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Enlisted Soldiers who want to further their careers should think about applying to Officer Candidate School, said employees of Fort Bennings Military Personnel Division.
Becoming an officer is a good career move for any Soldier who has the qualifications, said Richard Madden, the Branch Section Chief.
OCS is a 12-week course at Fort Benning that prepares selected enlisted Soldiers, both new to the Army and with prior service, to become commissioned officers. During the course, officer candidates learn about leadership, professional ethics, and military skills through a variety of classroom and field-based instruction.
To go to OCS, Soldiers must complete an application packet that must be signed by their chain of command and pass a local board comprised of field grade officers. This panel conducts the local board process and interviews, which determine which applicants application will be sent forward to the Army Human Resources Command selection board. The entire local board process is monitored under the guidance of the Military Personnel Divisions Personnel Services Branch POC.
OCS board members are really looking at leadership qualities, said Dawne Walters-Peters, Human Resources Assistant with the Military Personnel Division. What motivated that Soldier to want to get a bachelors degree? Why do you want to become an officer? Those are the sort of things theyre looking at.
Soldiers must meet several basic requirements to be eligible to apply for OCS, including: have less than nine years of active-component service at the time the higher-level (HRC) board convenes, be no older than 34 at the time of commissioning, complete at least 12 months on station if based overseas, have a GT score of at least 110 and having completed a bachelors degree before applying.
Warrant officers and chief warrant officers are eligible to apply if they meet all the requirements, as are Soldiers in the pay grade E-7 and promotable staff sergeants. Master sergeants and sergeants major are not eligible.
The exact documents a Soldier must provide in his or her OCS application packet vary depending on whether a Soldier is an NCO and on a variety of other professional factors, such as previous assignments in the Army.
While there is a limit to the number of Soldiers selected each year to attend OCS, Dawne Walters-Peters said Soldiers shouldnt let that intimidate them or discourage them from applying.
A lot of people think its uber-competitive or that a bunch of the slots are allocated for people in (other components), she said. But I would say dont look at that as a factor, because they look at everyone as an individual.
The next local OCS board at Fort Benning will be held April 30. For more information on applying to OCS, contact your units S-1 office or call Walters-Peters at 706-545-7218.