By Maj. Charles Thompson and 1st. Lt. DaleAnne Thomas
640th Regiment, Regional Training Institute
To become an officer in the United States Army is a goal that many strive to achieve and is not for the faint of heart.
There are many different reasons why Soldiers have wanted to serve and become an officer, for many it's because they wanted to serve their country.
For Officer Candidate Nathan Rupprecht, a native of Long Beach, California, the decision to become a leader was made during a deployment to Afghanistan in 2016-2017.
“The experience I did gain in combat situations was priceless, providing insight and context for why we train the way we do,” Rupprecht stated. “It showed me how my own knowledge and skill set could improve to be a more effective warfighter and leader.”
“I enlisted with the intent to become an officer,” said Officer Candidate Seth Warr, a previous Staff Sgt. with A Company, 141st Military Intelligence Battalion. “I felt the best way to become an effective officer and to have the advantage and knowledge was to serve enlisted first.”
There are four ways to become an officer; attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; receive a direct commission; join the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps; or attend Officer Candidate School.
The OCS program is for currently serving Soldiers with a bachelor’s degree, or will soon graduate, and have the desire and the capacity to become an officer and lead Soldiers of the Utah National Guard.
In Utah, officer candidates drill with the 640th Regiment, Regional Training Institute, OCS Company for four months during Phase Zero.
The mission of the 640th RTI OCS Company is to prepare officer candidates for the rigorous training they will receive during their eight weeks at the accelerated location.
Each drill is based on a different phase of the accelerated course. Gradually increasing in knowledge and skill requirements and expectations. Throughout zero phase the officer candidates practice numerous tasks that will be required of them, as well as Soldier skills such as land navigation, troop-leading procedures, preparing an operations order, and attention to detail is always on the forefront of the training.
According to APD 6-22, Leadership – leadership is the activity of influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation to accomplish the mission and improve the organization. Officer candidates will need to show they are capable of being a successful leader as well as have the approval of the leadership of the OCS Company before they will be sent the accelerated OCS.
Accelerated OCS is very physically and mentally demanding so incoming officer candidates must be physically and mentally prepared for the rigorous eight-week course.
If you would like to serve your country as an officer in the Utah Army National Guard, reach out to your local recruiter.
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