New Cumberland, Pa --
More than 50 Marine Corps officer candidates from recruiting stations Charleston and Louisville participated in a mini Officer Candidates School field exercise at Camp Sherman Joint Training Center in Chillicothe, Ohio, April 24-26.
The candidates were tested both physically and mentally over the course of the three days.
“We had them do several events: from leadership events, to the combat fitness test and physical fitness test,” said Capt. Nathan Jacob, assigned to the OST Columbus and Ashland, Ohio native. “The candidates also went on a simulated patrol where they were given a task to get to a checkpoint. They hiked through the woods and were confronted by simulated enemy troops, where the candidates then eliminated the target and continued on their patrol.”
During the physical fitness test, the candidates had to do pull-ups, crunches and a three-mile run. The combat fitness test then had them perform an 880-meter sprint, overhead ammo can presses and an agility maneuver course.
The weather helped didn’t help much during their time at the exercise, with a cold 40 degrees and rain.
Marine Corps Officer Selection Teams hold exercises like these to prepare their candidates for the challenges of Officer Candidates School by familiarizing them with the instructors’ expectations and the rigors they will encounter at OCS. The candidates were put through long days and little sleep to simulate the way life would be during OCS.
“That was intimidating,” said Cole Mielcarek, an officer candidate from Lexington, Kentucky. “It was probably one of the biggest helps because you got to see how the sergeant instructors really are.”
Throughout the day, the group operated in three squads. Each squad had to work as a team to accomplish their given mission
Some of the events were instructed by recent graduates of OCS who provided guidance and advice on what to expect.
“This is a voluntary program… These candidates, they have a lot of heart,” said 2nd Lt. Benjamin Shuler, a recent OCS graduate and native of Bowling Green, Ohio. “Something I learned while going through this program was to make a decision and then make it an action. Don’t sit and wait for the action to begin.”
At the end of the weekend, the candidates were able to ask the sergeant instructors questions and talk about how they felt the event went.
“This has been an amazing experience, said Mackenzie Dean, an officer candidate from Greenwood, Indiana. “I came here expecting to learn a lot and I did. I will be able to take this and use it to prepare for OCS.”