The next Fort Huachuca Officer Candidate School board is Oct. 19, and all packets are due to the Actions and Promotions office no later than Oct. 9.
Typically, applicants should begin preparing their application packet as soon as the board dates are announced. This will ensure that all required information and signatures are included.
While it may be a stressful process, there are many ways to prepare for the OCS board, both physically and mentally.
Capt. Jennifer Buttermore, a member of the panel for the last three OCS boards, and an OCS graduate, said, “A Soldier desiring to become an officer should be intelligent, disciplined, physically fit, self motivated, a good communicator, confident, well-rounded and most importantly should be able to motivate and lead their Soldiers.
“I believe the best way to prepare for an OCS board is by studying for and competing in your unit’s Soldier of the Month competitions. Not only are you solidifying important facts and knowledge essential to being a professional Soldier, but you are also learning how to perform under pressure.”
If this option is unavailable, conduct a mock board to overcome nervousness prior to the actual board.
Review Army Regulation 350-51 and all associated Military Personnel messages, complete with dates and requirements.
Soldiers should pay particular attention to waiver authorizations. Waivers and exceptions may be requested no later than 45 days prior to the application deadline. Ensure individual records are updated and accurate. If you do not have a copy of your college transcripts, request them for inclusion in your packet.
Schedule all necessary physicals, appointments and physical training tests to ensure that they fall within the required timeline. According to MILPER Message 13-180, Soldiers are required to have two physical fitness tests in the past 12 months, with the most recent one within 60 days of their application.
“Soldier should be physically and mentally fit,” Buttermore said. “As an officer, your Soldiers will look to you in every way. You are always setting the standard and you must be able to meet the physical challenges that you will ask of your Soldiers.”
Once your application packet is complete, have it reviewed by your S1 to check for errors or missing information.
Candidates are given one hour to write a one to two page narrative the day before the OCS board. This provides the panel members with an example of the applicant’s writing ability.
An OCS board is similar to a job interview, so it is the responsibility of the applicant to prove themselves to the board panel.
“Practice speaking about leadership, why you want to be an officer, and what it means to be an officer,” said Buttermore. “Practice speaking with poise in a clear and concise manner. Remember that your words, knowledge and the way you present yourself will be what is used to judge you.”
For application guidance or questions, contact your local S1, review Military Personnel message 13-180, or contact Wes Cooper, Personnel Operations Branch chief, 533.2637.