My Summer Experience: Zeke Gonzalez
Platoon Leader’s Class for the USMC
Senior, International Studies – American Foreign Policy
This summer I attended and completed my first session of training at Marine Corps Officer Candidates School (OCS) in Quantico, Virginia.
After preparing and applying, I was accepted into the Platoon Leaders Class (PLC) in early April with orders to report to OCS May 27. What PLC is, is a pathway toward earning a commission in the U.S. Marine Corps while still attending school and working toward your bachelor's degree. There's no obligation to return, should you make it through that first session, but many do.
At OCS, every day was a constant challenge. The course is designed to break you down from the civilian mold you've fit your whole life and rebuild you so that you think of yourself as part of a team at the basic fire team and platoon levels at all times.
At the same time, however, you have to be a leader and not always a passive follower. The idea is to train, screen, and evaluate officer candidates to ensure that they possess the mental, moral, and physical qualities for commissioning as company grade officers in the operating forces of the Marine Corps.
To accomplish that, the training regimen was strict with regards to time. Every day we had physical training of some kind, classes on the various material we were to be tested on, drill to work as a unit, weapons maintenance to ensure a clean rifle, and general upkeep of the squad bays. Through all of that the sergeant instructors as well as our peers constantly evaluated us.
I'm proud to say that I graduated from training most never dare to attempt, and proud to say that I look forward to returning to OCS next summer to complete my initial training to be a Marine Corps officer.