February 14, 2017
RIP, Lieutenant General Hal Moore
I went through college as part of an ROTC program that granted an officer commission upon completion of my degree. I received my commission as a Marine Corps Second Lieutenant in January of 1992, and I went through The Basic School the same year.
If "The Basic School" conjures images of Full Metal Jacket in you, back up the truck: That movie depicted Basic Training, which is what enlisted people go through. TBS, a.k.a. "The Bummer Summer", is officer training, designed to make you well-rounded and capable of leading in any military occupational specialty, or MOS. It is, generally speaking, a continuation and amplification of the education officer candidates got in the ROTC program, and especially the Officer Candidate School session held during the summer before our senior years. The instructors never made us do push-ups until we threw up: It wasn't that kind of training. The iconic memory, for me, was doing a nine-mile run in combat boots, and then doing mapping problems so the staff can see how well we could think while fatigued.
While not exactly cerebral, Marine Corps officer training contains a significant amount of warfighting theory at the strategic and tactical levels.
That's right: We read books.