Officer Candidate Course | Quantico

Welcome to the 10th and final week of Officer Candidates School. Your candidate has spent the last 9 weeks overcoming many battles and proving they have what it takes to lead Marines. Though they only have one week left, there is still much to do before you see them at their graduation ceremony at the end of the week.

Graduation This week, your candidate will do the Montford Point Challenge. The purpose of the Montford Point Challenge is to celebrate the sacrifices and heroism of the Montford Point Marines. They were the first African Americans to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. These Marines attended recruit training at Montford Point in Jacksonville, North Carolina. 

The Montford Point Marines served in combat during World War II and played a huge role in the seizure of Okinawa. The Montford Point Challenge is a 3-mile team-building obstacle course competition designed to simulate the physical demands the Montford Point Marines went through during their time in service. They will carry (3) 40mm ammo cans, a stretcher with (2) 50 lb sandbags, and a log.  MPC includes a combination of 3 courses: Juniors Stamina Course, Senior Stamina Course, and a portion of the Combat Course.

The only thing left will be to prepare for Family Day and graduation by turning in the remainder of their gear. They’ll need to clean it and ensure that they return it in the same condition they received it.

Finally, the motivational run will begin first thing in the morning. This will be the first opportunity to see your candidate, that is, if you can still recognize them. At this stage of training, all of the candidates look similar to each other. If you miss your candidate running the first time, don’t worry; they’ll run back the same way and pass you again. Have the camera ready!

The week will come to an end with the graduation ceremony. The graduation ceremony will be held outside on the famous parade deck, Brown Field unless the Commanding Officer makes an inclement weather call. The graduation ceremony recognizes all candidates who met the required challenge and completed the demanding 10-week curriculum. These candidates are ready (and very eager) to take their next step in becoming leaders of the Marines. They will demonstrate their close-order drill movements with an impressive pass and review. After the ceremony, your candidate will be officially commissioned as an Officer in the United States Marine Corps, and then released to you to conduct the pinning ceremony accompanied by their ‘first salute’ with the enlisted Marine of their choice.

Your candidate has accomplished a lot; you should be proud of their achievements. Don’t worry, the week will go by quickly, and you’ll see your candidate in no time. For those headed to graduation, safe travels. I wish your Marine the best of luck throughout their career in the Marine Corps!

Semper Fidelis,
Sgt. Maj. (ret.) Paul Davis