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OCS Officer Candidate School

by Olivia M.

My husband entered OCS in May of 2008 and graduated in August,
technically it was a 12-week course. He was at Fort Benning, GA, which
is the Federally run OCS. He had a lot more privileges than in BCT. He
had his cell phone and laptop computer to use. And he had his vehicle
too. He had most evenings off as well as most weekends. He said that
this all depends on which company the soldier is assigned to. He was
originally in Alpha Company, and then he graduated in Charlie Company
(he was allowed leave for the birth of our daughter). At times these
privileges were taken away because of someone not following orders or
having something out of place.

I talked with him just about every evening and a lot during the
weekends.  There was a time when he had to go “in the field” and we
didn’t talk for a whole week, actually just Monday to Friday. Other
than this time, we had a lot of communication. This training was much
easier on me than was BCT, because at least we got to talk frequently
and we would even use the webcam to see each other when possible. I
usually emailed him every morning. I mailed him a letter maybe once a
week or every other week. But since we talked so much and he could
leave post, I really didn’t need to send him anything in the mail.

He had to live in barracks, but some wives did relocate to the area to
be able to spend the weekends and evenings with their soldier. Since
he was in this training during the summer, my son and I went to visit
him for a week. We picked him up every evening and spent a few hours
with him then dropped him back off at the barracks. He was able to
spend the whole weekend with us at the hotel. Also, there is a great
campground with furnished cabins at Benning that we stayed at for a
few days, which was much cheaper than a hotel and had a great pool. It
does fill up quickly so make reservations far in advance if you know
you will be going there.

The training itself was much more demanding than BCT. The first 6
weeks is called the basic phase with the remaining 6 weeks as the
senior phase. More privileges are given in the senior phase. They had
an hour and a half of PT every day, except when they were “in the
field.” The rest of the day was pretty much spent in the classroom
with many tests and peer evaluations. The tests and evaluations are
very important as the top scorers get top priority in picking their
branch. The branch is picked right before entering senior phase.

Before his graduation, there is a formal. This was off post at a
really nice banquet center. There was childcare provided by the
company. Women wore formal dresses, anything from a pretty little
party dress to a ball gown. There was appetizers and drinks then a
full course meal. Awards were given and a speaker was present. His
actual graduation was more like a college gradation compared to the
graduation of BCT. It was inside an auditorium and more formal than
the BCT graduation that we experienced, which was also at Fort
Benning, GA. He was able to stay with us at the hotel the couple of
days before his graduation and through the couple of days of meetings
and ceremonies. There was a meeting one of the days that is valuable
for a spouse to attend; it went over the benefits that are available
to families. Then it is off to BOLC II and BOLC III.

About the author: This article was contributed by a visitor to the site. If you would like to contribute to the site as well, please email me.

{ 41 comments… add one }
  • Heather June 17, 2010, 6:57 pm

    Dear Stacy,

    My husband also graduated from OCS and I am interested in contributing our experience. It is stated above to e-mail you, however I cannot find your e-mail address. Would you mind providing it for me?

    Thanks,
    Heather

    • SGT Rosario August 10, 2011, 8:10 am

      Heather,
      Hi! My name is Juan and my only question is, In which site I can find the information for the next OCS Board?

  • Nina Washington June 20, 2010, 9:04 pm

    I found this to be very helpful. My husband is OCS bound to Benning in August. I would be interested in more information on the cabin’s that you stayed in if you wouldn’t minding sharing.

  • Cormier S July 25, 2010, 5:15 pm

    Thank you, this was helpful. My hubby just reported for OCS yesterday.

  • Janeen August 5, 2010, 9:10 pm

    I was hoping for guidance from those who have done this before. I am not finding any clear information online about BOLC II or OBC. My husband will leave early next year for basic. He has been accepted to OCS and will start that after Basic. This I understand…I also know that he wont know his job- Branch- MOS- until he is halfway through OCS. I will be staying with family during Basic and OCS. BUT what is the process for BOLC II and OBC? Will the Army send us with him? Can we go with him? Length varies by MOS correct? Do we have to wait to be reunited with him unti lafter all of this training? If you have been through this and can help I would love the insight.

    • Kara January 6, 2011, 10:28 pm

      I also have a husband who is reporting to OCS. I have many of the same questions about BOLC II. Is this somewhere I will be able to move with him? Are there any sites around for me to do some research? I can’t seem to find anything! Any help is appreciated!

      • Heather January 10, 2011, 1:26 am

        Unfortunately, there isn’t quite a strait answer I can give you. Near graduation from OCS, he will get orders for BOLC. On those orders, it will state whether he will PCS or be TDY. If he is going to PCS, then the Army will move you and you are able to come. Depending on the base, you might be able to even live on post together. If he is TDY, then the Army will not move family and you are not authorized to go. He will have to stay in a hotel or rent an apartment off post. You can of course go anyway, but it will be on your own dime and you’ll have to stay off post. I should probably mention that with TDY, there are several financial benefits. Typically, if he is active duty and commissioned through OCS, he will probably be PCS’d. If he is guard or reserves, or commissioned through a ROTC program or Westpoint, he will be TDY. This isn’t always the case, but for the most part it is. I hope this helps. If you have any questions, fee free to e-mail me at heather.unrath@yahoo.com. Good luck to you and your soldier!

      • Janeen January 19, 2011, 1:43 pm

        It all depends on their job right? AND if there is a spot for them in BOLC. I meet a few ladies last year that said their DH’s were ‘snowbirding’ which gave them a longer assignment so the families were PCS’d . Is this correct? Any word lately on snowbirding??? I HATE the waitin and wondering! I need to slow down though DH leaves for BCT soon. So we wont be OCS until spring.

        • Heather January 19, 2011, 2:30 pm

          My husband was snowbirding for nine months before he finally got the chance to class up. How long he will snowbird all depends on availability and his branch, and commissioning source. If he is going to PCS, which he is likely to since he is OCS and not guard/reserve/ROTC, then he will probably snowbird. If a soldier is TDY, the Army pays them quite a bit of money. The Army forks over money for hotel, gas, food, laundry, etc. If they are TDY, they want them in and out, meaning no snowbirding.

  • Temi January 12, 2011, 6:29 pm

    After OCS comes the AIT. Is the AIT training part of my Active duty service?

    • Janeen January 19, 2011, 1:40 pm

      isn’t it called BOLC though? Just asking….I am SO NEW TO all of this and there are so many different answers out there. I had someone tell me the other day we should get BAS. But we don’t…… I have been told we get Sep Pay and I think that is right.
      From what I understand the 09S goes BCT then OCS then BOLC II. Is this what everyone elses DH is doing?

      • Heather January 19, 2011, 2:45 pm

        Janeen, you are absolutely right, it is called BOLC (although some call it OBC, but it is the exact same thing). AIT is purely for enlisted soldiers. The concept is very similar to, just a different name.

        While he is in BCT and OCS, you will get his base pay, BAH, BAS, and family separation allowance ($250/month). When he goes to BOLC, this will slightly change depending on your circumstances. Whether you get BAS or not, depends on if your soldier is going to PCS to BOLC or be TDY. If your husband is active duty going to OCS, you can assume (but not always) that he will be PCS’d. Anything else, and you can assume that he will be TDY (guard, reserves, ROTC, Westpoint, etc).

        If he is PCS’d, then you will be allowed to come and the Army will move you. You will get base pay, BAH, and BAS. You won’t get family separation allowance because the Army is not separating you (whether you choose to come or not). You can also expect for him to snowbird while he waits to class up, which could take several months. For my husband, it took nine months.

        If he is TDY, then you will not be allowed to come and the Army will not move you. He will have to stay in Army lodging. If there is no room, then they will get permission to stay off post, whether in a hotel or apartment. They will get quite the financial benefit though. You will get base pay and separation allowance. Instead of BAH and BAS, they will get reimbursed for lodging, gas, laundry and food. This is substantially more money than if PCS’d. For this reason, you can expect him to immediately class up and graduate, instead of snowbirding for several months.

        • Carla F March 18, 2014, 5:06 pm

          9 months to class up??? So he stayed at HHC? Do you know if that happens a lot? Or he was an exception? Was he allowed to have visits?
          Sorry so many questions & thanks

      • Heather January 19, 2011, 2:48 pm

        I wanted to correct myself real quick, you will not get BAS while he is in BCT or OCS. BAS is to pay for food for the soldier only, not his family. While he is in BCT or OCS, they feed him, and therefore he won’t get that allowance.

        • Summer February 4, 2011, 10:14 am

          My husband is currently is OCS and will graduate in March. He does get BAS (on his LES under pay right after BAH), but they take out about half for his meal allowance (on his LES under deductions).

          • Heather February 8, 2011, 8:36 pm

            I wouldn’t spend it. Unless it is leftover from between basic and OCS, then there is a mistake. They will probably take it back eventually. He should definitely not be receiving BAS if he is in OCS because they are providing all of his meals.

  • Jess February 19, 2011, 11:49 am

    For the ladies who have husbands in OCS right now, are they at Ft. McClellan, and if so, have you heard anything about graduation? I haven’t gotten anything yet, and starting to get nervous. My husband is not able to call, as yours probably are not. It takes a while for him to get back to me through the mail. Any reply would be appreciated.

  • Ashlei April 17, 2011, 4:39 pm

    Thanks for all the info! My fiancee starts OCS tomorrow, and this was very helpful. However, I do have a few more questions. We are planning on getting married once he graduates from OCS, but before he leaves for BOLC. From what I have read I can assume he will be PCS’d and not TDY since he is active duty. My main concern is that we will not be married long enough for the army to pay for me to move with him. How long do we need to be married before the army will pay for a spouse to relocate too? So with that we were thinking about getting married at the halfway point of OCS (maybe after the branching ceremony). If we get married then, will that be enough time for me to be included in his orders?

  • Sheena M August 8, 2011, 9:48 pm

    Hey All! I will be leaving for Basic this November and will attend OCS shortly after. I have read through various comments and am trying to get an all around picture of what I may expect. My husband is currently “away” but will be back next Spring. Is there any chance that I would be allowed to have a 4 day pass to welcome him home? I read that BAH is not apart of the pay but BAS is? Thank you in advance!

    • Carla F March 18, 2014, 4:53 pm

      Im in your same situation. I know its been forever that you post it, but really wanted to know how everything went. I will leave for BCT and then OCS in a couple of months and my husband is deploy until the end of the year…

  • Annie April 30, 2012, 6:02 am

    My Fiance is getting ready to graduate Basic Training in a week and is headed to OCS right after, are soldiers still allowed to use their passes even if you’re not a wife?

  • Alicia Garcia June 25, 2012, 5:40 pm

    Hi,
    First I want to thank everyone for posting all this info. it is so helpful! I do have a few more questions of my own..my fiance is about to graduate BCT in July and immediately starting OCS. I am ondering whether we will be allowed to see eachother when they get passes since we are not yet married. Would I be allowed to visit him on weekends when they have time off/gets a weekend pass? We’re waiting to get married til affter all his training was finished. Thanks for all the great info!

  • Jenni Keith July 18, 2012, 6:11 pm

    My husband just started OCS on Monday. I have no heard from him since Sunday evening. When did you first hear from your husband after beginning OCS?

  • Alicia Garcia July 19, 2012, 12:30 am

    Jenni,

    My fiance also started OCS Monday, he has had his phone and has been able to text at least once a day (ususally right before lights out, since they really aren’t allowed to use their phones aside from using it as an alarm clock) He said it depends on what company they’re in, some are more lenient than others. I also heard that most get phone privileges after 3-4 weeks. Hope you hear from him soon.

    • Jenni Keith July 19, 2012, 8:00 am

      Hi Alicia,
      Thank you for your response! What company is your fiance in? I think mine is in Charlie Company. That’s cool that your fiance started too! Did he just complete BCT? My husband did in South Carolina.

  • Alicia Garcia July 19, 2012, 8:58 am

    Jenni,
    Hi! Mine is also in Charlie Company and he also just graduated from Basic at Fort Jackson (he graduated in Foxtrot Co). From what I have heard so far, it is a lot of studying, they were all issued 15 books!

  • Jenni Keith July 19, 2012, 9:07 am

    Alicia,

    That is awesome! My husband was in Echo Co. I was really happy to find this webpage and at least get an idea of what OCS is like for those of us on this end. Were you with your fiance when he had to buy his list of items for OCS?

    Do you have facebook?
    Here is mine:
    http://www.facebook.com/#!/jenni.keith.16

  • Alicia Garcia July 20, 2012, 7:29 pm

    Jenni,

    I wasn’t but he called and texted while he was shopping, it was insane, he spent so much and they had such a huge list. And yes I love this site, the info is so helpful! Finding others that are going through the same thing is nice too.
    I do have facebook, Mine is :
    http://www.facebook.com/amgarcia.88

    Do you plan on visiting when they get their pass in 6 weeks?

  • Amanda Kjeldergaard October 28, 2012, 6:00 pm

    Hello,
    My husband is about to ship to Benning for OCS. We are newly married, so I want to see him as much as possible. I was getting mixed reviews on whether or not I would be able to see him. Your post was very helpful in maying my decision to go down for his training. Thank you so much!

    Amanda

  • Amy March 8, 2013, 9:22 pm

    My boyfriend just began BCT March 4th (Monday) at Ft. Jackson and will go straight to OSC (Ft. Benning). Does anyone know if they have any time between graduation from BCT and before they get shipped to OSC? I am trying to plan my trip down and need to figure it out early so I can make sure I get off work (and see him for as long as possible before he ships off again). Thank you in advance!

  • Tiffany June 17, 2014, 2:26 pm

    How much leave did your husband get, to come home for the birth of your child? My son is expected to be born the week of “history” and he heard if he misses that week he could be recycled. We are hoping the baby will come a week later ;/ … Just wondering if your husband got 24 – 48hours or what to come home?

    Thanks!

  • Tiffany September 17, 2014, 12:05 am

    My husband just started OCS on Monday. He is prior service so I am wondering if we will pcs before BOLC. I’m still living on our old base working and would love to know if any other ladies have had this experience. Thanks!

    • Lauren October 4, 2015, 12:17 pm

      Hey Tiffany, can you tell me your experience last year with your husband and whether or not you PCS’d for BOLC? My husband is going to OCS soon and I’m hoping to PCS with him, but not getting my hopes up!

      • Ashley December 30, 2015, 10:34 pm

        Tiffany and Lauren, My husband will be heading to OCS in a couple months an we have three kids. He is also prior enlisted and I am interested in your experiences. I don’t know much about what is going on and would love to talk with some military wives that are currently going through the process.

        • Lauren May 10, 2016, 1:14 pm

          Hi Ashley. Sorry for the late reply! My husband left on March 7, but found out that his security clearance had never been processed so he was on a security hold. He officially started yesterday in Delta Company. How about your Husband? Feel free to email me lzkellyfamily@gmail.com.

  • Erin February 2, 2016, 9:50 am

    I am looking for more information on what happens after OCS. If my husband TDYs then can I stay in our current place or do I have to move to his next duty station without him?

  • Robbi April 16, 2016, 11:10 pm

    Ashley, has your husband left already? Mine is due to leave in 3 weeks.

    • Lauren May 10, 2016, 1:15 pm

      Hi robbi, did your husband just start?

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