Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Friday, January 07, 2011

Boot Camp And OCS

Twenty-eight years ago today, I signed up for the Navy. I reported to Boot Camp at RTC Great Lakes a little over 3 months later (Company 108 in 1983). In 1988, I went to Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I., going through with Class 89001. I personally thought Boot Camp was harder than OCS (although neither was really that taxing), but that might have been because I was more ready for what they'd do when I showed up for OCS. I've talked to some people who thought OCS was harder.

It's been almost three years since we covered this topic, so we've got some new voices to add to the discussion. What are your favorite (or most interesting) memories of Boot Camp and/or OCS/Plebe Summer?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

All while standing at POA, asking our class team questsions one night in our barracks at the lovely Nimitz Hall, NAVSTA Newport

Candidate (Who was former enlisted surface nuke): Indoctrination candidate XXX requests permission to speak to chief drill inspector XXX.

Drill Instructor: Who?

Candidate repeats EXACT SAME PHRASE

DI: Everyone get on your face! Who?

Candidate repeats again, still doesn't get it.

DI: I'm going to let you try to fix yourself one more time, then we all gonna pay.

Candidate finally gets it right.

Class Chief: You know what the sad thing about you is? Someone in a recruiting office actually thought you ought to be an officer. That person ought to be shot.

RPT session ensues.

1/07/2011 9:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OCS was pretty terrible. Few years back when I went through, the priors said boot camp was a joke by comparison, and none of them had an easy time of it. Those gunny's are sadistic. Just gotta ride out those 12 weeks, but they feel like forever.

1/07/2011 10:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Small world - I signed up for DEP in December 82, and hit Great Mistakes in August 83 in company 223 until I squeaked into the band (936). Small world.

Favorite boot camp memory - tear gas house. We're supposed to walk in single file, masks off, followed by CC (mask on), and commence drilling. Instead, first boot stumbles over the door frame, flails against the wall and shuts off light switch. Rest of company stumbles in behind him. SKC decides that he has better things to do than get directly involved, so he just shuts the door when the last guy gets inside. Us boots are now milling around in the dark, choking, puking, and coughing without adult supervision. Chief finally decides we've had enough, opens the door and yells at us idiots to put on masks, then shuts the door again. Individual success rate for donning the Mark V varies, but eventually coughing dies down and Chief lets us out. Training evolution successful!

Over the years I have pondered that event and I still believe that it was the best training I ever received in the Navy. So many valuable lessons.

1/07/2011 11:53 PM

Anonymous 594Tuff said...

Great Lakes 1985 Co 289 - I think it was about week three when my MM1 Company Commander summons me into his office using his typical "useless dirt bag" tirade. I get in there and he tells me to shut the GD door and drop and give him 20! Now I'm thinking one of my squad members screwed up and I'm paying. He tells me to recover and then asks me puts me at ease and then proceeds to ask me to borrow my dress blue pants! I smirked and so did he. Come to find out he spilled something on his pants and had some ceremony to go to. Since we were the only 5’5” guys in the building he had little choice. At that point the light bulb clicked and I got the purpose of boot camp. I can’t speak for OCS directly, but I would say that dive school was the one place I learned more about what’s inside than anywhere else in my career to this date.

1/08/2011 6:11 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bootcamp, Co. 205,summer 1974, RTC San Diego. 4th day, first bag inspection. I was 43 of 81. Every "hit" meant 10 jumping jacks for everyone not inspected, those who were good were standing down. I got one, after about 200 JJ's. The sad part was we had a corn fed kid freom Iowa, who was 81. The poor bastard endured until his bag was inspected, with no hits.We called him Gomer.He just freaked, crying and blubbering at the injustice of it all. Never saw him again.I felt really bad for adding my ten to his torment.

1/08/2011 8:13 AM

Anonymous steveeas said...

RTC GLAKES Jan 73 - Hey, what's that silver pin on our company commander's jumper? SEAL? What's that? Trying to cram one's dirty clothes into the ubiquitous ditty-bag.

1/08/2011 9:00 AM

Anonymous DDS Nuke said...

NSI 2004 for STA-21 Officer Candidates, Newport, RI.

Uniform inspection by class leader (surface guy) of female officer candidate. Supposed to have military ID in shirt pocket for inspections so the class leader checks it by tapping on her breast shirt pocket to feel it. Needless to say, he lost his position.

Final PFA (pass, go to college; fail, put your blue shirt back on and head back to the fleet):

Very cold November morning with crazy winds coming off the Newport Harbor waters...wind chills well below 20 F. A lot of failures and command leads them to believe there will be a make-up PFA (questionable decision to run PFA in first place)...after 5 of 6 finals are complete, command doesn't allow PFA failures to take 6th final or retake PFA and sends them back to the fleet.

1/08/2011 12:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One guy's class shirt summed it up best:

12 weeks to life

1/08/2011 3:19 PM

Blogger Bearpaw said...

Went to boot camp in Sep '82 in Great Lakes - company 281.

Waiting out on the grinder after chow, I was formed up with my company waiting for all to come out. A guy from another company comes running up and gets lined up right next to me - except he wasn't in my company. Turns out he was a friend of mine from high school that left for boot camp about a month after me.

On the next day after arriving, the CCs march us to the exchange for hair cuts. While waiting out in the cold, one guy asks permission to go to the bathroom. He goes and comes out like 10 minutes later. Wasn't long after that we started smelling something bad. About that time, an E6 comes out and yells, "who $hit on the GD head floor!". The guy raises his hand and had to go in and clean it up. He stunk so bad that none of the barbers would cut his hair and they made him stay outside. So he finally gets a haircut and we march off for uniform issue where you have to strip down. He has got $hit all over himself. As he was getting his civvies together to give to the ladies to go to the cleaners, they were all holding perfume soaked handkerchiefs under their noses. From then his nickname was $hitty and his clothes were never cleaned.

1/08/2011 5:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Graduated Bootcamp Company 944 at Great Mistakes, December 7, 1984. What a joke. Dive School at Coronado in 1989 rocked.

1/08/2011 9:22 PM

Anonymous T said...

DDS Nuke:

You're stories just show that whoever was in charge of OCS when you were there was fuckign stupid. The PFA thing is especially WTF, given the weather conditions.

1/09/2011 9:07 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was in Newport for NSI in FEB 04. Damned cold on the water and one helluva wind during PFAs, always seemed to be in your face(odd for a track...)

As for boot camp(JUL00)had the pleasure of breaking up what had to be a combined 500lbs of ugly lovin' in the oft spoken of :bread room" in the galley. niether of them was small, but she was huge.

1/09/2011 9:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My most clear memory of plebe summer was when a guy down the hall jumped out of his window in 8th wing.

Luckily he tried to superman it and in doing so flipped because of the screen and landed on his feet. I'll never forget the sound he made hitting the 8th wing tennis court! My roommates and I looked out our window to see this kid laying in the middle of the tennis court screaming for help. Due to flipping he survived.

1/09/2011 1:33 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

Marine 'supervisors' with billy-clubs at the ready and liberally used, even in the dining hall as we took our meals. Actually witnessed in chow line one guy up ahead get whacked on his head by his 'supervisor's' club. After that incident the chow hall's low ambience declined lower than we had thought possible, but the maturity level of hundreds of yound recruits, including me, was raised at least by one notch.

Many years afterward I would find a curioius reminder from that Nam era in PROJECT: Americans in Vietnam Oral History "humiliating remedial boot camp called "4050"; suicide attempts of guys in 4050; escape attempt from boot camp; Filipinos in the Navy; other abuses in 4050;".

1/09/2011 4:21 PM

Blogger Rick said...

Newport OCS, Class 87005 (Bravo Company): It was a joke. The "DIs" for our class were the guys 8 weeks in front of us, not Marines. They marched us around and yelled a bit but it was nothing to sweat. My buddy was a BM2/SEAL and he would start snickering at the "abuse", which would start me doing the same thing. They loved us....

1/09/2011 7:57 PM

Blogger SJV said...

I was in GL in 1985, Company 929. "Triple Threat", drill team, choir. Not so much of a threat, but it was a good gig. We got to perform in three or four parades off base in addition to the graduation ceremonies.

Just a few bullets:
MASH, Big Chicken, Ricky Crud, ASMO, EMI, Bicillin blues, Report Chit, Dirty Dozen, Don't fill it you won't spill it, You slop it you mop it, Nut to butt, Make the guy in front of you smile, Hammered F$@K....

1/09/2011 8:16 PM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Company 176, Great Mistakes, 1984. We're doing drill in one of the 400-year old quonset hut buildings at the far end of RTC. CC (MMC(SS)) was standing right behind one of the stick guys when the command for Order Arms goes out.

Nailed him square in the package so hard he went out for DOUBLE hernia surgery. Replaced with BTC. Other CC (MMCS(SW)) tells us all the old policies are still in effect (MMC was known as the "Mad Masher") and the usual. Then BTC asked if anyone knows any jokes.

I asked him that if he ever woke up in the woods with his hands tied behind his back and his ass was smeared with Vaseline if he'd tell anyone. Of course he said, "Fuck no!" to which I asked, "Wanna go camping next weekend?"

Dead silence for at least 3 seconds before EVERYONE started rolling. From then on, MMCS went to recruits in sis company while they were formed up and asked, them, "Wanna go camping next weekend?"

Ah, good times.

1/10/2011 7:51 AM

Anonymous Mike Mulligan said...

Hey Bearpaw,

I was Shitty. After bootcamp went to the fleet. Lost the nickname. Got out, GI Bill and NROTC. Went back in through Chop school where I acquired new nickname = jizzum. I was the greatest Supply Officer ever to serve on the USS Enterprise, but always seemed to have a buldge and wet spot down by my zipper, exspceally when I was around the guys smoking in the oil room.

Once, as a kid at summer camp, my brother got the stomach flu, got delirious, climbed into some other kid's sleeping bag, and shit all over it. I guess it's kind of a knack that runs in the family.

1/10/2011 11:36 AM

Blogger Bearpaw said...


If you can tell me where shitty was from I will believe you.

Not sure I would lay claim to that title. Things didn't get any better for him after that day - it wasn't a fluke.

1/10/2011 7:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Among other things, Mulligan believes he invented the Internet and then told Al Gore about it.

1/11/2011 9:45 AM

Anonymous mike mulligan said...


Shitty/Jizzum here…..Don’t know where I was born. Mom was a raging bull dyke biker prison guard and dad was a lifer inmate. Maybe Arkansas or Idaho but never have been too sure. So if I had told you my hometown back in boot camp, it was a lie.

Some of the other nicknames I’ve acquired over the years, usually based on specific incidences or personality traits are: Dumbass, Bitch, Deep Throat, Buggers, Stinky, No Teeth, Green Teeth, Lice, Crabs, and VD Girl.

I’m available for a date if you’re interested……..

1/11/2011 11:33 AM

Blogger Bearpaw said...

MM, I can tell you quite adept with the ID10T form...

1/11/2011 4:47 PM

Anonymous YNC(SS), USN, Retired said...

Wow Vigilis - Quote - PROJECT: Americans in Vietnam Oral History "humiliating remedial boot camp called "4050" - End Quote

Company 4040; I wonder if that was at great Lakes. I went to San Diego, September 5 - November 23, 1959, Company 450. At San Diego there was a similar unit; Company 4013. They were in the barracks next to us. It did get pretty noisy over there a couple times every night. If they were in motion; going to or from some place, and a recruit got in their way, the recruit was taken along with them for the day. Needless to say, we learned quick to get out of their road.

The business about Viet Nam sounds like the subject of the tapes was one of the deserters and serious problem children. I was stationed at the MACV II compound 1965-1966; in Saigon near Cho Lon. When I came back in 1968 I heard about a ghetto area where deserters lived. I never could figure out why the MP battalion didn't just go in there and arrest the lot of them. Maybe because the Long Binh Jail was too full. This fella sounds like one of the MacNamara 100,000 program folks.

1/12/2011 1:19 PM

Anonymous Otim said...

Boot Camp Orlando ( yes the one with the girls) 1981. Standing in line. Before going to BC I stood in line willingly for concert tickets, movies, etc and never cared much about it. That first week of procesasing when yiu stood in useless line for hours at a time ( we could have been getting trained and doing something usefull, I know and knew then that it was part of the take the civ apart and replace with sailor thing). This has followed me for the rest of my life since BC. I have never willing stood in a line for more that 30 or 40 minutes, althought the TSA is making that tough ( I now drive for anything less than 1000 miles).

1/13/2011 5:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OCS Bravo Company, Class 78004.

I could not understand why, the first time that we were allowed to go to the little BX/Uniform Shop, that ensigns at SWOS Basic were laughing at us.

Then somebody told me that OCS had sexually integrated the companies, beginning with Class 78003, and that prior to that, Bravo Company had been one of the two female companies.

1/15/2011 3:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OCS, also known (in the Army) as shake and bake is just that!

1/27/2011 6:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boot Camp in 1991. I'll never forget RIF smell. OCS in 1996 in Pensacola. Somebody's brother, hearing about how poorly the USMC drill instructor was treating him, sent a message asking if he should bring a can of whoop-ass down to the graduation ceremony....on a post card. The USMC had him read it out loud while the rest of the class did hop n' f'n pops.

I agree with the posts that say that the USMC OCS made boot camp seem like a joke. We did always get plenty of sleep, though. I remember sleepwalking my way through boot camp, especially working in the galley during work week.

1/31/2011 9:36 PM

Anonymous said...

This can't work in reality, that is exactly what I suppose.

11/15/2011 12:34 AM

Blogger Raymond Marcano said...

OCS Julliet 84004...nothing to complain about the first week maybe a little tough but the rest of the sweat was all academics. I mean 8 hrs of classes non stop. I have completed an M.S. in chemistry after the Navy and would take any advanced Chem class over the stuff at NETC. I simpley hated the education part (if you can call it that)which was taught by Navy LT'S and what on earth are they going to know about teaching.

3/27/2012 11:54 AM

Anonymous Roselyn said...

It won't truly have success, I believe this way.

8/26/2012 8:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OCS Class 16-12A, graduated September 2012, so the stories are still fresh in my mind.

One of the female candidates had a short haircut and a face that looked like Haley Joel Osment.
"Candidate, stop eating and stand up. Say, 'I see dead people'."
"I see dead people, sir!"

One night it rained hard and they got us up to sandbag the front entrance of Nimitz Hall. Good thing we'd had all that DC training at the Buttercup.

In the later phases, when we were taking care of the underclassmen, a candidate officer got a cell phone call about one of his screwups. The Chief on the other end shouted, "Get on the ground right now! Do you have Facetime or Skype? I want to see this!"

USS San Jacinto pulled in for instruction at nearby SWO school. We also got to go aboard, althogh for a much shorter tour. When I first saw the ship's name, I used the Spanish pronunciation. One of the Texans in the class corrected me. "We get to pronounce it our way because we won that battle." Sad to hear what happened with the Montpellier.

11/03/2012 11:34 AM

Anonymous Ancient Mariner said...

Little older than most of you folks, Boot Camp 1967, OCS 1968. Different world in lots of ways, not many Marine instructors, mostly for PT and such, rest were Navy Chiefs and Officers. Still, it was long before physical abuse was outlawed, no women at all, and it was VERY rigorous, to say the least. Gotta say, OCS was way tougher, at least then, and it was four months long. Lot of guys "rolled out" to the Fleet - 'Nam was raging, lots of people rather be a Navy Officer than draft bait, so they could be pretty selective. Managed to get through, guess I liked it well enough to hang around for some years active, more in the Reserves, eventually got some rank (O-4), but decided enough was enough, resigned and got a life. Ancient history now, not a man or a ship from that era still serving.

3/23/2014 2:30 PM

Blogger Tom Murphy said...

"Navy owned, Marine Corp Trained" Hoorah!

3/24/2014 7:54 PM

Anonymous Kerrin said...

OCS Newport, Rhode Island Class 87005 (Charlie Company – the “Chucks”) – I noticed someone from Bravo Company 87005 posted here a few years earlier. I bet I knew the guy. Basically, you got hollered at by the “Seniors” (guys/gals 8 weeks ahead of you). All-in-all, not that bad. If you did not know any better you might have been a little unsure about your future and perhaps might have started thinking about “Truck Masters Driving School” (Goose in “Top Gun”) as your “Plan B.” At the time they had an OCS Prep school (8 weeks) which I attended so I ended up being in Newport in the dead of winter from November 1986 to May 1987. I was in 1st Battalion (Alpha, Bravo and Charlie Company) although we spent virtually all of our class time with Delta Company – two companies (Alpha-Bravo, Charlie-Delta, etc…) went to class in “pairs” of companies. A year or so ago I went to a buddy’s retirement ceremony on the Wisconsin down in Norfolk. I ended up running into a guy I went to OCS with – Captain Mark Gordinier (sp?) “Gordy” as we used to call him.

3/26/2014 12:12 PM


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