Officer Candidate Course | Quantico

Paul here with your week 9 update for Officer Candidates School. Your candidate is just one week away from graduating and potentially commissioning in the United States Marine Corps.

Though graduation is just around the corner, your candidate is still being tested mentally and physically to ensure they can handle the challenges of fulfilling their duties. With training nearing the end, candidates will begin to turn in their weapons this week, take their platoon photos, go through one last uniform fitting, and take their last academic exam.

Your candidate will be tested on Close Order Drill in a competition. 

The purpose of the Close Order Drill is to enable a commander to move their unit from one place to another in an efficient and orderly manner. Providing simple instructions from which combat formations that were once utilized may be assumed by the unit. Additionally, the drill is used to help instill habits of precision, respond to orders, and increase unit cohesion. 

Next, your candidate will be tested on swim survival. The Marine Corps is traditionally known as the world’s premier amphibious assault force. Marines worldwide constantly find themselves deployed to sea or traveling via ship or small craft at some point in their careers. This is why the Marine Corps is so invested in ensuring that every one of their men and women is proficiently trained in water survival before joining their parent units.

The candidates will have their culminating field exercise to wrap up the week. This three-day event will test them mentally and physically on everything taught over the last several weeks. Upon completion, they will receive their Eagle, Globe, and Anchor (EGA). This ceremony in which they receive the EGA signifies that they now earned their place in the Marine Corps and the title that few will ever hold. The title of Marine. 

Your candidate will visit the National Marine Corps Museum just outside the base. The museum is a lasting tribute to U.S. Marines’ past, present, and future. I highly recommend visiting the museum with your new Marine after graduation.

Your candidate has done a lot in their short time at Quantico, and soon enough, they’ll be leading Marines. This will be the last week to write to your candidate. In your letter this week, let them know how proud of them you are and everything they’ve accomplished. This is also a good time to include a gift card to the Exchange to celebrate their success.

I’ll be back next week with your tenth and final update for Officer Candidates School.

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