Chapt 4, OCS

I started OCS in Early January as a member of class 25B.  We were half of the class that would have graduated on the 4th of July but for the sake of the Holiday graduated on 3 Jul 1967.  We started with nearly 200 in my half of the class.  They stuffed us in two Barracks in the Robinson Barracks area.  The floors were divided into cubicles on each side of a common floor down the middle.  They stacked us in on bunk beds at first and ended with mostly two Candidates in each cubicle at the end.  Some of the candidates were "set Back" to a class that would graduate later but a bunch were just dropped out of the program for failure to meet the academic requirements.   There was an honor code and I'm sure there were a few that were caught in a lie but I didn't know any of them personally.

If you were to travel back to the Robinson Barracks area there at Fort Sill, it was an area a couple of blocks long with a big mess hall at each end of the street.  Those old buildings had been cleaned and waxed so that everything shined or it had a fresh coat of paint.  Hell, we even crawled under the barracks and raked the fine gravel under the buildings.  The barracks had a latrine down stairs that got a fresh coat of wax daily.  Pity the poor bastard that ever urinated in the latrine trough.  Some of the classes even put fish in that urinal trough.  We just kept it waxed and "windexed" to a shine.   The floors were waxed once a week and buffed daily.  In fact, that was one of my duties.  Everyone else would go downstairs for formation to go to breakfast and I would put the sheep's wool pad on the buffer and go out the back stairs and down the fire escape to catch up about the time the class got to the mess hall.  I would sneak in the side door and no one seemed to notice.

As I had just completed OCS Prep, I had most of my uniforms standing tall and per the SOP.  I really pitied those poor bastards that came to our class from Infantry AIT.  Their clothes had holes and their boots were worn out to the max.  I had one pair of boots that never got worn and they were spit polished tops and soles.  Little things like name tags had to be sewn just a certain way and it wasn't the way the uniforms were issued.  When we started AIT, there was a requirement to have leather tags sewed into our shoes, boots and hats.   That went away but by the time it did, I had them in all my stuff.  We even had a display of toiletry items that went in the top shelf of our foot lockers.  We never used that stuff as most of us had a stash of daily use stuff.

My class had early PT every day and we alternated between a five mile run and Calescentics.  We had just enough time after PT to get dressed and go to breakfast.  After chow, we never went back into the building until after all the classes were finished for the day.  Most of the time we would fall in a class formation and march either to the bus point or to the classrooms.  A lot of the time it was a trip over to Snow Hall and formal classes there.  We did have maintenance in a different place but Gunnery and tactics and Combined Arms was in Snow Hall.  As a candidate I didn't figure out the funny smell that Snow Hall had.  Later on when we went to Fort Sill for classes I was told that the latrines had an automatic flush system and what we were smelling was the urine form hundreds of guys that sat in a urinal overnight.  Save that water.

For the first six weeks, we had candidates from classes that started earlier living with us.  They were a royal pain in the ass and we were sure glad to have them leave us when they did.  The Senior Candidate would walk down the middle of our floor wearing clickers and make marks on the floor.  We walked only along the edge and a lot of the time we took our boots off to not leave footprints.  In fact, that was one of the funny stories I like to tell about our class and the assigned Tac Officer.  Lt Gooch was probably about the minimum height/weight you could be and get into OCS.  He was rumored to have a perfect Leadership grade but had spent a year in OCS because of gunnery set-backs.  He would come into our barracks and come upstairs to our area.  He would jump p on the very first foot locker so he could see us.  The next day, he would write that poor candidate up for foot prints on the top.  We finally sent that footlocker out to a paint shop and had them put a laminate on the top.  A coat of pledge and even dust wouldn't stay there.  The first time Lt Gooch came in and hopped up on that locker, he just kept sliding and fell off. 

My class was from all over the United States and Puerto Rico.  I just loved it when one Candidate from Maine would try to talk with one of those Cajun guys.  I could understand them both but they couldn't understand each other.  As we got to know the rest of the guys, it was clear that there were two guys that lived only two blocks apart in new York City and didn't know each other.  One of my Favorite Candidates was a Muslim Candidate that had spent his entire education under teachers that were from England.  He had a British accent and spoke with a very deep voice.  His name was Atta Jundue Obiajulu.  He would say his last name in one word with no breaks.  Our TAC Officer Lt Gooch was from Alabama and he would make it come out as Obye a Jew loo.  It was hoot.  In my platoon was also Glen Priddy from My AIT class.  He continued his excellence in academics and was put on the staff because of his excellent scores.  We didn't see much of him after hours as he was almost always at the staff Headquarters.

Our time in OCS was in three phases.  Our first six weeks were the blue phase.  We wore a blue plastid ring under our helmet brass and a blue backing under the OCS Brass.  We were the lowest of the lowest and picked on by everyone.  For the next 8 weeks we were middle class and wore green felt under our OCS brass.  At least that had a few benefits like the chance to go to the PX when we were close enough.  The final 6 weeks were red and we were the seniors and no messed with many.  There was the final week of Upper class where we were the one's about to Graduate and Happy Battery  could mess with all of the other classes.  By that time I had my fill and pretty much didn't bother my little brothers. 

here was one big problem about the third week and it was the Leadership grades.  We did a peer rating on each of the guys in our Platoon. I had really tried to help my classmates get their stuff ready and mad a lot of friends.  I was near the top of the peer ratings and my TAC Officer threw a fit.  He called me into his office and threatened to throw me out of the class because my leadership grad was failing.  I told him I didn't understand his position at all.  We had a class motto of Cooperate and Graduate and everyone was helping others as much as they could. He told me that if it continues, he would flunk me out of the course.  He said he would give me a 70 for that period and every time my peer rating would fall one position, I would find my leadership grade raised.  True to his word, by the 20th week I was tied for last of 25 and my Leadership grade was 94.  I never understood it but what the hell.  The great thing the OCS Prep class did for us was the gunnery work was so good that it made it very easy for me to snot study and make mid 80's on all the exams.  I even spent a few late hours working with some of the guys that didn't understand gunnery.  We always left the lights on in the latrine and it was almost always  a study hall on the nights just prior to tests.

I can't even begin to tell you how fast that entire process took. Time just flew and it would take me an entire book to tell you about the details.  In the interest of brevity, I will just tell you that it was an experience I wouldn't take a million dollars to repeat but I learned a lot. 

Candidate MUD, About to Graduate.
2LT to be

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