While everyone else is starting to plan their 2013 tri season, I’m trying to plan the next 8 years of my life!
Ok, so that’s a little dramatic, but I’m working on my preference list for my job as an Officer in the Army National Guard. Basically, it will come down to (1) my preference, (2) availability of positions in AZ, and (3) the needs of the Army.
I plan on being relatively transparent through this process. It’s been easy to find information on the internet about the OCS (Officer Candidate School) and BOLC (Basic Officer Leadership Course) – but it’s been tough to find good information.
What I know so far – assuming everything goes as planned:
22 January – Ship from Phoenix to Ft Jackson in South Carolina for Basic Combat Training.
28 January – Begin Week 1 of Basic Combat Training
05 April – Graduate Basic Combat Training!
08 April – Begin Officer Candidate School in Ft. Benning, GA
27 June – Graduate from OCS as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Arizona Army National Guard
How did these dates get determined? Well, my work contract is up in December (though I’ve now been extended through January), and when I went to sign my contract, I requested a mid-January ship date. I’m doing Ragnar Florida Keys with my family January 5-6, and I really wanted to do that to spend some quality time with them before I head out for 5 months. With a little luck, and an early enlistment date (I enlisted back in June), they were able to accommodate my request. This isn’t always the case, but most people that I’ve talked to at RSP (Recruit Sustainment Program – monthly drill for people awaiting shipment to Basic or AIT) are fairly happy with their assigned ship dates. I’m also lucky that there is only a weekend between Basic and OCS. I’m not permitted to go home at this time, so the less time spent waiting for my next class, the better! Also, I chose (and was approved for) Federal OCS. It’s a 14 week program at Ft Benning. My other options were accelerated OCS (which didn’t work with my schedule) and local OCS – where I would drill for one weekend a month, two weeks a year, for 18 months to get my commissioning.
Well, I still need to attend one more school before I can start my “real job” in the Guard. It’s BLOC, where I’ll learn things specific to my job. This school, unlike Basic and OCS, are much more like attending a normal school. My evenings and weekends are my time (generally speaking). PT might be done as a group, or individually. But when do I go? And where?
Hopefully, I’ll have these answers in December. A Chief Warrant Officer is working hard to match my preference list with the openings in the AZ Guard, and their needs. After that, I’ll meet with a board of officers to confirm my position, and we’ll (hopefully) be able to schedule my BOLC.
Ideal situation: I start my BOLC class about a month after finishing OCS – I’ll have plenty of time to spend with loved ones, and not have to worry about finding a job in between. However, this will greatly depend on when my BOLC school is offered, the method of training (some require an online course before reporting), and open spots in my BOLC. In fact, if I get my top choice, there are currently no open slots in classes through the end of 2013.
For now, life after June 2013 is totally up in the air. I’m very jealous of those planning their race season (and lives in general!) – but I’m excited with my choice to become an Officer in the Arizona Army National Guard.