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October 2017 Newsletter

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President's Message

OCS Alumni,

Recently my wife and I traveled to Japan and South Korea on a retiree package sponsored by the Dragon Hill Lodge, one of the Armed Forces Recreation Centers. This is a trip that I highly recommend. We spent seven days in Tokyo at the New Sanno, a U.S. Navy hotel, and then ten days at the Dragon Hill Lodge in Seoul. We had wonderful tour guides, great food, and amazing adventures. We saw Mount Fuji, rode the bullet train, and toured the Sky Tower among so many other things. The Dragon Hill Lodge sponsors several packages to include trips to Beijing and Shanghai. If you are interested, see the link or call me with your questions.

While we were in Tokyo, we toured the Stars and Stripes headquarters and met the publisher and the commander of Stars and Stripes, Pacific. Before we departed the building, the media director had placed information about our upcoming reunion and membership information on their websites in Japan, Guam, South Korea, and Okinawa. Since then they have also run an article about our OCS history. This was an unexpected benefit of our trip! 

The reunion coordinator, Nancy Ionoff, members of the Board of Directors, and the OCS cadre are busy planning the 2018 reunion. The reunion will be held at the Columbus Marriott again this year beginning on Sunday, March 25 and ending on Wednesday, March 28 with the alumni reunion dinner. We have the link to the hotel on our website for you to register early. Soon the registration for the reunion itself and pertinent information for attendees will be available at the Association’s website. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony and dinner will be held on Monday, March 26 beginning at 1600. After the induction ceremony, there will be a reception and dinner for all of us to celebrate our inductees with their family and friends. OCS candidates will be invited as well.

There are many among your classmates or friends who deserve to be in the OCS Hall of Fame. Please think about someone you know who is a deserving person and nominate him or her. Capt. Patrick Armour is the OCS Battalion’s Assistant S-3 and will be able to help you get your documentation completed. Capt. Armor’s work phone is 706-545-5559. His email is Patrick.J.Armourkoenig.mil@mail.mil. For additional information on nomination package requirements see the Battalion’s website. The deadline for Hall of Fame applications is November 1, 2017. 

We currently have four chapters with the prospect of adding another four before the reunion. If you do not have a chapter in your area, start one! These chapters are doing well in reaching out to members and conducting local outreach projects. This Veterans Day, November 11, the D.C. Chapter is seeking OCS alumni participation at the wreath-laying ceremonies at the World War II Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Wall. You are invited to attend. For more information, contact Mike Harris, president of the Washington D.C. Chapter at harrisnva@msn.com.

Retired Col. Frank Harman has done a wonderful job in bringing the Memorial Walk project to life and it continues to grow. There will be a ceremony at the March reunion where three class projects and many more individual and unit blocks will be unveiled. The Memorial Walk truly represents the history and heritage of our great institution. 

As tensions around the world continue to mount, OCS finds itself in a familiar position—that of expanding to meet the Army’s need for tactically and technically proficient junior officers. During fiscal year 2018, the OCS program will grow. Lt. Col. Matt Chitty, OCS commandant, addresses this increase in his message in this newsletter and will also brief the alumni at the reunion. 

I am encouraged by the amount of interest shown by alumni to serve their fellow graduates. As you know, 13 members serve on the Board of Directors. Currently, all positions are filled; however, there will be an election next year for five positions. All current members of the Board can run for reelection, but that should not discourage you from running. There are so many ways to serve and I really understand the desire to give back. We all have been blessed that OCS was the foundation of our careers. Call me to discuss how you can give back to the Alumni Association. I have a job for you!

All of us must be advocates for the OCS program and the OCS Alumni Association. Outreach to the civilian and military communities is necessary. The opportunities are there. Just look at my trip to Japan and Korea. It works the same way in Toledo, Ohio or Seattle, Washington. I thank you for your support and your input. No matter where you went to OCS, we all share the same leadership traits such as sound discipline, strong work ethic, and the drive to complete the mission. We all have so much to give. 

Forward Ever,
John Ionoff

Colonel (USA Retired)
President/CEO, USAOCSAA
813-505-8335
jionoff@aol.com

Commander's Circle

Greetings from humid Fort Benning!

OCS is a challenging course and the hot summer months only add to the stress and difficulty for our candidates. However, I continue to remain impressed by the quality of candidates we train and commission. The men and women who graduate and cross under our arch are ready to lead Soldiers in our Army. I want to ensure you that this generation of candidates is ready to answer our nation’s call as you once did. 

The battalion has stayed busy over the summer months as each of the three companies conducted an OCS class at some point during the summer. Currently, we are training over 230 candidates and our end-of-year total will be approximately 920. The Army will grow in the near future and OCS plays a direct role in this growth. The battalion will add two additional companies in late February or early March that will begin training candidates in the summer. We will undoubtedly have a busy summer in 2018. 

We hosted a visit from Gen. Milley, U.S. Army Chief of Staff, in late August. Gen. Milley engaged Class 007-17 for over two hours—including his thoughts on leadership, the current threat environment, and a Q&A session. We all enjoyed the talk and look forward to other senior leader engagements in the future.

The next OCS reunion is March 25-29, 2018. I encourage all alumni to attend. Additionally, please nominate any worthy and qualified alumni member for induction into the OCS Hall of Fame. For additional information on application requirements, see http://www.benning.army.mil/infantry/199th/ocs/. The cutoff date for submission is November 1.

Standards!! No Compromise!!

Matthew B. Chitty

Lieutenant Colonel, Armor
Commanding
706-545-3507
matthew.b.chitty.mil@mail.mil

Memorial Walk

The OCS Alumni Association was founded to serve and honor the OCS program and its graduates. The Association fosters fellowship, highlights the history of OCS, and memorializes that history. One example of this is the construction of the Memorial Walk, a series of bricks, pavers, and monuments centered around a brass cannon on the grounds of the OCS battalion.

Through the years, various classes donated plaques to commemorate their legacy. When the OCS battalion moved several years ago from its location near the 250-foot jump towers, the monuments were moved and placed in the OCS battalion area. However, there was no cohesion among the memorials and no way for individuals to memorialize their achievements as an OCS graduate.   

Thus, the idea of the OCS Memorial Walk was born.

The Memorial Walk consists of a long path bordered by bricks, pavers, and monuments on both sides. The brass cannon flanks the center of the path on one side. The Memorial Walk is a short distance from the entrance to the OCS battalion area, where the OCS arches stand now.  

The center of the Memorial Walk is the cannon. In this area, known as the Cannon Block, there are pavers to commemorate the 49 Medal of Honor OCS recipients and other distinguished OCS graduates. There are several blocks with the inscribed names of members of the OCS Hall of Fame. There are blocks dedicated to the some of the divisions and regiments that OCS graduates have served. There are the previous class monuments and additional ones are being purchased to honor a class’s legacy and its members. There are numerous individual bricks and pavers for both graduates and cadre to memorialize their service to our Army.

Just as the OCS Alumni Association represents all OCS graduates regardless of school location, the Memorial Walk does not just honor graduates of the Fort Benning OCS but all officer candidate schools.

The Memorial Walk was formally dedicated at the May reunion. There is now a cohesive place for graduates and current candidates to remember the OCS history and pay tribute to those who have sacrificed for their nation.

The man who took this vision and made it a reality is retired Col. Frank Harman. Frank is the Vice President for Administration for the OCS Alumni Association. Those who heard his speech at the dedication in May know this is a labor of love for Frank. 

Retired Col. Frank Harman speaking at the dedication of the Memorial Walk.

Interview with Frank Harman

Why did you take on this project?

Have you ever been to West Point? If so, you are awe struck by history and those West Point graduates who have led our Soldiers in battle: Grant, Lee, Pershing, MacArthur, Patton, Eisenhower, Bradley, Gavin, Abrams, Schwarzkopf, and so many more are deified in and around the halls and the plane of West Point. And rightfully so.

Since 1941, during time of war, OCS produced the majority of small unit leaders at the tip of the spear. The majority of combat platoon leaders and company, troop, and battery commanders were OCS graduates. Forty-nine OCS graduates have received the Medal of Honor; twelve graduates served as four-star generals, to include Tommy Franks who led OIF 1; four graduates became U.S. senators and one, Bob Dole, ran for president. The first African American U.S. ambassador is an OCS graduate, as well as former Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger and Secretary of the Army John O Marsh. The greatest military operation in U.S. Army history, the D-Day invasion, would not have been possible without the small unit leadership of OCS graduates. Examples include 1st Lt. Jimmie Monteith, Medal of Honor recipient, and Capt. Joe Dawson, Capt. Kimball Richmond, and 1st Lt. Dick Winters Distinguished Service Cross recipients. One of the most courageous examples of leadership in the Korean War occurred when Medal of Honor recipient Lt. Col. Don Faith’s battalion held the northwest flank at the Chosen reservoir allowing the Marines to withdraw under pressure. The most senior officer to die in combat in Vietnam was a Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, Maj. Gen. Keith Ware, during Operation Junction City. And we can’t forget the numerous platoon leaders, company commanders, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam advisors, and Special Forces team leaders who met the same fate leading Soldiers in Vietnam. OCS officers served faithfully throughout the Cold War; Army of Excellence; numerous operational deployments including to the Dominican Republic, Panama, Desert Storm, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo; as well as duty in Europe and Korea. Since September 11, OCS graduates have served and died for their nation during the Global War on Terrorism.

Why didn’t Fort Benning have monuments to celebrate the valor, meritorious military service, and outstanding public service of OCS graduates? I want to fix this.

Why does the Memorial Walk matter?

First, it matters that cadre, candidates, and future graduates understand the OCS history and its impact on the Army and the nation. I want them to be proud of being a Soldier and an OCS-trained officer or part of the OCS cadre. I want them to know they are part of a great tradition, they represent that tradition, and they individually have the potential for valorous leadership, meritorious service, and outstanding public service.

Second, it matters to our graduates. We need a place where we can memorialize our fallen comrades, our mentors, our battle buddies, our units, our Soldiers, and the campaigns, operations, deployments, and exercises in which we have participated. Raised monuments, dedication blocks, as well as group and individual plates, pavers, and bricks are a way to accomplish this.

What is the end state?

As long as there is an OCS program, the Memorial Walk project will continue. My objective, as project manager, is in some form or fashion make sure we have represented everything about OCS that has unique significance. That means war eras to put the OCS experience into perspective. That means some form of recognition for branches, units, battlefield heroes, distinguished leaders, Hall of Fame members, cadre, year groups and classes, campaigns, operations, and deployments. But most importantly, every graduate has an opportunity to participate in his or her own way and we have a place where they can do that.

What can fellow graduates do to assist in this project?

All graduates should buy a brick or paver for themselves and a battle buddy, mentor, or special Soldier. Career officers should buy a paver and take care of someone special, but they should also make sure their class or year group is represented with at least a brick if not something more significant. All the profits from brick and paver sales are rolled back into the walk and that is how we have been able to pay for our landscaper and additional monuments like the OCS Hall of Fame plates, branch bricks, and several dedication blocks. It’s all about capturing our history as OCS graduates. 


Former Sen. Dole meets retired colonels John Ionoff, OCS Alumni Association President (left) and Frank Harman, OCSAA Vice President for Administration and the program manager for the Memorial Walk (middle) in April. 

Construction of the Memorial Walk




Initial digging for the construction of the Memorial Walk at the OCS battalion area in December 2016.

Further progress in the construction of the Memorial Walk at the OCS battalion area in March 2017.

Formal dedication of the Memorial Walk at the OCS reunion in May 2017.

Additions to the Memorial Walk in August 2017 include names of members of the OCS Hall of Fame and division and regimental units.

Fighting 51st Class 6-65 Memorial

The 51st Company, 5th Student Battalion, The School Brigade is unique based on its performance in the Vietnam War. The class started in January 1965 and graduated the following June. The Vietnam War was not just on the horizon - it was here. Inspired by President John Kennedy’s “we must roll back the tide of communist aggression” edict, this class did not need motivation. The Vietnam buildup had begun. The U.S. military presence in Vietnam was rapidly changing from advisors to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam to the deployment of conventional units in the spring of 1965. Early indications regarding the initial duty station for these aspiring lieutenants was evident.

The class had strong leaders for role models. The battalion commander, Lt. Col. Robert B. Nett, was a Medal of Honor recipient from World War II. In addition, the 51st Company commander, Capt. Kenneth Johnston, airborne and Ranger qualified, was a veteran of a tour in Vietnam. Capt. Johnston was backed by a force of tactical officers who had taken a blood oath to establish an attrition record for the 5th Battalion. Additionally, the class had a strong prior service presence with a vast amount of military experience. This group of seasoned soldiers graduated 100. Their experience proved a strong crutch for the 80 college option candidates who had just completed basic and advanced infantry training the week before Christmas 1964. To have the opportunities to seek guidance, ask questions, and learn the techniques and tactics of proven infantry leaders over a cup of coffee, on a road march, or in a hallway after lights out was invaluable. Fifty-six college option candidates completed the rigorous OCS class.

Why was this OCS company unique? First, and foremost, the company had two graduates, 2nd Lt. Robert Hibbs from Cedar Falls, Iowa and 1st Lt. George “Ken” Sisler from Dexter, Missouri, who distinguished themselves in battle. Hibbs, assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division was killed in action on March 5, 1966 at the Battle of Lo Ke and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Hibbs has been honored through the dedication of a bridge, college tributes, and a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in his hometown that bears his name.

Sisler, who was killed in action on February 7, 1967, was also posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Sisler was cited for extraordinary valor in leading a patrol while assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group. The patrol was ambushed from three directions and Sisler responded single-handedly, assaulting the enemy force twice to blunt the attackers. Sisler has been honored with the dedication of a U.S. Navy ship in his name. Sisler Hall, a building at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, is also named after him. He is also a member of the Military Intelligence and Ranger Halls of Fame.

The “Fighting 51st” is also unique because between 1965 and 1972 the OCS company experienced the loss of 17 members killed in the Vietnam War. Unofficial data on casualties suffered by OCS classes reveals that the average number of deaths per company was approximately eight during the height of the Vietnam War. The casualties suffered by the “Fighting 51st” were twice the norm. This is attributed to the fact that these gallant warriors were doing what they had trained for—leading in combat at the front and taking the risks required of a leader. These great Americans, volunteers for OCS, gave the last full measure of their devotion in combat in the Republic of Vietnam. They died doing what they trained for in OCS - demonstrating leadership in the crucible of battle.

It is to memorialize this ultimate sacrifice that we, friends and classmates of Officer Candidate Class 6-65, have bonded together to develop a plaque that will honor our fallen classmates. The plaque will feature our two Medal of Honor recipients surrounded by the names of their 15 classmates who died in battle. The plaque will be a fitting tribute to their personal sacrifice and will be dedicated as an integral part of the Memorial Walk in March 2018. The memorial plaque will be much more than a tribute to our two MOH recipients. It also will capture the essence of the leadership and sacrifice demonstrated by all 17 officers killed in the Vietnam War. These 17 officers were also the recipients of our nation’s highest decorations for valor including two Distinguished Service Crosses, one Distinguished Flying Cross, one Silver Star, three Bronze Stars and, the ultimate badge of honor, the Purple Heart. Those of you reading this article are no strangers to the concepts of leadership and sacrifice as manifested in the OCS ethos.

These 17 members of OCS Class 6-65 who made the ultimate sacrifice are the centerpiece of a distinguished group of 156 graduates. Nearly all of these newly commissioned lieutenants went on to serve in battle in the Republic of Vietnam. Five members have been inducted into the OCS Hall of Fame. Highly decorated and tested in battle, they served in positions of leadership and trust. Our classmates went on to become distinguished, committed Americans. Many took the leadership skills honed in OCS and made positive contributions in civilian industry as well as in managerial positions within the corporate world. They excelled in military, education, government, and leadership positions across America. We are grateful to the OCS program for the development of core values, leadership skills, and the sense of responsibility which has made it possible to give a return to the nation—not just on the battlefield but in civilian life as well.


Rendering of the Memorial Walk plaque dedicated to the 17 members of Class 6-65 who died in Vietnam.

USNS Sisler, a Watson-class vehicle cargo ship, is named for 1st Lt. George K. Sisler.

Phil Kearns, retired colonel, and Grady Smith, retired lieutenant colonel, are members of Class 6-65. Along with fellow classmate, Dave Schollman, they led the effort to create a plaque at the OCS Memorial Walk to recognize their classmates. 

Class 19-69 Memorial

The following is an email to the OCS Alumni Association from Lynn Baker, Class 19-69.

Frank Harman has done such a wonderful job working with the Class 19-69 on our monument. Without him we would have done the 24"x24" and took the extra funds raised and moved on, but with Frank’s experience and insight we expanded the monument thanks to the generosity of 93rd OCS Company. Now we have a 40"x72" monument for our lost brothers in the Vietnam War including cadre and men of Class 19-69. Awesome! I feel very fortunate to have been a part of this once-in-a-lifetime experience. I express my gratitude and appreciation to the OCS Alumni Association for this eternal Monument Walk. Thank you and all who are involved in the continued effort to make this a great Association.

Current Status of Dedication Blocks

Dedication Blocks

ERA

Status

75th Anniversary

Emplaced

George Marshall

Emplaced

WWII Pacific

Emplaced

WWII North Africa/Europe

Emplaced

Korea

Emplaced

Cold War

Emplaced

Vietnam

Emplaced

VOLAR

Emplaced

GWOT

Emplaced

Distinguished Graduates

Emplaced

   

OCS HOF

Status

1958-1971

Emplaced

2001-2017-Gray

Ordered

1992- 2001-Black

On Site

1972-1991-Black

On site

HOF Monument- Black

Ordered

   

Unit

Status

1st Infantry Division

Emplaced

2nd Infantry Division

Emplaced

3rd Infantry Division

Emplaced

4th Infantry Division

Emplaced

9th Infantry Division

Emplaced

25th Infantry Division

Emplaced

23rd Infantry Division (AMERICAL)

TBD

1st Cavalry Division

Emplaced

1st Armored Division

Emplaced

10th Mountain Division

Emplaced

82nd Airborne Division

Emplaced

101st Airborne Division

Emplaced

2nd Infantry Regiment

Emplaced

11th Infantry Regiment

Emplaced

16th Infantry Regiment

Emplaced

29th Infantry Regiment

Ordered

47th Infantry Regiment

Emplaced

187th Infantry Regiment- Gray

Ordered

75th Ranger Regiment

Emplaced

2nd Cavalry Regiment

Emplaced

11th Armored Cavalry Regiment

Emplaced

3rd Cavalry Regiment

Emplaced

173rd Airborne Brigade-Gray

Ordered

5th FA Regiment

On Site

34th AR Regiment-Gray

Ordered

1st Engineers

On Site

ADA

TBD

Signal Corps

Ordered

Special Forces

TBD

MACV

TBD

   

Memorials

Status

Harris Memorial

Emplaced

Caton Memorial

Emplaced

OCS Class 19-69-Black

Ordered

FT KNOX OCS

Emplaced

Other OCS

TBD

Vietnamese OCS

Emplaced

2017 NETT Award

Emplaced

PM Appreciation

Emplaced

OCS Class 46-67-Gray

Ordered

OCS Class 6-65-Gray

Ordered

OCS Class 47-67

TBD

OCS Class 36-67-Gray

Ordered

Operation Attleboro

Emplaced

Make a Difference...

…because you care about your legacy.

Remember the overwhelming emotions that day—the day you graduated from the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School? Remember that first salute and the silver dollar tradition? That day and that time are etched into your mind. Much the same way as the OCS leadership principles were honed into skills: skills that you continue to rely on and cherish today.

You earned that first salute because you succeeded in completing a difficult, rigorous, and intensely challenging U.S. Army school. You endured a crushing training regimen that dates to 1941 and the eve of World War II. You qualified. You persevered. You distinguished yourself. You graduated. You became a U.S. Army officer.

Can you give back to preserve this legacy? You can order a brick or paver for yourself or another OCS graduate. You can organize a class or unit monument or you can sponsor a dedication block for a division or regiment.

This is your legacy.

https://www.ocsalumni.org/events/cart.php?id=3

OCS Bookshelf

Afghan Post

 

Adrian Bonenberger is a 2005 graduate of OCS. A college option candidate, Bonenberger enlisted in the Army after spending a couple of years following graduation from Yale trying to determine his path in life (“…the devaluated nature of a Bachelor’s in English.”). While studying for the LSAT, he rather impulsively enlisted in the Army. Ten months later, Bonenberger was commissioned a second lieutenant in infantry.

The book begins shortly after September 11 while Bonenberger was a senior in college and includes his two deployments to Afghanistan. Drawing on journal entries, letters, phone calls, and emails, this memoir eloquently describes the strain of warfare.

OCS graduates will find Bonenberger’s insightful descriptions of life at OCS to be their own experiences. “It took a couple weeks to fall into the pattern of basic training, but here at OCS I still haven’t settled in. They do a great job of making the process uncomfortable and unpleasant, a psychological trial for the refined sensibilities of an entitled and pampered college grad. It’s been a month and a half.”

Land navigation remains a rite of passage at OCS and Bonenberger portrayed the anxiety, apprehension, and pride upon passing the test. “Excepting sleep, it was the first time we were trusted to be on our own or alone since starting the school late May. It was intoxicating; I had a real physical sensation of freedom as I trotted out into the forest, almost like in childhood when one’s parents say that it’s all right to ride your bike to the candy store alone.”

This book is about so much more than Bonenberger’s introduction to the Army. It is a perceptive narrative into our recent conflicts. 

Marshall's Address to the First Graduating Class from OCS

Gen. George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, addressed the first graduating class of OCS on September 27, 1941. 

Read Speech

Upcoming Activities

OCS Graduate to Receive the Medal of Honor for Actions in Laos

Retired Army Capt. Gary Michael Rose will receive the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony on October 23. President Donald Trump will present the medal which commemorates Rose's heroic actions as a Special Forces medic in Laos during a four-day mission, September 11-14, 1970. In August 1973, Rose was selected to attend Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in Field Artillery in December 1973.

Save the Date: 2018 Reunion

Don’t miss the 2018 reunion March 25-29 in Columbus, Georgia! Preparations continue for this exciting event. Some of the activities planned are the OCS Hall of Fame induction ceremony and formal dinner that will include the current senior phase class and an alumni reunion dinner. The Hall of Fame dinner speaker will be Hyrum Smith, Artillery Officer Candidate School Class 1-67. Hyrum is currently the chairman of 3Gaps, a training company, and co-founder and former chairman and CEO of Franklin Covey. You can make hotel reservations 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 the reunion. We are all brothers and sisters in arms!


Colorado Chapter News

Greetings from the Colorado Chapter. We are proud to be the second chapter of the Association and we continue to grow.

On Wednesday, August 9 we gathered for our second meeting at “The Club” on Peterson AFB. Since it was the middle of the week, I knew we would have a small gathering but I felt that we needed to have a meeting. Those who could attend included CPT Nate Hoekje, COL (R) Dennis Cripps, and CPT (R) John Ulbinsky.

After a quick luncheon, and since we were all at different locations in July, I thought it would be nice to have a belated celebration of the OCS anniversary. The oldest graduate, CPT(R) John Ulbinsky OCS Class # 01-62, presented the youngest graduate, CPT Nate Hoekje OCS Class # 06-10, the first slice.

During the luncheon, we had a quick meeting where we reviewed our establishment two months ago to our way ahead. After a quick discussion, everyone agreed. Our meeting was a success.

On Friday, September 1 our treasurer, MAJ (R) Anthony “Tony” Thies OCS Class #508-04, officially retired from the Army after 28 years in the Army uniform. At his retirement party, I presented Tony the OCS 75th anniversary coin at the party. Tony and I were both specialists together at One Station Unit Training (OSUT) and went to B/1-6 Infantry Regiment for our first duty assignment after OSUT. Our careers mirrored each other and I can honestly say we are the only two from Bravo Company who went to OCS and are the only ones, of our peers, who retired as majors. 

On Saturday, November 4 Army is playing Air Force at Falcon Stadium. Both BG (R) Thorn and I will be in attendance representing the chapter. BG (R) Thorn is currently the oldest member of the chapter and attended the Signal Corps OCS in 1952. He resides in Denver, is very active, and continues to go to all the Air Force Academy football games when they play at home.

Our chapter has grown since our establishment. We are continually looking for new members and continue to reach out to the Colorado community. Please help us spread the word and encourage your classmates and fellow alumni members to join the Association. It is amazing how many alumni live in Colorado and, even though we are spread out by generations, we still form a common bond. 

Share your story with us at our upcoming chapter meetings. I am always amazed at how much new information I gather when I listen to other members. 

If you would like to be added to the chapter contact roster, please email our Chapter Secretary, Samantha Shaffer, at sschaffe12@gmail.com. We will keep you advised of our upcoming meeting dates. 

We look forward to seeing you soon.         

James Earls
Major (USA Retired)
President, Colorado Chapter USAOCSAA
Jearls6893@hotmail.com




Washington, D.C. Area Chapter News

Greetings from our nation’s capital and the Washington D.C. Area Chapter. We remain actively engaged and working hard to continue the mission of the OCS Alumni Association. We gained several new members and continue to reach out to alumni in the D.C. region. 

Our summer meetings were well attended and included several new chapter members. In August, we continued discussions and planning for future activities. In September, we  conducted a brief remembrance of the September 11 tragedy and marked that sad time in our history. In addition, LTC Mark Andres, former OCS battalion commander, presented the battalion command briefing to update our members on the current status and activities of the OCS program. It was very well received and enlightening as to the changes (for the better) made since many of our alumni went through the system. 

We have exciting plans for a busy fall and winter. In October, the chapter will attend the Retiree Appreciation Day at Joint Base Myer – Henderson Hall where we will display the OCSAA chapter banner and spread the word about the Association. In November, the chapter will present wreaths on behalf of the Association at the World War II Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Wall. All OCS alumni are encouraged to attend. On December 16, we will provide volunteers to assist Wreaths Across America in laying wreaths on every grave marker in Arlington National Cemetery. Dress warmly and wear comfortable footwear. It will be a long but rewarding day and result in a spectacular vision of decorated tombstones throughout Arlington over the winter.

Our chapter has available black polo shirts with the OCSAA logo. We recently procured a supply of three-inch OCSAA iron-on patches that can be applied to jackets or other clothing items. Contact our Quartermaster, Jim Walker, for prices and details at JC_Walker@men.com

The D.C. Area chapter continues to grow. Please spread the word and encourage your classmates to join the Association. Share your story with us at our monthly chapter meetings.  Please email our Signal Officer, Don Northcutt, at donaldnorthcutt@gmail.com to have your name placed on the chapter contact roster. We will keep you advised of our meeting dates and planned service projects. 

We look forward to seeing you soon. 

J. Michael Harris
Major (USA Retired)
President, Washington D.C. Area Chapter USAOCSAA
703-618-0017
harrisnva@msn.com



Chapter Formation

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 panther06247@gmail.com

Member News

  • The OCS Alumni Association established the Nett Award to recognize and honor annually an OCS Hall of Fame or OCSAA member or current/former cadre who has provided superior support and advocacy of the OCS program. We are currently accepting nomination packages for this award. Deadline for submission is February 1, 2018. The award is named for Robert B. Nett, an OCS graduate who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions at the Battle of Ormoc Bay in the Philippines in December 1944. Nett went on to command the 5th Student Battalion (OCS) and later the Infantry School Brigade. The first winner of this award is the current Alumni Association president, retired Col. John Ionoff. John has presided over an association that has grown in membership, formed regional chapters, and continues to extol the OCS program to leaders both military and civilian. Who will be the next recipient of this award? See the Association’s website for additional information, https://www.ocsalumni.org/nett-award.php.
  • 3-11 IN (OCS) is accepting nominations for the 2018 OCS 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 1, 2017.
  • Interested in going to Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, or Seoul? Check out the package deals sponsored by the Dragon Hill Lodge in Korea, one of the Armed Forces Recreation Centers. https://www.dragonhilllodge.com/experiences/packages-trips
  • Beginning November 11, 2017, honorably discharged Veterans will be allowed to shop online at the PX. See www.vetverify.org for instructions to get qualified to get your online shopping benefit.
  • Are you a member of Class 31-69 (51st Company) that graduated September 25, 1969? If so, one of your classmates is looking for you. Please contact LTC (R) James Cole at cole.rvnvet.jim@gmail.com.
  • Looking for any OCS alumni who graduated from the U.S. Army Ranger School class 14-68 (July 1968 graduation). This class will have a 50th anniversary reunion in the spring or summer of 2018. If you are a graduate of this class (or started with this class but graduated with a later class) or know of someone who was, please contact Jim Godfrey at jimgodfrey0@gmail.com.
  • Attention, Class 1-62! LTC (R) Mike Moore is looking for you. Contact him at rvnpkg@aol.com. Perhaps a mini-class reunion at the next national reunion?
  • Anyone from Class: 107-66, Engineer OCS at Ft. Belvoir? One of your classmates just joined the OCS Alumni Association and would like to find fellow classmates. Send an email to the Social Media Director (contact info at the bottom of the Association's website). Do you have classmates you're looking for? We're happy to post announcements!
  • Are you looking for military records? Check out the following websites. If you've been successful in finding information from these sources, let us know!
  • Every Soldier has a story. Have you told yours? You can at the National Museum of the U.S. Army  https://armyhistory.org/the-registries/
  • The Association is accepting digitized yearbooks which will be placed on the website – (Membership Area - OCS Yearbooks). This project is the beginning of an ongoing preservation of historic documents from OCS. If you are interested in having your class yearbook placed on the website, please contact Dr. Patrick Smith at patocsaa@gmail.com or telephone him at 951-712-3240 for further information on how to participate. This will also help your fellow classmates who may not have purchased a yearbook or lost it since graduation.
  • 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 cannot be updated or there is no profile listed, please contact Dr. Patrick Smith at 951-712-3240 or patocsaa@gmail.com.
  • If you have announcements you would like to have publicized on the USAOCSAA 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.
  • The Association is looking for your personal experiences. We need to capture our history. If you would like to tell your story, please contact the Social Media Director. Contact information is at the bottom of the Association's website.