Platoon Leaders Course, Quantico, VA

Welcome back to week 2 of the Platoon Leaders Course. If you thought your candidate would slowly ease into things at Quantico, you are mistaken. With only six weeks of training there is a lot to get done, and candidates will remain busy throughout the duration of their time here.

Week 2 starts off with a Land Navigation course. This is a course that your candidate took during their first increment of Platoon Leaders Course last summer, and will continue to take throughout this summer. The course teaches candidates how to use a Lensatic Compass, how to read maps and identify man-made vs natural terrain features, plotting points on a map, estimating ranges, and more. The goal is to ensure that candidates acquire the fundamental tactical skills required for execution during leadership evaluation events. They’ll go through a compass course later this week and put what they’ve learned to the test.

Much like last summer, your candidate will spend a lot of time in the field hiking, also known as a “hump” or “ruck” with their rucksack. Candidates will learn how to properly pack their rucksacks and then undertake a 4 mile hike. Rucking though, while a pain, is a necessary pain as well as an art and a skill like anything else — like shooting, navigation, etc. it requires constant practice and repetition. The only way to get good at rucking is to ruck, ruck and then ruck some more. By the end of training, your candidate will have had lots of practice rucking.

Next your candidate will go through their first O-Course, or obstacle course. All Candidates run the obstacle course several times during training. The obstacle course tests candidates’ upper body strength, requiring them to master techniques for safe and speedy maneuvering through each challenge.

The week isn’t over yet, your candidate will also go through the Leadership Reaction Course (LRC). The Leadership Reaction Course is designed to evaluate a candidate’s ability to lead a fire team in a controlled environment. Each fire team is made up of four candidates that will each have the opportunity to lead. Candidates are then evaluated by an OCS staff member for the duration of their actions as a fire team leader. When your candidate is the team lead, they will be evaluated by an OCS staff member on qualities such as decision making, adaptability and overcoming obstacles. Not only will your candidate be evaluated by an OCS Staff member, but at the end will receive an evaluation from their peers. Your candidate will continue to be assessed in a variety of leadership exercises throughout training, accounting for 50% of the overall grade.

As you can tell, your candidate is kept very busy during their time at Quantico. And though they’ve been there for two weeks now, they may still be re-adjusting to their new environment.

This is where their support system of family and friends – including you – come into play. You have an incredibly important role in your candidate’s training. Letters from home can strengthen your candidate’s spirits and morale. You should also consider a subscription to The Daily Drive to help keep their sights set on the prize.

I’ll be back next week with intel on week 3 of the Platoon Leaders Course at Quantico.

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