Ready to Graduate!

Eight days until graduation from The Basic School. Whew! How's it been, and what's next?


Range Report

Caleb sent the following email message to his brother and I yesterday. I thought you all would be interested in his report of his first day on the firing range.


I'm Seeing Stars: Silver Stars

A couple notable Silver Star Medal citations.


Fair Warning

I have the distinct impression that I will not be updating this blog much as I go through the BOC.


The Basic School Period of Instruction

The Basic School has gone electronic! All our publications ("pubs") will be available online. This short post contains some information about that, including a link to the documents for your own curiosity. And I've obtained a tentative schedule for the POI.


TBS Zero Week - Part 1

Information on my experience so far in Zero Week at The Basic School (TBS), some advice for Marines preparing to report to TBS, and a note on the intensity of the TBS period of instruction (POI).


2ndLt Allen, USMC

This update is one I started writing in early May 2012 while on PTAD in Indianapolis. I had no time to ever finish it, but it's not in terrible state. I have no idea what else I was going to write before publishing it, so I'm just going to publish it as-is for you. -Posted 09 June 2012, while in Zero Week at TBS.

Here's an update on what life has been like over the last two weeks since I graduated Officer Candidate School and became a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. (Hint: Still busy!)


Counting Down The Days!

Evaluations Are Complete!

Winding Down.

The candidates were instructed to "buy a couple of books" for their use during this final week. 

Yes, he is very, very close now. So close, infact, that those still standing (about 170 of the original 220) have ordered their "uniforms" and all that goes with them. I am not sure all that goes with them, but the price tag came to almost $3000! I told Caleb it was a good thing he got paid while at OCS so that he would have money to buy his "uniforms"! The candidates still have at least three PT events to complete this week, along with some classroom discussions. They must also plan their graduation parade and practice, practice, practice. (Caleb is in the third platoon and will be in the first line of that platoon nearest the bleachers.)

There is still time to decide to attend graduation (starts exactly at 9 am on 31 March) and commissioning (starts 1 PM, the same day). We are a group of 17 now, including family and friends, who will be a witness to this historic event. 

We have traveled with him for quite some time now. His dad always told him that he could do anything that he put his mind to. I always told him that I didn't think he would achieve this dream. You see, way back when, I would occasionally ask him if he had filled out his application. His answer would be, not yet. But, I am his mom. Mom's like to keep their kids out of harms way, if at all possible. What I told Caleb was, I support you and I will help you achieve this dream. If you believe that this is what God wants you to do, then I am all for it! We have always taught our children that God can not lead a stationary object. Move towards what you want to do and what you believe  God wants you to do and He will open and close doors. This door continues to be open. God has used many to guide Caleb. He idolized his National Guard brother, Josh. Many years later, his OSO, Capt. Kline, saw potential in Caleb and worked with him guiding him through the selection process. Caleb has worked with great diligence to complete this course of study, which, by the way is just the beginning. 

Caleb will assist his OSO in the Indy office until he enters The Basic School (TBS) in Quantico, VA for six months beginning 5 June 2012. After successful completion of this course, he will head to Pensacola for three years of flight school. 

Many thanks for your thoughts and prayers during the past 9 weeks. God and the Marines are not finished with him yet! 


8 Done, 2 To Go!

Intense Training and Evaluations Still Happening!


7 Down, 3 To Go!

Conversation With Caleb!

Graduation Is a Comin'! Prayers Appreciated!

"Experience a Marine Officer graduation! You are all invited to my graduation 31 March. No limit on guests; no RSVP necessary." ~Caleb

What: Graduation Parade/Graduation for Company C
When: 31 March 2012, 9:00 a.m., you will want to be in your bleacher seats well ahead of that! This will last about one hour. 
Venue: Outdoors at Brown Field, Officer Candidate School, Marine Corps Base, Quantico, VA

What: Commissioning Ceremony
When: 31 March 2012, 1:00 p.m.
Venue: National Museum of the Marine Corps, Marine Corps Base, Quantico, VA, limited seating, but standing room for

If you are planning on coming/going please see additional information at the link:
Spring break? Why not incorporate this activity with your break? Cherry blossom season is in full swing in DC as well! 

Upcoming Week (Week 8) Activities

Briefly, more written exams, evaluations on their combat fitness, endurance course a 9 mile hike and leadership.

Week 9 Activities

Briefly, final PFT, 12 mile hike with full combat gear...not done yet!

Week 10 Activities

Briefly, more physical stuff, uniform fitting, signing papers, family day, graduation day


Many have gone before and accomplished all this. Once again, thank you for your thoughts and your prayers. Please keep these qualities in your prayers... endurance, stamina, stamina, stamina, health (Caleb is on the mend and doing better.), positive attitude resilience, physical and mental courage!


Code of Conduct

This Weeks Realization

Caleb has recently come to understand some things. Just before he left for OCS in January he expressed that he had, for many years, longed to be a Marine Officer. At Wayne's birthday dinner, which was also Caleb's farewell dinner, Caleb expressed to us that he not only wanted to be a Marine Officer but he wanted to be a Christian Marine Officer, a spiritual military leader. He wanted it to begin at OCS. He didn't know how it would happen, but he asked us to pray specifically for that.

Last evening as I talked to Caleb, he shared another new realization. Pilots are often captured and tortured after being shot down over enemy territory. It is part of the life of a pilot or flight officer. Marine Officers must always conform Marine Code of Conduct, though, so he wanted me to share the Code with you.

Article I.
I am an American fighting in the forces which guard my country and our
way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

Article II.
I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will
never surrender the members of my command while they still have the
means to resist.

Article III.
If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means available. I
will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will
accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.

Article IV.
If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow
prisoners. I will give no information nor take part in any action
which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take
command. If not I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over
me and will back them up in every way.

Article V.
When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to
give name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade
answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make
no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or
harmful to their cause.

Article VI.
I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom,
responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made
my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of

May we all be loyal Americans! Never forget 9/11/2001. 12/7/1941 and 7/4/1776! God Bless the U. S. A                     


6 Down, 4 To Go!



We spoke to Caleb on Saturday night! Yay! He expressed again appreciation for your prayers and letters of encouragement! I said that sometimes I feel like I'm writing the same information. His answer, "That's ok, keep them coming!" Caleb is still sick. The crud has moved down into his chest. He keeps on going... has to. He described the Confidence Course and the Tarzan Course as FUN! "There is a technique and you just have to learn it!"  There is still much to learn and accomplish! He is still operating on 3-4 hrs of sleep a night...

They had run another PFT that morning. He was very excited that he dropped a minute off his 3 mile run, but did one less pull up, and his normal 100 crunches.

Probably the news he was most excited about was another answered prayer. One of his buddies asked him to read the Bible with him, they agreed on a time and place. Not long after they started two more joined and others expressed interest. May God Bless them! "Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord..."


How would you like to be under the eye of evaluation 24/7? That is what these candidates experience! EVERYTHING they do or do not do is jotted down, remembered or noted! Evaluations are not just from their staff instructors of various ranks, but they also have peer evaluations! Never a moment of privacy! 

The evaluation breakdown is as follows:

50% Leadership
The leadership grade is based on practical application events and staff observation. Evaluations are based on command presence, communication skills, decision making, and leading subordinates. Leadership is evaluated using the following events and opportunities:
  • Command Evaluations I and II
  • Leadership Reaction Course I and II
  • Small Unit Leadership Evaluation I and II
25% Academics
The General Military Subjects taught to Officer Candidates provides basic information to include Marine Corps History, Tactics, Operations and Organization, Land Navigation and other military subjects. Officer Candidates are evaluated on this material through written exams and practical application.

25% Physical Fitness
The physical training program at OCS has been designed to teach, then test and evaluate, a very high level of physical fitness in a minimum amount of time. It is built on the principles which will test physical courage, will-power and determination, while preparing you for the rigors of future Marine Corps duty. The physical aspects of OCS are designed to test an individual's general strength and endurance under varying field and tactical conditions. You will find these aspects challenging and demanding.
  • FBDs:  Functional Body Development Course
  • Run Circuit:  A circular course in the immediate OCS area consisting of many exercise stations designed to build endurance and overall body strength.
  • Fartlek Course:  A 3 to 4-mile trail, consisting of 8 to 11 exercise stations, designed to build endurance.
  • Obstacle Course:  A 100-meter long series of obstacles that must be negotiated in a prescribed amount of time.
  • Confidence & Tarzan Courses:  A series of high obstacles created to build an individuals self-confidence while teaching military skills.
  • Conditioning Hikes:  These range from 4 to 12 miles with combat gear.
  • Pugil Sticks: Simulates close combat fighting.
  • Combat Course:  This is a 1.5-mile course which simulates a combat environment by stressing all around security and noise discipline while negotiating a series of obstacles.
  • Endurance Course:  A 2.5-mile course testing a candidate's physical endurance and ability to cross and negotiate various obstacles.
  • Combat Fitness Test:  Consists of physical events that stress fitness components comparable to those that would likely be encountered in combat situations.



Who Has It Tougher?

Marine Enlisted Recuits, or Marine Officer Candidates?


On His Way to...


Lifestyle of a Candidate moving towards becoming a Marine Officer

This is pretty heavy stuff! I believe Caleb had a pretty good start to this lifestyle or he would not be at OCS today, he would not have been chosen to take the OCC. This course is very intense. He must prove himself in a few short weeks that he has what it takes to succeed! 

Once again, thank you for your prayers. Please pray diligence in the following for Caleb today and the days to come. 

He is still running, climbing over obstacles, climbing along and up ropes, trudging through the mud and water, planning and strategizing, sitting in classes, trying to stay alert and aware. He is being evaluated every minute of the day. Thank you for your diligent prayers. 

What it takes to succeed

  • A belief in oneself.
  • The candidate must understand why he/she is at OCS.
  • The candidate must remain dedicated to giving a maximum effort despite his/her shortcomings and failures and continue to display our Corps' virtues of honor, courage, and commitment. 
  • Integrity - honesty and truthfulness in all actions.
  • Morally and ethically beyond reproach.
  • Professional control of emotions; an ability to remain calm and composed under pressure. 
  • Mentally agile and an inquisitive learner.
Physical / Mental Courage
  • To embrace adversity and confront the unknown and successfully overcome them.
  • To challenge one's physical and mental capabilities to the fullest and continue forward to accomplish the mission despite fatigue and stress.
  • To display a balanced physical and mental courage that translates into a disciplined warrior ethos.
Teamwork / Unselfishness
  • Understand that the candidate is part of a team, something bigger than oneself.
  • Understand that the success and contributions of a candidate are for the unit, our Marine Corps, and well-being of one's fellow candidates.
  • Placing the needs of the team before his/her own.
  • To bounce back from failure or adversity.
  • To incorporate constructive criticism and move forward with renewed vigor.

"Work hard, and you will be a leader; be lazy, and you will end up a slave." Proverbs 12:24 (CEV)

 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. I Corinthians 9:24-25 NIV



PRAYERS PLEASE!!          Evaluations! Evaluations! Evaluations!        PRAYERS PLEASE!!


The Quigley

The first units of OCC209 have done the Quigley


Training Events 2

Three Additional Training Events


Insights from Today's Letter



First Letters

Tough training. Very demanding. Staying the course.


Training Events 1

First Three Events of Seven that are focused on weeks 1-3. Week ONE ...and counting!



The Calm before the Storm (and Caleb's Mailing Address)

It's starting

So you're sitting around talking with the other candidates, been here about four hours already, and suddenly, finally, the Marines supposed to pick us up are here.

It's amazing how quickly the calm with which you've been waiting vanishes. Your heart rate rises, your face feels hot, and you're rushing to find your go-fasters as they instructed.

Still lots of waiting to do, but we lose our phones soon.

This is it.


Caleb's Preparations

Caleb spent the day taking care of business after he met up with a friend in Warsaw for lunch. Now, at 22:06, he is reviewing all the documents presenting things he must master in order to be an officer in the USMC. He has reviewed the General Orders, which he had already mastered. He has been working on OSMEAC, an acronym outlining the basic "five paragraph order." This is the standard form that must be used when a Marine officer writes up orders for his subordinates. The USMC has developed the process into an exact science. Everyone know exactly what is required in the orders and everyone follows the format exactly. Caleb has now mastered the form and the process. He should be in good shape when the subject is covered at OCS.

We have finalized plans for storing his car and our schedule in Indy on Saturday as he prepares to ship out to Quantico on Sunday. Everything seems to be under control. He has one more night at home.

Carolyn and I have taken note that after he leaves we will truly have an empty nest. Previously, when he left we knew he would return. Off to camp, off to college, off to work in Warsaw. He will not be coming back in the same way as in the past. This is not going off to college. This is going out into the world. Now, he is launching his career.


Packing for OCS

Here is a look at what I've packed for OCS, including required gear and other optional—but recommended—gear. This will apply specifically to male OCC candidates attending a winter course, but other candidates should find it helpful, too.

Introducing a Guest Blogger

This is my first attempt to manage this blog for Caleb.


Communicating With Me at OCS

Here is some information about how to communicate with me while I'm at OCS.