[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                        April 11, 2008
Training

Officer candidates graduate 
from accelerated course

By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff

      Army National Guard officer candidates can graduate from an accelerated or traditional class through the Wisconsin Military Academy (WMA) at Fort McCoy.

Photo: Newly commissioned officers
                through the WMA accelerated course next will go through advanced
                training in a career field before being assigned to a unit to
                begin their new duties. (Contributed photo)
Newly commissioned officers through the WMA accelerated course next will go through advanced training in a career field before being assigned to a unit to begin their new duties. (Contributed photo)

      Spc. Amanda Krueck, a Human Resource specialist from Headquarters of the 426th Regiment, said eight members of a class were commissioned at the WMA in March after going through an accelerated Officer Candidate School (OCS) class.

      The Soldiers attended two-day sessions in November and December to begin what's called Phase 0 of the process. Krueck said they take the Army Physical Fitness Test, get their gear in order, get answers to their questions about the training and get tips about how to pass the training. Candidates must meet all Army standards and requirements.

      "To be in the accelerated class, they must have at least 90 college credits and a degree completion plan," Krueck said. "Many personnel choose the accelerated course because it is continuous training and they can get commissioned sooner (than a traditional class)."

      After the initial phase, personnel in the most recent accelerated course went to Fort McClellan, Ala., for continuous training from Jan. 12-March 7. The officer candidates were trained in land navigation, road marches, field time/bivouacking, leadership and small unit and tactical leader skills. This is accomplished in a high-stress environment, she said.

      The personnel then came to Fort McCoy for a commissioning and first-salute ceremony. Krueck said these officer candidates have up to two years to accept a commission.

      "Officers can have all of their families and friends at the commissioning ceremony," Krueck said. "The 2nd Battalion (of the 426th Leadership Regiment) runs this show."

      Newly commissioned officers can choose from a variety of career fields, including duties in quartermaster (supply), military police, infantry and engineer, among others.

      After being commissioned, officers go through advanced training in their career fields before being assigned to a unit.

      Krueck said it may be the unit they were in or a new one that needs an officer in their career field.


"Many personnel choose the accelerated course because it is continuous training and they can get commissioned sooner (than a traditional class)."

Spc. Amanda Krueck,
Human Resource Specialist,
Headquarters, 426th Leadership Regiment

      Accelerated officer candidate training usually is offered in the summer and winter.

      Army National Guard officer candidates also can take the training in a more traditional manner, she said. This is not as intense as the accelerated course, but candidates get the same training and have to accomplish the same tasks.

      Officer candidates still will attend the two weekends of Phase 0 training to get familiarized with the procedures.

      In Phase I, they attend a 15-day session, which focuses on training at the squad and platoon levels.

      This training currently is conducted at Camp Ripley, Minn.

      Unlike in the accelerated class, officer candidates in the traditional class complete Phase II by attending training one weekend a month.

      Phase II includes the training, advising and counseling officer teaching that stresses refining their tactical and leadership skills and building confidence. Krueck said the traditional candidates attend this training at Fort McCoy.

      After this phase is complete, officer candidates go onto Phase III of the training, which consists of another two-week session currently held at Fort Lewis, Wash. Candidates who pass the final test then move onto the commissioning ceremony.

      Army National Guard personnel interested in Officer Candidate School can contact their unit administrators, visit the Web site at http://dma.wi.gov/section_detail.asp?linkcatid=408&linkid=58, or call Krueck at (608) 388-9922 for more information.

 

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