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Old 07-13-2008, 10:16 AM   #1
Darren Zega
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A Crossfitter's Guide to Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC) II

All,

After finishing my first week at the Army's BOLC II course I decided that it would be great to post a detailed journal of my experiences on the forums here. I know there are a lot of junior officers, cadets, OCS candidates and Army enlisted men considering the officer corps on this forum that could benefit from a detailed description of what the course entails. Time permitting, I plan on posting my experiences, helpful hints, and links to resources for the Ft. Benning BOLC II program at least weekly (but we'll see if that keeps up once the pace of training picks up). Those attending Ft. Sill's course, your experiences will not be identical but you can still benefit from this journal as a general resource.

A little about myself: I am 2LT Darren Zega, a USAR engineer officer. I received my commission from Virginia Tech ROTC and am attending Ft. Benning's BOLC II program. I'm recently married. My wife is an accountant and lives in Northern VA with her parents right now. Sometime during BOLC II or III we plan on buying a house as near to McLean VA, where we both work, as we can afford.


Now on to the good stuff.
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Old 07-13-2008, 11:43 AM   #2
Darren Zega
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Re: A Crossfitter's Guide to Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC) II

Weeks -6 through 0: PT and study Prep

Start physically and mentally preparing for the course now.


The PT method implemented by Charlie company, 1/11th IN REGT, BOLC II is MODIFIED CROSSFIT. The workouts you do bear striking resemblance to the "grinder" wods in old journals, and the BN CO during his intro brief suggests "a core strength conditioning program, like CrossFit" (yes, an exact quote) to best prepare for combat.

The mainsite WOD, scaled appropriately, is the best thing out there to prepare for the course.

You take a PT test the first week, day two for us. This is likely unnecessary to say on this forum, but DO NOT FAIL IT!!! You lose all pass whatsoever if you fail, get a black mark on your reputation, and risk a recycle if you can't get your score to passing within the 7 weeks. I've seen lots of very fit LT's take two months off before BOLC from PT and fail their test.


Mentally, get your hands on FM 7-8, Infantry Platoon and Squad Tactics, FM3-22.9, Rifle Marksmanship M16A1, M16A2/3, M16A4 and M4 Carbine, FM 3-25.26, Map Reading and Land Navigation, and FM 6-22, Army Leadership and brush up. "Acquire" as many FM's and TM's as you possibly can during your career. If you can get your hands on a close combat optic (CCO) and it's corresponding "-10" technical guide, all the mo-betta'

Last and most importantly: Take the week immediately before the course off from any PT or studying. Take a road trip and visit your family and friends. A friend of mine went to Iraq three days after completing BOLC III and is coming home with a purple heart. He was hit point blank by an IED and, thank god, it failed to properly detonate. I'm not trying to scare you out of a career in the Army, but know that the military can put you in dangerous places faster than you expect. Take the time to visit everyone dear to you and say goodbye. You may not see them again for a very long time."

Last edited by Lynne Pitts; 07-13-2008 at 12:25 PM.. Reason: OP request
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Old 07-13-2008, 12:02 PM   #3
Darren Zega
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Re: A Crossfitter's Guide to Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC) II

Weeks -5 through -2: DITY Moves

Now is the time to start thinking about the move to BOLC II. No one will tell you, but active and reserve component (maybe NG but I don't know for sure) lieutenants are authorized three Do-IT-Yourself (DITY) moves: from either their home of record or their commissioning source (if ROTC) to their duty station, from BOLC II to BOLC III, and from BOLC III to their follow-on duty station. The quick and dirty of a DITY move is that the military will pay you 95% of what it costs them to move your stuff. If you can move your own property for less, which you ALWAYS can) you get to pocket the difference. An amount equal to your authorized moving expenses is given as a non-taxable allowance and the rest is pay taxed at 28% so save all of your receipts.

Here are some resources (all WFS):
DITY calculator: https://pptas.ahf.nmci.navy.mil/pptacalc/index.jsp
Scale locator for weight tickets (there are more locations available, this site only lists the ones closest to AF bases): http://afmove.hq.af.mil/page_scales.asp
General DITY info: http://www.military.com/Resources/Re...ation_DITY.htm

Bring your personal vehicle (POV) to BOLC. Don't fly. You will need a car while at the course, and you pass up the opportunity to get a ton of extra pay with three DITY moves.

The best (i.e. gets you the most money) way is to do an "after-the fact" DITY with your POV. First, pick your HOR or commissioning location - whichever is farther from Benning or Sill, and that is where you moved from. For your empty weight ticket, take everything out of your car you can: removable seats, floor mats, spare tires, EVERYTHING. For your full ticket, put all of your stuff in it and ANYTHING else you can get your hands on - you are bringing it to BOLC with you - up to your maximum allowed amount of 600lbs for a 2LT.
While not authorized, and strongly discouraging this, there is a commonly known trick of going to a hardware store, buying 500lbs of concrete, going to a non-military scale for your full weight and then returning the concrete where you bought it. If you decide to do that, know that it is UCMJ punishable and don't get caught. A few hundred bucks extra isn't worth ruining your commission. It's a much safer and better idea to buy that bumper set, bar and rings you've always wanted from Rogue Fitness and take them with you - with the DITY pay, you basically get them for free.

(If Bill reads this, I want 10% of all the profits that come from new LT's...maybe?...please? Yeah, I thought not.)

Last edited by Darren Zega; 07-13-2008 at 12:09 PM..
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Old 07-13-2008, 01:05 PM   #4
Darren Zega
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Re: A Crossfitter's Guide to Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC) II

Week -1: Stuff you should bring and get now.


Paperwork and Admin:

First off, you need:

15 copies of your orders
Your 201 file from your commissioning source
Any prior service records including ROTC scholarship contracts
Your DOD medical file
Your DOD dental file.
SSN's of anybody you plan on making your next of kin or insurance recipients
Power of attorney for your wife if married.


Take all of the originals, make three copies (15 of your orders), and put the originals in a safe deposit box, or in a fire-proof safe with your family.



You don't need the following, but they're a complete pain to get a Ft. Benning:

A military ID
A DOD vehicle decal


Don't bother getting immunizations and an HIV test before you go - you're going to get them anyway, whether you like it or not.


Cash

If not already in the Army's pay system, bring $500 or more. It will be a month at least (maybe more) before you get paid. If you need cash, USAA (www.usaa.com WFS) has a 2% $25,000 loan for pre-commissioned officers that you are an idiot if you don't take out. Even if you don't spend it, get it 15 months before you commission and buy CDs that pay 5% for some free money. Don't be stupid and buy a $25K new car with it. It's going to be beat to death by sand, hail, and idiot LT's who will door ding you. Bring your college POS and drive it into the ground, then get your self a new one for a present when you finish BOLC III.


Personal property:

The BOLC II website has a nice recommended items list on which I will comment (WFS):
https://www.infantry.army.mil/BOLC/c...st_18jul06.pdf

You have a lot of freedom to buy and use personal gear if it meets the regulations. By now you should already know what flies and what doesn't, but a simple Google search will turn up guides to what is authorized.

I bought a 3 liter CamelBak "Talon" assault pack. It was strongly recommended to me. I'll let you know how that pans out come field operations.

Headlamps, as always, are a godsend during field ops. I love my Petzl Tactikka.

Bring a three ring binder with one of those hole punchers that fits inside. You will do more paperwork than you know what to do with. It's a great idea to have one of these at every briefing you go to so you can instantly file and organize the important handouts you get.

Bring transparency markers, thick iron-on laminating sheets and an iron. I was a squad leader during the first rotation and I made an accountability card that I stuck to my door with Velcro tape. It was a godsend not to have to be woken up at 0400 for someone to tell me they were going on sick call. Those flimsy, self adhesive laminating sheets aren't waterproof and it rains a lot at Benning.

You will REALLY REALLY want your own computer. Laptops are convenient, but I brought a full desktop with no problems (and it's more weight for your DITY!).

You may want a Verizon mobile broadband card and service. The internet on post costs nearly $50/month and is slow and prone to frequent outages. A friend of mine has Verizon service and loves it. He doesn't pay much more than I do either. If I could go back and re do it, I would have gone with mobile broad band. Also, AT&T has crappy reception in the Benning barracks.

During the first week, having a printer was a godsend. The barracks have a computer lab with printers, but it takes nearly a week for them to unlock it and by then the majority of the paperwork you need it for will already be done.

Your own sheets for a twin bed. While linens are provided, if you've ever slept on Army sheets you'll know why I think you should pony up the 15 bucks for a good set.

5 Sets of PT gear, 10 tan t-shirts, and 6 sets of ACUs. There is sand everywhere at Ft. Benning. You PT five days a week and your PT gear will crunch when you're done. Likewise you will sweat through an ACU shirt in about one hour in the summer heat and you'll want clean ones to change into. Also, when you start combatives, you'll want a 6th designated set of ACUs for combatives only so you don't get the rest filthy.
Common sizes of these items will all sell out immediately at the exchange on inprocessing day so bring them before hand.


If you are active duty infantry, your own place off-post. Come down a week early and move in before the rest of your class shows up and gets all of the best places. You will get Columbus GA BAH and not have to live in the Barracks. Do your homework. There are a lot of bad neighborhoods in Columbus, not getting robbed or worse is worth the extra rent.

Last edited by Darren Zega; 07-13-2008 at 01:12 PM..
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Old 05-31-2009, 05:12 AM   #5
Carl Hill
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Re: A Crossfitter's Guide to Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC) II

thanks for the info. It'll come in handy in a couple years.

On a side note, know of any good ways to incorporate crossfit into morning PT here at tech at a squad/platoon level?
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