MOAA learns about the army’s Officer Candidate School

Colonel (Retired) Bill Nagy, President of Catalina Mountains Satellite (Tucson) Chapter of MOAA presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Colonel O’Connor for his presentation.

The Catalina Mountains Satellite Chapter met April 20, 2019, at MountainView Mesquite Grill in SaddleBrooke.

Our April guest speaker was Army Colonel (Retired) Joseph O’Connor, who talked about how his military career was directly affected by his attendance at Officer Candidate School (OCS). Colonel O’Connor was drafted in 1966 and attended Basic Training at Fort Benning, GA. He was given the opportunity to apply for OCS, was accepted and graduated in January 1967. He spoke about the urgency for Officers for WWII, Korea and Vietnam. So, the Officer Candidate School was instituted to fill the shortage. The term “90 Day Wonder” was created to describe a way to balance the shortage of Officers in WWII. OCS was formed in July 1941 and graduated the first class of OCS students. Of the 800,000 officers who served in WWII, half were OCS graduates. By 1952 nearly 17,000 had graduated from OCS. After 1954 all OCS classes were closed following the Korean War. Then, Vietnam happened and in 1965 OCS was re-opened to support the Vietnam War. In 1973 branch immaterial OCS was established as the only OCS program at Fort Benning, GA. In 1976 the Women Army Corps School merged with OCS and the integrated OCS has remained active. The motto for OCS in 1941 was “Standards, no compromise.” It is the motto that remains for OCS today. Colonel O’Connor said OCS is and was one of the most demanding army schools he attended, as it was both physically and mentally challenging. He said OCS is divided into three phases. The first phase is basic army training. The second phase is focused on building leadership skills and the third phase is assuming leadership roles. He said he learned that you can’t simulate combat in a classroom. The true test of the skills learned in OCS was actually on the battlefield. Colonel O’Connor had high praise for the Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs), who were instrumental in teaching and guiding the young and inexperienced officers on the battlefield. Colonel O’Connor was inducted into the OCS Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, GA in 1992. He said the criteria for induction is either a Medal of Honor recipient, attaining the rank of Colonel or high achievements as a civilian. To conclude his talk, he read a very moving poem titled A Company of Men. His talk was very interesting and informative.

Colonel (Retired) Bill Nagy, President of Catalina Mountains Satellite (Tucson) Chapter of MOAA presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Colonel O’Connor for his presentation.

This was our last meeting before summer break. We will re-convene on October 19, 2019, at 11:30 a.m., Catalina Room of the Mesquite Grill in the MountainView Country Club complex. Please contact LTC (Retired) Andrew “Drew” Fairchild, Catalina Mountains Satellite Membership Chairman, [email protected] or Colonel (Retired) Kurt McMillen, Catalina Mountains Satellite Treasurer, [email protected] for reservations and specific information on attendance, location and parking.

Subsequent meetings will be held the third Saturday of each month, October through April, at Catalina Room of the Mesquite Grill in MountainView Country Club complex starting at 11:30 a.m. with lunch followed by a short business meeting and a speaker. Spouses are welcome and invited.

For additional MOAA information, contact Col Bill Nagy, Catalina Mountain Satellite President, [email protected] or Col Tom Owens, MOAA Tucson President, [email protected] Check our website: for information.

The Catalina Mountains satellite is part of Tucson Chapter and encompasses Northwest Tucson to include Catalina, Oracle, parts of Oro Valley and Marana, SaddleBrooke and Sun City.

The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is a nonprofit veterans’ service association dedicated to maintaining a strong national defense and to preserve the earned entitlements of members of the uniformed services and their families and survivors.