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Semper Fi November 1, 2006

Posted by Q in Travel, Wharton.
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God bless the men and women who serve our country.

I got a glimpse into the lives of our Marines in training during a Leadership Venture to Officer Candidate School in September. Wharton sent a group of us down to Quantico, VA, to experience some of the leadership-building exercises the Marines put their officer candidates through.

We were given a presentation about the structure of the OCS program (they promised they were not trying to recruit us). The 10-week program is intense and almost brutal – yet somehow attractive. At the end of the presentation they invite the Gunnery Sergeants to join us. That’s when the fun began.

We experienced a night of yelling, confusion, and a lot of unintelligible “english.” I had a blast! We were told how to do everything from walking to standing to making our “racks” (beds) to how to sleep in them (though no one really paid attention to that one). I was even assigned and hour during night watch. When the morning time came (notice i didn’t say when the sun came up), we were woken up with yelling and excitement. We then striped our beds and marched across the complex to eat breakfast. The sun still had about 1.5 more hours to sleep before it came up.

During the next day, we went through two of the Marines’ training courses. The first was the Leadership Reaction Course. The LRC was a collection of puzzles which require both mental and physical exercise. For example, our first one was involved crossing a river (represented by a pool of water) to retrieve a barrel of supplies. The constraints on where we could step, what we could touch, and what resources we could use made this puzzles complex. Each person on our group was chosen as the leader for one of the puzzles. We successfully completed zero out of the five we tried. However, we had fun on all of them. Oh, and we learned something about ourselves too πŸ™‚

After the LRC, we grabbed some MRE’s for lunch. The Meals Ready to Eat were better than I expected (then again, I was only eating them for one meal so the novelty – and hunger – may have been just the right seasoning). I had some chicken and rice with crackers & jam followed by carrot cake.

Now for the real challenge. We completed the big obstacle course in the afternoon. I must say, I don’t remember ever being so sore after any one two-hour event in my life. We climbed walls, walked across roped and logs with 20ft drops below, scaled muddy hills (thanks to the fresh rain two days before), waded through mud, slid under barbed wire, and swam in pretty chilly water (although after Ironwood, “cold water” has new meaning to me). We did all of this while caring our replica, to scale and weight, rifles.

My favorite part was the Quigley (pictured to the right). We got down on our bellies and slide through this pond/swamp-like portion of the course while holding our riffles above the water. At certain point we had to slide under logs and through submerged sewer pipes (no real sewage of course).

At the end of the day a hot shower never felt so go. We were covered form head to toe in mud and dirt. I am still not sure how that much dirt got into some place πŸ™‚ It was a good thing I brought cloths I didn’t mind throwing away. We washed up, changed, and had a nice reception with hor d’overs and an open bar.

When I got back to Philly I wanted to do it all over again. I wanted to go out and accomplish great things. I wanted to apply want I learned. I wanted to prove my mental and physical toughness. But, what I truly want most of all was to go to sleep.

Cheers.

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Comments»

1. DMB - November 3, 2006

blehhhhhhhh, that looks intense! I think I would cry. I can’t swim!

2. kapil - November 5, 2006

sounds like you had a blast! i wish i coulda done that…i’ve been spending my time reading law books instead.–>


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