Ruck march offers new beginning for Officer Candidates

By:  Capt. DesiRee Ewer, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

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Officer Candidate School students take part in a mandatory ruck march as part of their monthly training regiment at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky April 15, 2012. For the new OCS students, a five mile march was required while senior OCS students were required to march 10 miles. (Photo by: Spc. David Bolton, Public Affairs Specialist, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Kentucky National Guard).

To see all the photos of the event, please click HERE.

GREENVILLE, Ky.– Officer Candidates enrolled in the Kentucky National Guard’s Officer Candidate School set out on a vigorous ruck march in the early morning hours of April 15 at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center based in Greenville, Ky.

“For the senior candidates, this is their last hurdle in the instruction program before their August graduation,” said Sgt. 1st Class Anthony W. Kennedy, an OCS instructor for the 238th Regiment.

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Scott A. Hill, a Kentucky National Guard Officer Candidate with class 54-12, crosses the finish line of a 10-mile ruck march that marked the completion of phase two of the classes’ training at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center April 15, 2012. Hill, a native of Cadiz, Ky, has been training for 13 months and will graduate as a 2nd Lt. to the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in Benton, Ky. (Photo by: Spc. David Bolton, Public Affairs Specialist, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Kentucky Army National Guard).

Ruck marches are a tactical way to move troops and light equipment through various types of terrain, and can be used as an endurance event for physical conditioning. It also serves as a team-building exercise that encourages Soldiers as they navigate the difficult landscape.

“The hardest thing for me has been learning when to lead and when to follow,” said Officer Candidate Christopher M. Englen, a phase-zero Soldier assigned to the 238th Regiment.

While half of the formation contained senior OCS candidates completing their 10-mile culminating ruck march, the other half contained new OCS candidates in phase-zero who were embarking on their first five-mile march in the program.

Kentucky National Guard OCS is broken into three phases over an 18-month period. Upon completion, OCS candidates receive their commission as an officer in the Kentucky National Guard.

For OCS Candidate Christopher DeLeon, a phase-zero Soldier in the program, becoming an officer is a family tradition.

“My father is a retired Army officer and my older brother is currently an officer stationed at Fort Bragg. I love the Army and am really looking forward to becoming a good leader,” said DeLeon.

No matter what their motivation may be, the Soldiers of OCS showed admirable dedication and motivation as they rucked down the road toward both completion and a new beginning.

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