The need for of an Officer Candidate School first gained traction in the late 1930s, as the possibility of war with Germany or Japan (or both) seemed ever more likely and, along with it, the need to train and commission large numbers of junior officers in a relatively short time frame. As part of the Army’s expansion plans in preparation for possible conflict, a proposal for an expedited officer-training program was sent to Infantry School Commandant Brigadier  General Asa Singleton in 1938, but it wasn’t until two years later that the Army began actively working to establish Officer Candidate Schools.

Designed to train officers by branch, the first three Officer Candidate Schools were stood up in July 1941 at Fort Benning, Fort sill, and Fort Monroe for the Infantry, Field Artillery, and Coast Artillery Corps respectively. The branch-specific system of Officer Candidate Schools was maintained until 1973, when it was made branch immaterial and all the courses were merged into just two held at Fort Benning (although a course for female officer candidates was held at Fort McClellan, Alabama until 1976).

Officer Candidate Schools provide officer training for candidates from three backgrounds: Active Army, Army Reserve, and Civilian. Regardless of background, all OCS applicants must meet certain minimum requirements, most notably having a four-year college degree and being eligible for a security clearance. Additionally, OCS hopefuls must be between the ages of 19 and 32 years (18 and 32 for members of the U.S. Army Reserve), enter active duty or ship to training by their 33rd birthday, and be able to accept an officer’s commission before they reach their 34th birthday.

Civilians seeking OCS entry must be U.S. citizens and complete Basic Combat Training, while active-duty Soldiers or members of the U.S. Army Reserve must have six years or less of Active Federal Service when they arrive at Officer Candidate School.

The 12 weeks of OCS training is divided into two phases, with the first focusing on leadership skills. Training is facilitated by organizing the candidates into squads, where they can learn how to employ leadership fundamentals and execute small-unit tactics. The skills necessary to be an effective leader are taught in Phase I; in the Phase II, also called the Senior Phase, the fundamentals and principles taught in Phase I are put to the test in field exercises, culminating in an 18-day training mission in which each candidate must lead a team.

Candidates who successfully compete OCS are commissioned as 2nd Lieutenants and assigned to their first duty station.

About us

As a certified manufacturer of uniforms and insignia, The Salute Uniforms considers it a privilege to provide the members of our nation’s military services with superior-quality apparel and accoutrements. We guarantee that every product we offer is made in the USA and meets or surpasses Mil-Spec standards. Browse our online catalog and discover how our tradition of excellence and commitment to innovation makes us your best source for military uniforms, insignias, medals, and accessories.


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Salute Industries Inc, proud maker of The Salute Uniforms.
105 Apache Drive, Archdale, NC, 27263.