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Archive for the ‘Officer Candidate School (OCS)’ Category

So I noticed a sudden and inexplicable blip in traffic on my fledgling little blog of blah recently – which I found strange, since a) I’ve barely had time to feed and water the little tyke, and b) I’ve done exactly zero to drum up traffic. So I checked the search terms … and shock me, shock me, shock me – it’s all from soldiers Googling their little green fingers off trying to figure out whether or not BOLC II has been canceled.

Well? Is it canceled or what? C'mon, LT ... I didn't Google for silly pictures and random drivel. Spill it already.

Well? Is it canceled or what? C'mon, LT ... I didn't Google for silly pictures and random drivel. Spill it already.

It’s not surprising, I suppose. As my beautiful era of OCS innocence was drawing to a close, the rumor that BOLC II was set to be canceled was the subject of much discussion. There are doubtless hundreds of young soon-to-be Lieutenants out there right this very minute, desperate to determine their BOLC II-related future. But before I get to that, I’d just like to point out that Googling “canceled” brought up a strangely impressive number of boobie pictures. Like this one:

Maybe its just me, but I would not cancel her.

Maybe its just me, but I would not cancel her.

Then again, every search on any search engine brings up lots of boobs. That’s what they invented the Internet for.

But back to the subject at hand: is BOLC II canceled? (Hey – I’ll bet if I keep typing that little phrase, I could climb right up the search rankings. But that would be silly.)

So is it? BOLC II – canceled?

Now you're just being mean.

Now you're just being mean.

All right, here’s the ice cream scoop, the straight poop, the goopety-goop: yes. Sort of. Probably.

We’ve had briefings from both our battalion commander and our brigade commander, and both have mentioned the impending disappearance of the slutty evil that is BOLC II. Huzzah! I have good intel that they’re transition to something they’re calling “BOLC-B” … which is basically a new name for the same old, same old OBC system – in which newly commissioned officers were sent straight to their branch school without this strange purgatory of BOLC II.

Even our platoon mentor and cadre NCO’s have mentioned it. We are supposed to be among the very last BOLC II classes: some say there will be one more starting in October; others suggest there will be one more – for this company – starting in November. Then its buh bye BOLC, catch you on the flip side, don’t let the door hit you where the good lord split you!

So … yes. If you have orders to BOLC II that put you in Ft. Benning or Ft. Sill later than November of this year, you probably ain’t coming. Get ready for the FRAGO that’s headed your way. Yeah, you!

Aw. Sad. No BOLC II for you.

Aw. Sad. No BOLC II for you.

But … wait. Simple answers are for softies and sissies, and I hate to send you out into that good night completely unprepared for yet another FRAGO that may be headed in your direction (plus, I can’t resist stirring the rumor pot just a little myself). So let me complicate your complexity:

While all of the above is true – that BOLC II should be canceled very, very soon – I happened to have a very interesting conversation with an officer who was, strangely enough, assessing the BOLC II program. Which, of course, makes no sense, even by Army standards … since you don’t usually assess courses that are disappearing.

Unless they aren’t.

And this particular officer told me that BOLC II was actually going to be reconstituted, down-sized, and moved entirely to Ft. Knox.

True? Not true? You decide. All I know is what I heard, straight from a superior officer’s rumor-creating orifice. So tell your friends and keep the rumor mill spinning round and round. You know you want to.

Is BOLC II canceled? (Ha!) Probably. Almost certainly. Unless, of course, its not.

Welcome to the Army. Enjoy your stay.

Things change around here. FRAGO's are fun.

Things change around here. FRAGO's are fun.

I feel so dirty right now. Blogging for five minutes and already a traffic whore. Very sad.

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At some point I’ll have to tell the long, tedious, tawdry tale of Officer Candidate School (OCS).

OCS Symbol

This is not that post.

The short version: at the Moses-like age of 38, I re-enlisted to attend OCS and earn a commission as an officer in my state’s National Guard. I was a prior service active duty Marine and returned to the military as a SGT (E-5) specifically to attend OCS. I “chose” (heh! At some point I’ll explain the irony of my word choice there) to attend the traditional 18-month program. It’s comprised of a Phase 0 of a couple introductory drill weekends, then phase I requires a two-week vacation¬† in a Hell known as Ft. McClellan, Alabama (sweet home, my ass), followed by a long, long, long year of monthly drills for phase 2 (each weekend resembles a return to the worst day of boot camp, but with worse food and less sleep), followed by – oh, joy! – a final 2 week trip to Alabama (sweet home, my ass … did I say that already?) for phase 3.

It is a long, arduous, painful process. Much of the training is excellent – and they do an outstanding job of weeding out those who don’t want the gold bar badly enough.

I’ll start with the OCS stories at some point. But for now, it’ll all be about my happy days and blissful nights at Ft. Benning, starting in just 48 hours.

The OCS journey was worth it, by the way. And there are stories galore. But you’ll just have to wait on those, won’t you?

rank_12

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Ah. Good question! I guess I should start a FAQ category. Even though “frequently” implies someone but me is frequently asking me questions.

But to answer your question: that is a photograph taken at the Gettysburg National Battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, taken from the top of Little Round Top at the far southern end of the Union lines. The statue in the foreground is General Gouverneur K. Warren, the chief Engineer for the Army of the Potomac, and the officer who initiated the defense of Little Round Top on July 2, 1863.

One of my personal heroes, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, is often given credit for defending the far left flank of the Union line at Little Round Top – and at some point I’ll go on, at great length, about my admiration for the man. But the Warren statue serves to remind every visitor to the park that men like Chamberlain were only put in a position to carry out their great acts of heroism because of the bold leadership of men like Warren, and Colonel Strong Vincent – the man who arguably was most responsible for saving that critical high ground from Confederate capture, and who gave his life in its defense.

The picture was taken in the spring of 2009 during our OCS class staff ride to Gettysburg. Standing on that hill was an experience I’ll likely never forget; briefing that part of the battle to my comrades was an honor.

It is a beautiful place, peaceful now, filled with heart-rending yet glorious history. Every American should see it.

It’s juxtaposition with the legendary Dienekes quote from Herodotus was chosen carefully and intentionally. They represent heroes of different ages, but so very much alike.

View south toward the Round Tops from the PA Memorial

View south toward the Round Tops from the PA Memorial

The Virginia Memorial to LTG Robert E Lee at the start of Picketts Charge

The Virginia Memorial to LTG Robert E Lee at the start of Picketts Charge

Sunrise over Little Round Top from Devils Den

Sunrise over Little Round Top from Devils Den

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