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Army OCS

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The DA Form 61, along with supporting documentation (college transcripts, waiver requests, letters of recommendation) is sent to the unit commander who reviews and approves the application. The unit commander then passes the application package through the intermediate commander (for review/approval) to the Installation Commander. The Installation Commander convenes an "OCS Structured Interview:"

    (1) The structured interview identifies the degree to which the applicant has developed attributes that show potential for a successful career as a professional Army commissioned officer. The applicant’s past behavior in a variety of situations is evaluated to predict future performance.

    (2) A panel of three interviewers will conduct the interview. All panel members must be commissioned officers; the panel president must hold the grade of major or above, and the other two panel members must hold the grade of captain or above.

    (3) Immediately before the structured interview, the panel members will require the applicant to submit a handwritten narrative on standard 8 1/2 by 11–inch paper stating “Why I Want to be an Army Officer.” This narrative gives interviewers a chance to evaluate the applicant’s writing and ability to express a desire to serve as a commissioned officer.

      (a) The applicant will be allowed a maximum of 1 hour to complete the narrative.

      (b) The narrative will not exceed two pages.

      (c) No assistance except use of a dictionary and an explanation of the question will be permitted.

The Installation Commander reviews the board recommendation and approves/disapproves the package. If approved, the Installation Commander passes the application through the MACOM commander (who can also approve/disapprove), who forwards the package to Army PERSCOM (Personnel Command), where the package is reviewed by an OCS selection board, who makes the final selections. The PERSCOM board selects the branch at the same time the OCS package is approved.

OCS Tidbits

For detailed information about Army OCS, visit the Army OCS Foundation Website.

Relocation of Family Members. In general, the Army allows the movement of dependents at government expense if the length of training (at a single location) is greater than 180 days. For OCS, this means that if you attend OCS, branched for Infantry, the Army will pay to relocate your dependents to Fort Benning, as Army Officer Infantry Training is also conducted here, and the length of OCS plus the length of Officer Infantry Training exceeds 180 days. If you attend OCS for any other branch, the Army will not pay to relocate your dependents to Fort Benning. You may, however, pay to relocate them on your own. If you have dependents, you do receive BAH (housing allowance) during your time at OCS. The BAH rate you receive depends upon the location of your dependents. If you elect to relocate your dependents, don't count on getting to live with them, however, during your time at OCS. With the exception of church on Sunday, you indeed will have no access to your family members for at least the first seven weeks or so of OCS. After that weekend passes are conditional until you enter senior phase (week 11 through week 14) when restrictions are relaxed a bit.

Basic Officer Leadership Course. At the time of this article, BOLC is still being tested. Not all graduates of OCS will attend this following graduation. Right now, a majority of those selected are officers with no prior military experience. The Army plans to make BOLC mandatory for all newly commissioned officers (including prior service) at some time in the future.

Swapping Branches. If you wind up with a branch you don't like, it is possible to arrange to swap your branch with another's during OCS. If you are lucky to find someone in OCS to switch branches with you, you will be given the opportunity to fill out a DA Form 4187, Personnel Action Form. You and the person you are switching will verify the listed information, personnel data on both parties, and sign off on the request to switch branches. From that point on, it is in the hands of the gods of PERSCOM once they get it.

Accommodations. Most rooms are two-man rooms, although if you have a large class, some can hold three. Showers are stalls with doors (4 per latrine).

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