LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Marine Corps Officer Selection Team Cincinnati conducted a pool function at the University of Dayton, Oct. 25, to help prepare applicants for the challenges of Officer Candidate School.
Marine Corps officer recruiters conduct monthly pool functions to mentor and familiarize qualified applicants with skills they will need to know in order to be successful, not only during OCS, but throughout their military career.
“The focus is on different physical and mental challenges that the officer candidates will be required to accomplish while at OCS,” said 1st Lt. Christina Peters. “We start out with some type of physical fitness event and transition to a classroom environment where candidates are taught how to accomplish different tasks such as land navigation, military tactics and Marine Corps history.”
The pool function consisted of a 45-minute physical training session where the group completed a run around campus, low-crawled up hills and through volleyball court sandpits. The function transitioned into a class about land navigation led by a recently graduated Officer Candidate.
“Nearly all pool functions are led by senior officer candidates,” Peters said. “These candidates are what we call ‘fully trained,’ which means they have successfully completed OCS. These candidates are aspiring Marine officers and should be given every opportunity to develop their leadership skills.”
Pool functions focus on the 11 leadership principles adopted to guide the actions of every Marine, officer or enlisted. Marine officers use them to identify strengths and weaknesses as they seek self-improvement as leaders.
“Pool functions are an excellent way to allow officer candidates an opportunity to lead their peers and to take charge of a situation,” Peters said. “They are tasked with writing a letter of instruction, conducting the physical training and then teaching the junior candidates the OCS material.”
The pool function was led by candidate Thomas Weston, from Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Weston graduated OCS in August and is currently waiting commission. In the meantime, he is studying Business Management at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
“I try to give the group the tools to solve problems without giving them the answers,” said Weston. “It teaches them to think because that is what is going to help them be successful. These pool functions also really help to build camaraderie and establish unity. It builds the groups to become strong and shows that it’s not all about one person.”
Through peer mentorship and training, candidates are afforded the opportunity to develop as professional leaders and build camaraderie among those they will more than likely work with in the Marine Corps.
“They have done a fantastic job so far,” Peters said. “I am confident that they will not only be a great addition to the Corps, but also exceptional leaders of Marines.”