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The United States Navy's Officer Candidate School, currently located at Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island, provides training to become a commissioned officer. Attendance is one possible way for civilian college graduates (bachelor's degree or higher) with no military experience to earn a commission as a U.S. Navy officer. Additionally, the Navy also enrolls a significant number of candidates with current or prior enlisted experience in the military. In this way, OCS serves as a path to commissioned status for high-performing enlisted personnel. Alternatives include the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps and graduation from the United States Naval Academy.

Contents

Training

OCS classes are designated by the fiscal year of their graduation (e.g., 28-09 was the twenty-eighth class to graduate in fiscal year 2009; 01-10 was the first class to graduate in fiscal year 2010). Upon completion of the 12-week course the candidate is commissioned an Ensign (O-1) in the United States Navy (formerly in the Naval Reserve, or USNR). In previous years, Naval OCS was a 16-week curriculum.

Officer candidates are mustered in at the paygrade of E5 but hold a special title known as Officer Candidate. This title is held from the beginning of week 2 through the middle of week 9 when an Officer Candidate completes the "Victory Run" and earns the title Candidate Officer; Officer Candidates are regarded as basic recruits. As training progresses, Officer Candidates obtain more responsibility and are eventually given command authority over other Officer Candidates through use of a series of "positional ranks" denoted with small gold bars worn on the collar (typically referred to as "railroad tracks"). These positional ranks include "Regimental Commander", "Regimental Sub-Commander", "Regimental Adjutant" and other responsibilities. All positional rank assignments are competitively awarded from among the entire regiment. It is considered a significant honor to be selected to serve in any of the top leadership positions while enrolled at OCS. As training progresses over 12 weeks, individuals gradually move from Indoctrination Candidates, or "Indocs," to Officer Candidates, to Candidate Officers, or "Candios." The latter being a position of authority over less senior candidates.

Officer Candidates are assigned to battalions within a single regiment and are either quartered at Nimitz Hall or at King Hall at Naval Station Newport. Over the 12 weeks they are immersed in Leadership, Physical and Military training as well as Academics ranging from Navigation to Shipboard Engineering and Damage Control. Their every action is scrutinized and any shortcoming rigorously corrected. There is a strict Code of Honor that is expected; violators are removed.

AOCS

The Navy previously operated two officer candidate programs, OCS at Newport, Rhode Island and Aviation Officer Candidate School (AOCS) at NAS Pensacola, Florida. AOCS trained prospective Naval Aviators, Naval Flight Officers, Aviation Maintenance Duty Officers, and Air Intelligence Officers, while OCS trained all other Officer communities. The original US Navy OCS in Newport, Rhode Island began operation in 1951 and was closed down in April 1994 when the programs were merged as a single OCS at NAS Pensacola. Subsequently, in 2007 the consolidated Navy OCS curriculum was relocated back to Newport by direction of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission of 2005.

In AOCS, all basic military training was administered by US Marine Corps Drill Instructors. This facet of the training (origin of the slogan "Navy owned, Marine Corps trained") at AOCS in Pensacola was considered a point of pride and mark of distinction by graduates of AOCS that separated themselves from the graduates of OCS in Newport and contributed to a fair amount of ill will to the Surface Warfare Community. When the single OCS was established in Pensacola, the program retained both the Marine DIs of AOCS and the US Navy CPOs of Newport. Newport OCS now has both.

Notable graduates

Jeremy Michael Boorda and Vern Clark have both served as the Chief of Naval Operations, America's highest ranking naval officer.

In fiction

An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) focuses around a main character who is appointed an Officer Candidate at AOCS, albeit at a fictional naval air station in Washington state, and must deal with personal and social issues to be commissioned as an Ensign.

External links

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