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July 2018 Newsletter

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President's Message

OCS Alumni,

On July 1, 2018, we celebrated the 77th birthday of Officer Candidate School with cake-cutting ceremonies at Fort Benning, Colorado Springs, District of Columbia, and a wreath laying at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia. The wreath-laying ceremony was conducted by the D.C. chapter. Our Facebook page chronicles these events. 

We are moving ahead with the design and implementation of Phase I of our OCS Heritage Center at Wigle Hall. We are confident Phyllis Aaron of Aaron and Clements can deliver the type of exhibits that will preserve our OCS history, honor our graduates, and educate candidates and visitors about the contributions of officer candidates to the defense of our nation. Our Vice President for Administration, Frank Harman, the project manager, has a more detailed article in this newsletter on this exciting project. 

Mark your calendar for next year’s Alumni Association 2019 reunion. The reunion begins on Sunday, April 28 and concludes with the alumni banquet on Wednesday, May 1. The Columbus Marriott will again be our host hotel. This is going to be a great time with the opening of Phase I of the OCS Heritage Center; the dedication of more bricks, pavers, and class memorials; the induction of the 2019 Hall of Fame class; and the presentations of the Nett Award and the Patterson Award. Mini class reunions are welcome to celebrate with the national reunion. We have reserved at least one afternoon and night for class get togethers. A lot of the headaches, work, and planning for your reunion will be taken care of automatically when you piggyback with us. For more information, call the reunion coordinator, Nancy Ionoff, at 813-917-4309.

The Hall of Fame packets must be into the OCS battalion no later than October 1, 2018 and the Nett Award no later than February 1, 2019. Information on both awards are on the OCS Alumni Association website

I am pleased to announce the election of two new board members to fill the unexpired terms of Dr. Ric Boyer and Dr. Bud Pidgeon. I am thankful for both Bud’s and Ric’s contributions to the Alumni Association and wish them well. Looking forward, I am happy to be working with retired Lt. Col. Ken Braswell and retired Lt. Col. Dan Johnson, our new board members. They are dedicated to the continued progress of the Association and making it into a world-class organization of which we can all be proud. 

We are looking for more volunteers to help with board members move the organization forward. We need an assistant treasurer and an assistant secretary. We need volunteers to work on the reunion for next year. Dr. Pat Smith could use help finding our members and updating member addresses and emails. There are many opportunities to serve. Please give me a call if you are interested in giving back to your alma mater!

I am honored to serve as your president and look forward to a successful remainder of 2018.

Forward Ever,
John Ionoff

Colonel (USA Retired)
President/CEO, USAOCSAA
813-505-8335
jionoff@aol.com

Commander's Circle

Hello from hot and humid Ft Benning!

The Battalion has had another eventful quarter getting ready for our busiest time of year: the summer. We stood-up Delta Company in early May which gives the Battalion four companies to train candidates. This summer we will start four classes within a 30-day period to help meet the Army’s annual commissioning goals. We are expecting to commission almost 600 second lieutenants by October 1, 2018. Needless to say, the cadre will be very busy this summer training the Army’s future leaders.

OCS continues to produce high-quality officers for our Army. In a 2017 survey of numerous Army leaders, respondents claimed OCS lieutenants to be more than twice as ready for duty at their first unit of assignment than their West Point counterparts and over seven times readier than their ROTC counterparts. We continue to train and produce the best company-level leaders for the Army, a fact that has not changed since OCS was founded in 1941. 

As a reminder, please see our webpage for information regarding the 2019 OCS Hall of Fame induction, including submission guidelines and eligibility criteria for Hall of Fame nominations.  If you are thinking of submitting someone for induction, please get started now and let us know of any issues or concerns. Hall of Fame submissions are due no later than October 1, 2018. We pushed the turn-in date back to allow a more thorough packet review prior to the selection board in early December. Finally, we have opened eligibility for the Hall of Fame to our National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve brethren. 

Standards!! No Compromise!!

Matthew B. Chitty

Lieutenant Colonel, Armor
Commanding
706-545-3507
matthew.b.chitty.mil@mail.mil

OCS Bookshelf

Warrior, Wayfarer

Bill Ridgely


Every Soldier had a life before being a Soldier. And Soldiers share their lives with people from what the Vietnam-era Soldier called the “real world.” What makes Soldiers different is what they do and the conditions under which they do it. Other than that, they are people taking a diversion from the real world. Soldiers also engage in diversions from their lives, some nonsensical, others not so much so. But once training is carried to war, the one-time clown in Officer Candidate School becomes responsible for the lives of ‘his’ men, and even the most playful officer candidate turned lieutenant becomes responsible for missions and lives in the deadly serious business of war.

Bob Miller, who majored in history in college, lived many of the experiences of Preston “Press” Patrick, whose story is told in his novel Warrior, Wayfarer. Miller was one of thousands of lieutenants who earned their commissions from the Engineer OCS at Fort Belvoir, Virginia in the late 1960s and ended their Army careers when they returned home from Vietnam. Young officers in Vietnam went where they were told, completed the missions they were ordered on, and it was not until years later that some realized not only were they involved in something significant, but the experiences they had would return to them time and time again, especially as aging men. Their experiences had become a life-defining moment from their past. It is from such experiences that Bob Miller writes.

Miller’s novel is such a story: told by a masterful storyteller in such a way that for someone who had similar experiences it is hard to tell Warrior, Wayfarer as a work of historical fiction. He went to lengths to ensure accuracy in these details about OCS, Press Patrick’s stateside experience, and as an engineer officer in Vietnam in the early 1970s. He has succeeded at humanizing the warrior as well as his journey to the serious side of life by way of OCS and Vietnam, as a young army officer, and as a young man falling in love. Anyone having experiences similar to Press Patrick’s will recognize the journey. Warrior, Wayfarer will excite a range of emotions and memories for those who have been there. And for the rest who lived through those tumultuous times, it will give a different perspective. For the recreational reader of military history, it provides insight to a uniquely American experience of millions of now aging people who lived the Vietnam decade and does so in a way that humanizes the Soldier and the war they served.

Bill Ridgely is a retired colonel who has been inducted into both the Engineer OCS Hall of Fame and the OCS Hall of Fame.

Candidates' Corner

Candidate Tyler Mason

OCS - Bravo Company specifically - can accurately be described as challenging, competitive, and an environment that fosters cooperation. My experience here has shown me the standard that officers are held to as well as the values an officer embodies. OCS provides a glimpse of what officers can expect from those they serve.

We in Bravo Company are here for a number of reasons: country, loved ones, faith, career, a challenge. All of our reasons for being here were tested with our new program of instruction (POI). With the most professional cadre available under Capt. Fuller, 1st Sgt. Butler, and company trainer Capt. Clemons, the new POI pushed many of us to our limits physically, mentally, and spiritually. In hindsight, the new POI was created in order to produce not just the most professional officers, but personal officers as well. True leaders, in all regards.

Cooperation is at the heart of everything we do in OCS. Our company had an effective program and dedicated cadre that successfully balanced cooperation with the competitive side of branching. How do you develop and build the Soldier next to you when they are competing for your branch slot, your future career? OCS cultivates the ability for all officers - regardless of branch - to work together, develop each other, and win together. Through rigorous training, combined with our experience in Bravo Company, OCS Class 005-18 is ready and able to meet the challenges of our nation’s future.

Candidate Mason is now 2nd Lt. Mason. He was commissioned on July 10, 2018.

Sandhurst Remembrances

2nd Lt. Kelly Weigand

Hello again!

Since my last article, I have completed my Junior term at Sandhurst and am well into the Intermediate term. A majority of this term is spent either out in the field or getting ready to go to the field. We have had some fantastic exercises already and the level of intensity has increased significantly.

It has been good to see us honing and polishing our skills, just in time for the situations to change or difficulty to increase. We have done so many advances to contact that it has become skills and drills, something we are very efficient at. I have gained an incredible appreciation for the importance of continuously working with one’s platoon so that when we do come into contact, everyone knows exactly what they should be doing. However, just when we have reached the point where we thought we were experts, the complexity increased: enemy positions spread out over kilometers. We were taking contact and having to maneuver over much longer distances and often very open and difficult terrain. Additionally, we started wearing sensors that the enemy could hit that would injure or kill us. Let me just say our casualty evacuation plans were tested...a lot. This though forced us to find good cover, move quickly, and conserve ammunition. Additionally, I was able to complete my first raid on an enemy compound as well as a night ambush on a patrol. Both were fantastic experiences to see and I appreciated the complexity of each.

One of my favorite moments of this term was when I had the privilege of meeting Gen. Stephen Townsend, TRADOC commander. He talked to the other U.S. cadets and me about our futures and the importance of the continued progression of U.S. Army training for both its officers and its enlisted members. It is not every day that a second lieutenant gets to shake the hand of a four-star general, but it is one that I will not forget.

Lastly, we are getting ready to move into our final exercises of this term. We will be doing a defensive exercise next, which will consist of digging in trenches, CS gas, and several days without sleep to learn and appreciate the effects of sleep deprivation. Once that fun is over, we are headed to the beaches of Normandy to study and discuss the landings and subsequent operations that occurred there. To say I am excited would be an understatement. Looking forward to updating you upon completion!

Honor Flight Experience: An AAR

Thomas Savery

I found out about Honor Flight, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing veterans with honor and closure, a year ago from Frank Serpas, who I joined the Army with in June 1966. He had gone on one and loved it. Now that I have done the same, I recommend it too. It is a free flight for veterans and you get to tour the Washington D.C. memorials: World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. We also got to drive through Arlington National Cemetery and to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

I sent in my request last October and in February got approved for a flight May 1. We had a meet up at the American Legion hall in Conyers, Georgia where we had to show identification and pictures of when we were in the military. While waiting at the check-in counter, I struck up a conversation with the guy in front of me. He had been a U.S. Air Force pilot who flew C123s from Pope Air Force Base. He flew the jump planes used by Soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division and the Special Forces to train. I flew those planes during airborne training so I asked him if he was one of the guys who took us up, flew us at 500 feet over hills and valleys for an hour until we all puked, then went up to 1,200 feet and flew over the drop zone and let us out. He said yes, then noted that there was a piece I probably did not know. He said after the jump, they would circle the field while the crew chief policed up the barf bags, then they dump the barf bags over the drop zone.

We left at 0430 on May 1 on a bus with police escort from the American Legion and went to the Atlanta airport. We just had enough time to go through security and board the plane, no breakfast. We were the first to board. About half were World War II vets, there were some Korean vets, and the rest of us were Vietnam-era veterans. I was the second youngest.  There was a guardian and wheelchair for each of us. My guardian was a 61-year-old grandmother who also happened to be a nurse. There was an emergency medical technician with us to care for any emergency that might arise. None did. I found out later that each of the guardians had to pay $500 for the trip.

When we arrived at Reagan National Airport, we were greeted by applause by all the passengers at the airport in the area. A big surprise to me, and emotional, as it was in stark contrast to the greeting I got when I returned from overseas to San Francisco.

We had a police escort for the bus ride. The bus driver was both very knowledgeable and funny. We drove through Arlington National Cemetery and were shown where all the famous generals and other people were buried. We stopped at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and saw the changing of the guard. The Old Guard is not allowed to acknowledge people watching, but as they were told we would be there, they would scuffle their shoes as they walked which was noticeable. We had lunch at the Tomb and there were a couple of off duty guards near the bus. I talked with them, as did others, as I was impressed at the length of the rifle inspection that went on as part of the guard-changing ceremony. I had my rifle inspected in seconds, this took minutes. I do not think I would ever have passed their rifle inspection.

A bunch of folks were taking our pictures standing with the guards, when someone shouted they wanted to gets pictures of World War II vets. Some of the World War II vets were wheeled up to sit in front of the standing guards. I started to move away but got motioned back to be in the pictures. I protested that I was not a World War II vet. The off-duty guard standing next to me said that he was not a World War II vet either!

We had time to visit the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, and the Vietnam Helicopter Pilot and Crewmember Monument. We then got a tour around the Pentagon to see the damage inflicted on September 11 and the repairs made. The driver noted it was fortunate the plane crashed into a part of the Pentagon that had been reinforced with steel girders. Had the plane struck the part that had not been reinforced, there would have been far more casualties.

We then went to see the Air Force Memorial. The memorial sits on some of highest elevation in the whole area, with a great view of D.C. and next to Arlington National Cemetery.  The spires for the memorial are over 200 feet high. The Air Force gets the best of everything.

We then went back to the airport for dinner. Dinner was in a section set aside for special occasions and was in the original part of the airport dedicated when FDR was president. The USO hosted the dinner. The USO volunteer was career Navy. He was impressed over the years by how well the USO treated his troops, so he volunteers for the duty and also acts as a guardian a couple of times a year.

Upon leaving, we all got in our assigned wheelchairs so we could get in an express line going through security. I got my hands swiped by a TSA security agent with a wet cloth which he said could detect drugs and explosives. New experience for me.

Going to board the plane, again the other travelers applauded us. A great day.

We got back to Atlanta after 2100, and even with a five-car police escort from the airport, it took about an hour to get back to the American Legion.

The trip was well organized, and very enjoyable. I would recommend it to any vet or anyone who wants to volunteer as a guardian.

Tom Savery graduated from OCS on May 18, 1967 with Class 029-67.

Changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Sitting in the shade near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The Air Force Memorial.

Tom and his guardian. Tom sent this article to several veteran friends. One Marine replied after seeing the pictures, "You Special Forces guys always get the blonde.”  Tom responded, "Yes and one guy wanted to fight me over her, so I pushed his wheelchair away so he could not punch me.”

 

Tom at Reagan National Airport.

For additional information or to sign up for this amazing experience, see https://www.honorflight.org

365 and a Wake Up

(Or how I spend I year and 1 day in OCS on active duty and finally retired with 30 years of service)

Richard Hoffman

I enlisted in the Army on November 16, 1966 as an administrative specialist just before my draft notice was to take effect. I began basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina after a delay of 120 days. It was in the day that we still lived in the old wooden barracks on Sand Hill. I will always remember the seemingly endless sand and pine trees.

Graduation from basic training was on a hot day in South Carolina. I learned that you should never lock your knees for a long period of time. All I remember is falling back with my M-14 still in the proper position. I actually got up and then completed the ceremony and marched back to the unit.

At the end of basic training, I had two weeks as a hold over until I was to ship to my advanced individual training at Fort McClellan, Alabama. Along with a number of other holdovers, I was given a job to do. I got lucky as the other hold overs had jobs such as cleaning the barracks. I got to be the company clerk for two weeks. The regular clerk went on leave and since I knew how to type, I got to take his place. I quickly learned how to prepare a morning report in multiple carbons with no mistakes to deliver to the battalion sergeant major every morning.

After I completed advanced infantry training at Fort McClellan, I reported to Fort Knox, Kentucky for Armor Officer Candidate School on August 14, 1967. It would be a year and a day before I finally graduated from Infantry Officer Candidate School at Ft Benning, Georgia on August 15, 1968.

Training at Fort Knox was challenging but not something that was overwhelming. Physically it was difficult for me to run, which was nothing new to me, but I made it everywhere. Weapons training was easy as I had already qualified expert with an M-14. My favorite time was when we went to the range to get familiarized with several different weapons. We were given an M-79 grenade launcher and told how to use it. The instruction was for the max range to hold the weapon down to your side so you could see through the back sight to the front sight which was very tall. I said that I could still fire from my shoulder and the instructor said OK and told me to fire at an M4 Sherman tank turret that was 250 yards away. His expectation was that I would not come close to the turret. Much surprise to both of us, I actually landed the round into the hatch on the turret. The instructor just turned and walked away.

Everything was going fine in my mind until the last panel review and I found that I was under consideration for termination from the program. Upon my arrival at the review board, I heard there was going to be an offer for other training besides going back to our previous position. I had come from advanced infantry training as a private E-2 so the thought of other training options was interesting to me.

After I reported to the board, I was informed if there had been another OCS company that was in its sixteenth week I would have been recycled to that company. Unfortunately, the company I was in was the next to the last OCS company to graduate from Fort Knox and the only other company was just two weeks behind. I was given three options: go back to the infantry as a private first class; go to the newly formed non-commissioned officer school for a chance to come out a sergeant; go to Fort Benning to complete OCS. However, since the OCS program obviously was different at Fort Benning than at Fort Knox I would have to start over again at Fort Benning at zero week.

I did not take long to decide. To what I felt was the shock to the board, I quickly replied that I was going to Fort Benning to start over. My thought was that I already getting E-5 pay. I did not want to be a private first class in the infantry, so why not spend another six months in training. In the back of my mind, I realized that would delay a possible deployment to Vietnam.

This setback in my life caused a couple personal problems as I was planning on getting married just after what would have been my graduation from OCS. I was able to get my transfer to Fort Benning delayed until after a leave to get married. I am also lucky to have what would become an understanding wife. The other interesting part of staying at Fort Knox until my leave started was that I was the only basic OCS candidate and there were two companies of senior candidates. Tradition of course means that a senior candidate can make life miserable for a basic candidate. I was able to get it set up that I was off limits for any harassment and I would treat senior candidates with proper respect. I also started many rumors at Fort Knox that OCS was not being closed and that a new company was being formed. 

I spent the last two weeks of my time at Fort Knox working in the supply room. This was a great training opportunity for me as I learned how a good supply sergeant can wheel and deal to have the equipment that was listed on the property book on hand as the unit was being inactivated after the company graduation. The other benefit was that I got to have all the OCS insignia that was left to take with me to Fort Benning. It amounted to about 100 sets of OCS insignia and all the rank insignias. Equipped with brass, I then had all my shoulder patches converted from the armor triangle to the follow me patch of the Infantry School. I now had 12 sets of starched fatigues ready for Fort Benning.

As I was leaving, the company executive officer told me that Fort Benning was going to eat me alive. My response to him was that I was looking forward to it. More on this later.

Now my wife gets to tell her part of the story.

The wedding invitations were out. Graduation would be in about three weeks. We were waiting for orders. Normal, right? Until the phone call. I was visiting his parents when he called. RECYCLED. Not so bad, back to week 16, right? However, Armor OCS was closing and there would be no sixteenth week. He had opted to go to Fort Benning for Infantry OCS and start at week 1. Like I say, I was visiting his parents. He did not tell his parents. Sooo uncomfortable, when his dad kept talking about ---well, it was uncomfortable.

Over the next few days, there were many phone calls and tears. “They don’t know when I have to be at Fort Benning.”  “They don’t know if I can get leave.”  “I can get leave as long as I am still here.” “They still don’t know when I go to Fort Benning.”

He did get leave. We did get married.  We did have nine days before he left for Fort Benning. I followed the next month after getting a transfer from Ohio Bell, Columbus, Ohio to Southern Bell, Columbus, Georgia.  They gave him two hours off post to find me a place to live.

I packed all of our belongings—wedding gifts basically—in my Chevy Nova with a car top carrier. On the way, I had car trouble and had to spend the night and all of my money. The motel was in a wooded area of the mountains. The sliding glass doors were covered with only sheers. There was a terrible storm and with the sheer curtains, it felt like the lightening was in the room with me, flashing so brightly I had to cover my eyes. The rain and hail hit the sliding glass door so hard I feared the glass would break. All I could see outside was woods. It seemed as if there was no one else in those mountains.

I arrived Friday evening at the 8’ X 30’ mobile home with tea bags, oranges, and no cash. I phoned Dick from the park manager’s phone. He was leaving to go out to the field. He would leave a check in the day room, but I would not see him for three days. He left a check for $100.00 (I only wanted $10 or $20). No one would cash it—that was a lot of money in 1968. After living on oranges and tea for two days, I went back to the grocery store Sunday night. The manager took pity and said he would cash it if I spent at least 10 percent of it there. No problem! I had nothing.

The first thing I noticed about my trailer was that it smelled like mice. I heard so much noise at night that I started thinking it could not be mice. Then, I saw it—a rat dropped out of the cabinet to the floor. Yikes. I waited on my landlord to return from his job at a pest control facility.   I said, “There is a rat in my trailer.” He said, “Sometimes women mistake mice for rats.”  I said, “I know what a mouse and a rat look like.”  He said, “Sometimes squirrels get in.”  I said, “This was a rat.” He went into the trailer and went under things with a broom and said, “There is no rat in there now, plug up under the sink. That’s where they are getting in.” I put cement blocks over a small opening. I worked a 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. shift that day. While I sat quietly writing letters at midnight, the rat came out from under the couch and ran under the furnace. I moved. This time, I had an 8’ x 50’ mobile home.

After getting married as noted by my wife’s part of the story and a short honeymoon, I reported to Fort Benning and became a member of the 55th Company OCS Class 511-68. 

On August 15, 1968 I finally completed OCS and was commissioned an infantry second lieutenant. I received my orders and was assigned to the 24th Infantry Division at Ft Riley, Kansas. I was also scheduled to attend Maintenance Officer’s Training at Fort Knox for eight weeks prior to reporting to Fort Riley.

After six months at Fort Benning, I was once again reporting to Fort Knox for training. My greatest pleasure was, while reporting into the Training Brigade Headquarters, I ran into my old OCS company executive officer who had told me that Fort Benning would eat me alive. I was able to tell him that Fort Benning found me hard to digest. Additionally, I attended the class with two of my old classmates from Armor OCS. 

Finally, after 18 months of training (Basic Training, Advanced Infantry Training, Armor OCS, Infantry OCS, and Maintenance Office Training) I finally arrived at a TO&E unit and became a part of the functioning Army where I would serve for a total of 30 years--seven years on active duty and 23 years in the Army Reserve.

I served in Vietnam with the 4th Infantry Division from May 1969 to May 1970.

Richard Hoffman is a retired lieutenant colonel. He is also retired from the U.S. Postal Service with 28 years of service, the last 10 years with the Engineering Office of the Columbus, Ohio Processing and Distribution Center. Richard and his wife, Linda, have been married for 50 years.

Richard and Linda at Fort Benning this year, 50 years and one month since Richard first arrived at Fort Benning in 1968.

Division History: 4th Infantry Division

In an army rich in history, some formations stand out more than others. The 4th Infantry Division, the Ivy Division, is one such division. Activated for service in France in World War I, its combat history includes service across the forests of northwest Europe, the jungles of southeast Asia, and the deserts of Iraq. Spanning generations of service, it is one of the few divisions almost continuously active since World War II and has contributed to the Army’s mission during peace and conflict.

Organized as a square division of two infantry brigades and one field artillery brigade, the 4th Infantry Division activated its first elements December 3, 1917 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Divisional units were initially located across the country with units at the Presidio of Monterey, Vancouver Barracks, and elsewhere. The unit assembled at Camp Mills, New York for overseas movement and arrived in Europe in May 1918. For the 58th Infantry Regiment, the passage to France was particularly eventful as its ship, the SS Moldavia, suffered a submarine attack resulting in the loss of 58 Soldiers. While in France, the division participated in the Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne, Champagne, and Lorraine campaigns. Like the rest of the Army’s Regular Army divisions, the 4th Infantry Division inactivated upon its return to the United States.

The Army’s 1940 pre-war mobilization saw the 4th Infantry Division return to active service. Activated at Fort Benning, Georgia on June 1, 1940, the division began the slow process of building for combat service. Serving in Europe, the division assaulted Utah Beach on June 4, 1944, fought in the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest, and participated in the Battle of the Bulge. The division experienced the challenges of hedgerow fighting in Normandy, but the contest in the Hurtgen was particularly brutal owing to the combination of terrain, weather, and exceptional German preparations for defense. A very good book capturing both details of this battle and the critical role of cohesion as an element of combat power is Robert Rush’s Hell in Hurtgen Forest: The Ordeal and Triumph of an American Infantry Regiment. Rush’s work focuses on the 22nd Infantry Regiment. The brutality of this fight is tragically shown by the casualty rate. The 22nd suffered over 850 battle casualties in the first five days of fighting. By war’s end, the division as a whole suffered almost 4,100 killed in action and an additional 17,371 wounded. Five division Soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor, including Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. and then Staff Sgt. Macario Garcia. Garcia remained in the U.S. Army Reserve following war’s end and achieved the rank of sergeant major.

Following the division’s return to the United States, it was briefly inactivated then returned to service at Fort Ord in 1947. The division returned to Europe for the third time in May 1951. The return of large numbers of troops to the continent was a consequence of the Korean War and concerns that the Soviet Union might move against western interests in central Europe. The division’s role was a dual purpose one--demonstrating American resolve and concurrently training with its European allies. The division remained in Germany through 1956 when, as part of Operation GYROSCOPE, it conducted a relief in place with the newly arriving 3rd Armored Division. For the 4th Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Washington would be its new home.

The division’s next challenge took it again to foreign shores: the Republic of Vietnam. Arriving in country as part of the larger 1966 American build up, the division headquarters established itself near Pleiku. The division’s deployment to Vietnam was not without its challenges as its 3rd Brigade was diverted farther south and placed under the 25th Infantry Division. The 4th Infantry Division assumed control of the 25th’s 3rd Brigade. During its Vietnam service the division’s units accrued 11 campaign streamers and individual battalions received additional recognition. 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry and the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry received two presidential unit citations. The 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry and the 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry received both a presidential unit citation and valorous unit award. The three battalions of the 12th Infantry were awarded two presidential unit citations and three valorous unit awards. Battalions of the 35th Infantry added a presidential unit citation, a valorous unit award, and a meritorious unit citation to the division’s impressive list of honors. The 3rd Battalion, 39th Infantry received two valorous unit awards. 

The division’s return home brought it to a new duty station: Fort Carson, Colorado. Fort Carson served as the division’s home as it adapted to a post-Vietnam Army focused on training. Frequent rotations to the National Training Center as well as participation in Return of Forces to Germany exercises characterized this period of the division’s history. The 4th Infantry Division moved to Fort Hood to replace the inactivated 2nd Armored Division; however, it returned later to Fort Carson. The division played a critical role in Army transformation as it served as the test bed for a variety of experiments with battlefield digitalization and then became the first fully digitized division.

The events of 9-11 heavily impacted the division. Migrating to the brigade combat team model, the division ceased being a mechanized infantry division as its structure changed reducing the number of armored and mechanized battalions assigned. Since the start of the Global War on Terror, the division has deployed extensively to both Iraq and Afghanistan. Its best-known achievement of the Iraq War was its successful capture of high value target number 1, Saddam Hussein, on December 13, 2003. Its service in Afghanistan resulted in three Ivy Soldiers, OCS graduate retired Capt. Florent Groberg, Staff Sgt. Ty Carter and Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha, receiving the Medal of Honor. This is the highest number of recipients of any division.

Created over 100 years ago to meet the demands of World War I, hardened by some of the fiercest combat of World War II, mastering the challenges of combat in Vietnam’s western highlands, demonstrating tactical skill in southwest Asia, and now in its 71st year of continuous active service, the Ivy Division and its Soldiers truly represent a unique formation within our Army. Once again home stationed at Fort Carson, the division remains ready to serve the joint force commander with expeditionary forces able to fight and win in a complex environment.  That should be a surprise to no one as that is, in essence, what its mission has been since its initial activation.


Paul Cook is a retired colonel and doctoral student in military history at Temple University.

Editor’s Note: Do you have a story to tell? The intent of this article is to tie in with an article from an OCS graduate writing about his or her experiences in a division. Tell us about your time serving with a division, peace or wartime. Send your articles to info@ocsalumni.org with Newsletter in the subject line.  

Memorial Walk Update

Frank L. Harman III

We continue to have great success with the Memorial Walk. So much so, we are having to adjust and move some bricks, pavers, plates, and blocks so we can make it all fit. I want to avoid new digging until we have to. I have about 38 linear feet of monuments to emplace. That includes four full-up class monuments that include a 24x24 dedication block; between 10 and 12 12x12 class and cadre name plates and KIA bricks; and supporting bricks and pavers. Our problem, which is not a bad problem, is 24x24 dedication blocks are very popular and brick and paver sales have not kept pace. The 24 x 24 blocks take up a lot of space so we have to cascade bricks and pavers to make room for the new monuments and dedication blocks.

Our next emplacement starts approximately July 23 and will take four to five days. I will be on site supervising and will have some candidate support from the battalion and two contract bricklayers. After completion, I assume we will be at capacity for 24x24 blocks and will have space for about 100 pavers or 200 bricks or a combination of both. We have a plan for expansion, but sales of dedication blocks will drive our next steps.

While space is limited, you still have an opportunity to purchase a brick or paver to memorialize your graduation from OCS and subsequent service in the U.S. Army. Do it today for yourself of a battle buddy. You will be glad you did.

Dedication Blocks

ERA                        

Donor

Status

75th Anniversary

USAOCSAA

Emplaced

George Marshall

USAOCSAA

Emplaced

WWII Pacific

Partners in Nature

Emplaced

WWII North Africa/Europe

Evans

Emplaced

Korea

Boyer

Emplaced

Cold War

Cannon Sculpture

Emplaced

Vietnam

OC Class 509-68

Emplaced

VOLAR

Harman

Emplaced

GWOT

Davis

Emplaced

Distinguished Graduates

HQ Nissan

Emplaced

 

 

 

OCS HOF

Donor

Status

1958-1971 Gray

Caton

Emplaced

2001-2017-Gray

Harman

Emplaced

1992- 2001-Black

Evans

Emplaced

1972-1991-Black                        

Ionoff

Emplaced

HOF Monument- Black

USAOCSAA

Emplaced

2018 HOF- Black

USAOCSAA

Emplaced

 

 

 

Unit 

Donor

Status

1st Infantry Division

Harman

Emplaced

2nd Infantry Division

USAOCSAA 

Emplaced

3rd Infantry Division

Kessler

Emplaced

4th Infantry Division

AUSA

Emplaced

9th Infantry Division

Evans

Emplaced

25th Infantry Division

Rogan

Emplaced

23rd Infantry Division (AMERICAL)

Class 19-69

Emplaced

1st Cavalry Division

Wright

Emplaced 

1st Armored Division

Jung

Emplaced

2nd Armored Division

Leifel

Emplaced

3rd Armored Division

Leifel

Emplaced

10th Mountain Division

FBC-MOAA

Emplaced

82nd Airborne Division

Caton

Emplaced

101st Airborne Division

Kinzer

Emplaced

28th Infantry Division

USAOCSAA

Emplaced

29th Infantry Division

USAOCSAA

Emplaced

34th Infantry Division

USAOCSAA

Emplaced

35th Infantry Division

USAOCSAA

Emplaced

36th Infantry Division

USAOCSAA

Emplaced

38th Infantry Division

USAOCSAA

Emplaced

40th Infantry Division

USAOCSAA

Emplaced

42nd Infantry Division

USAOCSAA

Emplaced

2nd Infantry Regiment

Smith

Emplaced

11th Infantry Regiment

Jones

Emplaced

16th Infantry Regiment

Harman

Emplaced

29th Infantry Regiment

Harman

Emplaced

47th Infantry Regiment

Ionoff

Emplaced

187th Infantry Regiment- Gray

Webb

Emplaced

75th Ranger Regiment

Thompson

Emplaced

2nd Cavalry Regiment

Burroughs

Emplaced

11th Armored Cavalry Regiment

Lockheed

Emplaced

14th Cavalry Regiment

Sharp

Staged

3rd Cavalry Regiment

Peters

Emplaced

173rd Airborne Brigade-Gray

Stovall

Emplaced

5th FA Regiment

Harman

Emplaced

34th AR Regiment-Gray

Harman

Emplaced

1st Engineers

Harman

Emplaced

1st Aviation Brigade

Evans

Emplaced

Signal Corps

Rosenstein

Emplaced

Special Forces

Wright

Emplaced

MACV

Class 6-65

Emplaced

 

 

 

Memorials

Donor

Status

Harris Memorial 

Bowles

Emplaced

Caton Memorial

Caton

Emplaced

Operation Attleboro

Jancso

Emplaced

Judge Patterson/Patterson Award

USAOCSAA

Emplaced

Fort Knox OCS

Leifel 

Emplaced

All OCS History

Leifel/Harman

Emplaced

Vietnamese OCS 

Suarez

Emplaced

2017 NETT Award

USAOCSAA

Emplaced

2018 NETT Award

USAOCSAA

Emplaced

2018 Patterson Award

USAOCSAA

Emplaced

PM Appreciation

USAOCSAA

Emplaced

OCS Class 19-69-Black

Baker

Emplaced

OCS Class 46-67-Gray

Fox

Emplaced

OCS Class 6-65-Gray

Kearns

Emplaced

OCS Class 47-67-Gray

Kolman

Emplaced

OCS Class 36-67-Gray

Cooper

Emplaced

OCS Class 68-67-Black

Robinson

Emplaced

OCS Class 4A-63- Black 

Bryce

Emplaced

OCS Class 518-68- Black x 2

Lutdz

Emplaced

OCS Class 6-67-Black

Chester

Ordered

OCS Class 13-70-Gray

Fedak

Ordered

OCS Class 36-67-Black

Guyette

Staged

OCS Class 9-56-Black

Jones

Staged

OCS Class 9-70-Gray

Perry 

Staged

OCS Class 5-66-Gray

Wright

Staged 

OCS Class 333- 44 Black

Prell

Staged

OCS Class 1-67-Black

Bannon

Working

OCS Class 13-67-Gray

Duckworth

Working

OCS Class 24- 69 Gray x 2 & Black x1

Davis

Emplaced

 

 


OCS Heritage Center

Frank L. Harman III

Fellow OCS graduates,

Have you ever been to the Plain at West Point? You see statues of Grant and Lee, Black Jack Pershing, MacArthur, Eisenhower, and Patton—all icons of our county’s military greatness and rightfully so. At Fort Benning in the OCS area, what did we have? This is the question I asked two years ago. Since then your OCS Alumni Association Board of Directors has aimed to establish the legacy of OCS and its graduates for future generations. 

Our first effort was the Memorial Walk where we honor our graduates, all of whom have demonstrated competence, courage, and sacrifice. We honor our fellow graduates who earned the Medal of Honor. We honor past graduating classes. We honor the units we served in. We honor our battle buddies. 

Our second effort was the recognition of the distinguished members of the OCS Hall of Fame in a ceremony last spring at the National Infantry Museum. We recognized 42 members of the OCS Hall of Fame who attained national and/or international recognition for distinguished military service, public service, business leadership, education leadership, or philanthropy.

Now we are starting our third effort—developing Wigle Hall into the OCS Heritage Center. The OCS Heritage Center will be a first-class exhibition space that will preserve OCS history, honor OCS graduates past and present, and educate candidates and visitors about the decades-long contribution of OCS to the defense of our nation. 

The OCS Heritage Center project will be completed in six phases:

  • Phase I- OCS Hall of Fame includes an area to display the current Hall of Fame class and the design, development, and installation of an interactive media exhibit kiosk that will feature an attract screen, menu screen, and secondary screens for each selection. The following five search buttons will be available. 
    • OCS Hall of Fame 
    • Medal of Honor
    • Patterson Award, Nett Award, and Distinguished Members 
    • About OCS. This button will feature OCS history, OCS today (written by the current commandant), list of past OCS commandants, and possibly OCS traditions.
    • OCSAA Member Profiles. Every graduate will be able to provide his or her personal story. 
  • Phase II- History of OCS, WWII, Korea, Vietnam
  • Phase III- History of OCS, Cold War, Panama, Desert Storm, Somalia, Balkans, Global War on Terrorism (OIF, OEF)
  • Phase - OCS Today
  • Phase V- Fallen Hero Tribute
  • Phase VI- OCS Alumni Association Room

Every graduate will be able to have three pictures as well as his or her career highlights and biography or a story about OCS included in a kiosk that will be searchable by all visitors. 

We will need your support. When you are contacted, please consider donating. This is your history!

What will you do to preserve your legacy?  

OCS Heritage Center floor plan

Frank Harman serves as the Vice President for Administration of the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School Alumni Association. He is a retired colonel and the project manager for the Memorial Walk and the OCS Heritage Center. He can be contacted at email frank.harman@harmangrp.com.

July 1: OCS Anniversary

July 1 was the 77th anniversary of the Officer Candidate School program.

Maj. Gen. Gary Brito, commander of the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, left, and Lt. Col. Matthew Chitty, commander 3-11 Infantry (OCS), right cut the birthday cake with the youngest candidate and oldest graduate, OCS Alumni Association President John Ionoff, in attendance at Fort Benning.

Retired Col. Bob Bent (Fort Sill 4-61) and 2nd Lt. Mike Friel (Fort Benning 5-16) exchange salutes at the Washington, D.C. area chapter.

Retired Capt. Joseph Zmugg and Capt. Nate Hoekje celebrate the OCS anniversary in Colorado Springs. 

From left to right, OCS alumni Mike Harris, Allen Tidwell, Cliff Fields, Ralph Larson, Don Northcutt, Orie Illi, and John O’Shea place a wreath at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia.

Chapter Formation

Interested in establishing an OCS Alumni Association chapter in your area?

Association chapters are established to coordinate and promote activities and camaraderie at the local level. The chapters encourage fellowship and goodwill among the OCS graduate community and promote the purposes of the Association.

The Association has an SOP that describes the process for establishing and operating a chapter. To establish a chapter, a minimum of 10 founding members are required. The requirements for operating a chapter are submission of an annual report on the activities of the chapter and reporting any change in its leadership.

If any member is interested in establishing a chapter or would like to receive a copy of the SOP, please contact Chris Bresko at panther06247@gmail.com.

Did You Know?

Do you remember your OCS class number? Do you know how the number is derived?

While the number generally connotes the class number per year, during the Vietnam era there were so many classes that the normal class numbering system had to be modified. If you had a #5 before your class number, that signified it was a TRAP class or Training Required After Programming. This means it was added to the schedule after the Program Objective Memorandum (POM) process. All scheduling occurs for a fiscal year three years in advance so it can be placed in the Department of Defense budget which is communicated to Congress in the POM. The scheduled classes had numbers such as OCS Class 001-68, 002-68, 003-68. When requirements exceeded the schedule, then additional classes in the year of execution had to be programed as a TRAP class. Not only was additional funding and personnel required to execute these additional classes, there also had to be a way to distinguish them from the POM-scheduled classes, thus a number 5 was added to the beginning of the class number, e.g., 501-68, 502-68, 503-68.

If a class was labeled 518-68 that means there were at least 18 TRAP classes that year. However, nothing is simple in a bureaucracy. Sometimes a class would get canceled; however, the numbers did not change for subsequent classes, so a number could be skipped.

Just thought you would want to know!

Member News

  • Make sure you keep your contact information up to date! We sometimes get out-of-   office automatic replies that don’t provide a forwarding email. Members can log into their account and update their information at the website.
  • The Association is accepting digitized yearbooks that will be placed on the website – (Membership Area - OCS Yearbooks). This project is the beginning of an ongoing preservation of historic documents from OCS. If you are interested in having your class yearbook placed on the website, please contact Dr. Patrick Smith at patocsaa@gmail.com or telephone him at 951-712-3240 for further information on how to participate. This will also help your fellow classmates who may not have purchased a yearbook or lost it since graduation.