Friday, March 12, 2010

ocs: day 6

Warning: this is a long one!

Today is what they call Outpost, which is essentially a trial run of RLP (room, locker, personal) which is a crazy intense inspection that can set you back for a loose thread in the seam of your uniform. It's supposed to be one of the toughest things to pass, because you're also expected to recite all of the mission statement of the Navy, the ranking, the code of conduct, etc. The good news is, this week is winding down and it sounds like it may be (mostly) uphill from here.
The Class Officer enters your space and "Attention on Deck" is called. Other Class Officers enter and proceed to gouge you the "Big Three" Knowledge (General Orders of a Sentry, Code of Contact, Chain of Command) and inspect your uniform. Class Officers will not make you push or do any RPT. Simply keep your bearing and do not become frustrated. If you do not know the answer to the question, reply, "Sir/Ma'am this Indoctrination Candidate does not know but will find out." If you make a mistake while answering knowledge questions, keep your bearing and remain confident in your answer. This is an important quality to have throughout OCS with regards to required knowledge. Confidence will often give you a second chance to answer the question correctly.

This is the part of Outpost where you really want to put your best foot forward. You shouldn't be up all night preparing your locker inspection. DIs hardly even look at it. If you stay up the night before, the only things you should be worried about is making sure your uniform is IP free (Irish Pennants - a loose string), and reviewing your knowledge. Do not waste sleep making sure your PT gear is folded to the exact dimensions - that is not what is important now.

Once everyone has been inspected by the Class Officers, they will leave and you will call "Attention on Deck" again followed by the greeting of the day. You will then wait for the room inspectors to enter (both DIs and your Chief Petty Officer). Be as loud as you can. It will be noisy, stressful and just plain ugly; however, it will last for a maximum of 15 minutes. The DIs will immediately have you on the deck pushing. While you and your class are pushing, doing flutter kicks, etc, the rest of the DIs will ransack your locker, finding IPs (which they know you have not had time to remove), clothing not folded to correct specs, etc. Regardless, you are not expected to do well. It is meant to serve as a "welcome to the real world" experience.

After the inspection, you will be instructed to pack your sea bag. Things will still be hectic. Your DI will be yelling out commands for you to return to your locker, grab certain items, return to your spot on line and pack it in your sea bag. By the end of this process, your locker will be completely empty. Be prepared to have your things thrown around and mixed with other candidates' things. The DIs love taking your sea bag and dumping everything out and then yelling at candidates to clean everything up. There isn't time to split things up, so just be prepared to stuff whatever is on the floor in your bag and have your things mixed with others.

You will then march over to Battalion and leave your things in your new space. The remainder of the day will be spent in briefs, unpacking and receiving other issue. What is key at this point is that you recognize the nature of OCS. Every time you complete a difficult and stressful evolution, you will move to something that you have to fight falling asleep in. This is how everything works at OCS.

The evening is basically yours. You will spend it unpacking, cleaning and organizing the mess of clothes the DI made. You will also make a trip back to gather the rest of your things and clean. Try to enjoy this time. Get a good night's sleep and drink plenty of water, as Saturday is a physically demanding day.
Yikes. Doesn't that sound miserable? I don't know about you, but I'm ready for week 1 to be OVER. I'm sure they are, too.

In other news, it's my first weekend alone and I am determined to keep it light. I'm watching movies tonight, cleaning in the morning and having a craft day with a friend. And I plan to spend the day with my parents on Sunday. No downtime = no breakdowns. Maybe I should revisit my list to see what else I can cross off...

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