Marines celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Officer Candidate School on Brown Field during a graduation ceremony at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. Nov. 24, 2015.
OCS has a long and illustrious history of forging Marine officers to command and lead. The mission of OCS is to educate and train officer candidates in Marine Corps knowledge and skills within a controlled, challenging and chaotic environment.
“We as Marines are very proud of our rich legacy from Tun Tavern through the sands of Iwo Jima all the way to Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Capt. Nate Edkins, a platoon commander with OCS. “That’s one thing we pride ourselves on, the legacy and tradition from handing the Eagle, Globe and Anchors at San Diego, Parris Island all the way over here at Quantico.”
Before World War I, Marine officers either came from the Naval Academy or from the enlisted ranks. In 1891, Marine Corps General Order Number 1 established the predecessor to OCS, which was the School of Application at Marine Barracks Washington.
OCS has shifted throughout history from one place to the next, finally finding its permanent home on Brown Field at Marine Corps Base Quantico.
Brown Field was once an airfield developed to accommodate aircraft after World War I. It was later named after 2nd Lt. Walter V. Brown, the first pilot fatality from Marine Corps Air Facility Quantico.
“I think its important to celebrate the 75th anniversary here at Brown’s Field because for 75 years they have been responsible to ensure that the young men and women that we commission are the best,” said Brig. Gen. Terry V. Williams, commanding general of Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and Eastern Recruiting Region.
Class OCC-220 is the 220th and most recent to overcome the straining physical and mental obstacles of the 10-weeklong school and earn the Eagle, Globe and Anchor along with the title of United States Marine.
“The one thing I took away from OCS was the discipline,”said 2nd Lt. Seth Comer, a graduate of Class OCC-220. “It was really interesting to see the transformation that we all received in the past 10 weeks to become Marine Corps officers.”
Following the graduation ceremony, the class was commissioned as second lieutenants at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.
“Those second lieutenants are responsible for leading and taking care of, training and mentoring those young Marines that we make at Parris Island,” said Williams. “The success of that young leader will ultimately come from OCS.”
The first ever graduating class, OCC-1, of 230 candidates collectively earned seven Navy Crosses, oneNavy Distinguished Service Medal, 18 Silver Stars, 11 Legion of Merits, four Distinguished Flying Crosses and six Bronze Stars over their respective careers.
“When you think of Marines you think of honor, courage and commitment and here at OCS it’s instilled in us, it becomes part of your lifestyle and as we leave OCS we embody what the Marine Corps is and we are the beginning of the next generation of leaders,” said Comer.
The staff of OCS’s overall goal is to provide the Fleet Marine Force with the highest quality Marines that more than meet the standards.
“They will soon take on a lot of responsibility, having Marines under them that they are responsible for, so being a leader is one thing but understanding and caring for their Marines is probably the most important thing they’re about to undertake,” said Edkins.
Marine officers are the embodiment of the Corps and the school’s motto, Ductus Exemplo, which means ‘lead by example,’ said Edkins.
“There have been 75 years of second lieutenants that have come before us and we’re just continuing a tradition and legacy that’s going to stand long beyond us,” said Comer.