OCS boards: Making the grade
Sgt. Aaron Starr Byron answers questions during a structured local board at Camp Victory in Iraq May 25, 2011. This type of board makes recommendations to the Officer Candidate School selection board on whether applicants should be selected to go to OCS.

The March 18 to 22 OCS board has been moved to March 25 to 29 to afford potential candidates additional time to apply. March 8 is the new deadline for packet submission. Packets may only be submitted to the Army Knowledge Online, or AKO, folder.

Applicants must check their personnel file in iPERMS, the Army's Interactive Personnel Electronic Records Management System, and have missing documents scanned in by their S-1/personnel.

The submission deadline for the July board is May 20.

Officer Candidate School provides the Army with a flexible source of commissioning, according to Col. Charles J. Dalcourt of the U.S. Army Human Resources Command's Officer Personnel Management Directorate. Dalcourt is the chief of OPMD's Operations and Plans Division.

"OCS provides a tremendous opportunity for our enlisted Soldiers and warrant officers who have already demonstrated the capacity, deportment and qualities desired in our 'O-grade' Army officers," Dalcourt said. "These in-service selectees are mature, understand sacrificial service and, in many cases, have clearly demonstrated the ability to lead Soldiers in peace and war."

The Department of the Army has raised the age limit to 33 for eligible Active Component, in-service Soldiers to apply for Officer Candidate School at the upcoming March and July OCS selection boards. Applicants must possess baccalaureate degrees.

The customary age limit of 30 for AC applicants [set forth in Army Regulation 350-51, In Service OCS Program,] reflects the old requirement that, when they become commissioned officers, those without baccalaureate degrees will pursue their bachelor's degrees to completion.

However, now that a bachelor's degree is a requirement to apply for OCS, the age limit has been adjusted for the March and July boards since most in-service Soldiers are over 30 by the time they earn their bachelor's degrees, according to Clifford M. Preetorius, the OCS program manager in the Officer Accessions Branch, which falls under OPD.

"The Army is looking for high-speed, forward-thinking Soldiers with unimpeachable character," Preetorius said. "Those are the ones we want to apply to OCS."

News of the age-limit increase doesn't affect prospective OCS applicants who aren't in the Army's Active Component: Reserve Component applications, which are submitted through the U.S. Army Reserve Command's Army Reserve Careers Division, are boarded through HRC, but the RC age limit for OCS is already at 34 [when appointed as a commissioned officer (AR 140-50)]. The U.S. Army Recruiting Command has a USAREC board process for civilians who apply for Army OCS or Army Reserve OCS (AR 601-210). Army National Guard recruiters should be the initial point of contact for National Guard Soldiers interested in OCS or civilians interested in joining the National Guard to attend OCS [National Guard Regulation (NGR) 351-5].

"As a commissioned officer, you will encounter new challenges that will enhance your leadership abilities and enable you to inspire and motivate others," said Jon A. Banco, the interim chief of the Officer Accessions Branch at HRC OPMD. "Seize this opportunity. Remember the March 8 deadline."

AC enlisted Soldiers and warrant officers can find out how to apply to OCS by reading MILPER Message No. 12-380 and MILPER Message No. 13-042. Visit the HRC website at http://www.hrc.army.mil and look under "Popular HRC Resources."

Page last updated Thu February 21st, 2013 at 00:00