Last month marked the beginning of our fundraising campaign for the OCS Heritage Center located in Wigle Hall across from the OCS battalion area. We have used email blasts, regular mail, and our Facebook page to reach all OCS graduates. This is a very important project to finally showcase the history and traditions of OCS since its inception. In addition, you have an opportunity to write your unique OCS story to be placed in a searchable kiosk in the Heritage Center to share with family, friends, and colleagues. You are a part of OCS history! Share your legacy for generations to come.
Many of you have already contributed to this campaign and I thank you. The Association and our Board members have made generous contributions to lead the way. We are close to the $150,000 mark out of the anticipated need of $300,000. So, we do still have a ways to go. The project itself is moving at a steady pace. Phyllis Aaron, our contractor, and her team have kept the Board informed at every step and the project is on track at this present time. The opening ceremony of the first phase will take place on April 30, 2019 during our annual reunion.
Dates for you to place on your calendar are November 11 and 12, 2018. Your Association will place wreaths at the WWII, Korea, and Vietnam memorials on November 11 and will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on November 12. Our D.C. Chapter will lead the effort. If you are in the D.C. area, please join us for this memorable event. April 28 through May 1 are the dates of our annual reunion at the Columbus Marriott in Columbus, Georgia. Featured events are the Hall of Fame induction ceremony and dinner, candidate training exercises, dedication ceremonies for the Memorial Walk and OCS Heritage Center, as well as the alumni dinner. Registration is open on our web site at www.ocsalumni.org. As in other years, as a member, your event costs will be less than non-members. We hope this encourages non-members to try out the Alumni Association for a year. Another date to remember is July 1, 2019 when we will celebrate the 78th birthday of OCS at Fort Benning and with all of our chapters in D.C, Colorado, Florida, and Georgia.
This is an exciting time to be an OCS graduate! I urge you to join one of our local chapters or even to initiate formation of a chapter in your area. Chris Bresko is our POC for chapter formation who can answer your questions and guide you through the formation process. His cell number is 401-835-1472.
Finally, we need your involvement in the Association. Your input is important to the officers and board members as we continue to expand our operation. Feel free to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your support.
Colonel (USA Retired)
Greetings from Fort Benning!
The battalion had a productive summer which was our busiest in almost 10 years! This year saw OCS commission 1,464 second lieutenants, more than 200 over our goal. We continue to lead the way in providing our Army with an organization that can grow to meet its commissioning needs. Next year our commissioning goal is 1,590, a target we can easily meet. To this end, the battalion will maintain its current organization of four companies to train candidates through 2019.
In this newsletter, you will find the final article from 2nd Lt. Kelly Weigand who has been training at the Royal Military Academy – Sandhurst, United Kingdom, since January. 2nd Lt. Weigand will graduate Sandhurst in December and report to Fort Sill, Oklahoma for the Field Artillery Basic Officer Leader Course soon thereafter. 2nd Lt. Weigand has done a marvelous job representing our Army and we wish her the best of luck in the future. OCS will continue to send three graduates a year to Sandhurst, all of whom are high-achievers.
Nominations for the 2019 OCS Hall of Fame induction are closed and we appreciate all the hard work everybody did to submit packets. Hand-in-hand with the Association, the battalion will conduct a comprehensive review of all packets leading to the selection panel in early December. Selectees can expect to be notified in December 2018 or January 2019. This year’s Hall of Fame Week is April 28 – May 1 and we hope to see you all there.
Standards!! No Compromise!!
Matthew B. Chitty
Lieutenant Colonel, Armor
Do Your Duty
This is a phrase not unfamiliar to those of us who have served our nation and Army. It was the touchstone in the now famous “Duty, Honor, Country” speech to the Corps of Cadets at West Point by General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur.
I remember the phrase from my OCS days … “Cooperate and Graduate!” That phrase had as its bedrock that each candidate would do his or her duty. Ironically, it was made famous and given patriotic trappings by a British naval hero, Admiral Horatio Nelson, the only man who twice defeated Napoleon.
In the 1798 Battle of Nile, Nelson destroyed the French fleet and cut off Napoleon’s army which had conquered Egypt. The little general had to desert his beleaguered army and sneak back to France in humiliation.
Napoleon later regrouped with a Spanish alliance and again threatened Europe. With only 27 assorted sailing vessels under his command, Nelson met a vastly superior force of 33 warships. Before the battle, Nelson hoisted his now famous signal, “England expects every man will do his duty,” and then developed one of the world’s most memorable naval encounters in which the English admiral directed his smaller fleet to a brilliant attack in close quarters. It was a startling success!
A sharpshooter delivered the only blow of consequence from the French fleet. Nelson, the one-eyed, one-armed fighter who had been wounded many times before, fell mortally wounded. In his last moments, he learned that all 33 opposing warships were destroyed. The dying Nelson declared, “Thank God, I have done my duty.”
Duty … Many before us in service to our nation have given their lives in duty to our country. Nations grow great when citizens rise to the occasions of duty. However, duty is a timeless concept that invariably slips from the bonds of military trappings and confronts our lives in everyday actions. The writer of Ecclesiastes originated the thought, “Fear God and keep His Commandments, for this is the whole Duty of Man.” Ecc 12: 13 NIV
Duty … We are each handed responsibility in every arena of life. Our military communities, indeed our nation, relies on volunteers to keep things running. All of us have a part … to do our duty.
Often many just think that it will all just happen, but the volunteers at the polling booth, at the Red Cross Blood Donation Center, or handing out water when whole communities are suffering from natural disasters are the ones who insure that it not only happens but that it is done in good order. As Hannibal, of the now famous A-Team, often said, “I love it when a plan comes together.” But no plan comes together without people. People just like you!
I am involved with the Military Officers Association of America MOAA whose bottom line is “Never Stop Serving.” If you are reading this as our nation celebrates Veterans Day, then you also are still serving … still doing your duty! I thank you for your continued service.
Chaplain (Colonel, USA Retired) Sam Boone is a graduate of OCS Class 2-74.
A Walk in the Park: A Vietnam Comedy
Odon L. Bacque Jr. figures his poor eyesight rules him out for the draft, not to mention the fact that he's studying law in college, so the young man doesn't worry too much about the war raging in Vietnam. But when his law school requests he doesn't return, Bacque learns just how wrong he was.
Still convinced his eyesight—or rather the lack of it—disqualifies him from a combat position, he learns once again he’s mistaken. Sent through Officer Candidate School, he winds up assigned to the 5th Special Forces…the Green Berets.
Once in Vietnam, Bacque prepares for the worst—only to have fate finally cut him some slack. Reassigned from an A team back to a B team, he finds himself removed from the front lines and ordered to perform a task better suited to an accounting major, a course he barely passed in college. Still, it beat trying to survive jungle warfare with a serious vision impairment.
A Walk in the Park: A Vietnam Comedy charts Bacque's experiences in Vietnam along with his growing disillusionment with the war's management. Funny without being disrespectful, his story offers a surprisingly comedic look at wartime service.
Odon Bacque graduated from OCS on Dec. 10, 1968, was married to his current, and only wife, on Dec. 14, 1968, entered Airborne School on Jan. 4, 1969, and subsequently graduated from Special Forces Officer Course. In September 1969 he went to Vietnam and was assigned to 5th Special Forces Group.
Candidate Christian Berner
After bouncing from entry-level job to entry-level job in the unforgiving and difficult job market of Hawaii, I decided to join the Army and go to OCS in order to get some stability in my life. Having had both of my parents serve in the military, joining the Army was something I had considered since I was eight years old. My aspirations since that time were to become an officer in Military Intelligence (a goal that I am quickly achieving having just branched MI).
The worst part of being at OCS are the ruck marches. Though they are not quite as intense as what we could face in other schools, they are still physically, mentally, and, for some people, emotionally draining experiences.
The best thing about being at OCS is the people I have met and the friends I have made. Without them, the mental and physical stress of this program would be enough to make someone consider if being here is worth it. The constant, daily encouragement I get from my fellow candidates has helped drive me to push myself to achieve excellence and inspired me to help others along the way too.
To the OCS alumni who have come before me, I would like to say thank you for the inspiring careers that you have led and the contributions you have made to help build this institution. My fellow candidates and I work hard every day to live up the legacy you have left behind.
Candidate Berner is now 2nd Lt. Berner. He was commissioned on October 23, 2018, Class 008-18.
2nd Lt. Kelly Weigand
In what feels like a blink of an eye, my year at Sandhurst is ending. Gone are the days of stumbling around the parade square trying to keep in step with the rest of the platoon. I have watched myself and my fellow officer cadets develop into competent leaders ready to lead Soldiers in whatever challenge we may face. How we got here though was no easy ride, which is exactly how it should be. As we get ready for our final exercises at Sandhurst, it has been great to look back at all that we have done.
My favorite exercise was Normandy Scholar. We were taken to the landing zones and major battles for the British forces during the Normandy campaign. We were then presented with the real scenarios that actual officers faced and used the planning strategies we have learned at Sandhurst to come up with what we would do if we were the ones making those decisions. At the end, we would hear what actually happened from the historical experts who were with us. I took a tremendous amount away from that exercise —no plan survives contact, but great leadership is the difference between losing everything or getting that one last push that you need for victory.
Outside of field exercises, we spend a lot of time in the classroom learning about the world we are facing. Our main focus this term has been on counterinsurgency and how it has developed throughout history. We have studied the world of cyber warfare and the legality and unchartered terrain that it is bringing—all things that as future officers we will need to understand.
Looking forward, the best is yet to come. Our next exercise dives into the complexity of the urban environment. We will be working in a village where there will be people playing certain roles and who have different pieces of intelligence. It will be our job to find what we need in order to be successful in our mission. This is a shift from kicking in doors and taking in-depth enemy positions. We will be focusing on key leader engagements and gaining an appreciation for the restraints that you are under in this type of environment. Lastly, we will end the term in Germany with our final cumulative exercise. This will be the largest exercise I have done and I am greatly looking forward to it.
Overall, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to attend Sandhurst. I have grown a lot in this past year and I will be able to take the lessons I have learned here back with me when I return to the U.S. I have been able to build connections with people from all over the world and look forward to the opportunities we will have together in the future. I can now say I understand Sandhurst’s moto, Serve to Lead. And that is exactly what I plan to do.
Experience as a WAC
I grew up in an Air Force family and my brother was in ROTC at the college I attended, so the idea of the military was not foreign to me, though I had not considered the military as a career path. In the fall of 1973, I was a junior in college and like many college students needed to fund my last year of college. I saw a flyer on campus for the Women’s Army Corps College Junior Program. I had never heard of the program, but I completed a postcard expressing interest and requesting more information. After completing paperwork and my first Army physical, I was selected to participate in the College Junior Program during the summer of 1974.
The WAC College Junior Program was first proposed in 1954, implemented in 1957, and discontinued in 1975. The program was designed to give young women enrolled in college the opportunity to experience military life. It provided a pathway to military service as an officer, at a time when neither the military academies nor ROTC were open to women. Participants in the College Junior Program were paid at the E-4 level and an assessment of the program costs showed it to be the most financially efficient method of recruiting military officers. A study done in 1966-67 showed the cost of the College Junior Program leading to commissioning in the WAC was $3,050 per student, the cost of the military academy was $48,000, and an ROTC scholarship was $10,000.
In 1974, my class was the one of the last College Junior classes. The last class was held the following summer in 1975, just prior to me beginning the WAC Officer Orientation/Officer Candidate Course in August 1975. By the following year, 1976, women were attending OCS at Fort Benning, were enrolled in ROTC and the military academies so there was no longer a need for the College Junior Program or a separate WAC Officer Orientation/Officer Candidate Course.
During the College Junior weeks at Fort McClellan, not only were we assessing whether the military was right for us, the officers of the WAC were assessing us to determine if we were right for the Army. Those of us interested in the joining the Women’s Army Corps as officers participated in multiple interviews with senior WAC officers during our final days at Fort McClellan. I remember sitting in a straight back chair in the middle of the room, across the room from a table where several WAC officers were seated, all asking questions on how I saw my future.
I returned home from Fort McClellan and learned just a few days before leaving to return to college that I had been selected to continue in the program during my senior year of college. Those of us who were continuing in the program remained E-4s in a paid training, inactive status for our final year of college. We were responsible for all of our college expenses, including tuition and housing and upon commissioning were expected to fulfill a two-year obligation with the Women’s Army Corps.
After my college graduation, I returned to Fort McClellan to attend the WAC Officer Orientation/Officer Candidate Course. The training was standard military training, including weapons training, map reading, and field exercises. We were housed in a WAC company area. The housing was not set up in the traditional barracks format, but rather there were two women to a room and four women to a suite, sharing a bathroom.
At the end of our WAC training, we had an opportunity to select the branch of Army to which we would be detailed. We were still a part of the WAC but would be assigned to other military branches. I chose the Military Police Corps and received that branch. The MP school was also at Fort McClellan and during the time between the end of my WAC training and start of the MP Officer Basic Course, I was assigned to the MP company at Fort McClellan and selected to attend the Northeast Alabama Police Academy. It was an interesting experiment. There were no women attending the police academy and I recall having to wait outside the classroom, in the hall with another woman, also assigned to the MP Corps, while the Director of the Police Academy explained to the other students that two female MP officers would be attending the police academy training. Our initial reception was rather like—a wet dog at a wedding—though by the end of the police academy training, we were much more accepted. I went on to serve at Fort Hood and later returned to Fort McClellan as an instructor at the MP school. I left the military in 1981 to attend graduate school and embark on another career path.
The Women’s Army Corps has a proud history and I am honored to have been a part of this organization. Women serving in the military today have opportunities available to them because of the foundation established by the Women’s Army Corps and women who came before them.
*Information for this article came from personal experience, papers, and The Women’s Army Corps, 1945-1978 by Bettie J. Morden.
The uniforms for WACs in the mid-1970s were quite different than those of today. A standard fixture of the WAC company area was an ironing board. Before leaving the company area uniform pieces had to be pressed.
- There was a daily uniform, essentially the PT uniform, which could be worn if we were staying in the company area. This uniform consisted of light lime green shorts, a camp shirt, and a wraparound skirt with white sneakers. While in the company area, the shorts and camp shirt were worn; however, leaving the company area, the skirt had to be worn over the shorts.
- The Cord was a short-sleeve narrow green-stripped button top and skirt with a dark green cord around the collar and the sleeves, thus the name cord.
- In the mid-70s, perhaps one of the most unappealing military uniforms was implemented. It was a lime green, wash/wear, polyester skirt and top. Nobody lamented its demise.
2 Generations of OCS
We each have our stories of OCS.
My story began on June 1, 1979 having just completed basic combat training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. However, OCS goes back much further with me. My father graduated from OCS in Harmony Church at Fort Benning in April 1944. As I grew up, my father reflected how much OCS had made a difference in his life. He had been attending Army ROTC at Indiana University in the fall of 1943 when it was announced that class was over and they would be cycled in to the various OCS programs throughout the United States. The Army was in desperate need of lieutenants for current operations in the European and Pacific Theaters and the upcoming invasion of France. He found the Infantry OCS program to be highly demanding and challenged him in ways in which we can all relate. The standards that OCS held, to be technically and tactically proficient, always setting the example, and leading from the front, were absolutely critical to succeeding in combat as well as peace operations. These principles have stood the test of time from the inception of OCS to today and will be there long after we are gone.
Arriving at 3rd Battalion, 2nd Infantry, 5th Infantry Division in November 1944, he would uphold those standards and would lead his Soldiers from Metz through the Battle of the Bulge and finally ending the war accepting the surrender of several thousand Germans in Czechoslovakia. Awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and the Combat Infantry Badge, he left the Army in 1946 but entered the Air Force in 1947 as an intelligence officer. During his time in the Air Force, he served in a fighter wing in England; Strategic Air Command Headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska; Military Assistance Command Vietnam – Special Operations Group in Vietnam. He retired as a lieutenant colonel from the Defense Intelligence Agency. Throughout his life, the principles of OCS served as a guiding framework. Graduating from OCS and serving as an infantryman were unquestionably two of his proudest accomplishments.
The legacy of OCS and my father’s experiences were with me as I stepped on to the Columbus Airport tarmac on a very hot and humid day early in June 1979. Within a few hours, the physical and mental challenge of OCS at Fort Benning was readily apparent to the members of Class 4-79! From those newly minted Soldiers fresh from basic combat training to hardened NCOs, several with multiple combat tours in Vietnam, the cadre got our attention. We were on fast-forward for 14 weeks and knew it. At times, I questioned my abilities and decision but recalled that if it were easy, anyone could do it. I approached each day with a determination that I would in fact receive my commission and would strive to be the very best officer I could be. With a great deal of pride, my father commissioned me on Sep 7, 1979, 35 years after his own commissioning. I went on to the 1st Infantry Division commanding a tank company in the 1st Battalion, 63rd Armor and with multiple division and staff level assignments spanning 28 years.
Several weeks ago, I had a discussion with one of my OCS classmates who I served with at Fort Riley after our commissioning about what made us successful. At that time, only five years after the last helicopters had lifted off from the U.S. Embassy in Saigon in April 1975, the 1st Infantry Division was low on senior NCOs, our equipment was significantly aged and in need of repair, and maintaining high morale was a challenge. The Army of the late 1970s and early 1980s was in trouble but was in a process of rebuilding. However, we persevered. We did not make excuses and we were outstanding problem solvers. We led by example each day and never compromised our standards. The legacy of OCS is not about the words but the actions of those who serve. Ultimately our Soldiers deserve the very best leadership from us—especially when times are tough. It is that simple and OCS provided that foundation for so many of us. While we all have had different experiences from OCS programs from across the country, we are nevertheless a brotherhood that has always answered our nation’s call.
Dan Johnson is a retired lieutenant colonel. He is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the OCS Alumni Association.
The Big Red One: The Story of the 1st Infantry Division
Any recounting of the Army’s 20th and 21st century history is incomplete without talking about the Regular Army’s oldest division. Raised in response to the requirements of the first world war, the 1st Infantry Division has a long combat history including World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Sandwiched between its combat deployments was a long period of forward stationing in Germany both before and after its Vietnam service. Wherever it has served, the Big Red One has distinguished itself, with the 40+ streamers on the division’s colors reminding one of its motto, “No mission too difficult, no sacrifice too great. Duty first!”
Originally constituted as the 1st Division, the division represented the beginnings of the American Expeditionary Force in France. The 1st Division was the first American unit to see combat in France beginning at Cantigny in late April 1918. This was a crucial engagement for the division and the Army as Gen. John J. Pershing, commanding general of the American Expeditionary Force, was under tremendous pressure from the British and French to abandon plans for an American force and instead integrate the mass of newly arriving American Soldiers into allied units. Losses were heavy with the 18th Infantry losing almost 900 men in a single nighttime artillery bombardment of high explosive and gas shells but by battle’s end the 1st Division demonstrated it could outfight the German Army and validated Pershing’s plans. While the division’s first combat tour was relatively short owing to the November 1918 armistice, the division nevertheless earned participation credit in seven campaigns. Returning to the U.S. in 1919 following occupation duty, the division ultimately found its post-war home at Brooklyn’s Fort Hamilton.
If the division’s first war experience was relatively short, its second time around was anything but that. Shortly after the war in Europe started, the division headquarters began a series of short relocations as the division came to wartime strength and participated in various exercises. With the division reorganizing under the new triangular structure, the brigades disappeared. Deploying to England in August 1942, the division assaulted German-occupied Algeria on November 10, 1942. This assault landing was one of three beach assaults the division undertook during the war on its way to winning eight more campaign streamers. The most difficult of these beach assaults was the war in Europe’s single most important operation—the June 6, 1944 landings in Normandy. Despite its outstanding battle record, the division was a source of controversy within the Army owing to the leadership style of its charismatic commander Terry de la Mesa Allen. Allen, who led the division through North Africa and most of the Sicilian campaign, was not known as a stern disciplinarian and this caused him to clash with Generals Omar Bradley and George S. Patton. Allen was relieved of command in August, 1943. 1st Infantry Division veteran Clarence Huebner assumed command of the division while Allen ultimately assuming command of the 104th Infantry Division. Huebner retained division command until his elevation to command of V Corps following the Battle of the Bulge. Battling its way across western Europe, the division’s battles included Mons, Aachen (the first major German city to fall to the U.S. Army), the Roer River Dams, and the Bulge. War’s end found it in Czechoslovakia. Credited with 292 days of actual combat, division Soldiers suffered over 29,000 casualties—over 200% of its authorized strength. The division’s heroic service shows in its awards: 17 Soldiers received the Medal of Honor, 131 received the Distinguished Service Cross, 4,258 received the Silver Star, and over 12,000 Bronze Stars also awarded. For the Big Red One, its well-deserved return home was long in coming as it remained in Germany through 1955.
Vietnam provided the division’s next test. The division was one of the first two divisions sent to Vietnam in 1965 and it remained there through 1970. Its service saw 11 more battle streamers and an additional three Vietnamese unit awards attached to its colors. Five years of vicious combat cost the division over 20,000 casualties, including division commander Maj. Gen. Keith Ware who was killed in action on September 13, 1968 when the enemy shot down his helicopter. Division Soldiers participated in multiple major operations including Operation Toan Thang in the III Corps tactical zone which was the war’s single largest operation. The division also participated in two of the war’s most important operations, Cedar Falls and Junction City. While the North Vietnamese military command publicly talked of Junction City as a great victory for their side, defector reports painted a different picture. The increasing use of Cambodian strongholds rather the previously existing base areas near population centers reflected the heavy losses of men and materiel the enemy suffered. Through five years of combat, eleven Big Red One Soldiers received the Medal of Honor.
The end of the division’s Vietnam service saw the division stationed at both Fort Riley, Kansas and in Germany. August 1990 found the division headquarters and two brigades stationed at Fort Riley with a third brigade, known as the 1st Infantry Division (Forward), stationed in Germany when it received word it would deploy to the Persian Gulf. Operating as part of the ground component command’s main effort, the VII (US) Corps, the division attacked into Iraq and then into Kuwait. The division’s primary mission was creating a passage lane through the Iraqi obstacle belt on the corps’ eastern flank to support passage of the British Army’s 1st (UK) Armored Division. The division also enjoyed a historical footnote—it controlled the intersection of two major highways in the vicinity of Safwan, Iraq. It was at this location the Iraqis agreed to cease fire terms. When the division redeployed to Fort Riley, it did so with three more campaign streamers on its colors.
The post-Cold War Army reorganization saw the division return to a familiar location as it relocated to southern Germany as part of V Corps. Arrayed across the former VII Corps footprint and with its headquarters in Wurzburg, the division was one of two forward stationed divisions in Europe from 1996 through 2006. During this time period, the division maintained a high operational tempo with elements serving in both the Balkans and Iraq. Its deployments to Iraq found elements at various locations throughout the country including Ramadi and Al Anbar Governorate, Baghdad, and northern Iraq. Spc. Ross McGuiness of the division’s 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry posthumously received the Medal of Honor for actions on December 4, 2006 when he threw himself on a fragmentation grenade to save his fellow Soldiers. McGuiness’ award represented the second Medal of Honor awarded for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The division’s return to Fort Riley in 2006 did not mean the end of the division’s combat service as it has deployed units to Operation New Dawn (stability operations following Iraqi Freedom), Operation Inherent Resolve (operations against the Islamic State in Syria), and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel (operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan). It has also deployed Soldiers to Europe as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve and to South Korea as part of the Army’s rotational brigade stationing plan.
For over 100 years, the Soldiers of the Big Red One have performed some of the toughest missions assigned the Army. They demonstrated American resolve and skill in France in 1918 and again in 1944. They demonstrated tactical skill in some of Vietnam’s toughest terrain against some of the finest jungle fighters in history. They demonstrated a renewed and rebuilt American Army’s capabilities in the deserts of the Persian Gulf and American resolve in Afghanistan, Europe, and Korea. As their motto says, “No mission too tough, no sacrifice too great. Duty first.”
Paul Cook is a retired colonel and doctoral student in military history at Temple University.
Editor’s Note: Do you have a story to tell? The intent of this article is to tie in with an article from an OCS graduate writing about his or her experiences in a division. Tell us about your time serving with a division, peace or wartime. Send your articles to email@example.com with Newsletter in the subject line.
OCS Heritage Center
We are pleased to announce plans to build an OCS Heritage Center to be constructed within Wigle Hall at Fort Benning, Georgia. This new “Heritage Center” will celebrate and recognize the history and traditions of OCS since its inception prior to World War II. It will be constructed and sponsored by The U. S. Army Officer Candidate Schools Alumni Association (TUSAOCSAA) and be unveiled on April 28, 2019 at Fort Benning, Georgia. A dedication ceremony is planned.
The OCS Heritage Center will feature displays and information covering:
• World War II
• Korean War
• Vietnam War
• Women’s Army Corps
• America’s Volunteer Army
• Army of Excellence
• Global War on Terrorism
There will be galleries honoring fallen OCS graduates and Medal of Honor recipients. Interactive kiosks will feature OCS Hall of Fame honorees, distinguished OCS graduates, and Patterson and Nett awardees.
OCS “Success Stories” will be highlighted along with biographies and personal glimpses into individuals who have excelled in both the military and civilian worlds.
The OCS Heritage Center will honor what Officer Candidate Schools have meant to the U.S. Army and America. It will preserve the legacy of the more than 250,000 OCS graduates regardless of their school or training location. Whether you were in the Infantry, Armor, Artillery, Engineering, Transportation, or one of the other 11 schools, all will be honored at the Heritage Center at Fort Benning.
It will be a dynamic museum because it will continually grow by accepting stories, submissions, and historical items from the 77-year history of OCS.
Funding for the Heritage Center will come from individual donors, commercial sponsors, generous benefactors, and others interested in preserving this part of America’s military history.
To support the Heritage Center, we ask for your support through a personal donation. There are several levels for you to consider:
Commandant’s Circle: The prestigious Commandant’s Circle provides an opportunity to take a step-above donation to show your support. You will be recognized in the Commandant’s Circle Wall at the entrance of the Heritage Center prominently displaying individual and commercial sponsors. You will also be recognized and acknowledged in all TUSAOCSAA newsletters and publications, as well as the TUSAOCSAA website. You will also receive a personalized invitation to the Heritage Center Dedication Ceremony in April 2019. Commandant’s Circle gift levels are $25,000 and $50,000.
Regimental Level: The Regimental Level lets you show your support as well. You will be recognized and acknowledged in all TUSAOCSAA newsletters and publications, as well as the TUSAOCSAA website. You will also receive a personalized invitation to the Heritage Center Dedication Ceremony in April 2019. Regimental gift level is $10,000.
Group Leader’s Level: The Group Leader’s Level provides support for the Heritage Center. You will be recognized and acknowledged in all TUSAOCSAA newsletters and publications, as well as the TUSAOCSAA website. Group Leader’s gift level is $5,000.
Troop Leader’s Level: The Troop Leader’s Level supports the Heritage Center. You will be recognized and acknowledged in TUSAOCSAA newsletters and publications, as well as the TUSAOCSAA website. Troop Leader’s gift level is $1,000.
Team Leader’s Level: Team Leader’s Level supports the Heritage Center. You will be recognized and acknowledged in TUSAOCSAA newsletters and publications, as well as the TUSAOCSAA website. Team Leader’s gift level is $500.
What role will you play?
Make a donation --- donations of any amount are needed, welcomed, and appreciated. A donation is neither too large nor too small.
Become a sponsor ---- as a business or an individual, your name can be prominently displayed at the Heritage Center. A customized sponsorship package can be designed especially for you.
Value your OCS experience --- we all benefitted from our time at OCS. Maybe it’s time for a little payback to help with those memories.
Tax deduction --- depending upon your income level, you might need a bona fide tax deduction and this one is perfect for you. TUSAOCSAA is an IRS 501-c-19 Veterans Organization and your donation may be fully deductible (always ask your tax advisor).
Tell your story --- the searchable kiosk gives you an opportunity to share your story. You can submit up to three pictures and a narrative for inclusion in the kiosk.
In closing, we hope you will seriously consider a generous donation to the OCS Heritage Center. You were a part of OCS, no matter when or where you participated. And you can be a part of the OCS Heritage Center simply by making a donation. Donate today!!
To donate to the OCS Heritage Center on-line, please visit http://ocsalumni.org/donate.
Donations may also be made by your personal or company check. (NOTE: Payments via the website reduce the amount of your donation due to a 3% merchant processing fee.) Please make checks payable to: The United States Army Officer Candidate Schools Alumni Association and mailed to PO Box 430, Midland, GA 31820-0430.
If you wish to talk about contributing or have other questions concerning the OCS Heritage Center, please call either Cal Clemons, 410-967-5800, or Hyrum Smith, 435-773-3066. We will answer your questions and look forward to talking with you one-on-one.
Thank you --- and Follow Me!!
Memorial Walk Expansion
Frank L. Harman III
We are in the process of expanding the Memorial Walk. Currently we have 13 class monuments that include all class members, cadre, KIAs, and a 24x24 dedication block. Additionally, we have eight stand-alone 24x24 class dedication blocks. Our engraver just received 20 new 24x24 blocks to support our effort.
The next expansion includes three 20-foot cul-de-sacs off the main walk. That gives us the capability to build at least 20 class monuments or the space for 53 24x24 dedication blocks and an additional 352 individual pavers or 704 individual bricks. We still have space for about 100 pavers or 200 bricks in the main walk.
We are encouraging all eras, but especially Vietnam-era classes, to build monuments or very affordable dedication blocks for their class. We understand many people may have more affinity for their first unit of assignment or the unit they commanded or deployed with. That is why we also do unit dedication blocks (division, brigade, and regiment blocks). To date we have 34 unit dedication blocks. We know many more units were led by OCS officers and look forward to adding them to the walk.
We are also encouraging all graduates regardless of branch or school location to buy a paver or a brick for themselves and a battle buddy.
This is truly a great way to memorialize your OCS experience and military duty. Go to the OCS Alumni Association website today and order your history.
Frank Harman serves as the Vice President for Administration of the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School Alumni Association. He is a retired colonel and the project manager for the Memorial Walk and the OCS Heritage Center. He can be contacted at email firstname.lastname@example.org.
OCS Reunion: April 28 – May 1, 2019
It’s never too early! Register now for the 2019 Alumni Association reunion. The reunion begins on Sunday, April 28 and concludes with the alumni banquet on Wednesday, May 1. The Columbus Marriott will again be our host hotel. This is going to be a great time with the opening of Phase I of the OCS Heritage Center; the dedication of more bricks, pavers, and class memorials; the induction of the 2019 Hall of Fame class; and the presentations of the Nett Award and the Patterson Award. Mini class reunions are welcome to celebrate with the national reunion. We have reserved at least one afternoon and night for class get togethers. A lot of the headaches, work, and planning for your reunion will be taken care of automatically when you piggyback with us.
In the past, we have had graduates representing every decade since the formal founding of OCS in July 1941. It truly is an amazing experience to meet people with whom you share a common bond that transformed all of our lives. We are all brothers and sisters in arms.
Online registration is available at the OCSAA website. For more information, contact Nancy Ionoff, Reunion Coordinator, at email@example.com or 813-917-4309.
On October 6, the DC chapter hosted Tom Glenn, noted author and NSA employee, who spent a number of years in Vietnam. Twenty plus members from the local area listened to Tom give a riveting speech about his experiences during the fall of Saigon. He has written several books to include Last of the Annamese, a novel that narrates Tom’s experiences during those last frenzied days of April 1975.
President of the DC chapter, John O’Shea, introduces speaker Tom Glenn at the October 8 meeting.
Tom Glenn speaks of his experiences during the fall of Saigon.
The DC chapter on August 11 enjoying a summer barbeque.
The Florida chapter held their September meeting at the Bass Pro Shop in Tampa.
The ten attendees enjoyed lunch while reviewing a slide show of the OCS Memorial Walk and the floorplan of the new OCS Heritage Center at Wigle Hall. Chapter President Ken Braswell provided an overview of the project and financial ways OCS alumni can support the OCS Heritage Center fundraiser. No donation is too small, no donation is too large. The draft chapter website was also reviewed. Members were encouraged to submit for publication their photo and biography. A section called brasso and buffers was included for members to post humorous stories of their military experiences. This last section was an idea from James Earls, president of the Colorado Chapter.
Retired Maj. Ray Trahan briefed the members on his recent "Honor Flight" which he described as outstanding in all respects. (See the July newsletter for another OCS graduate’s experience on an honor flight.)
The next chapter meeting will be held in Orlando in January 2019, followed by a March meeting at The Villages community.
Wiley Williams, Class 75-53
Pat Niemann, Class 10-66
Leon and Lauren Stricklen, Class 1-66
Ray Trahan, Chapter Secretary, Class 8-65
Mitch Mitchell, Tampa Coordinator, Class 2-60
For information about Colorado Chapter activities, contact James Earls at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in establishing an OCS Alumni Association chapter in your area?
Association chapters are established to coordinate and promote activities and camaraderie at the local level. The chapters encourage fellowship and goodwill among the OCS graduate community and promote the purposes of the Association.
The Association has an SOP that describes the process for establishing and operating a chapter. To establish a chapter, a minimum of 10 founding members are required. The requirements for operating a chapter are submission of an annual report on the activities of the chapter and reporting any change in its leadership.
If any member is interested in establishing a chapter or would like to receive a copy of the SOP, please contact Chris Bresko at email@example.com.
- Long-time members of the Association know we accept digitized yearbooks that will be placed on the website – (Membership Area – Yearbooks, Programs, & Memorabilia) to preserve the history of OCS. But now we are also accepting other forms of memorabilia—photos, manuals, articles. Check out the website and see the yearbook from the third class of OCS that graduated in December 12, 1941. Is your yearbook there? Do you have graduation programs or other memorabilia you would like to have preserved? Please contact Dr. Patrick Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone him at 951-712-3240 for further information on how to participate. This is your history. Let’s preserve it for future generations.
- A recent OCS grad from 3-69 AR is looking for other Soldiers and Veterans in the Fort Stewart area to revive the regimental organization. If interested, please contact 2LT Mumford at email@example.com. Speed and Power!
- Make sure you keep your contact information up to date! We sometimes get out-of- office automatic replies that don’t provide a forwarding email. Members can log into their account and update their information at the website.