Platoon Leaders Course Jr. | Quantico

Officer Candidates School
“Forging Resilience”

As the echoes of week 1’s challenges fade into the past, week 2 heralds a new week of relentless training and unwavering commitment. This week marks a pivotal continuation of the rigorous journey toward becoming a Marine, where candidates dive deeper into the crucible of discipline and resilience.

Close-order Drill and Academic Classes

Candidates will start focusing on close-order drill, academic classes, and rigorous physical training. Each step in a close-order drill is meticulously taught, demanding precision and teamwork as recruits march in synchronized formations.

Drill fosters discipline and lays the foundation for military bearing. Meanwhile, academic classes center on Marine Corps history, ethics, and core values, while relentless physical training pushes recruits to their limits, building the strength and stamina needed to earn the title of Marine.

The Purpose of Close-order Drill

  • To move a unit from one place to another in a standard, orderly manner.
  • To provide simple formations from which combat formations may be readily assumed.
  • To teach discipline to the troops by instilling automatic responses to orders. To increase the confidence of the commander, by giving the proper commands and the control of drilling troops.
  • To give Marines an opportunity to handle individual weapons.

Candidates are immersed in Marine Corps Leadership Principles and Traits (remembered with the acronym “JJ DID TIE BUCKLE”) – the 11 core principles and 14 Leadership Traits that define good Marines and effective leaders. They’ll also be introduced to proper customs and courtesies and delve into Marine Corps history, learning about significant events, battles, and prominent figures. It’s a packed week that lays the foundation for their transformation into Marine Corps officers.

Building Endurance in Hiking

Week 2 isn’t just about classrooms! It’s time to hit the field for an introduction to “rucking” – carrying a heavy rucksack (main pack) on challenging hikes. Candidates will learn efficient packing techniques before embarking on a 3-mile trek, a dual-purpose mission. This initial march not only familiarizes them with proper loaded foot march conduct but also establishes the baseline Marine Corps pace of 3.6 mph. Don’t underestimate the importance of rucking – it’s a skill that requires practice, just like shooting or combat maneuvers. Throughout OCS, expect to see a lot of “rucking, rucking, and then rucking some more” as they build the endurance needed for Marine Corps life.

Week 2 at OCS throws everything at your candidate! They’ll cap off the intense week with a knowledge check through their first exam, then face the scrutiny of the Sergeant Instructor Inspection, all before finishing strong with more Close Order Drill. This demanding schedule is a testament to Quantico’s intensity – even after two weeks, your candidate might still be adjusting to the new environment and sleep routine.

I’ll see you next week with more insights and stories during this pivotal time for you and your candidate.

Semper Fidelis,
Sgt. Maj. Paul Davis