Officer Candidate Course | Quantico

Paul here with your week 6 update for Officer Candidates School. Your candidate has accomplished a lot in the first weeks of training, but there is still much to get through.

To kick off week 6, candidates will take their final Combat Fitness Test (CFT). The CFT is designed to ensure that Marines are able to meet the physical demands their jobs will require during combat. Not only do candidates need to pass the final CFT during Officer Candidate’s School to graduate, but will continue to take the CFT once a year for the rest of their Marine Corps career.

The CFT is composed of three different events. The first event is a movement to contact, where candidates are timed for an 880-yard sprint that mimics running under pressure in a combat environment. The second event is an ammunition can lift. Candidates must lift a 30-pound ammunition can from chest height to overhead as many times as possible within two minutes. The last event is ‘maneuver under fire.’ This event requires candidates to complete a 300-yard obstacle course that consists of many combat-related challenges, including; a variety of crawls, resupplying ammunition, throwing a grenade, agility running, and dragging and carrying another individual utilizing the fireman’s carry technique.

Later in the week, your candidate conducts practical applications on terrain association to hone their land navigation skills then head to the tree line to conduct their Land Navigation exam. Remember, during Land Navigation, candidates are given a card with multiple start points, a lensatic compass, distance, and an azimuth.

Under a time constraint, your candidate must find all of the endpoints by walking the correct distance and direction and then annotate the endpoint on their card. Candidates must be able to navigate to all checkpoints within the time period designated. In a few weeks, your candidate will once again head out into the field to conduct another land navigation exam, though this time, it will be at night. 

I’ll be back next week with intel on week 7. In the meantime, in your letter this week be sure to ask your candidate how their final Combat Fitness Test went.

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