpa was a sailor in WWII, Uncles were in the Navy and Army in Vietnam, I was in the Marines for 8 years, he and his cousins were in the the Marines and one in the Airforce who is still active duty. My son will make it because he is prepared both physically and mentally.


Bryan January 9, 2011 at 3:54 AM

Guys, I was in the Navy back in the late 80s, early 90s. I had to apply three times to get in. I actually went enlisted while I waited (that’s how eager I was to go Navy). Essentially you only want to apply once a year so it took me three years. If you go enlisted first be sure to keep your record sparkling clean. OCS like bootcamp is a process to weed out those who can’t cut it. There’s lots of yelling, marching and you don’t get your normal rest. You are also constantly threatened, poke fun of and teased. Face it folks, most of us come from comfortable backgrounds where we did things like eat pizza and hangout at the mall! The Navy can be a very stressful place. Things like standing watch really sucks. There just is no equivalent in the civilian world. Also you may find yourself assigned to a ship and there are aspects of that which really suck. But if you hang tough you will find a Navy career very rewarding and full of adventure and fun. My brother went into the AirForce and the physical and mental aspect is really easy. All of my brothers are in or have been in various braches of the military. We all agree that Navy, Marine and Coast Guard are probably the hardest. The Army somewhere in the middle and the Airforce is cake. The guy who wrote this story definately should have gone Airforce.


jboy January 26, 2011 at 2:51 AM

“Marine drill instructors that go to OCS are all senior drill instructors. They are the “nice” ones” hmmmmm…

towards the very end of training my DI openly admitted to the class how Marine OCS was more of a “who can keep up” mentality and had respect for all of us having to go through the physical and mental bullshit of Navy OCS and that he could not do it because he has to much self pride.

He alos at the end told us how he would never promote out of Gunnery Sergent for having “papers” on him. Making recruits at Paris island dry shave with sand and tieing up one recrut between 2 matresses and throwing him out of a second story window.

Being chosen to train officers is an honor and they definitely do care who makes it through their class, attrition is their mission and they openly joke about it they directly influence around 1/3 – 1/2 of each class’ DOR’s. One class ahead of me actually had the CO tell the Class Team no more DOR’s because they had lost more then half of their class and he told them he would love to get rid of more of us but “politics” came into play. I would dare you to read your comments out load in Newport RI, in front of some of the Marine Corps most respected Senior Drill Instructors.


Jim Mather February 4, 2011 at 9:26 AM

This is an update on my son. He just completed his 4Th week inspection and passed. He is now moving to the academic phase. He had a rough time in the 1st 4 weeks as that is the primary weeding out process. They started with 39 and are now down to 20. My son is 27 years old, married with 3 children and it makes it harder then a single guy right out of college. To all of you who are trying to compare it to Boot camp be it Marine, Army etc there is no comparison. I am an old Marine Sgt. so I have a little knowledge on this. Boot camp will get the majority through even though it is tough mentally and physically most will make it through. OCS is a different animal all together, they don’t need you, the waiting list is very long. The attrition rate is about 50% be it DOR or getting dropped. The only way to get through is self motivation, you have to want it more then anything else. If you can’t make that commitment then I suggest you stay home. My son is doing well, I heard from him last night and his spirits are high. He has made it through the weeding out part and is now in the molding phase, academics, leadership etc. It will still be tough and he can still get dropped but most of the Boot camp mental games are over. They get trashed if one person fails anything, that is the way it goes in all branches of the military. A unit is only as good as the weakest link, and team work is absolutely essential. I will update you all as he progresses on. Fair winds and Following Seas, Semper Fi.


Dan Flanigan February 4, 2011 at 4:20 PM


Our sons may be in the same class at OCS (08-11). He showed up for class (07-11) and caught the flu of all things on day one. He had to hang there for three weeks and wait for the next class. Haven’t heard from him yet, hopefully very soon. Thank you and your family for your service. As a retired AF fighter pilot and USAF Academy graduate I can’t agree more with you about motivation and commitment when it comes to programs like this. Best of luck to your son.


Jim Mather February 4, 2011 at 5:25 PM

Dan, it appears that they are there together. My son is in class 08-11B. Wouldn’t it be awesome if they are in the same platoon? Sorry to hear that your son had to go to the holding platoon, but it was out of his control. They just had their big inspection last night and afterwards my son got on email and we had a email chat for about an hour. Was good to hear from him. If you haven’t heard from your son then he must still be hanging in there, Last nights inspection was a droppable offense and he must have made it also. 8 people in my son’s platoon failed the inspection and are facing being dropped back. Hope both of our son’s prevail, and also thank you for your service, those who have not served anything greater then themselves could not understand what this is all about.


Jim Mather February 4, 2011 at 5:42 PM


I forgot to ask where you are located. I am in Nebraska, my son recruited from South Carolina. With our support they will be pinning on the bars on April 1ST. Our family military tradition is deep, but my boy will be the first Commissioned Officer in our ranks and we sure are proud of that.

Dan Flanigan February 4, 2011 at 9:52 PM

We live out in Phoenix now. My son went to KSU and was in the Kansas National Guard since High School. Spent the summer before his junior year in Iraq to see if he really wanted to get into the hole militay thing as a career. Came back more motivated than ever. Can’t put into words how proud I am, as I’m sure you understand. I will bee there in April as well, trying to convince my wife’s dad to come as a retired Army LtCol to pin on the other shoulder. Think it would be very unique, three services, three generations. Anyway, kind of rambling, sorry. Would be my honor to sit and have the traditional victoy cigar with you in honor of our son’s commissioning. Hope to see you in April.

Becca H February 16, 2011 at 4:35 PM


I was actually in H-Class with your son for a few days in early January. From what I could see, he’s doing very well in the program and will definitely make it through. It’s very easy to see that he’s got his head on straight. He didn’t need the time in H-Class like most people there. He already had it together. As far as I know, he’s doing great in his class. Plus, 08-11 has AMAZING class teams. I was really jealous that I didn’t make it into their class. (I ended up DOR’ing for medical reasons.) The DIs and RDCs for 08-11 are known for being fair and putting out some amazing officers. They will work their classes to the bone, but they do it better than some of the other class teams currently in Newport.

Best of luck to you and Michael!


MEL March 8, 2011 at 6:10 PM


If you don’t mind, why did you DOR for medical. Doesn’t it matter that you were hurt at OCS? I am very confused about this and would value any input. Don’t they have an obligation to treat you medically? I hope these questions are not too personal. My daughter has been told she will likely need surgery and is devastated. It is all so up in the air right now. It seeems near impossible to ger a staight answer.

Many thanks!

Jim Mather February 4, 2011 at 9:40 PM


Just talked to my son on email and he knows your boy. He ran over to his area and asked him to contact you so you know whats up. Seems he is doing fine, he was cleaning when my boy talked to him. It appears that he also passed his inspection last night. Apparently they sit near each other during chow and in class. Your son thinks he might get a phone call this week so unless he has a significant other you might hear from him. There is a group on face-book “Navy OCS 08-11 family and friends” that you can ask to join and follow the platoon with other family and friends of the Candidates.


Dan Flanigan February 4, 2011 at 9:55 PM

My wife is looking over my shoulder, thank you so much for that info. What GREAT NEWS!!!!!! She running to her facebook account as I type.
Thanks so much



Jim Mather February 4, 2011 at 10:02 PM


It is my privilege to help you get any info that I can to lower your stress level. Unless something major happens I plan on being there in April and I will buy the cigars, I sure would like to meet you and your boy. You can contact me at so we don’t have to chat on this forum. You have to be approved to participate in the face-book forum and I am waiting approval also. Semper Fi

Dan Flanigan February 4, 2011 at 10:06 PM for me. Semper Fi as well my friend.

CDR J.R.L. Scarborough USN(Ret) February 13, 2011 at 3:27 PM

My, I did not have anything to do this afternoon, so I clicked through to this site. My recruiter must have had to meet a quota for surface Navy OCS when I signed up, as the AOC program was not mentioned. I became a member of Class XXI in Newport in March of 1955.

Back then Newport OCS was totally different. We wore enlisted uniforms and lived in barracks. Later when inspecting enlisted sea bags, we had better knowledge of their uniforms than other programs. We got the pay of an E-2, too.

There were no Marine DI’s in Newport. I would say that within two days we were in classes. It was the academic program that made or broke one back then. No one screamed at you. Books were enough. I really struggled, getting up at 0500 each morning, in order to study in the shower area. I got to know my friend Gene Dickey better each morning. (He made RADM eventually in the Reserves.)

One of the stories that was told to us was that if you DOR’d, then your job until you got orders out was to take the metal food trays that we had just eaten from in the mess hall, rap it against the garbage can and then stack it. Back then if you DOR’d, you spent two years in the Navy before you were released.

I graduated in July 1955 near the bottom of my class and reported to Pensacola for flight training that Fall, receiving my wings in December 1956. I flew carrier based ASW aircraft, transitioned to jets and flew the beloved Whale, accumulating 5300 hours and 523 carrier landings in twenty years. Having commanded a squadron, I retired in 1975.

In closing, did I mention that my university major was studio art and art education? Having a degree in math or science, being screamed at by a DI and learning how to “spit shine” shoes should not be a requirement to be a Naval officer. A more modern example of this approach is our daughter CDR S.A. Scarborough USN(Ret) who was in the NROTC program and graduated in the University of Texas Plan II honors program majoring in socialogy.

Respectfully and warm regards,

Roger Scarborough


RWB February 13, 2011 at 8:31 PM

CDR. Scarborough: You, sir, are truly an officer and a gentleman, and I feel your entry on this unique site was not only honest and refreshing, but an inspiration. As one who did DOR from Aviation OCS myself in 1973, it was heartening to see that you did, in fact, make it through pre-commissioning training and flight school–especially since you said you had a college degree in studio art and art education. That you ended up flying the A-3 Skywarrior, a massive carrier-based jet, and even commanded a squadron tells me that just possibly, had I been more mature and better motivated, I, too, with my degree in English could have won my Ensign’s stripes and wings. I also agree with you that there is little need for Marines screaming in the faces of officer candidates. Yes, they will face great stressors in naval aviation if they are winged, but I still cannot see the rationale in belittling college-educated young people whose goal is to lead and to fly. Four years of enduring college should show the Navy–and any service–that the candidate probably has what it takes to be a decent officer and aviator. Aftrer all, it takes great persistence to complete 40+ college classes—and that, in and of itself, is rigorous, be the discipline studio arts, English or engineering. I salute you, Commander, for your entry.


Julian Acuna March 4, 2011 at 12:47 AM

This site seems to offer great knowledge and I would like some advice about whether or not I should even attempt to apply for Navy OCS.

Degree: BS in Education with a Major in Kinesiology and a second Major of History.
GPA: 2.68. Yeah, bad I know.
Current job: High school teache and coach for past 4 years.
Actiivites: 6 state championships in high school for long distance running. 3 confrence champships in college and qualified for on NCAA Div I national cross country meet.
Still need to do the OAR and those test. ASVAB scores average in the 80s for online pracice test.
I am just really looking for advice. Joining the Navy has been in the back of my mind for the past 3 years and it would be a great opportunity, however, I do not want to attend basic and hope I would get the chance to attend OCS in the future. From what I have gathered, the chance of that happening is very slim.
For those who have been accepted congratulations and good luck. For those who are applying, hope you make it. And for those who have served, thank you.


Redcell March 8, 2011 at 3:11 PM

OCS is much longer (I think 8 weeks longer) and much more difficult (much more physical duress, + senior Marine Drill instructors) then basic training for the Navy so if your idea is to avoid the discomfort, then you may want to rethink your decision…


CBCalif March 10, 2011 at 3:23 AM

See my comments below on OCS. You sound physically fit, well educated; therefore, the only question is as noted below whether you can handle the discomforts and discipline of OCS. That is a state of mind problem. Do you sufficiently desire to be a Naval Officer? If so, OCS is a good experience. No one can lead who can’t follow, in my opinion as a former Navy Officer who was entertained by Marine DI’s. They instill discipline and along with the rest of the program teach one how to handle stress If you are ever an OOD Underway, or today’s shipboard position with equivalent responsibility, especially in a combat zone, you will appreciate the stress training. Again, it is up you, do you want it badly enough. It has been many years since I went to both boot camp (1962) and NAOCS at Pensacola (1965), but as “Redcell” noted, OCS is much longer and much harder, but the end result is much greater.


CBCalif March 6, 2011 at 2:30 AM

I was commissioned out of NAOCS Class 16-65 at Pensacola. My degree was a BS in Education with a major in Social Studies / History. My father retired in 1967 as an AMCM (AFCM) with almost 30 years in the Navy. The NAOCS program then included among its NAVACDS both Navy and Marine Corps Candidates, which was perhaps one historical reason for AOCS’s use of Marine Corps Sergeants as drill instructors.
While the Commander’s implication that academic ability makes or breaks Naval Officers may be correct, the physical conditioning, discipline, and training in handling stress provided by Marine Sergeants I believe was invaluable and prepared one to calmly make decisions under stress–especially when operating on Yankee Station in the South China Sea during the Vietnam Conflict.
Having been raised by a very intelligent, but old Navy, Chief, who made sure I got into OCS, and having a family replete with former Sailors and Marines I knew what I was in for at AOCS. Enter the program with the right attitude, realize the challenge and fun of dealing with Marine Sergeants–for whom I have as great respect as I do for CPO’s, and you will do fine at Navy OCS and be the better for being trained in that manner. If someone is to sensitive to be treated temporarily in a rough manner manner under stress, then one probably will not be a good leader. One has to be a follower first in order to understand what military leadership is in part about. You will also have to deal with academic stress that the Navy will provide.
Treat it as a challenge and realize what both facets of the training are meant to provide and one can succeed. If it is like it used to be, life as a Navy Officer, especially abroad ship, is a great world. It is not the infantry as I am sure the Commander can tell you. It is worth the effort.
The Navy / Marine Corps team has produced the finest and most all around capable and successful military the world has ever seen–and regardless of inter-service rivalry we are a team that none can beat. The training works. Enjoy it and hopefully Navy chow is still good.


Julian Acuna March 15, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Thank you for the insight. Joining the Navy is something that has been at in the back of my mind for the past four years. I will continue looking into it. Very difficult to get in contact with an officer recruiter. Thanks again.


Rick March 19, 2011 at 12:29 AM

“6’3′ 190 athletic and black,”

So in other words. affirmative action helped a thug loser homo like yourself.


Red Cell March 21, 2011 at 11:03 AM

You should probably get back to Call of Duty and not worry about the blackness and intellect of your future commanding officer. Young one. And I’m not homosexual but you better get use to them. Don’t ask or Tell me anything otherwise.


DC March 21, 2011 at 9:22 AM

If you enter OCS with a college degree (without any Navy funding during college) and then dropout or don’t make the cut, what happens? Are you discharged with no further obligation, or are you required to stay in the Navy for a few years?


Jim Mather March 21, 2011 at 9:53 AM

It all depends on the contract you sign. If you just sign a contract to go to OCS then you will be released but don’t expect to ever get into the military again. If you get funding from the Navy for college then you will be on a conditional contract, you will be enlisted until you complete OCS then you will get Commissioned, failure to complete OCS and you will be required to go to the fleet as an enlisted sailor until that contract is fulfilled. Be aware that there is a very high attrition rate at OCS, it is not a walk in the park and many DOR in the first few weeks. My son is on a conditional contract right now, if he does not complete OCS he will be sent to the fleet, he graduates on April 1st.


Jim Mather March 21, 2011 at 10:03 AM

Another note, the program is 12 weeks, the first four are the worst, the next 3 are grooling with inspections, mid term tests etc. If you make the first seven weeks it gets much easier. My advice is to drop the “I” and get into the term “Team” from day one and you will be just fine. Not everyone has what it takes, but remember you will crawl through crap for 12 weeks but there is a really nice shower at the end.


KaiCL March 30, 2011 at 10:58 AM

I’m currently considering the Navy’s officer program aswell amidst my career search. This article and the comments that went with it have been enlightening. Like the author, my interest has been aimed towards the Intelligence field and foreign policy. I earned my degree in Political Science with a focus on International Relations but two poor semesters hurt me and I graduated with a mediocre GPA so I’m not sure how negatively that would impact an application if I put one through. Admittedly, my first choice was the Air Force but due to cutbacks in their officer pool and high competition, my application wasn’t accepted. The Navy was my second choice so I’m trying to learn as much as I can about it.

Physically, I’m in good condition, only around 130 ibs. My biggest worry has been how I would deal with the mental stress if I were to get into the program. I don’t know the difference in intensity between the Navy and Army or Air Force programs. From what I’ve read so far, Navy OCS certainly sounds to be the more strenuous of the military’s officer programs and for good reason. I do know that none of the programs are easy though.

I just wanted to contribute to the discussion and hope for some feedback and advise.


RWB March 30, 2011 at 11:59 AM

I am speaking from my experience and can say this as far as the difference between Air Force Officer Training School vs. Navy Officer Candidate School. I took the test for both services during the Vietnam era. I was #6 in the Draft Lottery and had to join one of the branches. The AF officer test was lengthy, as was the Navy’s Aviation Qualification Test/Flight Aptitude Rating Battery. Sgt. Ruben Davis, the Air Force recruiter, informed me I did not score high enough, whereas Lt. Charles Long and Lt. Ray Figueras told me I had “high” Navy scores. My degree was in English and I’ve never cared much for math. I signed with the Navy one Saturday morning and, upon returning to Richmond, my roommate told me the AF recruiter called and said score requirements were changed–and that I was eligible for “automatic selection” for Air Force OTS and pilot training. I was depressed, for I knew the AF OTS curriculum was non-technical, whereas the Navy regimen was math/physics-oriented. Air Force OTS is a generalized curriculum, while the Navy emphasizes lots of technical things. So, I’d say go USAF if you can. If only I’d delayed my enlisting a few days I’d have become a USAF officer, not a Navy AOCS dropout!


Bill Taxton May 19, 2011 at 6:44 PM

God damn your fucking dumb.

RWB May 19, 2011 at 7:07 PM

Mr. Taxton…I just noticed that it appears your acrimony was perhaps directed at me. If so, all I can say is take a course in remedial grammar. Yes, I know I made some errors in my first comment on your posting, but I’m halfway trashed on vodka. What’s your excuse. Who’s the doofus here…the drunk(myself) or the moron(you)?

Red Cell March 30, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Selection for any military Officer program will be difficult at this time due to the recession. The order goes 1. Air Force 2. Coast Guard 3. Navy 4. Army 5. Marines in terms of the difficulty to get accepted. And of course OCS will whoop your ass regardless. The later to more physically, the first two more mentally. Air Force is pretty impossible and Coast Guard is difficult since it is smaller then the other branches, with the exception of the Marines I believe. Navy is difficult as well mainly since the most people that join dont want to see the action that Army or Marine folks might see. Also, they dont want to be in the desert where you will likely end up. Emphasize your leadership traits, sports positions, jobs with managerial service etc. Get good recommendations! These should be high ranking Navy officers > military officers > business owners/ community leaders > professors and so on. Oh, and good luck! I was 1 of 4 people selected in the South Eastern United States for the Sept 18th class. Pickings are slim. (Hope I dont sound like an asshole but just tryin to keep it realistic)


KaiCL April 1, 2011 at 11:08 AM

Thank you for the feedback.

To Red Cell: No you didn’t come off negatively at all. I mentioned my academic background before and that I was interested in Intelligence on another officer oriented board. I was met with some harsh comments there.

Just to clarify, I have taken the AFOQT before and taken a practice ASTB. Both were similar in many ways but the acceptable score the Air Force was looking for was set very high and I got no where near it. There was alot of emphasis on mathematics and that subject has always been my weakest point even with alot of study. The ASTB practice tests were tricky but I didn’t feel the same level of difficulty I had when I practiced for the Air Force test. It seemed to emphasis more mechanical and physics oriented knowledge.

My current career pursuits are in the area of foreign policy and analysis with the government or private sector. Most people I have told this to have emphasized the benefits a military background would play in this field of work and to myself even. Getting my Master’s is also a goal of mine down the road.

Again, I really appreciate the feedback. I’m still putting heavy thought into pursuing the Navy and I’ll likely be making a decision here soon on it.

Michael K March 30, 2011 at 11:20 PM

A lot of these comments have really given me a lot to think about but before I make any decisions, I wanted to know my chances of even being accepted into Navy OCS. I’m a finance major in the honors program of a large university and have a 3.75 gpa. I’m also 6’2” 185lbs and am a Division 1 athlete in the Big East. I am an extremely motivated individual and I’ve been exploring opportunities in the military for a while now. What are my chances of being accepted? Thank you for any comments.


Red Cell April 1, 2011 at 11:39 AM

Umm.. Yea, unless you completely bomb your officer test, your in.


Mad Dog Class 16-73 April 18, 2011 at 4:34 PM

You will most likely get in – but if you want AOCS you have to take the FAR (Flight Aptitude Regime) and AQT (Academic Qualifications Test) and score well on them. Once you get to AOCS you have two solid 8-hour days of standardized testing that you also have to pass (unless you want to go to “Stupid Study” and prep for a second chance).

Motivation is required for AOCS because the entire purpose of the program is to make you quit.


Mad Dog April 18, 2011 at 4:31 PM

There is a big difference between OCS and AOCS.

In my class (16-73) 33 of us started on Day One and only 7 of us got our wings. They DO NOT put supply or intelligence types through AOCS.

The DIs in AOCS have one job and one job only – to make you quit. If you are going to quit they want you to do it now rather than later when you might hurt other people.

Staff Sergeant L.E. Wills USMC made me a better man.


Angel April 20, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Thank you for your personal story. I completely overlooked the fact that these individual training you to become officers are here to help you. They are harsh because they care. To face the harsh reality that lies before us. If I think about that way, I’m going to be eternally grateful to them.


RWB April 25, 2011 at 2:38 PM

One final–and somewhat true–point. You mentioned that ‘there isn’t much money” in military service, but you are a little off-center there. If, for example, a newly-commissioned Ensign remains on active duty for 20 years and retires in his early 40s as an 0-5(Commander), he will draw a very attractive retirement for the rest of his life. Too, as an 0-4(Lieutenant Commander) and 0-5(full Commander), his salary will far exceed many civilian college graduates involved in education or business. I recall talking to an 0-5 who was a Navy Chaplain, and he told me he earned over $100,000 annually in pay/benefits…so that counters the “poor pay” argument as far as the officer community goes. And i’m not saying these folks don’t deserve good pay, just that few active duty officer types are on the fringes of society and starving.


RWB April 25, 2011 at 6:42 PM

To ALL of you who are considering military service as a naval officer or just, like myself, expressing your views on this site…I have ALWAYS held the military(all branches) up high and respected them, from raw recruits to high-level generals and admirals. As a matter of FACT….I had the pleasure to once meet the revered(and often misunderstood) “Father of the Nuclear Navy” at the commissioning ceremony of SSN-709, the USS Hyman G. Rickover, a Los Angeles-class nuclear attack sub built at Electric Boat, Groton. A poem I dedicated to Admiral Rickover, the longest EVER serving U.S. Navy person, was placed within the vessel on a plaque during its active service life. It read, as follows:

Possessed of a purpose
He forged a path
Across a frontier
Untried and new
Clinging to his course
He met the task
Threescore and more
He served for you.

Too, a poem called “Newport News”—which I wrote–has been mounted within SSN-750, the L.A.-class sub USS Newport News since its commissioning back in 1989. It reads as follows:

Harbor of a thousand ships
Forger of a nation’s fleet
Gateway to the New World
Where ocean and river meet
Strength wrought from steel
And a people’s fortitude
Such is the timeless legacy
Of a place called Newport News.

So, folks…though, yes, I did NOT complete Navy Aviation O.C.S. during Vietnam, though I do, admittedly, feel as though my officer recruiter exaggerated the
“ease” of that tough program, I have always loved our military, the Navy in particular, and simply wish people (military and civilian) could treat each other with far more consideration and respect. Hence, my lashing out in my own defense in postings above. IF you seek to become a naval officer, by all means, do so. And try hard to meet the challenges. But NEVER disrespect others, unless they are enemies of what our nation( the bastion of freedom and man’s best hope) stands for. Case closed, nothing else to say.


Andrew December 4, 2013 at 6:56 PM

Very well said and thank you for putting it that way RWB. Yes, you may have lashed out, and sometimes were taken the wrong way or made the wrong impression, but your overriding message is more important. And it seems that is the same intention of why OCS works the way it does– to make us better, to appreciate what we have as Americans, and serve with honor and dignity that which we all enjoy.

As for respecting others, I absolutely agree with you. I would even go so far as to say, whenever possible respect the enemy, if he deserves such respect, and through respect in all conversations, peaceful or in conflict, we can get closer to resolving the conflict in favor of Justice and the restoration of the protections of liberty, freedom and democracy for which we serve, or intend to serve (speaking for myself and any other candidates who would agree)


Jim Mather April 25, 2011 at 8:45 PM

RWB, thank God your case is closed!! Now I am a Nazi, wow how respectful of you. You are an ignorant moron that speaketh from both sides of the mouth. Nice try to cover the disrespect that you initially threw at me, no problem though I was a Marine for 8 years and have broad shoulders, see ya “Joe Civilian”! Furthermore your argument about the “dangerous jobs”, well it is simple if they are scared then they can quit, the military doesn’t have that option! I really appreciate being called a Nazi, what a class act you are. I never questioned your Patriotism although I should have, anyone who whines about their tax dollars paying for our military is much closer to a Nazi then I. Don’t go away mad fool, just go away!!


RWB April 25, 2011 at 9:36 PM

Hey, Mr, Mather…if a 7-11 Store clerk had some money-hungry, drug-addicted psychopath expecting cash in tbe middle of the night…or if some dedicated poiice officer responding to a call for “help” from someone late at night- is ambused- AND ..or if a utiltity company lineman comes to a neighborhood after a storm knocks out power–and is killed by high voltage–don’t even TRY to tell me they were NOT decent and dedicated to earning an “honest” living. You are, from all I’ve seen, a TRUE moron–and I can only lament the “crap” your son, the newly-minted Ensign, had to endure as a child. You remind me of a bonfide nutcase(psycho). Thank God in Heaven civilians, not military, oversee U.S. government!


Jim Mather April 25, 2011 at 10:02 PM

“R”eally “W’hinny “B”ieotch, guess that wasn’t case closed huh punk. I can assure you my son had a great childhood and grew up with balls, unlike you. Your last sentence laments my case fool, you clearly show your disdain for the military. I would really like to meet you in person, that would be the best 5 minutes of my life. I am done unless you would like to arrange that? Have a nice day moron!


RWB April 25, 2011 at 10:14 PM

Mr. Mather(Father of Ensign Mather): IF you were trying to communicate an online threat to me, just let me know, so I can pass it along to the federal authorities and have formal(LEGAL) charges lodged against you.


Jim Mather April 25, 2011 at 10:34 PM

RWB, just call daddy or anyone you want, file all the bogus legal charges you want. I love having a good face to face debate with a communist, whining liberal!!! Typical liberal, when you have lost the argument and get called out on your bullshit you whine and cry foul. Grow up boy and take it like a man, your social justice and liberal mantra didn’t fly. Just love how you added the “Mr. Mather (Father of Ensign Mather) to your bullshit, I suppose you are going to call the Navy and whine about my son in that threat! Try that and you will meet me in a Court of Law for sure punk! Is that an online threat so I can file a formal complaint against you? Two way street asshole I can play that game as well! Now please do the world a favor and go away, preferably to another country. Oh and did you accuse me of child abuse in that earlier post? Oh ya go ahead and make some calls I will eat you alive in Court, bring it on!


RWB April 25, 2011 at 10:52 PM

No, Jim, I’m 100% sure you were a good father–it’a just that you are, sadly, close-minded to other views on things. And I respect your son for his service and dedication to the military. It is simpy that you and I do NOT see eye-to eye and never will, apparently. But please, CEASE with the name-calling, okay? But, by you calling me COMMUNIST in a public forum is REALLY pushing the limits. Please refrain from such talk. Thanks. In a court of law the burden would be upon you, sir, to prove I am Communist. Chill out and thank God you have a son you can be proud of. And stop the meanness. I do not wish you or anyone ill will.


Jim Mather April 26, 2011 at 5:27 AM

Oh I see now RWB, calling you a communist (an actual governmental belief) is pushing the limits but when you called me a Nazi (an actual evil extermination group) that’s OK. Glad you cleared that up so people can understand. Oh and calling me a psycho (crazy) on a public forum is OK. I wouldn’t be trying to prove you are a communist in a court of law, you make those calls that you threatened and I certainly will introduce you to slander and defamation of character! I suggest that you take your own advice and “chill out”, a look in the mirror would serve you well. Another tidbit of advice, when you can’t win your argument you might want to refrain from overt threats to ruin the career of your opponents son to quash the debate. You can talk trash to me all you want, bring my son into it and it is a whole different ball game.


RWB April 26, 2011 at 8:00 AM

And I agree with your last statement. Family is everything. No one wins when there is anger and name-calling. You and I were both wrong to blast each other as we did. We’re both very opinionated. We were, as I said, both wrong.


jim mather April 26, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Roger that.


Student May 5, 2011 at 3:07 AM

Wow this is an interesting blog to say the least. I was formerly in the Navy as enlisted. I was a YN2 aboard a Submarine for five years. I’m now in college with about Three semesters left. I was wondering if anybody knew when I should start the application process for OCS. I’ve talked this over with my former COs and XOs as well as a few Master Chiefs and Senior Chiefs that I served with before. I’ve only been out for a year and a half and realize that I never should have left. I want to become an Admin Officer and really do something good for the Navy. Not to mention I really miss the smell of the sea first thing in the morning whilst walking to the boat, as well as the whole seeing the world part. I firmly believe that getting a commission and serving as a Navy Officer is what I want for my life. Thank you to everybody on here for their different points of view and the knowledge that comes with them. How worried should I be about getting accepted into OCS. I’ve got great evals and two NAMs, my letters of recommendation would be from high ranking Officers and Enlisted personnel, and my grades are pretty good. Thank you for any advice yall could give me on this matter.


Jim Mather May 5, 2011 at 8:31 AM

Student, go to the recruiting office today! It might take a while to get everything together, letters, waivers if you have any tattoos etc. You will have to take the aptitude test for Officers as well. If it goes fast then you will have to reenlist as an E-3 or what ever rank they give you since you haven’t been out that long. The good points are that they will pay for your remaining school and you will get a pay check for the rank once you have signed the contract. My son just graduated OCS and is loving every minute of it. OCS was rough but you sound like you have the right attitude to do well, good luck. Ask your Congressman for a letter of recommendation, Mayor, Clergy etc. If you know any Admirals that will certainly help you get in.


Thomas May 14, 2011 at 4:39 PM

As a graduate of Marine OCS, I can’t comment on the Naval aspects of supposed “superior toughness”, but what I can attest to is the brutality of the Marines. I hear this “Marine OCS isn’t as mentaly tough” non-sense. Oh, and you’ve been right? Let me ask you all, if the physical aspects of Marine OCS is more difficult (and I’d take that bet a thousand times over that it is) what do you think happens to your concentration? If the cirriculum was any harder at Marine OCS then everyone would fail is my implication. And that’s not inferring that the academics is any easier either, the academics were tough. What isn’t being said about the mental aspects of “toughness” is the twenty-four hour mental assault of USMC OCS. Everyday, is a new day for you to fail. The whole program is designed around failure. YOU WILL FAIL at Marine OCS. You will fail often and the goal is to see what you’re made of when you’re broken down to nothing: physically, mentally, personally, every damn way possible. When you’re at rock bottom, and you will be, what are you fundamentally made of? Are you capable of leading Marines when the outcome is failure? Are you capable of doing your job when you feel like nothingness? You want to talk about an existential crisis? There it is, in the hell that is Quantico Virginia. You are rated as a nothing, a “lesser than” an treated as such. Dude’s cried about not having parents and the SGT. Instructors told them to “shut the Fuck up! Stop whining, they never liked you, nobody likes you.” There are no smirks, no laughs, just this hole in everyone’s stomach that eventually gets filled with rock. Rock is a foundational element, and from here you build YOURSELF up. I’m sure Navy OCS is difficult, the program wouldn’t be worth its salt if it wasn’t, but to arbitrarily assume it’s more difficult than its Marine cousin borders on irony. I see the Marines being compared to the Navy OCS program every one or two posts, while if you go to any of the Marine forums the reader wouldn’t encounter the Navy OCS (this or that) ONCE. You see where i’m getting at? Marines are the standard for comparison. Use inferred logic.


JDC June 26, 2011 at 5:51 AM

Well said. Everyone compares themselves to the Marines. If Navy OCS was tougher why wouldn’t they be using Navy Chiefs as instructors? The only two things tougher professionally are SEAL traing and TBS (Marine Basic Officer School). At least at TBS you get paid semi-well and you are called Sir.


Andrew December 4, 2013 at 7:06 PM

I am thusfar experientially ignorant of both Navy and Marine OCS. I can only say two other things about this. (1) Most people have mentioned that Navy OCS seems harder than Marine OCS mentally, or academically, and Marine OCS harder physically; this may or may not be true. (2) Marines, from my entire life experience talking to military people, and that of my father (Capt. USMC, JAG, Artillery Officer) ALL agreed Marine OCS is the standard of excellence by which all other OCS, Boot camp, etc programs are to be measured. If both (1) and (2) are true, Navy OCS should be slightly easier in some respects, although also in its own way very challenging, compared to Marine OCS.

Hopefully more people with direct experience would comment in detail about what it takes to get into Navy OCS and get through it properly.


Need Guidance May 19, 2011 at 11:34 PM

Very informative posts, thank you all very much for your insight.

I was wondering if there was anything wrong with going enlisted for two years, just to get a feeling for the military, then signing up for OCS? I graduate in 2013 so plenty of time for decisions.


OCS Back In The Day May 21, 2011 at 1:57 AM

Confessions of Dropout-

To the author of this post, BZ to you. I was in an OCS class where a third dropped out, either due to NPQ or DOR. We had one guy purposely whack another guy in the knee with a play rifle (the pieces we used to carry) because the guy just didn’t want to be there. For me, it was different. I was in the 16 week version of OCS in Newport the year that the first batch of Navy Chiefs graduated from marine DI school. These cats had something to prove and so did I. I was always an underachiever, and this was my chance to see if I could hang with the best and brightest.

Here is my assessment

Academics – relatively easy. If you are adept at time management and focusing on what is important you will do fine. I was in a class with mostly nuke power guys from top schools, so I wanted to show I was just as capable as them

Physical Exercise – I ran track my freshman year in college, but quit to join a fraternity, drink beer and slack. Initially, I was in for a rude awakening, but then my competitive nature took over. I ended up acing the final PRT and lost 20 lbs. I was in really good shape.

Inspections, military bearings, discipline, leadership- I realized early on that no one was going to hit me. I had the attitude if someone wanted to yell at me, I have more ass than they have teeth. Start chewing– I will win. You have to figure out how to win. My roomate and I are both slobs. We slept on the floor. We never had to waste time making our beds b/c we slept on the floor in PT gear. It was cold as hell, but I saved at least 15-30 minutes each day. Learning time mgmt and how to focus on what is important is key.

Teamwork- You have to know what you are good at, what others are good at and help out the next person. I had barbershop skills, so when some folks wouldn’t have time to get a haircut b/c they were behind in their studies, i would hook em up. No charge.

Finally, I can’t compare our OCS experience to Marine, Air Force or Army OCS and I never would because it is different. I have much respect for the Marines and they did for us. When I got to the fleet, I was on an amphib working in engineering and 6 and 6 plus a workday because i was *fortunate* to be one of two officers that qualified EOOW. (out of a large wardroom, btw). The Marines would see us sleep deprived and all greasy from doing whatever inspections of line shaft bearings we were doing and say “damn, I don’t want your job”. “I have respect for you”. And I would look at these guys coming back from doing who knows what out in the field with muddy boots and say “man, I dont want your job..kudos to you because someone has to do it”.

What is the point – it is all about perspective and desire.

If you want to go to OCS, go. I am glad I did.


Want to fly June 8, 2011 at 12:12 AM

Hello everyone,
This blog has been very informative, as I have no military experience and was considering putting a package together for Coast Guard OCS. I understand that majority of people on this site have served in the Marines or the Navy but I am going to inquire nonetheless with hopes that someone may shine some light on the subject.

I am a 32yo female with an undergrad degree in Biology who has considered the military for many years, but recently decided to do it. I’ve done some research on the internet about Coast Guard and went to see a recruiter today, my goal was to apply to their OCS and upon graduation put in a request for a flight school. My goal is to be a helicopter pilot. I was utterly disappointed, to say the least, to learn that at 32 I am indeed too old for either; general enlistment or the OCS. My only option for the Coast Guard is the Reserve which I do not want to do, since the chance of transferring to active duty from the reserve is virtually impossible – according to the recruit.

I was wondering if anyone can offer any advice on this matter, since I’ve never really done any research on this until now. Are there any other routes? I am not sure if the age cut off is different for other branches, where I can still receive the necessary flight training. And since I have a degree I rather not enlist but go to an OCS.

Thank you for all the input.


RWB July 8, 2011 at 8:37 AM

You might want to check out the Army’s aviation/pilot program. I think that 35 is the cut-off age for pilot training. Or maybe 32. At any rate, the army trains high school grads to become Warrant Officers and helicopter pilots…so, with your degree, they might be able to give you a waiver if you are over the age limit. No harm in checking it out. Look online for US Army Warrant Officer Flight Training and get the details. Best of luck.


Jon June 9, 2011 at 12:11 AM

(sigh) It’s the testosterones that led the verbal fighting. Well, speaking for myself, I really don’t know which is tougher but I will say that the Marines OCS do require you to shoot well. I will say (and I think many will agree) that Air Force OTS is the easiest but at the same time, they have the cleanest work. I personally don’t even care which branch has the toughest training since we are all one team. (you can disagree here if you wish). When you are wounded in the battle zone, do you care if the soldier trying to help is from the Army? Would you let an Air Force medic try to save you, even though the Air Force has the easiest training?


njt June 18, 2011 at 1:05 PM

What beatings (second paragraph of the article)???????????? I graduated from OCS Newport in 1980 when it was 16 weeks long. I resent the implications you make about physical harassment. I was very much in the minority at the time as a woman and I never saw or experienced physical harassment. And indoc week is only 7 days (you couldn’t last 7 days?). Most Navy jobs are not “9 to 5″ and OCS prepares you for that. I worked 75 to 80 hours over a 4 day period (do the math on THAT one for sleep) and then had 2 days off at my first assignment as an Ensign at a communications/intelligence center. You never would have survived as a Navy officer.


Rick August 3, 2011 at 5:59 PM

“beatings,” as he states in the article, is not meant as a literal term. “Getting beat” is what it is called at the current OCS when a superior (usually a DI, but also CPOs and class Officers) is administering RPT (Remedial Physical Training). Go watch videos on youtube of Navy OCS classes in “the rose garden” or the “suya” right before graduation. That is a “beating” – being put through physical exercise (pushups, situps, squats, basically anything they can think of to make you do) by your superiors. No, it is not a true beating – my DI never once laid a finger on me, nor did anyone else. But you better believe at the end of the day you feel like you got hit by multiple trucks. Beatings can be long and you get tired & sore, and they are the primary means of instruction in almost everything, at least up until the candio phase.

Indoc week being only 7 days means nothing (especially since it’s 3 weeks long now). You still get beat on a regular basis after Indoc phase. RLP is basically a beating while being required to spout off memorized information (“What does an E-6 in the USMC wear on his sleeve? What is the seventh general order of a sentry?”) and being judged on your inspection prep. Obviously OCS has changed a lot in the THIRTY ONE YEARS since you went through it. Did you really think nothing changed in 3 decades? From your description, it sounds like maybe you are the one who would not have made it through OCS if you went now. Maybe you should be less judgmental of someone who made the same service choice you did, but had a different experience based on a lifetime of time passed (I’m 30 so it’s a lifetime to me lol).


taylor August 12, 2011 at 12:58 AM

@ njt I noticed you mentioned that you were female, as am I :D , and I am doing quite a bit of research on OCS as I feel confident that I should apply and join in a career with the US Navy. Could I get your side and feel of things as far as OCS and life in it as a female. Please feel free to email me


Jim November 7, 2011 at 7:12 PM

When was your commissioning date and in which company were you assigned?


CAPT June 20, 2011 at 11:36 AM

Class 32-82 “Misfits” 59 down to 14.


Ed June 22, 2011 at 3:14 PM

I joined the Navy “ROC” program in 1971 when I thought I would be drafted due to a low lottery number. As it turned out, they never got to my number (159). I think they went to 200 the year before. So, I go to Newport for the first 1/2 of the OSC program during the summer between my jr. and sr. year in college. It looks like things have really changed, based upon the postings on this site. The physical part was a piece of cake. I did all this running prior to getting there and found out their was very little fitness stuff. The “DI”s were basically the guys that were there for their second summer, so they were not real officers yet. I found the classes to be difficult-especially tactics and navigation. I had not had math since I was a sophomore in high school and really struggled. Long story short-I was able to get out after one summer and that was it. I was never drafted and never served again. In looking back, I have enormous respect for the folks that make it thru and all the people who serve.


Ashley July 6, 2011 at 7:50 PM

Wow I just wanted to say that as youth of this nation aspiring to go into the military I have to say I respect everyone out there that has worked hard in all you do for this country to remain safe/”free” and helping other countries acquire the freedom and democracy we have, but you all need to understand that the kind of trash talk that is being tossed back and forth between the two branches of military (that are both Navy by the way) is childish and immature. Also that it’s not something that men and women who are supposed to be the heroes should be saying to one another. And I don’t fully understand the need for this kind of attack on each other all starting from a man that just wanted to give the friendly advice to everyone to just be sure of what they really want out of life.


Jim Mather July 6, 2011 at 8:16 PM

Ashley, appreciate the attempt to give props to those of us that have served, however you ended up disrespecting us at the same time. I don’t think you were doing it intentionally. The last thing that anyone who has donned a uniform be it Marines, Navy, Air Force, Army or Coast Guard is immature or childish. We have interservice rivalry and that is not only healthy but fun as well. Trust me, we trash talk and spar with each other but when the poo poo hits the fan we are shoulder to shoulder and back to back as brothers and sisters. I would put the maturity of any service member up against any civilian anytime, When a 17 year old kid is eating cold food in the sand of Iraq or Afghanistan and has the enemy firing on him or her, sleep deprived and the stress that is on their shoulders makes a man or woman out of them rather quickly. You can’t even comprehend what they have gone through. They have earned trash talking to anyone they want.


Andrew December 4, 2013 at 7:42 PM

Respectfully to you Mr. Mather, thank you for your service and for your clear and outspoken answers about serving. I appreciate these along with many others on this forum thread, readers, and fellow citizens. I understand the branches have a tradition or habit of trash talking and this maybe builds up a sense of competition to push both to strive further and never settle for less. At the same time, I have to agree with Ms. Ashley, that the intense negativity of the insults and petty arguing really detracts from the honor of the services and of the respect we as citizens wish to give to all those who serve and between each other. I commend you for your service. It makes you a better man and citizen than I am. I hope I can join all those who have served and do my part as well so as to deserve the many privileges we enjoy as free Americans that citizens and subjects of most other countries will never enjoy.

Magdalena July 8, 2011 at 3:22 AM

Hello. I am 27 year old female applying to Marine OCS. Just a little background about me: I was on my way to the Naval Academy after high school. I even got the required congressional nomination but in the end I couldn’t go because I didn’t have my U.S. citizenship. The politicians didn’t want to help me speed up my immigration process despite my letters to my congressmen and even the
President himself.

So I ended up getting an Aerospace Engineering degree on my own. During my college years I lost sight of my goals and finished school with a low GPA. I also wasted the past three years trying to figure out what I want in life. I tried everything. I even auditioned and got admitted to Florida Atlantic University’s music program in vocal studies. Even though I still love music and all the other things I’ve tried, now I realized that I need to get back on the wagon and finish what I’ve originally started…that is, to pursue a military career as a pilot. I want to make this a lifetime career.

The reasons why I chose to work with the Marines are many. The major reason is because the Marines have a shortage of female aviators, which means that if I meet all the tests/physical/medial requirements then I am basically in. I was previously working with the Army recruiters but they dissapointed me a great deal. I walked-in to their office with aspirations to become an officer but I fell short 7 points on the ASVAB. They wouldn’t let me re-take the test and told me “you will NOT score any higher if you retake it”. Then they tried to enlist me and they even had the nerve to pressure me into an MOS that would further take me away from my goals, all because the MOS that I desired wasn’t open at that precise moment. It is despicable what I experienced and witnessed working with the Army recruiters. Thank God I got a hold of my Jr. NROTC instructor who opened my eyes to what the Army recruiters tried pulling on me. Anyways, another reason why I am working with the Marines is because they gave me a feeling that I can do this and that they are never going to quit on me, which is so comforting. By the way, Marines look at the “whole person” concept when selecting candidates and so they are not concerned with my low GPA. Yet another reason why I am going the Marine route.

I am not in the same position as the original author of this blog who decided that being a military officer was not his calling. I know for a fact that this is what I want to do because I’ve been wanting this since the first time I stepped foot on my high school campus and saw Jr. ROTC students wearing their uniforms. On a side note, I am from Poland and when I started high school I couldn’t speak english.

But here is the thing: I am sh*tless scared of the physical rigors in the Marines!!!! I just lost 35 lbs for the military and I am EXTREMELY out of shape. I went to a PT session hosted by my recruiters a couple days ago and I nearly passed out! We started with a jogg (which was really a RUN) from the station to the park which is less than half a mile. I barely made it to the park and then had to leave and walk back to the station because I was literally seeing black spots, couldn’t catch my breath and my head was pounding. (I did sports in high school and I ran the Navy’s 1.5 mile timed run so I haven’t always been out of shape) But now I have to make 8 minutes per mile three times in a row! I couldn’t even make that time in high school! The recruiters seem to be pretty confident that I can totally turn this around. Actually, I think that they have more confidence in me than I have in myself. They gave me a workout schedule to follow so I can get in shape. I am starting tomorrow at my gym.

This is going to be the greatest obstacle in my life so far. I am so scared of failure. I know that if I quit during any part of the process then I might as well just crawl into a hole and die from shame of being a quitter. But at the same time I have that terrible fright of the physical fitness demands. Well, maybe I am getting ahead of myself. I am re-taking the ASVAB next week. If I get the right score (which I should cause I’ve been studying) then off I go to MEPS for my physical. So I guess I should just come down and see what happens with that first. I guess in reality it is only the medical that could keep me out because the rest depends solely on me.

I am writing this out of fear, especially after I’ve read some of these posts telling people to stay home if they don’t want this bad enough or are having doubts. This is a once in a lifetime thing and I want this very much. I am not considering any other options outside of the military. I don’t have doubts wether this is what I want, I have doubts wether I have what it takes to make it. I have a LONG and painful road ahead of me as I have a lot that I need to work on. I would like to know wether these doubts of mine will lead me to quitting once in OCS. Should I just stay home?


RWB July 8, 2011 at 8:48 AM

Magdalena…Excellent and very sincere posting on this site. I know that Marine OCS will be rigorous. I was in Navy Aviation OCS–unfortunately, dropped out due to the math/physics, which I did not like–but the physical aspect wasn’t too bad. Then, too, I am tall, lean and never had difficulty with running, exercise, etc. It was the equations that killed me, lol. And it still amazes me when I find guys/gals with degrees in English, history, art go on and succeed in Navy flight school. I’m envious, to be sure, for it overwhelmed me, as my math prep as a young man was lousy.
But on to your goals! Enough about me. You might also consider the US Coast Guard’s Officer Candidate School with a pilot training option. I once was a journalist and did an in-depth article in the early 1990s on Coast Guard OCS when it was still based at Yorktown, Virginia. It is now at New London, Connecticut, but is still a 17-week training program. I spent several days covering the Coast Guard officer trainees routines and can say that it was definitely less stressful than the training we underwent under Marines at Pensacola’s Aviation Officer Candidate School. I was amazed at how motel-like officer trainee quarters were and did not see a lot of screaming and haranguing of trainees. All in all, I envied the trainees for the program they were in and wished I had opted for it as a young man. If you qualify, you’d attend 17 weeks of precommissioning training and then be assigned as an 0-1, or Ensign, to Pensacola, Florida for Navy-conducted flight school. Service as a Coast Guard aviator is a wonderful way to serve others while enjoying the thrill of flying. Anyway, I wish you the best and do not give up on your dreams. I left my flight training as a young man out of lack of faith in my own math/science skills and have to say that I was treated fairly, all in all. They did not flunk me. I failed myself, giving up a lifelong dream, so only have myself to blame and the recruiter for not allowing me to bone up on my math skills before reporting to AOCS. All the best to you and consider the Coast Guard!


Magdalena July 9, 2011 at 10:40 PM

Thank you very much for replying. I would LOVE to be a helicopter pilot in the Coast Guard. Coast Guard would be my #1 pick. The problem is that I keep hearing how competitive it is to get an OCS slot in the Coast Guard. I would like to process two OCS packets at the same time but I was told that I can only process for one service at a time. I wish I could find an accurate answer to how competitive each program is because there is a lot of rumors out there.

Parse March 2, 2012 at 9:22 AM

I’m in the same boat. I’m a little older and had to lose a lot of weight to even get to standards. Sustained running has never been a strength of mine, even when I get my bodyfat percentage down, and in fact my attempts at replacing my standard workouts with sustained running only resulted in me gaining bodyfat.

The military seems to be all about running sometimes. A lot of people seem to put up great running times as well, and it seems easy to them. It never was for me and I don’t know if it will ever be. I’ve pushed myself through the PRT requirements but it seems to always be tough for me.

But from talking to some other candidates, it seems like part of the training for OCS is to get you into better shape. Yes it’s probably easier if you’re in great shape to begin with, but quite a few people will come in without being in top shape. Then if you push yourself through maybe it will be harder than it is for someone that’s already in great shape, but you’ll also be able to show a huge improvement and that does speak volumes for you that you’re getting better by sticking with it.

I’d say just give it a shot, if you can’t hack it then what’s the worst that happens, you get paid and then leave after some time is up? Now you have a story for interviewers if you want to go back to the civilian sector.

Yes the physical aspect is important but I think mental toughness is probably even more important. Also people with high mental toughness can usually just gut through the physical aspect, until eventually their body catches up to where their mind is at.


Magdalena July 8, 2011 at 3:34 AM

I just realized that I made some misspellings in my post above. Sorry. Please don’t butcher me because of it.


TADTAD July 21, 2011 at 1:37 PM

Whatever you do, if you make it through the screening process and are lucky enough to be selected to OCS (never mind the branch, not the point), DO NOT DOR. If you drop like I did, you will never reconcile your mental balance sheet again. I try to justify my DOR by thinking things like, “well, had I been a newly commissioned officer, I would have been at such and such a place when it was attacked, and would have been killed, so God saved me by having me DOR, and my life affects others’ just like George in the movie ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’.” That’s garbage thinking. To try to forgive myself, I enlisted in the same branch of service, came up through the ranks and eventually was commissioned (in another branch of the service yet, as I was too old to qualify for a commission in the branch I was serving in). However, I still have difficulty in looking myself in the mirror knowing full well that I disappointed a lot of people. Again, if you are lucky enough to be appointed to OCS, do not drop.


Allibird July 29, 2011 at 6:28 PM

First off, thank you for posting your experience. I went through AOCS in the early 90′s and did a ton of research prior to starting. Nothing really addressed washing out or DOR. Your perspective helps those considering this career path, regardless of service.

If someone reading this is considering a military career, you definitely have some soul searching to do. Be careful of what the recruiters tell you. They have a quota to meet. Talk to people who have gone through the program of your choice. Hopefully you can get in to the service and program of your choice, but if not, keep trying. Look for different routes. Once you get in the door, there are many ways to skin the cat, so to speak. It may take a roundabout way to get to your goal, but it’s a lot easier from inside the service than outside. Even if you don’t have a specific goal, the military opens up many doors, from education to job opportunities on the outside to the confidence to start your own business.

Of course there are the short term considerations; being physically, mentally and educationally fit enough to get through the initial training. I am female, 5’3″ and 110#. I certainly had concerns about getting through the program. I was the only female in my class for the first month and the DI’s made sure I knew I would not get any special treatment. I was not the strongest or the fastest but I was 100 percent committed. Barring an unforeseen injury, you CAN do it.

That initial “boot camp” experience gives you a taste of what it will be like long term as well. Stress is a standard part of flight school, the FRS and the fleet. As you go up in rank, so does your responsibility. Signing for that 20 million dollar aircraft as a LT or CAPT is just the beginning.

The “big picture” is the important point. Do your research. Know yourself and then figure out where you would fit best. Prepare as best you can. It still won’t be enough. Understand you may not get what you want. Understand you need to REALLY want a military career or you will be miserable! The hours are long and you will have to make MANY personal sacrifices. Understand that excuses and justification don’t cut it. Your CO won’t care why you didn’t make mission, just that you didn’t make mission. By the way, that doesn’t mean cut corners. You still have to do it right and by the book. At the same time, you are expected as an officer to take care of all your people. Above all, troops first. Here’s the other big thing. You WILL fail somewhere along the line. The question is, how do you handle it and move on? And if that failure is such that you decide to DOR or get washed out, understand that does not mean you are a failure in life. If you are able to take that experience and turn it in to something positive elsewhere, you are a success. The gentleman who wrote the post took away a deeper understanding and appreciation of the military. That is far better than some war protester who thinks Topgun was about the Air Force. Take a look at the state of our country. We need good people wherever we can get them.


RWB July 30, 2011 at 6:15 PM

I think you have excellent insight into officer training and the life of a commissioned officer, Allibird, and thank you for your upbeat and honest posting. OCS and military life is not, of course, suited for everyone, and those who do succeed must share certain traits that are necessary for success. As one who did, in fact, DOR long ago, often wondering if I made the right choice, I found your comments very fair and open-minded.


Andrew December 4, 2013 at 7:44 PM

Extremely well said. Thank you. How we each deal with our moments of failure and manage to work very hard whilst making many personal sacrifices is indeed a measure of our characters and honor. I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for this realistic and inspiring message Allibird


Rachel August 2, 2011 at 11:23 AM

I’ve been becoming more sure about the navy for the past year and a half, and this is certainly the most honest and informative piece that I have encountered concerning what the OCS experience is truly like. So, for that, I’d like to say thanks to everyone who has contributed.

I’m sure that I want to end up as an officer in the navy. However, I’m concerned that it will be difficult for me to be accepted into OCS. I’m 22 years old and I will be getting a BS and a BA in the spring (biology and spanish) and also have completed a minor in chemistry. My GPA is weak (3.1), but my test scores are high. I’m on the Rowing team and I’m a strong runner. 5’11″ female, 170lbs.

Any chance that a civilian like me has a shot? Any input would be great.

Thanks again for all the input and the article.


RWB August 2, 2011 at 1:11 PM

If you have at least a 3.0 GPA, I’d think you’d be competitive for a Navy OCS slot, even with the economy being sour currently and more folks opting for a military career. The fact that you have a somewhat technical major also bodes well for your chances. Since you apparently do well in the sciences, if you could take nursing training after getting your degree, you probably can gain a Navy nurse commission, as that is a critical needs area all over the country. Best of luck and do not be discouraged!


Rick August 3, 2011 at 4:45 PM

I’ll be honest – I did not read every comment on here so someone may have already posted about spending a decent amount of time in H-Class and being NPQ’d (which the author mentions he did not go through) so I’ll add my $0.02.

First off – this article is absolutely DEAD-ON correct in its description of the stresses at OCS. Literally no amount of reading on the internet can compare you for the sheer insanity of it. At least it seems insane at first. Over time, you learn its purpose and its purpose is precisely what the author said: to weed out those who do not belong – those who cannot handle themselves in the ultimate of stressful situations.

Rather than go through the details of my NPQ (contact me if you actually want to know) – I will tell you that H-Class is stressful in a much different way than regular OCS. Morale is low – H is populated by sick people, injured people, and people who failed a major evolution. Not a recipe for motivation. Master Guns told us on more than one occasion that going through H and classing back up is far more difficult from an emotional standpoint than running straight through your 12 weeks unscathed.

But because of the extra time for RLP prep/memorization/drill/PT at your own pace, if you can remain motivated, H-Class will be your savior. Despite being pretty sure I was going to end up NPQ’d for my injury, I eventually was vice president of H-Class, running the show and helping out all the new people. I couldn’t finish OCS, but I learned a lot about motivation and teamwork and camraderie. My Class CPO told me when I rolled to H that it was not the end of the world. He was correct – I watched tons of people get better in H and they were inevitably leaders in their next class, full of knowledge and experience the other candidates did not have. H is not fun, but no aspect of OCS is. It’s all difficult, but it’s all possible.

“If at any time while here you are comfortable, you are WRONG” – my class DI

NPQ’d from OCS Class 09-10


RWB August 3, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Rick, good insight into today’s Navy OCS. I attended what was once known as Aviation OCS at Pensacola during the Vietnam era and it was at that time 17 weeks of pre-commissioning training. I DORed because I did not have a sufficient math background and was placed in a self-paced academic remedial group called Company G. Needless to say, folks with science, math and engineering degrees had zero problem with the classroom phase, whereas liberal arts types such as myself, who never much liked math, did struggle and fail to qualify on the screening tests that were given to, yes, “weed out” those with poor preparation. In retrospect, the Marine DIs could be pretty brutal, but I was never singled out, so I suppose that’s a good thing. As we DORs were being processed out, however, we discovered that lots of enlisted sailors, knowing we would be exiting back to civilian life, gave us some “chin music,” sarcasm, but that goes with the territory and there was nothing to do about such disrespectful behavior. Those trainees who were NPQed and forced to leave for medical/physical reasons did often grouse at those of us who opted to leave on our own volition, claiming it was “unfair” that they wanted to be there and had to leave, while those of us who voluntarily DORed were giving up something they so badly wanted. But no one can step into another’s shoes, civilian or military, and know what influences various decisions. And at times, I wonder if I could have made the program, had I been more motivated. I knew that I was turning my back on the chance for an officer’s commission and the coveted wings of a naval aviator, but I did a self-assessment and realized that I and some of my fellow DORs were about as “qualified” for naval aviation officer service as we were for, say, medical school or Navy nuclear power training(some of the toughest of any military service). Had I not been so hasty to sign with the Navy, I’d have been accepted for Air Force Officer Training School in Texas–and at least obtained a commission, for that 12 weeks was decidedly non-technical, doable by most college grads. As for whether or not I’d have completed pilot training, that’s another question. But at least I’d have been a commissioned officer. I signed with the Navy on a Saturday and discovered two days later that the Air Force had accepted me for OTS + pilot training…so, fate played a hand in my circumstances. I’d have preferred USAF, but had to make a move, as I was #6 in the Selective Service Lottery and slated to be drafted as a soldier if I pussyfooted around, delayed things. Such is life.


Magdalena August 3, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Question: did you process for both, Navy and Air Force OCS simultaneously? I was told that I can only process with one branch at a time…

Magdalena August 3, 2011 at 7:24 PM

Rick, would you please tell us what you guys had to recite from memory while at OCS? I would like to at least prepare myself in that area. I would greatly appreciate it.


Rick August 3, 2011 at 9:00 PM

Magdalena – you will in all honesty be expected to remember just about anything and everything placed in front of you, from the uniform of the day, to the weather, but there are specific topics that you WILL be tested on on a daily basis, by everyone, from candidate officers, chiefs, DIs, class officers – basically anyone who can test you will. It’s really nerve wracking at first, but if you come prepared, you will be one step ahead of the rest. Know these by heart:
Sailor’s Creed, General Orders of a Sentry, Code of Conduct, Chain of Command, and the Phonetic Alphabet, all enlisted and officer rank insignia and dress uniform insignia for USN and USMC, 14 leadership traits, the list goes on. These are by no means the only things you will need, but you WILL need these daily. Knowing them in advance means one aspect will be slightly less stressful. Keep in mind, no one is going to casually quiz you – you will be asked at times you don’t expect, which makes it more difficult. You can find all of them at the bottom of the page here:

You can also download the gouge pack there – that is your Bible at OCS. You MUST have it on you at ALL times or there is hell to pay. It will be torn and beat to hell by the end of it, but you MUST have it. Might as well learn as much from it as possible before you go – every single thing in it is tested and needs to be known for daily life at OCS – ESPECIALLY chow hall procedures. If you read it before hand, it will make no sense – it makes more sense once you’re there.

Here’s a video of some of the chow hall procedures – toned down substantially because this is on graduation day (only reason they aren’t in uniform and videotaping is allowed) You can see Indocs marching in for chow in the background (green “poopy suit” uniforms).

Here’s a graduation day rose garden beating from my class DI (though the video is not of my class) and the first part of chow procedures, including a beating in front of chow hall because someone screwed up (they love to beat you right before chow because they aren’t allowed to beat you for 30 min after chow):

It’s pretty surreal lol

JC August 4, 2011 at 7:02 PM

Appendix B of your Officer Candidate Regulations is linked below. You will need to know it verbatim by your week 8 ORLP inspection.

Code of Conduct, General Orders, and Chain of Command are essential early. These are known as the “Big 3″ by the candidates. Also learn your Navy and Marine Corps ranks.

I completed OCS this spring. Hope this helps.

Magdalena August 4, 2011 at 8:10 PM

Thank you so much!!!
Did you by any chance posted here before? I was looking through this thread to see if maybe you shared your personal experiences at OCS but I couldn’t find you.

Rich August 4, 2011 at 1:20 AM

I stumbled upon this website looking for current info about NAVOCS (that’s what we called it in my day) to advise the son of a friend who is currently a First Class Petty Officer that has 6 years of Naval service, completed college in his spare time, and has been recommended to attend OCS by his Commanding Officer. It appears NAVOCS has changed considerably since I was an Officer Candidate. I went through the ROC program in 1969 and 1970 at Newport. King Hall and Nimitz Hall were only a few years old and Newport was a very active Naval base, serving as the headquarters for the Cruiser-Destroyer Force of the Atlantic Fleet . From what I understand now it is mostly a training base with few if any ships homeported there. Because it was the height of the Vietnam conflict and the draft was very much in force Under the ROC program, the Officer Candidate had already enlisted in the Naval Reserve with an obligation to serve 3 years active duty upon commissioning or if one did not complete the program there was a 2 year obligation as an enlisted man. OCS was very selective at that time, I believe the acceptance rate was about 10%. I chose the ROC program because the pool of applicants was smaller and the chances of getting accepted were greater. Other than the training for ROC’s being split up between two summers there was no difference in the programs. In fact it was probably easier to go straight through the 18 weeks rather than go back to college after 9 weeks and going back a year later after you know what is in store for you. We had a very low drop out rate in my Company, I can only recall two candidates dropping out. There were no Marine DI’s, military and physical training were conducted by Junior Officers, Warant Officers and Chief Petty Officers, as well as indictrination week being conducted by Officer Candidates in their 3 or 4th quarter. Although it was physically and mentally demanding, we were always treated with respect, and you knew they were not going to physically harm you and it only lasts a week, so if you can tough it out for that short period it it gets easier as you go along. We learned to work as a team to get through the program. I was an average student in college, a Business Major with a GPA around 3.0 and was in decent physical condition. I was 5’10, 180 lbs. but I was never big on physical fitness. I did play some sports in high school, but was never a star. I found the physical aspect a little tough at first, but when my muscles got used to being used, I was able to meet all of the required scores. If you ever saw the movie An Officer and a Gentlemen, my hang up was the wall you had to climb over at the end of the obsticle course. It took me until the very end to be able to get over that wall. The academics were a bit of a challenge since I did not have a math or science background. My Company had a large number of engineers, physics, math and science majors, so they breezed through the academics. However, we worked as a team. Those that had difficulty with either the physical aspect or the academics were helped by those that were strong in those areas. We had one fellow in our company that had extreme difficulty running the 1 1/2 miles, so several stayed back to help him complete the run. I didn’t notice in any of the above comments that I skimmed where teamwork and espirit de corps were overly evident. While NAVOCS was a challenge, and I did consider dropping out, as did probably most others, like it has been stated in several prior posts, if you have the desire you will make it through, and if you don’t then you and the Navy are both better off. I can only say that the worst day at OCS is comparable to the typical day on a ship at sea. I spent all of my active duty on a Destroyer. Coincidently there were 2 of my OCS classmates on the same ship. This is highly unusual as there were only 13 officers on the entire ship, and 9 were Ensigns when I reported aboard. We had a new CO, who had reported aboard a few months prior to my arrival and he had cleaned house and “fired” several officers that did not meet his standards. My first CO dropped out of high school at 17 to join the Navy in 1942 right after Pearl Harbor, made Chief Petty Officer and was commissioned after 13 years of service, was CO of a Minesweeper in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star. My second CO was a Naval Academy Grad who was the author of the Naval Engineers Guide and this was his 7th sea tour. I think those two individuals along with my Executive Officer were far tougher than any DI. When the safety of the ship and lives are at stake there is no room for error. OCS trains you to go without sleep, as you average 4-6 nonconsecutive hours of sleep per day when underway. I remember being scheduled to stand the 4AM to 8AM bridge watch and had to fill in for the officer assigned the midwatch because he suffered from chronic sea sickness (he was eventually medically discharged), and after spending 8 hours on the bridge going through a hurricane, I arrived at breakfast 5 minutes late and the CO wouldnt let me sit at the table (the rule was all officers had to arrive before the Captain). First and foremost, when I was at NAVOCS, the emphasis was on teamwork, because when onboard a ship or flying in a squadron, or being a Seal or Seabee or whatever, the sucess of a mission depends on working together to accomplish a mutal goal. The goal at OCS is to graduate.
At the end of my 3 years, I chose to be separated, as did most, several of my classmates stated 20 years and made Commander, a few made Captain and one became a 3 star Admiral. Even after separation from active duty, I still wanted to have some affiliation with the Navy. I joined the Ready Reserve and served 4 years with a Destroyer Squadron. Then I moved to the Air Navy and spent 8 years in the avaition program, spending two weeks every other year on an Aircraft Carrier. I spent my final tour in the Ready Reserve with a joint command with members of all services. I retired from the reserves as a Commander after a little over 20 years and it was a great outside activity. I met some facinating people, made many business contacts, spent two weeks a year away from the job, and it didnt count as vacation. All in all , serving as a Naval Officer was a great experience that I wouldn’t have traded for anything.
To those that DOR’s or as we called it Rolled Out, If your heart was not 100% into serving as a Naval Officer, then you did the right thing because otherwise, you would be performing a disservice to yourself as well as those that you would serve with.


William B. Foulk August 18, 2011 at 11:50 PM

I am a a retired Army warrant officer who spent 3 years in the Marine Corps (May 51-Apr 53) and eight years in the Air Force. Definitely a sign of an unstable personality. Ha! Ha! However, than is not why I am writing (By the way if you are interested in reading my autobiography go to and search William B. Foulk)
A young man I have been advising for many years is currently in Navy OCS. He “recycled” back in May but has been in his currect class approximately 2 months. If he has eight weeks of satisfactory progress, what are his chances of graduating? I think his class graduates in September. Does anyone know what date his graduation will be on? I would love to surprise him and be their to see him receive his commission.
For anyone that can help, thank you very much.


C September 3, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Thanks for this OP, it was interesting. As you said, there isn’t much info on Navy OCS DORs out there. There’s nothing out there on Marine wash-outs either. I’m in a similar boat, I got myself kicked out of Marine boot camp (the only way to quit) after being starved to a point where I could not walk. The DIs weren’t letting us eat. I got to boot camp skinny and lost forty lbs. in three weeks. I thought I was going to boot camp when I enlisted, not POW school. I decided to get myself kicked out before I would be declared another “dehydration” recruit fatality.

Anyhow, the military life isn’t for everyone. Thank you for your attempt to serve our country.


RWB September 3, 2011 at 4:34 PM

I read with interest your recollection of Marine Boot Camp. At Navy Aviation Officer Candidate School in the early 1970s, we trainees were too intimidated to get extra, or second, helpings of food in the mess hall, and the portions were pretty small, as I recall. Being tall and lean myself, with a high metabolism, my body craved more food/fuel, but that was well nigh an impossibility. So, I’m not surprised you lost weight you couldn’t afford to lose. AOCS was pretty grueling, and I know they need people to function well under high pressure, but there are a few other things that still stand out in my mind: I was issued the wrong size of flight boots, athletic shoes and dress shoes–size 10 1/2, whereas my shoe size is actually 12D. So, that made, in and of itself, for horrific discomfort. Too, I only had 2-3 changes of bed sheets during my brief time at Pensacola–and that was not too sanitary. I truly did desire to obtain a Navy commission and become an aviator, but I did a cost-benefit analysis, along with others who became disheartened and disillusioned, and we chose to leave the program, realizing well that while, yes, we MIGHT be awarded wings one day, along with the attendant status of being naval aviators, we also were giving a lot, too: Enduring 78 weeks of rigorous training, engaging in one of the world’s most challenging and dangerous forms of flying, and so forth. So while, yes, we’d be gaining something that was honorable, the Navy would also be receiving quite a lot from us, too. It is all about priorities, what one is willing to sacrifice, to put up with. To this day, I have the utmost respect for those in naval aviation, but I think, in retrospect, they could have crafted the pre-commissioning training to be a little more “respectful” of people, all of whom had already proved their mettle to an extent by obtaining four-year college degrees.
Who wouldn’t want the privilege and status of wearing an officer’s rank and the coveted wings of a naval aviator? But at what price is it worth it? It’s all a matter of personal honor, outlook, viewpoint. Even little old ladies who can pass their FAA flight physicals can obtain private pilot licenses, so the military is not the only path to powered flight.


Magdalena Szypulski September 3, 2011 at 6:01 PM

OMG! I can’t believe what I am reading…that you guys were not fed enough and even wore shoes that were too small. Why didn’t you say something to the leaders about your shoes? A person cannot perform without proper shoes. You seen the movie “Glory” right? When the commanding officer found out that the troops wore shoes that were hurting them, he went through hell to make sure he got them all the right footware. I can’t imagine that in the 1970′s the military would allow their people to not have proper footing or to not be fed according to caloric needs. When I go to OCS and my shoes are too small then I will make that known loud and clear. What are they gonna do? Scream and tease me before giving me the appropriate shoes? Maybe punish me in some other ridiculous ways? Whatever, as long as I am equipped to have a fair shot at successfully completing OCS. I keep hearing that boot camp has gone through reforms and that it relaxed a little so I’m thinking OCS isn’t going to be as tough as it used to be in the old days.

Although one can also become a pilot as a civilian, the military will pay for your flight training. I bet the level of flight training military pilots get is worth $100k. I probably won’t be anything but a private pilot if the military doesn’t send me to flight school. I guess some people are willing to pay the price being treated like shit for some time in an exchange of fulfilling their dream. But you are right, each person is different. However, some just know that they won’t be able to pay off or even obtain such a huge $$ loan required for flight training.

Magdalena Szypulski September 7, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Hey, I am very curious about what you meant when you said that you got yourself kicked out (the only way to quit)? Do you mean that the Marines don’t let you quit even after you tell them that you want out?

What kind of things can get you kicked out?
If you brake down and cry in front of everybody do they throw you out?
Are there moments where candidates fall apart from the pressure but then press on?

Please explain. I would really like to know.


C September 10, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Issues like small shoes were commonplace; asking for anything results in beatings, which is why at Marine boot it’s still very common for recruits to go to the bathroom in their pants, for fear of asking the DIs to go to the head.

Magdalena, you are correct, quitting is not actually allowed. Once you sign the contract, you become government property. The USMC (and the military overall) doesn’t want to lose healthy, qualified recruits simply because they don’t like the training, so the DIs are there to not only train, but retain. So direct quitting isn’t an option (there is no DOR for enlisted). You have to be creative. You have to have read the books. Many books have been written about Marine boot camp platoons, and one of those books planted the seed for what would become my ticket to freedom. I saw guys go into the DI’s office and tell the SDI that they were gay. LOL! The door shuts, you hear the DI start going mental, the shut blinds on the office window move about a lot, and then the door opens, and the recruit flies across the hall (think Jazzy Jeff getting tossed out of the house on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), and the recruit runs back to his place on line and never mentions his “sexuality” again… but with a few new bruises to show for it.

The guy who slept in the rack above me even left the squad bay at night, and went to the MPs. The MPs sent someone over and asked the whole platoon if we had ever been physically abused, denied food, mail or religious services. However, our drill instructors were standing right behind the MP, so nobody made a peep, despite the DIs being guilty on 3 of those 4 counts.

My method was far more creative. I had no intention of becoming yet another “dehydration” fatality at Parris Island. DIs make recruits drink several canteens of water a day… I find it hard to believe that anyone dies of dehydration there.

People don’t really break under the pressure, if they do, they just get beat more. Anything that draws attention to you draws more punishment.

For the record, I don’t have a problem with the DIs; they’re pitbulls, doing what pitbulls do. My problem is the recruiters saying that none of this crap still goes on. People come away from these experiences with serious mental scars because of lying salesmen.

Magdalena September 10, 2011 at 11:03 AM

C, thanks for writing. This was very enjoyable to read. Especially when you described what happened to the guy who declared himself “gay”. It was sad but hilarious at the same time You experienced all this in enlisted boot camp right? I wonder if Marine OCS is conducted differently. Marine Boot Camp vs OCS, anyone with the knowledge want to elaborate on this?


C September 11, 2011 at 3:20 PM

FWIW, while I can’t say I went to Marine OCS, but I can say that during college I recounted my story to a Marine Major who was on campus doing officer recruiting. I was told that there is virtually no difference between PI/SD and Quantico… it’s run by the same DIs trained at the same DI schools run the show. A guy I went to PI with is now an O-2 and he said OCS was pretty similar, but it wasn’t as hard for him since he’d already been through it once.


Magdalena Szypulski September 11, 2011 at 4:14 PM

C, thanks for sharing. Your posts are very informative.


John T. bones September 12, 2011 at 6:22 PM

I actually had applied to the Navy SNA and NFO board.. Results should be out shortly. I’m prior service AF and remember bootcamp being very stressful. I am very excited to want to become a Naval Officer and I have much expeirence in being a leader.

My issue is my family. After being away in the military, and then living on my own for college coming home maybe once a month, I’m finally back and home and have been living at home for over a year. At first I hated it but now I feel so close to my family. I feel like my parents are the only ones in my life worth impressing. I worry about leaving home and having anxiety or depression about being away for so long. It’s a 10 yr contract I think for pilot.

How does one weight out the decisions in life of what is more important? Reaching a dream and doing one of the greatest jobs in the world (or actually doing it and finding out it’s not what you thought) or staying local being happy and close to family where you know at least you will be close to people who mattered most (but maybe later in life regret not taking the leap).

I’m very torn, and I know I’m still not even guranteed in but I know I had an outstanding package so the odds are with me.

Has anyone else faced a similar situation? I’m 26 yrs old now.. and I know my family is only getting older.. So I always think about what if while I’m away someone gets sick and I missed all that time with them. But I know deep down you can’t think about those things and you have to make the best decision for your future.

Any opinions? THank you!


Mag September 12, 2011 at 6:44 PM

Just curious, why are you getting out of the Air Force?


John T. bones September 12, 2011 at 6:57 PM

I had already gotten out. Been in college now. I tried the Air Force but my AFOQT scores were never good enough.

RWB September 12, 2011 at 6:52 PM

John T. Bones….Good letter. Since you’ve already been through enlisted training, you’re able, I’m sure, to handle the rigors of Navy OCS and flight training. The military aspect isn’t all that bad, and the primary reason I dropped—which I do regret–was my dislike of math/physics. But if you can handle algebra, trigonometry, vectors and basic physics, you ought to do just fine. As for the separation issues you’d undergo, all military people have to deal with that and I am sure you will do just fine, knowing that after 12 weeks you’ll be a Navy officer and can complete the aviation portion with your family close by, even living with you. DO go for your dream. I am sure your wife, kids as well as parents will be so very proud of you the day you don your Ensign’s gold stripe and the day when you pin on your Naval Aviator or Naval Flight Officer wings. By age 47 maximum, you can retire and will, I’m sure, be an 0-5 (Commander), perhaps even a squadron CO. And who knows? If you remain in the USN 30 years, you might end up with flag (admiral) rank. All the best to you, meditate on this and do NOT make the same mistake I did…which was to turn my back on a golden opportunity. I possibly could have made it had I applied myself more, even with my math/physics anxiety.


John T. bones September 12, 2011 at 7:00 PM

I’m working on my masters now for Aerospace Engineering. So math and physics is not the issue.. If it was a 4 yr enlisted I’d be balls to the walls excited but.. the decade of my life dedicated to the Navy on a chance of may or maybe not enjoying it seems more of a reality check to me than ever before.

It’s nice to get opinions though. Flying is a passion of mine, and there would be no better way to do than for the military.

RWB September 12, 2011 at 6:59 PM

Jim, though we once locked horns–which was my dumb mistake–I think you have a lot of sound wisdom when it comes to Navy OCS and its rigors. From all your son endured, it seems the pressure has not been eased up since I dumbly dropped out long ago. But you’re right. It took your son’s courage and determination to succeed to carry him to commissioning day. And looking back, the Marine DIs were tough for one reason–to ensure that new officers would cut the mustard under pressure, whether surface community, submariners or aviation. You are rightfully proud of your son and I salute him and you, too. God bless!


John T. bones September 12, 2011 at 7:08 PM

Thanks Jim I appreciate your thoughts. And I know I actually talked to a Marine DI who served in the 90′s for OCS.. He said they like to give the prior enlisted Marines hell the most if they don’t hold up to standards.

At any rate, this is unique for me because like I said for 5 straight years at any given moment I was ready to drop everything and leave for OCS. I don;t know maybe getting older you start to think more rational. It’s not OCS or being a Naval Officer that is defferring me. It’s the 10 year contract and the thought of not getting out until I’m almost 40 is a crude awakeing suddenly. Being 21.. and think about a ten year contract is different than almost turning 27 and getting involved in a ten year contract.

My passion for flying will never change but my family always comes first. I do appreciate your thoughts, but I don’t agree just yet with the automatic no go. Is your son close with you? And how often do you get to see him? I’m sure it is much different though seeing how you were Marines, and your son was too and is now officer. My parents were never military so obviously they’d rather see me not leave but, I think after a year or so in it will prob be easier once I have adjusted..

Just a lot on my mind with it. Most candidates are younge and have the mentality they will never get hurt.. This getting older stuff stinks ;)


Mag September 12, 2011 at 6:41 PM

Yeah, I have an opinion. You must be out of your mind to consider giving up the chance of a lifetime to stay at home with your folks. Everyone is getting older and everyone eventually dies. Your parents had their yougth and now it is your turn to live out yours. Plus, I am absolutely sure your parents would get on your case if they heard you thinking like this. They want you to go after your goals just as much as you want them for yourself.

Also, you are not signing a death sentence by becoming a Naval Aviator. You will have holidays and vacations to spend with your family. Stop thinking like this and concentrate on your application package….or just pass on your flight spot to me if you don’t want it. LOL


John T. bones September 12, 2011 at 7:01 PM

Lol.. I aint giving it up just yet.. And I get what you’re saying. How old are you btw? I know when I was 22-23.. I didn’t care much about family lifestyle.


Mag September 12, 2011 at 7:08 PM

I am a 27-yr old female and as a matter of fact, I also have a degree in Aerospace Engineering. The Navy did not want to work with my on an OCS packet because I would need an age waver for a flight position.

So I am working with the Marine Corps now. They are always short of women so I can probably get an age waver there.

Do you have a facebook?

John T. bones September 12, 2011 at 7:11 PM

yes, what is your email? I’ll link you to me.

Mag September 12, 2011 at 7:14 PM

Don’t want to give out my e-mail on here. Find me on facebook with “Magdalena Szypulski”.

John T. bones September 12, 2011 at 7:20 PM


John T. bones September 12, 2011 at 6:55 PM

If I actually leave for OCS.. I wouldn’t quit. That is not an option for me. When I do something I stick with it. The only way I would be leaving OCS would be because of medical. I’m a very motivated person.. And honestly I’ve been working towards this goal all throughout College.. I think it’s just being around my family more and seeing them every day now is what makes the thought of leaving again hard. I have a science degree and used to lack of sleep and long hours of study. Of course OCS is still scary to think about going through all the stress again but like most say it will be worth it in the end.

I think it’s just been such a long process doing all this, and the older one gets the more they think about family and less of themselves.. I’m sure I can’t be the only one who reacted this way before leaving.


RWB September 12, 2011 at 7:11 PM

John T. Bones…Final suggestion. GO FOR IT. The biggest regret I have had in my life is voluntarily giving up the chance for a Navy commission and aviation training. It is an exceptional career with superb training, the best personnel (our military) and a proud heritage. Twelve weeks will pass quickly and you’ll be on the path to success. Since you are okay in math and science, it should be fairly easy academically. All the best. And lastly, though I wrongfully bitched on this site in the past, the military was NEVER bad to me, never singled me out for a hard time. So, again–go for your dream.


John T. bones September 12, 2011 at 7:15 PM

Thanks RWB, it means a lot.. Sometimes it’s the outside opinions that impact me the most. Especially coming from someone who has seem to have been in my shoes at one point. I know that military life is not as free as civilian but it is definatly secure and stable. When I got out I missed every minute of it and wanted to go back .. The desire slowly has faded as I transitioned back into civilian lifestyle but my desire to lead as an officer has never faded.

Thanks again! if you need help with math let me know. :)


John T. bones September 12, 2011 at 7:51 PM

Thanks for the support sir! It is very motivating with the perks you mentioned. And that reminds me again why I worked so hard for something so rewarding. Sometimes I just need a pep talk and a reality check.

And like they say it is a small world. I’ll let you know how things progress on here. Or maybe I can shoot you an alias email on here and we can trade real emails.. It’d be nice to get some real insight from a former DI.

Thanks again!


Bill Foulk September 12, 2011 at 11:30 PM

As a retired Army chief warrant officer, with tours in the Marine Corps and Air Force, I think all of the comments here have an element of validity. However, for me the bottom line is that a person who earns a commission in any of the services stands a good chance of experiencing hardship (particularly with family issues), a huge amount of satisfaction, and happiness (which again will include your family).
Being an OCS graduate in any service is a ticket to learn, to serve, and to positively effect the lives of other, e.g., but being a good leader.
As for as harassment by drill instructors and their equivalents, remember that is mostly gamemanship. Their screaming is not authentic; it is just part of the exercise, and absolutely no candidate should let that run them out of the program. If you get bounced to a “holding company” come back and join the next class; if you are bounced out of that one, I think you will find the third time the charm. You will have sent a message that nothing is going to deter you.
A year after those 90 days are over and you are wearing that commission on your shoulder, OCS will be something you will be pround of and laugh about.


MP September 14, 2011 at 8:23 AM

Completed USMC PLC with an Air Contract back in the mid 1980s. Twenty five + years later, I still occasionally get a knot in my stomach when I am up in the early morning and recall being the next up in line, waiting for the “PT Instructor” to blow the whistle. (Why did I ALWAYS have to take a dump at the very moment?).

I found the PLC program difficult and if the DREAM of one day wearing Gold Wings had not been an obsession , I probably would not have made it through. Chasing those Gold Wings motivated me to push on even with a painful foot injury that I opted to deal with rather then report and risk getting NPQed for. We lost a large percentage of candidates in both PLC Juniors and Seniors , some DORs , some Boarded for performance or integrity issues but the majority I would say, the result of assorted orthopedic injuries , the result of PT or “Humps” ( walking/ RUNNING with a heavily loaded ALICE Pack often over extremely rocky & hilly terrain).

I made it through PLCs, finished my degree, got my commission and a few years later , after getting my 1st choice in Primary, pinned on the Wings Of Gold. Everything that the OSO/USMC told me might happen, DID and then some. USMC was not an easy life but could be a satisfying experience and occasionally a lot of fun. I am still in contact with a lot of Officers and Enlisted Marines I had the pleasure of serving with. I got out when my initial contract ended (just shy of 8 years) and using my military aviation experience, landed what was at the time, one of if not the best airline jobs in the world.

Been a bit of a rocky ride since 2001 with the airlines and I won’t bore anyone with the details but I am still hanging in with 16+ years of airline service and over 10,000 flight hours.

My take on the entire OCS process , you do not have to be Superman to make it through but you have to WANT IT and unless you WANT IT and are willing to put most other aspects of your life on hold to GET IT, don’t bother wasting your time taking a billet from someone who does.


WANTING IT means getting in excellent shape. If you can handle the PT this in itself will make the entire process easier and in many cases earn the respect of your peers and help keep the DIs off your back!

WANTING IT means doing what you are told when you are told to do it as rapidly as you can.

Lastly and perhaps most importantly,


Useless bragging /pissing/moaning & complaining accomplishes NOTHING and only serves to put you on the “skyline” in negative way with both your peers and the staff.

NOTE: IMO “Sick Bay Commandos” get themselves on the skyline FAST and the staff who have seen 1000s of candidates pass through the programs see through this INSTANTLY. If your truly hurt/sick I guess you need to seek treatment but if your plans are to run to the Corpsman for every hang nail, blister or cramp , my money says your likely to not make it through the program.

Again you do NOT have to be Superman/Superwoman, these programs are challenging but designed to be completed by average Joe& Janes who are motivated and dedicated.

Semper Fi and best of luck………………


Mg September 14, 2011 at 2:48 PM

Wow, this is so ironic. I just came home from a Marine Corps PT session that I attend three times a week as preparation for Marine OCS. I get on the computer and read your post and it’s as if the message is directed right at me (with the exception that I do not feel the need to take a dump during PT). LOL!

Your post has been by far the most informative that I have ever read. Finally, someone defined what WANTING IT means.

The reason why I say that this message speaks directly to me is because I came home from PT really low spirited. I recently lost quite a bit of weight and I am out of shape so naturally, I am the weakest link there. Today was extra rough and I expressed myself as “I am not cut out for this”. It is actually really hard to stop being an individual and keep quiet as a mouse considering that we are taught to be unique and outspoken throughout the whole educational system. I have a lot to re-learn. Your post is an eye opener though because it made me realize how bad I make myself look when I make it known that I am going through hell. I just thank God that the young man, fresh OCS graduate, that runs the PT doesn’t let me quit. If it wasn’t for him then the game would be over for me. It’s Marines such as him, who don’t ever give up on you, that make me want to become a Marine and give back to the service.

Another reason why your post speaks to me is because it is comforting to hear that one doesn’t have to be Superman/woman.

I asked my young “DI” after the PT today how does one overcome the powerful urge to give up? When I am in the moment going through PT hell I feel like I am at war with myself. It is actually that mental component that’s the real challenge of PT. The DI told me that I am analyzing things too much and that I should think “just do it!”. Later, I asked my past Jr. ROTC instructor, USMC Maj. Ret., the same question. He stated that I just have to keep doing PT and get into shape. That once you are in shape then it won’t seem that bad. I guess I was looking to hear what people do to keep going when mentally they feel like giving up.

MP, thanks for this post. It is exactly what I needed to hear.


Stan September 14, 2011 at 2:07 PM


Great posts and a lot of informative stuff here. I want to serve and lead amongst the greatest fighting force America has to offer. There would be no greater honor or self pride from such a duty. My biggest issue: family, they would be devasted since they moved to the USA so I can avoid the military. I came here when I was 11 months old and after all the opportunity I’ve had here, I want to give back. Give a little take a little type attitude. I’m not sure how to get it across, especially my mom, that I want to serve.

I’d like to know whether or not I’m competitive or I should pick up the pace a little more. Right now, I’m a math major with a 3.5 GPA starting my 3rd year of college. I have 3 years left because I’m in a 5-year program. My PT score was low – 240ish. Although it was unofficial and I timed everything myself, I can’t help feel that my score seems low compared to people in OCS scoring near or at a perfect 300. I did 15 pull-ups, 80 crunches, 20:10 on the 3-mile. With 2 years remaining until I am eligable for the course b/w Jr. and Sr. year, I think I’ll be able to get my scores up there, right? I play Squash for my college and it’s a more stamina, hand-eye coordination, and mental game, that’s why my strength isn’t there I suppose.

Also, can someone comment on the “mental” aspect of OCS. I’m trying to visualize or at least understand what people mean by intense mental harassment. Is it something like DI’s screaming in your ear after you’ve ran 3 miles with little sleep and you have to accomplish an objective and failure is inevitable while maintaing order in your platoon type of thing. Or is it stress in terms of – “Shit, I have 3 finals tomorrow, none of which I’ve studied for and its 11PM, and they are 85% of my final grade” type stress?

I’m reading One Bullet Away – Nathanial Fick, great read for an prospective candidates like myself.

Thanks for your time.


Mg September 14, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Ofcourse you are competitive. 3.5 GPA in a Math Major, 15-pull ups and a 20:00min run? That’s pretty good. You would need to increase the sit-ups to 100 and pull-ups to 20. With three years to go you have enough time to become a professional athlete. Don’t trip, you are well off.

What service you want to go into? I think you would have a really good shot at getting accepted into the Marine Corps. OCS.


Stan September 14, 2011 at 3:19 PM


I am actually looking into Marine OCS. Out of all the branches they appeal to me the most tradition, camraderie, espirt de corps, etc. I also like the fact that their requirements are so high. I would feel safer in combat with equally as trained men. However, I respect all officers in all branches. My father was a NCO in the AF. I considered AF, but in reality, I would much rather do Marines. It’s just that they seem to be crazy athletic, and while I consider myself quite athletic, I am by no means at D1 football player on scholarship. I’m a D1 Squash player. :) Not sure if that says anything haha.

In the book, One Bullet Away, the author was running a 16 something 3-mile and had a perfect 300 before OCS even started.

Also, do can you comment on the mental games?

MG September 18, 2011 at 11:41 PM

Stan, sorry it took a while to respond.
I cannot comment on the mental aspect of OCS because I’ve never been to OCS. I am working with the Marine Officer Recruiter on my application packet. I work out with the Marine Officer Candidates three times a week and and so I see the competitiveness of the average male applicant to Marine OCS. Based on what I observe I can say that you are well off. Biggest thing you got going for you is your college major. The fact that you chose a technical major puts you in a very good position. On top of that you have an awesome GPA; although even if your GPA was lower it would still be ok because like I said you chose a challenging major. Also, you are athletic and that pretty much makes you “golden” in the eyes of the Marines. I have seen people with “easy” majors and low GPA’s get selected. My guess it’s because they were physically fit.

You are so much better off than me. I have an Aerospace Engineering degree but a very low GPA. I am also struggling with the fitness aspect. I started out very overweight and out of shape but I know that the body bounces back quickly if you are consistent. On top of everything I will need an age waver, arrest waver and another waver for having permanent make-up on my face. But it is what it is and I am still not giving up hope. I guess being a woman I have an advantage in the Marines.

What I am trying to communicate is that you sound like you are going to have a strong application for all the reasons I described above. And even though I can’t comment on the mental aspect of OCS, that is really the least of my worry. The Marines are far more about the Physical than mind games. Plus, the yelling and the mind games are just games and its so obvious that they are fake. I actually think the mind games are quite amusing and they really keep things interesting.

So just work out, keep up the good grades and start your application like a year before you graduate. Oh, and I wouldn’t worry about what your family thinks about this. You want to do it and that’s the bottom line. It’s your life and you are in charge. Plus, people come to America in pursuit of the “American Dream”. If you don’t follow your dreams then that defeats the purpose of coming here in the first place. (I came to America when I was 14 so I know what I am talking about when it comes to the American Dream).


Bill Foulk September 19, 2011 at 12:45 AM

In the latest class to graduate from Navy OCS there was a foreign born candidate who came to the U.S. at the age of 12; he did not speak a word of English when he arrived. He was dropped during beat down week because of physical problems. After spending 10 day in the HC he started again and was DQd by a DI for a multitude of gigs. Is that the end of the story? No, he entered his third class and percivered getting the highest score in his class on the PT exam and some of the highest academic grades. Last Friday he was commissioned and was designated as a Distinguished Graduate. The moral to that story is DON’T GIVE UP!


Stan September 19, 2011 at 2:43 PM

Do you guys think OCS competition for all branches will be brutal these coming years? It seems that we will be pulling out of the middle east within a year or two and the military might be downsized greatly. Do other people forsee competition for officer spots to be huge?


Bill Foulk September 19, 2011 at 6:05 PM

Yes, the need for military officers is probably going to decrease dramatically. The competition for OCS slots will be brutal. On the positive side, that process should produce more qualified candidates.


AD October 3, 2011 at 3:59 PM

Hello, I have a question. And I’d appreciate if anyone could give me their most honest opinion….

I am very interested in going into the Navy OCS, but the “leadership” aspect of graduating the school is what I’ve been worrying about. I am a quiet, socially deviant type of person. I speak slowly, struggle maintaining eye contact, have a low voice, get nervous during interviews and meeting new people, and am the type of person that can make other people “uncomfortable”.

I understand 50% of the evaluation is leadership and I can “fake it” to some degree, when forced, but otherwise i prefer deferring that role. (The other parts of the evaluation I would be naive enough to say wouldn’t be that difficult. I’m pretty strong and pretty quick, and am blessed with a masters in engineering). And military life sounds like something I can transition into and even identity myself with/as because I’ve always have had a “just deal with it”, submissive personality.

I really believe I can “get into” the school. But my “leadership”/communication skills will not be up-to-par with the rest of the candidates. I have lead a couple project teams in school, I’ve tutored students, and can do powerpoint presentations with maintaining some dignity, but my personality is very…. “nervous and fidgety”…. although I can fake confidence and leadership a little bit, I am 100% sure the instructors would see through it.

But maybe I am taking “leadership” out of context. I just don’t know…. BTW a honest opinion, I CAN handle :)


Rick October 3, 2011 at 4:35 PM

To be honest with you (which is what you asked for), if you don’t KNOW that you can tackle the leadership aspect of OCS, then you can’t. Plain and simple. OCS is physically tough, but the whole point of it is not to create 3% body fat super sailors. The physical aspect is there to test your discipline and your resolve. If you cannot perform under EXTREME pressure and stress, you will not receive that gold bar. You have to want it more than anything, as the original article posted here states, and even that may not be enough. I went in 2009 and I truly wanted it and could handle the mental stress, but my shoulder gave out and I was NPQ’d (Not Physically Qualified). Spent 6 weeks in H-Class so I can tell you about the mental-only side (I couldn’t do PT due to my shoulder so physical was a non-issue for me during those 6 weeks).

Bottom line – OCS is designed to take you as a green civilian and in 12 weeks turn you into a Naval Officer – the PINNACLE of military leadership. You cannot fake it. The DIs and Chiefs and class LTs have been doing this for years. They will know that your heart is not in it and you will get “extra attention” until they get you to quit. I saw this happen more than once in my time at Newport. And that’s the way it should be. It’s a brutal system, but it’s quite effective. And I’m damn glad to know that the men and women commanding our fleet had to pass such rigorous stresses.

If you don’t WANT to be a leader, OCS is just not for you. That’s not to say you couldn’t do great things in the Navy – esp with a Master’s in Engineering. Talk to a recruiter. If you want to be in the military, but want to be the guy doing his job, rather than the guy responsible for getting everyone else to do their jobs – go enlisted. You’ll be much happier there than if you go to OCS. Feel free to contact me with any more questions you have. I may not be a naval officer today, but I know first hand what it takes to become one and have the utmost respect for those who made it through and the men & women who mold them into who they are on the day they receive their commission.


AD October 3, 2011 at 5:10 PM


John T. bones October 4, 2011 at 4:03 AM

SNA alternate select.. Getting closer! Thanks again for the inspiration.


S.Sullivan October 6, 2011 at 6:36 AM

I found this, and the following commentary by various factions, to be extremely enlightening. Thank you for the honest and introspective view on your experience.

I myself have been looking to join a service as an officer for sometime. I tried for Marine OCS during August ’10, but the selection boards were extremely competitive. Physically, I managed to score a 1st class PFT– 26:21 3 mile (so slow), 60 sec hang time, and 94 crunches– and I had a 3.67 GPA, proficiency in 2 foreign languages, 3 good LORs. But was still a non-select.

A year later, I’m teaching English in Korea, and I’ve been looking into both Navy and Army OCS. I’m hoping to scrabble for some kind of intel slot. I’m still in good physical shape, and I’m hoping my foreign languages (Arabic and French, possibly some Korean) can help make me a little more competitive. October looked like a really bad month for officer selection via OCS, so here’s hoping the field eases up a little.

Actually, could I get some feedback as to my competitiveness? I’m 24, female, I can do 2 miles in about 16:00, ~80 situps in a minute (~90 crunches), and I’m guessing something like 30-35 pushups a minute. 3.67 GPA English, 2 minors, French and Arabic, 2-2+ proficiency in each. Year’s worth teaching in Korea, countless hours working on a dairy farm.

Thanks in advance. Any advice would be much appreciated.


A. Smart October 6, 2011 at 6:34 PM

plenty competitive… the only way to really find out is to submit!


Magdalena October 23, 2011 at 1:16 AM

I’ve written a long and personal story above in posting # 184. I have come a long way since that posting. I made enormous improvements and I am beginning to think that maybe I just may have it in me to survive OCS. Since then I improved my Marine Corps. PFT score from 152 to 275 and I passed the ASTB.

However, I just received a big blow a couple days ago. My Marine OSO told me that I do not qualify for either Pilot or an NFO based on Anthropometrical measurements. I am supposedly too small. I am 61.5″ in height. Per “NAMI Waiver Guide” individuals between 60″-78″ have a likelihood of qualifying for NCO and therefore should have Anthro measurements taken to determine compatibility. My Anthro was done by a full-time Marine F/A-18 pilot in a conference room at a small public airport. It was a part of a field trip that my Marine Officer Recruiter arranged for the OCS applicants.

Is it wrong for me to think that I should have the opportunity to have Anthro performed by a qualified medical professional? Per NASC website “anthropometric measurements obtained by any one other than CNATRA/NASC Anthropometric Specialist will not be considered official.” It is my guess that jet pilots usually don’t have time to become CNATRA/NASC Anthropometric Specialists on their time off from flying. Am I making a correct assumption here?

My Officer Recruiter gave me the option to continue my OCS application with a ground contract. It is upsetting to know that there is another Joe/Jane out there getting measured by NAMI right now, but I’ve been disqualified based on measurements taken by a fighter jet pilot. Does this seem like equal opportunity? I don’t know if getting measured by NAMI would produce different results. But I read in other comment threads of applicants failing Anthro the first time but then going to NAMI and miraculously qualifying. The possibility that I could be one of those people is not allowing me to accept this setback.

Would someone please offer advice? Should I press my recruiter to send me to NAMI for an official Anthro evaluation? Maybe I am wrong in my thinking; if so then please correct me.


Arthur November 2, 2011 at 7:24 PM

If women can make it through OCS, it can’t be that hard. Bud/s doesn’t allow women for a reason, it’s too tough for them. Anyone been through that and SERE? Then sit down.


Parse March 22, 2012 at 11:08 PM


They go easy on the women and just ignore most of the requirements for them, plus their physical requirements are laughably bad for the most part. Maxing out pushups as a woman wouldn’t even get the passing requirement as a male, the run is a little close but still very lopsidedly easy for females, and for some reason the situps though are about even. I don’t really understand that part.

Usually the males at OCS have to cover for the females and the DIs just roll their eyes and pretty much just ease up on the females. There are also some tricks that are used to get the females through but that does make it easier for the males too I guess in some instances (like you always put them in front for outpost or set pace for them on the runs).

90% of the female officers out of Navy OCS clearly are not qualified and were just handed their commissions. It just makes the Navy weak and I know a lot of the older generations really resent it, especially with how the Navy just promotes women up over the more qualified men because they want to be politically correct. I guess it hasn’t compromised us really yet because overall there still aren’t as many female officers, but that’s changing over time.


Andy February 15, 2012 at 11:12 PM

Hello everyone,

I just want to thank everyone for their contributions on this page. It has been EXTREMELY helpful. I admire all who have served. I am a senior at a university and will be getting my BA in August, majoring in International Business. I am doing an internship at a small customs brokerage and international freight forwarding company. This professional experience has had me thinking of my future and career.

I have always admired individuals who were in the military. My two roommates in college were in the Marines. It has always been something in the back of my mind, but lately it has really haunted me. I want something more with my life and want to be apart of something big. But at the same time, their are a lot of sacrifices in military life. My family, friends, girlfriend, etc. I would miss them dearly. At the same time, I have to focus about me and my career.

I’m not positive if the military is for me, but it’s something that I could see myself doing in the future. I was thinking the Supply Corps Officer would fit well with my business background and it definitely interests me a lot. I want the opportunities to travel and become apart of something important and worthwhile… I want to feel proud to tell someone what I do for a living.

Another concern of mine is the OCS program. I definitely consider myself in above average shape, but running endurance has never been a strong attribute of mine. I am more of a sprinter. I play rugby and workout every other day, but running 3 miles a day, 4 times a week somewhat concerns me. Also, the mental toughness and stress also concerns me. My current GPA is 3.2.

I am going to continue with school for now, but the Navy OCS has been in the back of my mind for the past couple of days and hence has led me to read this article thread. For now, I will continue with my studies and work, but something is telling me if I don’t do this experience it will haunt me for the rest of my life.

Any advise and feedback on my career or story would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you all once again.


Roy February 19, 2012 at 2:02 PM

I have enjoyed reading this web site and all the comments. Good Luck to all of you. I graduated from college with a liberal arts degree, went off to grad school. I quit grad school because it was about the stupidist thing that I have ever encountered. This was 1964/65. Talked to a Navy recruiter, learned about OCS, joined up, went to Newport in January of 1965, class 509, almost froze to death in a WW2 barrack, it was Hell for a month, graduated May 14, 1965. The guys in my Company were and will always be the greatest guys that I have ever had the pleasure of being with. Went to the 6th Fleet – Med – ( home ported on Sardenia ) then transfered to 2nd Fleet on a ship out of California. Served as 2nd Lt., 1st Lt., OOD underway, CDO, Navigator, Division Officer, etc. If I could have been a LTJG in Southern California forever, I would have done it. Had a great time with great Southern California girls in the crazy late 60′s. Enjoyed the whole thing with excellent fitness reports. Got out in 1968, went home, had a profitable civilian career, then retired in 2005. I would recommend Navy OCS and the managment skills learned in the Navy to all young men and women. I am a better person because of that experience. It remains a high point in my life that I am most proud of. Go Navy. Roy Tyson


Roy February 19, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Oh yeah, forgot to mention that Sen. John Kerry and the late Ken Lay, of Enron fame, were graduates of Navy OCS Newport at or about the same time. Didn’t have the pleasure of their acquaintance.


navy seal February 22, 2012 at 7:14 PM

Did someone say Marines are the most “elite” fighting force? Really? Hmmm…last time I checked the Navy SEALs are doing all the secret missions that no other military service can do. So, if Marines are the most elite fighting force, then what does that make the Navy SEALs? I’m sure the one commenting about that is a Marine. Go figure!


Ky February 28, 2012 at 9:42 AM

The fighting about Navy v. Marines is really unnecessary, because we’re all on the same team, just doing different things. Oh, as well as saying it can’t be that tough if women can make it through. Disrespectful to your shipmates..I don’t know why you’re even in the military.

Past that, if you’re thinking about becoming an officer, I can definitely say it’s a tough road. However, it is certainly worth the pain and struggle for 12 weeks.
I have been in Newport now since October. I have been in Med-Hold, which is a branch of student pool for those that were hurt and are planning on returning to the regiment after being healed. I had a fractured hip and fractured femur from the first four weeks of OCS. Because of the amount of things that can hold you back, motivation will probably be your biggest hurdle. All of the people that I’ve seen DOR are people who didn’t have the mental strength to push through. Most DORs come from H-Class, which is where you go if you roll from any evolution (outpost, RLP, PFA, etc.), it tests your motivation because you have to deal with being here for another three weeks. If you can push yourself through, however, from H-Class or Med-Hold, you get to see a different view of the command where you really do learn the game. The RDCs and DIs are here to test you, that’s the point. The test lasts 12 weeks, then they’ll salute you. They’re having fun with what they do, and you have to respect them for being able to bring you to a point of questioning and learning why you made it this far. You have a lot of people that helped you get to OCS, and they want you to prove yourself, why those people vouched for you and why you got yourself here. I could go on for hours, but the point is-
research what you’re getting yourself into. It’s a challenge, but it’s do-able.

Good luck.


Latido March 14, 2012 at 7:11 PM

Any time training is mentioned of some sort, I always see one too many Marines either officers or enlisted come out and say how much the Marines training are tougher, and how much more work they are doing in the middle east compared to the Army, Navy and Air Force. I even had one trying to convince me that the newly established MARSOC is better than SEALs. I asked him “does the Marine Corps pride itself on traditions and history?” He answered “Yes. It is our existence.” Then I said, “How dare you deny the tradition and history of the SEALs.” He was silent for too long. I do think rivalry is fine, at least when done in a jovial manner, but the Marines take it to far. The comparisons are unnecessary and at end of the day it is simple – whatever branch of service you are in, either officer or enlisted, do your job and do it well.


Parse March 22, 2012 at 11:20 PM

Eh…I actually get along better with Marines and oddly I seem to have more Marine friends than Navy (although obviously I am on very good terms with my Naval officer peers). I think it’s more how you personally carry yourself, or maybe it’s just the luck of who you run into.

The Marines are notorious for getting drunk, so you might be running into them when they’re drunk. Just leave if that happens, and nobody is even going to remember it, and you certainly shouldn’t.

USMC is pretty much Navy anyway. They’re just the light infantry portion since sailors don’t want to do the bulk of the ground assault, and I’m not quite sure why the Army is incapable of handling it. As a sailor I respect the Marine Corps and am glad that they are working with us, because I certainly don’t want to handle that. I’m a sailor, not ground infantry.

Oh and the irony of everything is that if you’re stationed somewhere like Qatar, where all of the branches are, you’ll notice that it doesn’t even matter. When I was in Qatar the PRT stud was some guy from AF. Usually everyone knocks the Air Force but there are PT studs there too.


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Vee March 23, 2012 at 2:39 PM

I read this right before leaving for OCS and I wonder if that had an effect on me. In my case I thought I really did want to serve but after getting there and being there I realized that there was no way I’d want to give up 20 years of freedom in order to get a pension, and that was a big reason I was leaving the private sector for OCS. You can get a pension doing a state or federal job though, and while it won’t be as good as the military pension, you’ll have a lot more freedom in the meantime.

I’m still a big believer in Navy OCS but I think it’s best for people that are a bit younger and haven’t established themselves professionally. I spent time in student pool on my way out and I certainly don’t think the mood was depressing at all, the med poolers were itching to get back in, and the DORs were all excited to get out and go back to their lives in the civilian world. H-Class I hear is the one that is really depressing.

The military just isn’t for everyone. OCS isn’t the fleet either, but still it’s an environment to learn from and it’s where you find out if you’d be okay with deployments or military service in general. You can train beforehand and tell yourself a lot of things to hype yourself up but in the end this is one of those rare things in life where you’re not going to really know until you’re there. It isn’t really the stress either imo, it’s really the freedom aspect.


misstennessee March 26, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Hi all,
My name is Lindsay and I am currently looking into career in the military. I am a senior at the University of Tennessee and was a D1 student athlete as well as a member of a sorority (I realize this may seem irrelevant, but it shows I am capable of working with a broad range of personalities). I will graduate with a degree in Psychology… and with a mediocre GPA unfortunately (2.75′ish). I am very personally motivated and capable of pushing through the training. Furthermore, I have a winners mentality and hate to lose. While researching the different branches of the military and OCS for each type, I am really drawn to the Coast Guard and to the Navy. A cousin of mine is a Commander in the Navy and is truly inspiring. My question isn’t really about how difficult the process is, but if I would be accepted into either program. I understand they are both highly competitive and was curious as to whether or not I would have a chance in either branch. I really would appreciate any feedback or advice any of you could give me. Thanks!


BDL April 5, 2012 at 8:33 PM

I’m a grad of Navy OCS and a prior enlisted man that served in combat operation in Iraq, ect. The majority of my enlisted career consisted of me working with Marines or at NSW. I must say, Navy OCS is by far harder than enlisted boot camp. However, nothing like the stresses of being down range, but an annoyance to say the least.

As for USMC vs USN OCS- My friend, a USMC OCS grad, said they had weekends off and it really wasn’t that big of a deal (understand he is a prior grunt with combat experience). When I explained my experience at USN OCS, he was surprised and laughed saying “that sucks”. Always taking humor in my misery. Lol

There will always be some inner service rivalry, which can be fun and good for morale. But at the end of the day, we all lean each other so we can bring everyone home together. And anyone that gets hot and bothered otherwise, needs to go down range and chew a little dirty.


Elisa April 10, 2012 at 7:38 PM

Thanks for sharing. Can I chat with you sometime?


goodoldrebel April 16, 2012 at 9:27 AM

OCS is a way for those with useless majors to get an ego boast. Anyone can parade around in a uniform and basically that’s what the goal is– parading around with a badge on your collar. I know this sounds cynical but what rational being truly wants to be subject to UCMJ for any period of time. Life goes by fast, so why imprison yourself that way just for some carrots (pension etc.).


Jim April 18, 2012 at 2:30 PM

@ “Good old rebel” Could you please disclose a little bit about your background. Were you dropped on your head as a child? Did your daddy make “special” visits to your bedroom after everyone else had gone to sleep? I am asking these questions cause clearly – VERY clearly – there is something wrong with you.


goodoldrebel April 18, 2012 at 4:03 PM

I must have hit a nerve. Let me dumb the conversation down to your level – When did you fall off a cabbage truck? If you received a commission, the military is really desperate.

Brandan April 17, 2012 at 9:59 AM

A pretty heated arugment it seems. I cannot comment ether way on Marine vs Navy OCS. I do have a question that I would ask anyone who knows and cares to respond. I was in the Marine Corps for 6 years and now found a calling to Navy Chaplaincy. I am currently in the Direct Commission program and waiting to go to ODS in Newport. Does anyone having any experience or knowledge about the Navy ODS program. I know that ODS is shorter than OCS, but what kindof things should I expect, i.e. Marine DIs or Navy DIs…Physical Demands, daily routines/schedules, liberty oppertunities. Anything would be helpful to know. Also, does anyone know if you have to front the money for Uniforms etc, or will that take it out of your pay like enlisted boot camp does?

Thanks. -B


Don April 20, 2012 at 10:20 PM

Holy Crap! Unbelievable that what everyone took from this article was the very slight and innocent reference to Marine OCS. The writer was simply trying to state that OCS was much more difficult than he anticipated. He could have, and should have, left out the reference to Marine OCS without taking anything away from the point of his writing.
I thought the article was both interesting and informative. To me the writer shared an intimate experience while in the process of learning an important life lesson.
Congratulations Mr. Fisk on a fine article, I hope your chosen career brings you peace.
One of my former flight students is in the April 15, 2012 class at Newport and I wish him well.
Best Regards,
Viet Nam vet, retired pilot.


Interested April 28, 2012 at 3:20 AM

What I’m wondering is how many people read this article, went through OCS, and what their take was? I see many of the people who didn’t complete OCS, but any opinions of those who made it through?


Roy April 28, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Interested: Good Question. I went through Navy OCS, Newport. Went where they sent me, two ships, got out at the end of my 3 year tour and returned to civilian life. I knew many that completed Navy and Marine OCS and boot camps and did their jobs. They got a real education. A lot washed out. Knew a few of them too. The wash outs seemed to regret this part of their life, at least in their later years, even after the “Peace” movement was long forgotten. For those that made honorably through OCS/boot camp, did their tours, went where they were sent, did their job well and served their country can all sit at the Table with pride. The Navy and Marines tend to sit together at the Table and rib each other. The Jarheads still can’t get over the fact that the Navy abandoned them at Guadalcanal. They are always politely informed that Jarheads should be happy that the Navy dumped them any where. The point is that you have an invitation to the Table, where ever you live, to be in respected companionship with all veterans, Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. You did your duty. You still know how to stick together in mutual respect. It is OK to not agree with or even like each other. These people are good contacts in life. Washouts cannot honestly bring that to the Table. Many will try. I wish you the very best in life.


Dan May 22, 2012 at 3:53 PM

I am a Criminal Justice student at Iona College. I am seriously considering starting my career in the criminal justice system with military experience and training. I am trying to decipher between enlisting and going for OCS. I know the Navy is where I want to be. My Grandfather survived pearl harbor and the Philippines, my father was a mechanic, and uncle an engineer, all In the Navy. I am NOT in the best shape of my life, however I am in decent shape. I do second guess myself, but I have a strong feeling that the Navy is something I MUST do before it is too late. How much of a shock is OCS for a non-enlisted individual with no military experience?


goodoldrebel May 23, 2012 at 8:38 AM

Just stay with the program no matter how tired you are. When you think of quitting just say to yourself–’what else do I have to do”–This should get you back on track.–In the end you’ll be so happy to get those bars.


Steve May 23, 2012 at 10:45 PM

Where you not just stating how the program is an “Ego Boost” for individuals with useless degrees a few posts ago, now you’ve got on the motivater hat. You are either tool or a turd, you choose.

goodoldrebel May 24, 2012 at 10:03 AM


Sounds like the signals scrambled in your head from day one are still scrambled. Apparently your cognitively an adolescent.

Roy May 24, 2012 at 12:52 PM

At least he didn’t say that he “must have hit a nerve” somewhere. He’s a liberal turd that was droped on his head by his mommy.


Jim May 24, 2012 at 3:00 PM

I see “goodoldboyrebelahole” is still hiding his true identity as the presumptive coward he most assuredly must be.

Roy: If you wish, contact me directly at Would love to share/compare OCS experiences.

Jim George
LCDR USN (ret)


goodoldrebel May 24, 2012 at 4:52 PM


You sound like the epitome of mindlessness. Can you respond with something beyond primary school vocabulary? Are your communication skills that limited? Are you that much of a bubblehead?

Roy May 28, 2012 at 4:57 PM

Dan: A criminal justice degree is a valuable worthwhile education. Your fine family is deep blue Navy. Go for it. Forget about bad sports like olerebel, let him stay hidden. Military Justice is a great place to be. I had no military background or family. The last person in my family that was in the military was in the Confederate Army. I worked at it and did fine. It was a great education, much better than an MBA. Good Luck. Roy


goodoldrebel May 29, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Roy, you truly have the personality of a wet rag. What can you contribute of substance to this blog beside adolescent nonsense and shallow digs consisting of zero substance? The military would be truly dumbed down if it emulated you.


Zach M June 29, 2012 at 2:26 PM

Like a lot of people on this thread, I too am contemplating at least applying for Navy OCS. I’ll follow the general pattern here and point out attributes/accomplishments of myself (egoistic as that may be) and if anyone has feedback/criticisms in terms of how competitive this makes me for OCS or how successful I might turn out in the program, I would greatly appreciate it. I just graduated cum laude with a 3.74 GPA in Kinesiology this spring. I also minored in Philosophy. I am one of those weirdos who like running and being in shape; I am a marathon runner (~3 hours 10 minutes) but I am also doing Tough Mudders and things of that nature this summer in order to get into better overall shape. I captained my xc and track and field teams in high school. My only jobs have been in restaurants, but nothing managerial. The only leadership-orientated things I have done are being a Teacher’s Assistant for the highest undergrad class in the Kin department and I have been a substitute teacher for middle school and high school during my winter breaks. I also used to tutor math back in high school (best job ever – $35 an hour!). Definitely more of a quiet/bookish type than loud or loquacious. Before this starts to sound too much like an ad on or something like that, I’ll stop here. Again, any feedback will be much appreciated. Thanks for your time.


Brandon D December 11, 2012 at 1:07 AM

Hi Zach, there is no “model background” for a naval officer. From John Paul Jones to today’s surface warfare officer, people from all different backgrounds have been great, good, (and bad!) Navy officers!

One of the best submarine officers that I served with was a history and finance major in college, while most of us were engineers. There is no “perfect” background for any designator.

Let me work on a few of your questions:
* Your degree in Kinesiology might be great prep for some designators; might not be allowed for some like cryptology. You’ll have to figure out what you want to do, and maybe even apply for several designators.
* I did some student government in college, but I know that some of my OCS classmates were bookish/quiet like you and didn’t have “leadership experience” prior to the Navy. Not an application killer.
* You seem to be in good shape… that was one problem I had with OCS; I showed up in ok physical shape, but no where near where I should have been. You would be a great candidate – physically.

Anyway, if you haven’t decided yet whether to apply, reply to my comment and we can chat some more.


Zach M December 17, 2012 at 3:21 PM

Hi Brandon, thanks for taking the time to submit this helpful response. I am still contemplating this option. What is your Navy/OCS background? If it is easier, my email is I am obviously trying to use as many resources as possible and acquire different perspectives about this process/career, so anything you think would be helpful would be great. Thanks a bunch again for your time.

J.A. July 6, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Well I had a blast in OCS, and an even bigger blast in Newport. It wasn’t that hard. In fact the only hard thing was the floor – my roommate and I were both mustangs (rommie was a SEAL 6 CPO getting commissioned) and we both slept on the floor, underneath our racks, wrapped in a blanket that we “liberated” from unused areas of OCS, and a couple of poncho liners. Why? ‘Cause we totally made perfect racks and were not about to put a single wrinkle on them.

But back to the original statement. OCS wasn’t that hard. I just cruised by, staying out of the DI’s radar picture, while enjoying the weekend regularly nailing a company upperclassman (Hello, Kammermeyer!) and a company classmate (WASSUP, Margaret!!)


Don July 7, 2012 at 11:12 AM

My friend I mentioned earlier graduated OCS July 6, 2012. Heading for Pcola flight training. He said it was the most rewarding and fulfilling experience he has ever had and it most certainly will always be one of his life’s pivotal moments and proudest memories.

“When all the mountains climbed, all the rivers crossed and all the pages turned, all we have left are memories. Might as well make them good ones.” – Don
Vet, Retired Pilot


Roy July 8, 2012 at 2:01 PM

J.A. : Newport back in the winter of ’65, we slept under our racks for the same reason with the same rat shit surplus blankets. But, we did have perfect racks. Does Newport still attract seas of Fall River Debutants to the Viking Hotel bar?


hanniel December 19, 2012 at 2:29 AM

Howdy yall.

I’m getting my bachelor in Nuclear engineering and going into grad school. I’d really want to join the navy because of the training they offer and the experience, and i pretty much see myself working for the government.
However i would really want to ask what you guys think?
Should i go directly or get that master degree before end?
Should i take the civilian path?
Please email me or reply.
thank you and Merry Christmas (in advance)


Meg January 14, 2013 at 2:36 PM

After working the basic 9 to 5 for almost 9 years I realize I want more out of life. Just getting up for a paycheck just isn’t cutting it for me anymore.
Female with a political science degree
Not married or children
No record not even a traffic ticket
Attended a division I college on an athletic scholarship

I’m on the older side 31 but still physically fit. What are my chances of getting into the OCS? I feel that because I don’t have a technical degree, or speak a high in demand language my chances are limited. I haven’t spoken to recruiter yet because I want to make sure I have all my ducks in a row sort of speak before sitting down with one. Anyone that could give me input I would really appreciate it.


Joey March 23, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Most of you guys are out of your minds. For marines your pride and stupidity is what’s gonna get you killed. For army you guys get killed over stupid stuff that happens in your own base without any “ENEMIES” around. Navy and Air Force have it easy but I gotta say if you join the navy and the Air Force your pretty dang smart. For marines and army you guys kinda tend to die a lot so OCS may be tougher but you still die first. I rather stay in the back not because I’m a coward but because I’m smart enough to know what’s gonna kill me. So all you hard asses that think your big cause your in the marines, you can’t flex your body if your dead!


Whodathunkit March 28, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Should you be interested in becoming a commissioned officer the transformation is interesting from having served as enlisted. I spent nearly 17-years Navy enlisted before I made that transition. As enlisted I gave fleeting thoughts over the years about the CWO program or LDO program but choose the route of direct commissioning in the medical field. Over time as a career sailor my realization became that at the end of your career all you really have is retirement pay which is a common denominator with any employer, civilian or military. Simply, commissioned officers will retire with more pay than enlisted; a good motivator when you’re thinking about a full career and what lies afterward. That realization is still valid today, but boy did I grow personally and professional after becoming a commissioned officer.

I agree with other comments, who cares whose OCS is tougher; the bottom line is its entry level to begin with. Once you are commissioned you are still learning, making mistakes along the way, honing leadership skills, understanding the politics that is inherent with rank, and somewhere along the way you become a professional officer. After spending nearly 17-years enlisted it took me almost 4-years before I felt I was a professional officer. I can tell you that every day I remember my enlisted roots, however 16-years later as a commissioned officer I can also say that I am a better person and certainly better prepared to enter into retirement financially. Having served both enlisted and commissioned has afforded me many opportunities I would not have experienced otherwise, a direct hot line to my old enlisted buddies for advice as well as a direct hotline to Flag officers. Many more doors opened for career choices as a commissioned officer that I know with certainly I would have not experienced as enlisted. We all have regrets in life, but if you are afforded the opportunity to become a commissioned officer of any of the seven uniformed services do not pass it up. It’s a humbling experience to lead from the front, and the personal and professional growth is unmatched.


goodoldrebel April 10, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Enlisted sailors usually make the best officers because they can truly empathize with the sailors. Anyway, what I was surprised at was how out of shape most OCS candidates were. OCS seems to be just a test of how long can you function with extreme sleep deprivation, I guess based on the logic that if your under attack for an extended period of time, how will you function. I don’t think that this idea is still applicable to today’s world as it sounds more like the ‘kamakazi’s attacking’ image rather than today’s warfare scenerio. Anyway, I think that being in good shape should be rewarded at OCS yet really its not as I saw many overweight candidates graduate. I mean really overweight (major love-handles) like you had to butter their hips just to get them through the p-way.


Nate August 2, 2013 at 11:40 PM

You are completely wrong. Being prior enlisted has no bearing on whether or not one is a good or bad officer; all it means is that you kept your nose clean and got the right recommendations. There are just as many bad officers with prior enlisted experience as there are good officers.

easy April 22, 2013 at 1:39 AM

“Beatings”?…I highly doubt it ,boyo. I’ve never been to OCS : I’m one of the “little people” who WORK for a living.USCG basic a couple weeks after H.S. graduation,(D121SCD),/ served ’85-’95 with two tours polar class (WAGB10&11). I suggest you stow your crap and just go back home to your mamas’ basement.
Have another Milktoast Day,


wilberforce July 26, 2013 at 2:25 PM

It’s “milquetoast.”


goodoldrebel April 24, 2013 at 12:21 PM

The NCO’s run the military. We all know that. The officers usually create a cluster f*ck when they take command of anything beside brasso polishing their belt buckle. Let’s face it the military would run just fine without any commissioning period and all the pomp and circumstance grandstanding that goes along with all that steaming pile of horsesh*t. This scenerio is very similar to our public school system in that without all the principals, asst. principals, school superintendents etc. parasitically feeding of taxpayer dollars the schools would function just fine.


wilberforce July 26, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Hey, Reb

You mean, all ol’ GW (the original commander-in-chief) had to do was hand his sword to the nearest Minuteman and tell him, “Good luck with defeating one of the world’s best armies”? What was true then is true now… military leadership runs from the top down and back up again. No segment of the org chart can “run the military” by itself. Cooperation and collaboration across the command structure is required to successfully complete the military’s mission.

Wilberforce sends


Ray August 17, 2013 at 4:12 PM


I am a recent community college graduate expecting to transfer to a Cal State school next month. I also have 4 years worth of active duty in the Navy under my belt and am currently in the Selected Reserves (as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate with 2 years of experience working on “legacy” F/A-18C Hornets and the F/A-18E Super Hornet, did 2 deployments aboard the ol’ G-Dub). Recently, I did some community service – making care packages for deployed troops overseas during the “Operation Gratitude” event in a National Guard Armory somewhere in the San Fern Valley area of L.A. and participated as a volunteer booth attendant during a U.S.C. football game last year – and am still looking at other opportunities, especially since I’m transferring to a university next month.

Even though a span of 2 years from now until I get my Bachelor’s seems like a long time, I feel that I’m in the crossroads and need to make up my mind REALLY fast.

I know in my heart that I want to pursue an officer’s commission, but I am not quite sure which one will take me in. I am contemplating in going to either Navy OCS or Air Force OTS, but my ultimate goal is to get either a flying – pilot (aviator)/navigator (NFO/CSO) for either the Navy or Air Force or air battle management officer for the Air Force – slot or, at the least, a spot as an aircraft maintenance officer.

I was wondering if anybody in this blog can give me some, if not all, helpful tips on this. Thanks in advance.


John October 4, 2013 at 7:30 PM

Good blog. I briefly spent time as an AF Officer and attended OTS to earn commission.

Concur that one has to have the primary motivation to serve as an officer above wanting to be a _________ (fill in blank). I left the Active Duty AF early because my primary goal was to advance my career in a technical field that matched my BS degree, not make O-5 or O-6, lead troops in a war zone, or serve as a commander/pentagon bureaucrat in DC.

I had to fight and argue with superiors in order to avoid leaving a meaningful duty assignment where I actually applied technical knowledge and become an executive officer for the commander. At that point, I already had separation paperwork signed and it didn’t affect my career progression at all. If would have stayed in and refused that assignment, the commander could have blocked my promotion and ruined career.

Can’t speak for the Navy, but your 1st job as an AF officer is to be an officer/leader, not a pilot/intel/services/aircraft maintenance person. As you progress in the ranks, you do less and less real work and do more PR/top cover/paperwork for the people working for you.


K October 21, 2013 at 3:59 PM

A thought….for those of you with no prior military experience, you should know that OCS is the easy part. What will be next? Will you be able to hold your own in a wardroom made up of Naval Academy, NROTC, warrants and LDOs? You’ll be looking at years of Naval tradition and experience. When you get to the fleet, will you be able to work crazy hours to prove yourself and will you be willing to take the take the sea intensive duty that will ensure you make rank?
If you love the Navy and don’t feel that just because you have a degree you must be commissioned, have you thought of enlisting? You already possess the maturity to get through boot camp smoothly with your choice of some great career fields including language and intel specialist training right after. You should have no problem passing advancement exams and making rate on time, and if you keep your nose clean, should be pretty much guaranteed a twenty year career. You might even decide to go LDO after several years enlisted experience and become one of those officers that everyone always trusts for the right answers. Or you might realize as you pin on the anchors that Chiefs rule the Navy!
I’m not a recruiter, just a retired CPO who thought about OCS but enlisted instead with a degree. I wanted a career, some leadership experience, overseas travel and a great civilian job upon retirement. When I enlisted in 1980, I knew too many officers who left after only one tour or were passed over for LCDR and had to leave active duty. The gold was short lived and I wanted the career.


Dan November 6, 2013 at 12:37 PM

I DOR’ed after 5 weeks at USMC OCS.

How does DOR’ing affect your employment? I am in the process of applying to the police department and I’m unsure how to answer the question “have you ever served in the US military?”


1062 USNOCS Grad November 15, 2013 at 9:34 PM

Hello All,

Newport, RI OCS…assisted me to partially maximize the potential manhood within me.
Two of my initial company committed suicide during the 4 month school.
FYI, my bachelors degree was in Music and I had not studied math or sciences since High School….so in 2 courses that required “those expertise recalls”…my GPA was below passing.
I faced the court martial setting, fully expecting to be “rolled out”….
TO MY GREAT SURPRISE AND JOY…a Chief stood before the court and said something like this… Sirs, Office Candidate ….., was exceptional in standing his “duty post” in the midst of blowing sleet, rain and snow in pre-dawn hours upon the dates of …..THEREFORE, IT IS THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE OCS TRAINING STAFF…that he be given a “ROLL BACK”….so, to my utter amazement….I was placed into another company at the 2nd month point…and of course brought those GPA levels up and became one of John F Kennedy Ensigns in December of 1962… THANK EACH OF YOU WHO HAVE HONORABLY SERVED, no matter what your position…


Ali January 12, 2014 at 10:23 AM

What kind of discharge do you get when you DOR? Is it Administrative (under honorable conditions), Dishonorable, OTH, ELS, Or something else?

What was the reason you stated for DOR?

I ask because i know someone in the same boat.


SFC Marc A. Singer, US Army (Retired) January 12, 2014 at 11:41 PM

A lot of interesting comments here so here is my two cents: As a graduate of AOC Class 29-69 (yes, 1969) I can attest to the pressure cooker that is called OCS (or, in my case AOCS). Marine DI’s work you hard and my anthropology degree didn’t help with the math. I flunked the math test and had to attend extra instruction in the evening until I could pass. I mean, I didn’t even know what a slide rule was for. You have to really want this to be successful. I made it and spent three years as a commissioned officer. After a ten year break in service I ended up in the army as an E-5 and retired as an E-7. Two great service experiences. If you want it, go for it. Tell yourself don’t quit and you can do it.


FirstTimeBlogger January 22, 2014 at 2:44 PM

Hello All,

I should be hearing back this week as to whether I have been accepted to OCS in the hopes of becoming a SWO (yes, I’ve read about the 18 hour days). I have a BS in Biology, 3.6 GPA, and received high scores on the OAR portion of the ASTB, so I was told me chances are good. I’ve seen some videos on OCS, everything I find seems to say about the same thing… Its tough. I’m a petite girl and feel that its necessary for me to seriously focus on physical preparation, and since so many of the people on here seem to have experience at OCS maybe you guys can give me some training tips. Any specific exercises I should work on? I’ve been doing running and weight lifting for the past month. Any advice at all, for the physical or mental aspects?


Chris January 30, 2014 at 2:29 PM

I appreciate this blog about the experiences you had, first and foremost. It sounds like an honest effort to save others a ton of time, the emotional stress that comes with failing, and embarrassment.

For all of the other ridiculous comments, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves. Being in the military is a tremendous honor and to be an officer is that much higher of an honor. As a former E-5, there was a tremendous amount of pride in putting on the uniform and serving with my comrades every day, regardless of rank. But for those seeking out the career achievement of being an officer in any branch of the military, I hope you succeed and achieve your goal and lead the men and women of the service admirably. God bless and be safe out there.


Tom Murphy February 1, 2014 at 3:09 PM

Navy OCS is the toughest. Know your gouge:


1062 USNOCS Grad March 27, 2014 at 9:51 AM


FYI, wanted to share a surprise honor with you.

Recently, HONORFLIGHT of Ft. Worth invited me and my son to visit the War Memorials in DC.
We have agreed and offer our appreciation for the citizens of the USA who have made this trip and the memorials available.

Also, my wife of 52 years and I have recently moved into Hill Villa Senior Living of Ft. Worth…and I am particularly enjoying the comradeship of many veterans of military duties going back to 1939 to present.
Finally, our best friend and wife here are citizens of England, he was a airplane mechanic with RAF, during WW II…and gave me a TREMENDOUS JOY THE OTHER DAY… in tears, this 93 year old stood at full attention, with his right hand in “the British RAF salute position” and said… “I personally thank you for the service of your companions in Europe. With my team, we followed the D Day American Boys up the Normandy beaches three days after “your lads paid the ultimate sacrifice for Europe, THANK YOU VERY MUCH, SIR”….

Of course, this brought tears of joy and admiration for our “brothers/sisters in harms way”…



SSgt P April 3, 2014 at 6:10 PM


That aside: I enjoyed this read thoroughly. Insider OCS info is so difficult to come by! I’m in the process of getting my conditional release form signed off so I can apply to the Intelligence Officer program. 3.1 GPA, International Relations, 14 years in the Marine Corps (7 in intelligence), three deployments (Iraq and Afghanistan) and hoping that will be good enough.

Honestly, from what I’ve read here and seen in various videos, the first few weeks sound very much like USMC basic. I think it’s going to be a blast! As a 32 year old man though, I forsee the possibility of my pride getting checked; guess I just need to turn up the humble-meter.

I would really like more insight on how the drill instructors act around candidates, particularly what kind of people they like to single out. In USMC basic, I was a fly on the wall most of the time and managed to stay under the RADAR. I think my age and experience may make me a target for the DIs’ “special attention.” Any thoughts?


Michael "Mad Dog" Kelley April 6, 2014 at 8:12 AM

Amazing that this puffball never heard of Navy Aviation Officer Candidate School.

In my class, Class 16-73, we started with 33 Candidates under the loving care of Staff Sergeant L.E. Wills, USMC, and approximately one year later there only 11 of us left to receive our wings. That 67% attrition rate was fairly normal.

If it makes this lightweight feel better about himself to claim that Navy OCS is so “tough” then I guess that is what he needs to get himself past being a quitter.


Joshua April 10, 2014 at 5:10 PM

Gents and Ladies,

I left active duty as a line lieutenant commander, with sea service on various vessels, and a tour on the ground as S-3 for an ETT in Afghanistan. I graduated from Annapolis, and am the son of a U.S. Army Airborne NCO. That out of the way…

To the young people considering commissioned service; you are to be commended for your spirit, but do not think that the path is anything other than the most difficult thing you’ve yet attempted…regardless of service branch. Those experienced enlisted members who have commented that any commissioning program is a “starting point” are absolutely correct. Yes, it is arguably a longer, and harder route to becoming a leader of Marines than sailors…but the difficulty is defined by what you’ll encounter and be responsible for in your future career, not what you endure in a basic training program. Anyone who thinks their experience in OCS, the service academies, or ROTC makes them a military leader, or better than their brother/sister officers is destined for little I fear.

Those who suggest enlisted personnel endure much harder lives than any officer have a valid point from the perspective that no matter who he/she is, a junior enlisted person is asked to do a great deal, for very little pay or recognition. Whatever you as the officer envision as an order is a task for them…and usually an unpleasant one. The best way to understand the difficulty of your sailors’ tasks is to learn what their days are like, and make a visible effort to participate where appropriate in conjunction with advice from your senior enlisted personnel. I once asked Chief to teach me to re-pack the valves in our pump-room; not only did he do it, but chose a time when a quarter of my division could SEE me doing it…it made a large difference when I assigned that task to people later on.

…and there would be NO military without the senior enlisted-period!

As to being “hard”…I’ve had friends die who were Marines, SPEC OPS , “Joe Sailor”, even “Fobbits”…there’s no training program that will make you immortal, and the truly “tough” people I’ve known became so due to a noted presence of discipline, mental agility and loyalty…and you won’t find them “hiding” from any necessary task along the way. If that individual applies themselves to being a Marine, they’ll make it…if they elect to be a sailor, they’ll show outstanding performance there as well.

Ultimately, if you’ve worn the uniform with honor, regardless of service, you’ve exceeded the dedication and commitment of many. However, if you ever get to feeling superior…visit a coal mine or a road crew for a few weeks and you’ll appreciate the fact that there’s always someone who’s got it worse than you do. Civilian life has it’s own demands, and I’m proud to say my military experiences have made some of that easier.


CdrBear April 17, 2014 at 7:37 PM

This is coming from the perspective of a long retired EDO (1445 Engineering Duty Officer) SWO qualified. Irrespective of whatever branch service you’re in, making it through OCS is the EASY part. The difficult part comes after commissioning. The folks for whom you have been granted the privilege to lead don’t really care what you look like or where you came from.

They’re looking to you as a junior officer to evaluate a situation (combat or otherwise) and make the right decision. You will become inundated with stress, noise, information feeds, conflicting data … makes no difference, you need to sort through all of that in a nano-second and issue orders with confidence. Your sailors’ lives depend on your correct decision. Screw up the decision, and you’ll kill a lot of sailors. Make the right, informed decision, and you’ll achieve the objective.


Joshua Gillespie April 21, 2014 at 8:21 AM


Very well said Sir.

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t rex April 27, 2014 at 6:28 AM

I can’t believe what a pussy you are. Ocs was tough, but it was literally the easiest thing I’ve find in the navy so far. Try going through primary, advanced and then the hornet rag and we’ll talk. I’m embarrassed for you.


Bruce May 13, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Graduated from Navy OCS Class 29, May 1, 1959. up until that experience I had never had a serious challenge in my life. Atmosphere at Newport was different then, no DI’s, or the stuff that went with that. I struggled, but had brilliant roomies. Served in the fleet on an LST as 1st LT, later an instructor at Phib base, Coronado. Extended for Berlin mess.
Incredible respect for senior Petty Officers. I had the good sense as a 23 year old brown bar to keep my mouth shut. I look back at my service in the fleet and surviving OCS and respect every minute of it.


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NavyMurph June 1, 2014 at 4:54 PM

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Cuban Pete June 4, 2014 at 11:36 PM

I love all the bitchin and penis envy going on.

I graduated from OCS in 1990.

Was it hard? Not particularly. I was in great, Div 1AA soccer shape. I had already spent 5 years in the ranks (AC) before the Navy sent me to the U. And when I got to King Hall I got lucky that the powers to be felt that I should room with the only other prior in the Battalion – a SEAL CPO getting commissioned. We kept each other out of trouble, and made sure that our inspections were tight (back then lockers were not inspected and I think its bullshit that they’re getting inspected now – it must be to keep the future zoomies in check). I skated by, enjoyed myself tremendously, academics were not to hard (moboard was simple), athletics were fun, the DI (Gogglia) was easy to keep happy, and I got to regularly bang a gal in the battalion (still thinking about those great bj’s you gave me Margaret M!!!).

The Fleet? Sucked big dicks. But since I was not intending to make a career out of the Navy, I had no pressure. Didn’t care about FITREPS, didn’t care about peer ranking, only gave a shit about doing my job and taking care of the guys. Two CO’s in a row were driven nuts by my antics, but what could they do to me, send me to sea? The last CO was a godsend. Love that man like a father to this day. Awesome salt. He understood that I had pretty much turned Mayport and the JAX beach area into my own play town. At my farewell dinner he said the following: My best junior officer at sea….my worst junior officer in port.

Yeah, baby!!!!

First chance I had I turned in my resignation and left for much higher pay and better life as a Fed.

Never looked back. Never got nostalgia. As they say: Adios MF’s.


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supertat June 21, 2014 at 2:46 AM

Oh my gooooooooooood. I’m pretty sure considering every military branch has completely separate missions and purposes that they’re ocs is the same, meaning no ocs is more difficult than another just different, and being different it can appear more difficult to one person and easier to another, it all depends on the type of person you are. I’ve been through coast guard boot camp and was discharged a few days before graduating due to an injury. I’ve managed to heal and I’m looking at joining again and going to ocs for coast guard and, I have to say, after seeing this stupidity, I’ve realized officers are just as cocky and rude as enlisted members. This is how you present yourselves to the world, a bunch of immature idiots, and you’re supposed to military OFFICERS. Good job.


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Khan July 5, 2014 at 1:01 PM

I’m thinkin that they should just do away with ocs as a first stop shop overall. If you can make it 8 years enlisted then you can go for some kind of officer training after an in depth performance review of the entire enlistment. This will first weed out all the bullshit that would have dropped anyway and it provides a history of the candidate for interviewers to see. (oh you have all your warfare pins and have made rank every cycle, but dui’s and several reprimands for harassment ect, ect. Not only will this ultimately save the government money ( officers are way overpaid anyway) but people who have proven themselves through service will get the chance they deserve. A simple degree and test score should not be the starting point for such an important position.


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