Marine Corps Officers: FAQ

This page contains frequently asked questions about Officer Candidate School, The Basic School, or any other questions regarding life as a Marine Corps officer.

Marine Corps Officers: FAQ
MAR 7, 2020: An officer candidate stands at attention during the Medal of Honor run at Officer Candidates School aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, August 15, 2019. The mission of Officer Candidates School is to educate and train officer candidates in Marine Corps knowledge and skills within a controlled and challenging environment in order to evaluate and screen individuals for the leadership, moral and physical qualities required for commissioning as a Marine Officer. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Phuchung Nguyen/Released 190815-M-EL370-121.JPG

What is the OCS address to send letters to my candidate?
Candidate Last Name, First Name, MI ___ Company, ___ Platoon Officer Candidates School
2189A Elrod Avenue Quantico, VA 22134-5033

What is the TBS address to mail letters to my TBS Marine?
Mailing Address
The Basic School (TBS)
24164 Belleau Avenue
Quantico VA 22134
Note: When sending mail to students, please specify Company and Platoon.

How do I obtain my candidate’s company and platoon?
Within the first couple of weeks of training, your candidate will provide you his/her company and platoon. Also, if your candidate gave you permission, you could ask his/her Officer Selection Officer (OSO) for that information.
Note: For Marines at TBS, you will wait for your Marine to send you the address. Do not contact the OSO for information about your Marine at TBS.

In addition to writing letters to my candidate/Marine, can I send him treats, snacks, gifts, etc.?
No. Do not send your candidate anything unless he/she specifically asks you for something.

What are some OCS/TBS resources for information?
Official USMC OCS website.
Official USMC OCS Facebook page.
Official USMC TBS website.
Official USMC TBS Facebook page.

When will I get information on OCS graduation?
Parents/families typically will receive an email about graduation as the event draws closer. That email will contain details and instructions for graduation and Family Day, and typically includes a parking pass to print out.

Is there liberty after OCS graduation?
Yes. The length of the liberty after graduation is based on your Marine’s chain of command and when they are scheduled to report to TBS. Of course, your Marine will know this information.

Who can I reach if I have any questions as it relates to my candidate?
If your candidate gave you permission, you could try contacting their Officer Selection Officer (OSO).

If my son/daughter was not commissioned during OCS graduation, any ideas on commissioning?
When your son/daughter graduates from college, where they get commissioned is up to them. They will likely speak with their OSO about the details. In terms of who can perform the commissioning oath, any officer who has not resigned their commission can administer the oath (from any branch of service, active duty, reserves, or retired). Your candidate will decide who is invited to the commissioning.

How can I get information specific to my Marine’s TBS class?
Any direct information about your Marine’s class should come from your Marine. However, not all Marines are great at passing along information to their loved ones. TBS has been creating company specific facebook groups, for each TBS class. Your Marine can get you the answers to the questions TBS will ask when you request to join the group. (Note: MarineParents cannot see those Facebook groups, since of course we don’t have a Marine in those classes.)

What qualities are important for my candidate to have if he/she wants to become a Marine Corps officer?
In its officers, the Marine Corps is looking for exemplary character, physical/mental toughness, offensive mindset, aggressiveness in execution, sound and timely decision making, communication skills, and strong leadership.

How will my candidate be evaluated while at OCS?
At OCS, candidates' evaluations are split into about 50% leadership, 25% physical fitness, and 25% academic performance.

Is there anything my candidate needs to bring with him/her to OCS?
Yes. Below is a list of required gear your candidate will need to bring when he/she reports.

  • 2 collared shirts (1 worn)
  • 2 undershirts (1 worn)
  • 2 pairs of slacks, pressed, with belt (1 worn)
  • 1 pair of dress shoes (clean, worn)
  • 5 pairs of underwear
  • 5 sports bras (females)
  • 2 pairs of serviceable running shoes, preferably purchased within 3 months
  • 1 rugged, water-resistant watch
  • Cash or credit/debit for initial issues in the amount specified on the 60-day letter.

What events will take place on Family Day?
Family Day begins with the Commanders' Motivational Run, which is a two-mile formation run that everyone participates in. Following the run will be Family Day Orientation. The orientation is an informal, hour-long presentation led by the OCS Protocol Officer, and provides an overview of officer candidate training and an opportunity to meet the staff and Commanding Officer of OCS. After the orientation candidates are granted liberty and can spend time with their families. There is a list of specific dates and times for family day on the official Marine Corps OCS Facebook page.

What should I wear to Family Day?
Guests normally dress casually for Family Day.

What are some gift ideas?
Here are some gift ideas for OCS or TBS graduates. Ka-Bar knife. Officer Mameluke sword (note that the sword for officers differs from the sword for enlisted). Silver Dollar coin (associated with the First Salute). Challenge coins. On the practical side, financial assistance with purchasing officer uniforms. The MarineParents EGA shop offers a variety of cool gear and gifts, including the Ka-Bar knife and Officer Mameluke sword. Purchases from the EGA shop support MarineParents programs. Link to MarineParents EGA shop:

What are my son/daughter's options to become a Marine Corps officer?
There are a few different options to becoming a Marine Corps officer. You can read more about those options on this page of our website.

Upon completion of TBS, when do they start their Officer MOS school?
Your Marine will receive instructions on reporting to their MOS school. There is no one size fits all answer on the timing of when a Marine starts MOS school after completion of TBS. It is dependent on the chosen MOS, the timing of completion of TBS, and the beginning of that next scheduled MOS class. Here is the link to information on the various Officer MOS’s:

Any advice from MarineParents on parents and families new to the Marine Corps?
Yes. It is natural to be worried and impatient as a parent that is new the MarineCorps and military experience. Advice from MarineParents, especially for those of us who have had their son/daughter serve for many years.

  • Semper Gumby: Stay flexible and patient. The Marine Corps goes on their own time. As parents we want information and answers sooner rather than later. We have to adjust to them, not the other way around.
  • No news is good news: If things are quiet and we don’t see a lot of pictures or activity, it is OK. They are heads down working.
  • Helicopter parenting: As parents, we want to help and sometimes do things for our candidate. Unless they ask, let them figure it out. We need to remember they are training to be leaders, to lead Marines, potentially in a combat situation.
  • Stay positive: Write often, positive, encouraging letters!

Written by David Ogden, Sgt. USMC '11-'16.

David Ogden, USMC

David was a Sergeant with the United States Marine Corps from 2011-2016. He is a combat veteran. He has worked at Marine Parents as a writer since he left the Marine Corps. He is currently in college and writes for the organization full-time. Click here to read more about the author.


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