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October 2016 Newsletter

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President's Message

OCS Alumni,

Your Alumni Association officers and board members have been extremely busy over the past three months. Let me recap for you some of the highlights of what has been going on this summer and the future events that are in various stages of planning.

Wreath-Laying Ceremony:  After a very successful 2016 reunion with 200 participants, we headed off to D.C. to participate in a special event for the Association. As you have seen on our Facebook page, many of our alumni from Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, and Arizona participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on July 20, 2016. This event was planned in honor of OCS's 75th anniversary and for all of the OCS graduates who have given their lives in defense of this great nation. After our ceremony, we headed to the Fort Myer Officers' Club where LTC Mark Andres, OCS commandant, briefed those present on the status of OCS and I gave remarks on the status of the Alumni Association. That evening the alumni were honored at a Twilight Tattoo, performed by the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). Mike Harris, class 3-75, was responsible for the planning and execution of our celebration. Thank you, Mike, for all of your hard work in making this event successful and memorable for all of the participants! Our mission was to promote visibility for the Alumni Association and our 75th anniversary. Our mission was accomplished. Another opportunity for us to honor our fallen and the 75th anniversary of OCS is Veteran's Day weekend this year. We will be in Washington D.C. again laying wreaths at the various memorials. Make your plans to join us for this memorable event.

Chapter Formation:  On another note, chapter formation is one area we are actively pursuing. Any group of OCS graduates who would like to establish a chapter in your area, please contact COL (R) Tom Evans at 310-704-4410, email: ranger06tom@aol.com to discuss chapter formation requirements. Tom can mentor you and help with the groundwork for developing a successful chapter. I would like to see our OCS graduates establish our first Association chapter before the next reunion. Who will accept this challenge?

Brick and Paver Program: The Brick and Paver Program, which has been in the planning stages for the past year, is now ready for primetime under the leadership of COL (R) Frank Harman and CPT (R) Jeff Davis. A comprehensive plan has been developed to lay bricks and pavers on the OCS monument walk in the battalion area. The plan will establish areas for all the years of the OCS program and honor Medal of Honor recipients, cadre of the OCS program, as well as class pavers and bricks for individual graduates. This is an excellent way to honor your fallen classmates who gave the ultimate sacrifice or to honor any OCS graduate who served our nation. We are planning a special ceremony to dedicate the first brick laying during the Alumni Reunion/Hall of Fame May 7-11, 2017.

Reunion:  Speaking of the reunion, I am hopeful that we will have a large turnout for the end of our diamond anniversary year. We are lining up prominent speakers for the various events and planning opportunities for attendees to observe candidate training and special interactions with the senior candidates. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held on May 8 and the Patterson Award dinner is scheduled for May 9. It is time to get your nominations in for one of your deserving classmates. Hall of Fame nomination packets are due to the battalion by November 30, 2016. Don’t miss this special time with former classmates and an opportunity to walk down memory lane.

OCS Advocacy: As I have mentioned in the past, the alumni of OCS need to be advocates for the OCS program and tell our story about the great things OCS grads have done for the country. We seem at times to be the lost cousins of the Army until we are needed to fill in the gaps. The accomplishments of OCS graduates over the last 75 years both in the military and civilian world are countless. Every graduate whom I talk to has stated that OCS was the foundation for success in their life endeavors. 

I look forward to hearing from you regarding your comments and suggestions. The Board of Directors and officers are dedicated to making the Association one in which you can be proud to be a member!

Forward Ever,
John Ionoff

John Ionoff | Colonel (USA Retired)
President, USAOCSAA
813.505.8335
Email

Commander's Circle

The 75th anniversary year of OCS is underway!

As we head into Fiscal Year 2017, I am proud to announce the candidates of the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School have earned acclaim from branch schools and brigade and battalion commanders for their technical and tactical competence, discipline, and strong ethical character. The candidates of today continue to carry on the proud history and traditions established 75 years ago on July 1, 1941.

In Fiscal Year 2016, Officer Candidate School commissioned 797 lieutenants into all 17 basic branches and all three components of the Total Army—to include four female Armor and three female Infantry officers. In addition, OCS sent three officer cadets to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Commissioning Course. OCS is currently training 237 candidates with another 49 candidates awaiting commissioning.

We started the celebration of the 75th anniversary year with a battalion run, dedication ceremony, and beer call on Friday, June 30, 2016 at Fort Benning followed by a wreath laying at Arlington National Cemetery, Twilight Tattoo, and regional reunion at Fort Myer on July 20, 2016. OCS will participate in more wreath-laying ceremonies during Veteran's Day weekend.

Now is the time to submit deserving alumni for induction into the OCS Hall of Fame. If you have a classmate who deserves induction, please contact CPT Barry Thomas at 706-626-5532 or barry.j.thomas.mil@mail.mil. He is more than willing to walk you through the submission process but you have to hurry. Nomination packets for the 2017 Hall of Fame induction are due to him by November 30, 2016 so they can be prepared for the board in January 2017.

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible during the Hall of Fame induction and reunion at Fort Benning May 7-11, 2017. Like last year we have an action-packed agenda planned to ensure that the current candidates and cadre show you just how great your alma mater continues to be!

Standards!! No Compromise!!
Mark C. Andres

Mark C. Andres
Lieutenant Colonel, Infantry
Commanding
706.545.3507
Email

The OCS Bookshelf

Reluctant Lieutenant: From Basic to OCS in the Sixties

With intimidating tales of bellowing drill instructors and their seemingly incongruous tasks, Reluctant Lieutenant captures the essence of what it meant to survive the training regimen of the Old Army.

Author Jerry Morton is a gifted storyteller equally at home describing blind navigation through the woods on a dark night as recounting the perils of smuggling a skin flick into his barracks at OCS. In this engaging memoir, Morton reconstructs his reluctant journey through basic training, advanced infantry training, and infantry Officer Candidate School during the Vietnam era. His is a unique record of what it was like to be a conscript in the U.S. Army in the late 1960s.

Morton's accounts also provide a roadmap to the sociology and culture of the military, especially the class system that divided college graduates from those with less education or economic stature yet sustained a solidarity that overrode class differences in the field. He describes his disappointment and discomfort at being "killed" during training ambushes. But he also shows how someone with a master's degree in psychology could adapt to an environment in which the Army did the thinking and the soldier the doing. However unintentional, by the end of his journey Morton is no longer a civilian but an officer, adept at Army gamesmanship and ready for command.

This book offers an entertaining and informative foray into the training system used by the Army during the Vietnam era and valuable insight into military culture. Veterans of the Old Army will find their memories kindled by this vivid account of one man's experience.

https://www.amazon.com/Reluctant-Lieutenant-Williams-Ford-University-Military/dp/158544359X

Sandhurst

Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
Senior Term
2LT Blake A. Grasso

I have finally made it back to the United States. I'm finding it difficult to believe that my year in the United Kingdom has already drawn to a close. While the individual seconds passed by excruciatingly slow at times (particularly on exercise), the year itself flew by.

The second half of the senior term was dominated by two exercises. The first was an urban operation that involved each company playing the civilian population for two days (an incredibly fun experience, especially for me as I was assigned the role of undercover terrorist cell leader). We conducted numerous strike operations on the fictional town of Longmoor while simultaneously attempting to set the conditions for free and fair elections. Relations between the town's Muslim and Christian factions soon turned violent. We often had to get physical with the civilian population as they attempted to kidnap members of patrols. The exercise culminated with a riot, and we had to don riot gear to disperse the civilian population. Armed with fire bombs and hard rubber pellets, they were no match for our batons and the bruises they inflicted.

The final exercise of Sandhurst was Exercise Dynamic Victory, which took place at the Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training areas in Germany. The first four days consisted of live fire ranges, ending with a rifle platoon live fire attack. The last week and a half was spent in the field, rotating between rural and urban environments. For this exercise, we also had a platoon of West Point cadets attached to our battle group, who were shocked to discover an American hidden among all the British cadets. After the final long infiltration tab (a ruck march) and dawn assault on an enemy village, we all donned respective regimental berets and were treated to an amazing champagne breakfast that went a long way towards easing the pains of the past year. We also spent a day in Nuremburg, visiting a Holocaust museum at the site of the old Nazi parade grounds.

The final major events of my time at Sandhurst were the commissioning parade and commissioning ball, a black tie party that is apparently one of the most exclusive events in the U.K. My parents were able to come for this last week at Sandhurst. It was great to be able to share such an amazing experience with them. The night of the ball, my comrades and I were finally able to look back fondly on all the difficult times we had throughout the course while enjoying fireworks and my last authentic British gin and tonic. Saying goodbye was bittersweet the next morning, as I was excited to return home and rejoin the U.S. Army, but disappointed to be leaving behind people with whom I had become such close friends.

I am currently in the third week of Armor Basic Officer Leader Course at Fort Benning. I have yet to readjust to the Georgia heat. While I am still relearning a lot of things about the U.S. Army, attending Sandhurst has definitely set me up for success in my military career. For any OCS candidates considering applying for Sandhurst, my advice is to apply without thinking twice. I would do it again in a heartbeat, despite all the difficulties. Having the opportunity is dependent on your graduation date but if the opportunity presents itself, take it. I am a better officer because of my experiences at Sandhurst. I have made incredible memories (both good and bad) throughout the course of the past year. I will be returning to the U.K. for the rest of my life and am looking forward to working with the British Army on operations in the future, wherever that may be. 

Serve to lead!

Candidates' Corner

Accomplishing Goals: One Step at a Time

2LT Danielle M. Salley

I enlisted in the United States Army because I wanted to have a career beyond customer service representative for a card service company. I knew that my education, experience and time had more purposeful meaning. I also wanted to be able to help provide for my family. So I enlisted in the Army entering basic combat training on October 11, 2011 and completing the training on January 16, 2012.

When I enlisted in the Army, I knew I wanted to make it my career. After speaking with both warrant officers and commissioned officers, being an Army officer was the best for my Army career. I had intended to apply to OCS after my first enlistment ended, but my commander was confident enough in me so I applied to OCS in October 2013, two years after joining the Army. Unfortunately, I was not "selected" but "considered." I submitted my packet for the May 2015 board with results posted July 31, 2015 of my selection for OCS. I was relieved, happy, and nervous all at the same time, thinking to myself I finally got it- a chance to better my life, my family, my career. The next step for me was to complete OCS and become an Army officer, achieving one of my professional goals.

In my preparation for OCS, I tried to make sure that I was in good physical health and shape. I began running three to four miles three times a week, doing push-up and sit-up drills, and playing basketball at the same time. I started to compile academic information for OCS and preparing essays that were required.

Upon reporting for OCS and after starting class, I learned the academic syllabus had changed. The curriculum for OCS was focused more on physical requirements and warrior battle drills. OCS was not as academically challenging as I thought it would be, but it was still challenging enough especially when it came to history week. That by far was the most stressfully week for me. I was the student commander for the week and hearing prior to attending OCS how difficult the history test was had me even more stressed. Unfortunately, I was a not first time go on the history test, but I was able to pass the test the second time around with a lot of help from my classmates and others who had to retake the test as well.

I learned so much both in the classroom and out. I have learned to take all the good and bad experiences, to learn and grow from them. Also, during these moments I developed long-lasting relationships with great, ambitious people.

Following graduation from OCS class 005-16 in June 2016, I reported to the All-Army basketball tryouts and camp two days later. Upon completion of the try-outs and camp, I made the All-Army basketball team. The 2016 All-Armed Forces tournament was held at Lackland AFB, Texas. For the second year in a row, the Army women's basketball team went undefeated 7-0, winning the championship game against Navy 65-64. After the tournament, 12 females from all services were selected to represent the 2016 USA military team at the Women's Basketball World Military Counsel International Du Sport Militaire (CISM) tournament at Camp Pendleton, CA. Being able to represent the Army, the US military, and myself at the World Military games is an awesome opportunity and achievement. I have been playing for the USA military team for the past three years and every year has been a great experience: winning two silver medals in 2014 and 2016 and one bronze medal in 2015. The ability to meet Soldiers from other countries on common ground and participate in a sport we all grew up to love would not have been possible outside the realm of military sports.

Upon entering the service, I wrote down goals I hoped to realize in my Army career. So far I have accomplished a few of my goals: to get promoted to Sergeant before the end of my first enlistment, to play on the All-Army women's basketball team and win a championship, and to be commissioned as an Army Officer. Every year I add more goals to my list at the same time checking off others. I continue to try to be a good example for my family. I am beyond thankful for where God has positioned me in life and the preparations He made to get me where I am today and hopefully in the future.

ARMY PROUD, ARMY STRONG!

2LT Danielle Salley takes the ball down court during the World Military Women's Basketball Championship final game at Camp Pendleton, California, July 29, 2016. Brazil ended up winning 61-60 in the final seconds and Team USA earned the silver medal. (Photo Credit: Gary Sheftick)

Wonder Wac Goes To OCS

Mary Rahill

When I was I little girl, I used to listen to my father and uncles talk about their experiences in WWII. Most of what they said was over my head, except for one fact they all acknowledged--the best officers were the ones from Officer Candidate School (OCS).

I made up my mind that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up. Many years passed. After I graduated college, I wanted to give something back to my country. I spoke to a recruiter, who told me the commissioning programs for women were undergoing an overhaul and were not accepting new applicants. I didn’t think anything was amiss, (why would the recruiter lie to me) so I enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). It was 1976.

Fort McClellan, Alabama was the headquarters of the WAC and that is where I went to basic training. Basic training was also conducted for females at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, but it was not held in the high esteem that Fort McClellan was. I was very happy that I would be trained in the motherland. The officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) took this duty very seriously. To them it was a sacred trust because they were trying to prove that women could serve as men.

At Fort McClellan, I learned basic soldiering: marksmanship; physical training; map reading; first aid; drill and ceremonies; military customs and courtesies; and nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare. When we weren't in classes, we were shining boots, starching and ironing our uniforms with extreme prejudice. Our uniforms had to be so highly starched that the company commander could take a uniform blouse or a skirt off a hanger and stand it at attention on the floor. If the article of military issue failed to stand tall, there would be hell to pay. It usually took the form of loss of free time and redoubled effort in polishing and ironing.

While I was going through training, I saw women going through the Direct Commission Program and WAC Officer Candidate School. This was when I learned that my recruiter lied to me. Imagine that! I was annoyed but decided if there was a will, there was a way and I would go to OCS.

After I graduated from basic training, I went to Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana for Advanced Individual Training (AIT). This was the home of Army Finance and Personnel Management. Compared to basic training, AIT was like a country club. I breezed through the instruction and served as an assistant instructor.

My first permanent duty assignment was Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade, Homestead Air Force Base, Florida. I worked in the Brigade S1 office. I was ambitious and embraced every opportunity. I was promoted to Specialist 5 in two years, which for the time was a record. I learned that Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia was opening up to women. I applied along with several men. I was not accepted. When you were rejected, you had to wait a mandatory six months before you could reapply.

Not daunted by this rejection, I called the Military Personnel Center in Washington D. C and found out that my letters of recommendation were not competitive enough. I was told by the branch manager I needed letters from colonels or above. I redoubled my effort, but I was on orders to Germany. I wasn't going to let the reassignment deter me.

I worked even harder at Headquarters, 32nd Army Air Defense Command. I attended the Seventh Army NCO Academy at Bad Toelz. This was the fabled NCO Academy established by General George S. Patton. Bad Toelz was the West Point of NCO academies. It was an excellent preparation for OCS. With this new school and letters from a colonel and two brigadier generals, I was finally accepted to OCS. I still have the clipping from the Army Times, dated July 14, 1980. If you look it up, my last name was Franson and I was scheduled for Class 1-81.

I attended Branch Immaterial Officer Candidate Course, aka OCS, Fort Benning, Georgia from December 2, 1980 through March 20, 1981. I was assigned to 5th Platoon, 51st Company. OCS was based on the Infantry Officer Basic Course and it was a challenging course on many levels and I welcomed every opportunity. The senior tactical officer nicknamed me Ranger Franson one day during formation, which sent the morale of 5th Platoon through the roof. We started with 255 candidates, of whom 55 were women. At the end of the 14-week course, we graduated 193 second lieutenants, of whom 25 were women. My father was there to see me commissioned. It was the happiest moment of my life at that time.

So that is how I went from civilian to Wonder WAC to Second Lieutenant. I'm just part of the long, honorable tradition of Officer Candidate School and I wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything.

Mary Rahill can be seen in this photo of her OCS platoon. Mary is in the first row, on the left.

If you have an OCS or Army story to tell, please email the Social Media Director. Contact information is at the bottom of the page.

Are You Tough Enough To Be An Officer?

Jefferson Davis

FORT BENNING, Ga., (July 27, 2016) -- Commissioned officers in today's Army are a diverse, competitive and battle hardened corps.

Officers don't just wear rank; they bear the burden it brings. They excel under pressure, and every decision and action taken by every person under their command is their sole responsibility while building a highly trained cohesive team and developing skills to exceed every standard.

Every rank and position of authority comes with a commensurate responsibility to lead, develop and achieve through moral character, affirmative presence and exemplary intellect. Being an officer is a demanding profession and becoming one can be even more challenging.

The U.S. Army currently has three paths to a commission: the United States Military Academy at West Point, Reserve Officer Training Corps and the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia.

All three routes demand the same rigorous standards of training prior to receiving a commission.

So what's the difference between the three commissioning paths? Answer: About 3 years and 9 months.

Since its inception in July 1941, the OCS motto has been "Standards! No Compromise!" and that applies to holding graduates to the same standards in 12 weeks as the other commissioning sources do in four years. OCS hopefuls are challenged from day one physically, mentally and emotionally.

Prospective officer candidates can expect early mornings, late nights and a lot of hard work. Even the best leaders are challenged to complete the pre-commissioning requirements within extremely compressed timelines.

At OCS, your physical and mental capabilities will be put to the ultimate test. If you are not exceeding the physical fitness standards upon arrival, fatigue and injury from constant physical exertion will likely end your journey.

If you arrive and your personal life is not in order, the constant activity and lack of personal time compels many to ring the bell.

If you show up and think, "How hard could the classes be if it's only 12 weeks?" you will fail academically and will have to fulfill your obligation at the needs of the Army, or return to your unit if you're already serving on active duty. At OCS, you can expect all of these challenges throughout the entirety of the course...not separately, but continuously.

Throughout OCS, a candidate's typical day starts at 0545 with physical readiness training and ends at 2100, with continuous training or classes throughout the day.

At first, this is just a long day, but compounded by the physical rigors of physical readiness training in the morning, being on the move at all times and absorbing four years of military instruction contracted into 12 short weeks, even the most competent and fit Soldiers feel the fatigue.

As the physical and mental exhaustion sets in, OCS transitions from a school to a course--a means to assess the candidate's character.

When fatigue sets into the body and mind, your inner character begins to show. Without a weekend or afternoon recess to recharge both physically and mentally, weary candidates are thrust into leadership positions and evaluated under the ever-watchful eye of uncompromising mentors and trainers.

Can your actions, planning processes and decisions stand up to the scrutiny of comparison against Army doctrine, values and leadership competencies?

During fiscal year 2015, Army accessions policy limited applicants to six years of prior active federal service. This policy, coupled with the required bachelor's degree, prevented many experienced and talented NCOs from applying to OCS. A four-year degree is still currently required, but the restriction to time in active federal service is no longer applicable.

If you are one of the many talented and driven NCOs who has earned a degree before or while on active duty, this is the self-development and initiative expected of OCS candidates and commissioned officers.

If you or someone you know lives by the Army standards, without compromise, has the energetic determination to accomplish any task and wants increased responsibility, then visit https://www.hrc.army.mil/Officer/OfficerCandidateSchool and start preparing for a career in the commissioned officer corps today!

Jefferson Davis currently serves as the Treasurer of the US Army Officer Candidate School Alumni Association. He wrote this article when he was the S3 Future Operations Officer for 3-11 Infantry (OCS Battalion). Jefferson is a graduate of Class 502-09. This article originally appeared in the Bayonet and Saber.

Upcoming Activities

2016 Wreath Laying Ceremonies

The OCS Alumni Association will be participating in wreath-laying ceremonies during the Veteran's Day holiday to recognize OCS graduates and their sacrifices during wartime. We will place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday, November 12 at 1215. In addition, we are working with the National Park Service to lay wreaths at other memorials on Friday, November 11. More info to follow. If you are in the DC area, please plan on attending these events to honor and recognize the OCS program and its graduates.

2017 Reunion

Next year's reunion dates are set for May 7-11 at the Columbus Marriott in Columbus, GA. The Hall of Fame Induction ceremony will be held Monday, May 8. The Patterson Award dinner will occur Tuesday, May 9. In addition, there will be a special ceremony to dedicate the first bricks and pavers on the OCS Battalion's memorial walk. If we have enough interest, we will have a special outing to one of the historical sites in the Columbus area. This year is a great time to schedule a mini reunion for your class along with the alumni reunion. Scheduling your mini reunion with us will provide your classmates with many event options that you can take advantage of at a reduced cost and without you having to plan the events yourselves. You can make hotel reservations now at the Columbus Marriott: phone number - 706-324-1800 and reservation link. We have a special rate of $124 per night with a full buffet breakfast included for two. For more information, contact Nancy Ionoff, Reunion Coordinator, at ocsalumnireunion@gmail.com or 813-917-4309. Mark your calendars and plan to attend this special year-end celebration of 75 years of the U.S. Arm'’s Officer Candidate School!

DC Area Reunion

OCS alumni in the Washington, D.C. area gathered on July 20, 2016 for a mini-reunion to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the establishment of OCS.

The reunion began with the Alumni Association laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. The wreath was laid in recognition and honor of OCS alumni.

At 1900, the reunion participants were recognized at the Twilight Tattoo presented by the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and the U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own". The Twilight Tattoo is an hour-long military pageant which highlights the contributions of the U.S. Army throughout American history.

The regional reunion also included a tour of Old Guard facilities and a briefing by the OCS battalion commander.

Medal Of Honor Ceremony

President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to retired Lt. Col. Charles Kettles on July 18, 2016, at the White House. The OCS graduate was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic acts during the Vietnam War as a UH-1D helicopter pilot. For more information, see the Army's official website dedicated to him, https://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/kettles/.

President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Honor to retired Lt. Col. Charles Kettles for conspicuous gallantry, in the East Room of the White House, July 18, 2016. Then-Maj. Kettles distinguished himself in combat operations near Duc Pho, Republic of Vietnam, on May 15, 1967 and is credited with saving the lives of 40 Soldiers and four of his own crew members. (White House photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Lt. Gen. L. J. Lincoln awards the Distinguished Service Cross to Maj. Charles Kettles, Ft. Sam Houston, San Antonio, 1968. (Photo courtesy of Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Charles Kettles)

OCS Candidates Meet with former Secretary of the Army John O. Marsh

John O. Marsh, the longest serving Secretary of the Army from February 1981 until August 1989 and 1945 OCS graduate, visited the National Infantry Museum on September 16, 2016 where he serves as an Advisory Board Member. OCS candidates visited the NIM and met with Secretary Marsh.

Chapter Information

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 in interested in establishing a chapter or would like to receive a copy of the SOP, please contact Tom Evans at ranger06tom@aol.com or 310-827-1491.

Membership Update

  • 2017 Hall of Fame application process
    3-11 IN (OCS) is accepting nominations for the 2017 Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame at Fort Benning. For additional information on application requirements, see http://www.benning.army.mil/infantry/199th/ocs/. The cutoff date for submission is November 30, 2016. Packets must be postmarked no later than November 20, 2016.

  • The Officer Candidate School Alumni Association reports with deep regret the passing of Robert D. Bentley, Colonel, Infantry (Retired) who passed away July 17, 2016 at the West Palm Beach Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center at the age of 94. Colonel Bentley's very distinguished military career began with his induction into the Army in 1942, included commissioning through Infantry Officer Candidate School and ended with command of the Defense Information School at Fort Benjamin Harrison, IN in 1977. In World War II, he served with the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 17th Airborne Division and was taken prisoner at Allemagne and held until war's end. Subsequent airborne assignments included the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. Vietnam combat service included serving as a senior sector advisor in the ARVN II Corps Tactical Zone.

  • Anthony M. Smith, Sr. is looking for any photos of the 2-75 graduation class. Anthony can be reached at 4-business@att.net.

  • A Ph.D. student is exploring a possible article or dissertation on the US Army Officer Candidate School program from inception through today, to include all the federal OCS and state National Guard programs and is requesting help from association members. He is asking for personal accounts of OCS experiences including the selection process of the time, experiences of the course itself, and perspectives on its strengths and weaknesses. He can be contacted at ocshistoricalresearch@mail.com and requests that submissions NOT include personally identifiable information such as social security numbers or dates of birth.

  • In December 2015, the Association created a new website. All members are encouraged to log into the website (www.ocsalumni.org) and ensure the information in their profile is correct. If the information is inaccurate and can't be updated or there is no profile listed, please contact Patrick Smith at 951-712-3240 or patocsaa@gmail.com.

  • Check out the OCS yearbooks at the MCoE HQ Donovan Research Library. http://www.benning.army.mil/library/content/Virtual/OCS/index.htm. If you don't see a specific yearbook you are looking for, you can e-mail the library's reference desk at usarmy.benning.mcoe.mbx.donovan-ref-desk@mail.mil. If you have a yearbook you would like to see added to the collection, you can send the yearbook to the library staff for scanning and they will return it to you.

  • Infantry OCS Class 2-67 (55th Company) held its 50th Anniversary Reunion September 9 – 11, 2016 in Boston, MA. The reunion was attended by 50 graduates and guests. It included an opening cocktail party, local touring, a reunion dinner, and closing brunch. The reunion dinner was highlighted by two exceptional guest speakers, LTC Jimmy Hathaway of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, and LTC (Ret) John Dunn, a classmate and former Vietnam Prisoner of War. The class' Fallen Comrades, as well as the victims of 9-11, and the fallen of the ensuing war on terror, were honored in a fitting and emotional ceremony. Additional information and pictures are posted on the class website. Class members not having the url and/or password should contact Tom Colangelo (colanget@comcast.net) or Charlie Brown (OCS@cabrown.com).

  • If you have announcements, you would like to have publicized on the OCSAA Facebook page or in the newsletter, please email the Social Media Director. Contact information is at the bottom of the Association's website's home page.

A Call To Arms

Frank Harman

The OCS Commandant and his staff have identified a place within the OCS quadrangle for a Memorial Walk. The walk is to be lined with bricks and pavers honoring past graduates and cadre of the Officer Candidate School. In honor of the 75th anniversary of OCS, the US Army Officer Candidate School Alumni Association (USAOCSAA) will dedicate this walk at next year's reunion in May. We need your assistance to make this happen.

Just like freedom isn't free, neither is philanthropy. The USAOCSAA is supporting the OCS Battalion's effort to finish Wigle and Nett Halls as well as our continued support honoring candidate excellence in each graduating class. Proceeds from the brick and paver program will go a long way to finance these efforts. Therefore, I challenge every living member of the OCS Hall of Fame to buy a paver for him or herself and sponsor a deceased Hall of Fame member with an additional paver. I recommend we start with Medal of Honor and Distinguished Service Cross recipients and continue until every HOF member is on the walk. Additionally, cadre should also be recognized on this walk, so I issue the same challenge to all living former OCS battalion commanders to buy their own brick and recognize another former cadre member that had a distinguished military career or exemplary combat record.

To demonstrate my personal commitment, I have already purchased my own paver and will sponsor pavers for 1LT Jimmie Monteith, Medal of Honor recipient Omaha Beach, 3rd Battalion 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division; CPT Joe Dawson, Distinguished Service Cross recipient Omaha Beach, 3rd Battalion 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division; and MG Keith Ware, Medal of Honor recipient in WWII with 1st Battalion 15th Infantry and Distinguished Service Cross recipient in Vietnam as the Commanding General of the 1st Infantry Division.

For additional information, go to the USAOCSAA web site, https://www.ocsalumni.org, or email me directly at frank.harman@harmangrp.com.

Remember how it felt to be honored with your induction into the OCS Hall of Fame and the privilege to be recognized in the same way as so many great American heroes. This is a chance to say thank you to those who selected you and those that came before you.

Frank Harman currently serves as the Secretary of the US Army Officer Candidate School Alumni Association. He is a retired colonel and was inducted into the OCS Hall of Fame in 2004.