Posted on Jul 9, 2019
SPC Todd Bozeman
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When asking for letters from Officers, what should I have ready or what would they want to see? PT test, Transcripts, etc?
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LTC Mark Overberg
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I’ve written several letters of recommendation. Each was accepted and later graduated from OCS. Two became colonels. I did not want anything from those who asked for my recommendation. I wrote about them based on my observations of their military skills, leadership potential, dedication, demonstrated teamwork, intelligence, and care for other Soldiers.
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CPT Lawrence Cable
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I've always thought it had more effect if they come from people that knew you and had worked/served with you. So a recommendation from you BN Co, who has all those records, means more than those that haven't served with you. So the guys I would ask is the BN Co, Company Commander, The First Sergeant, and the BN SMG.
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LTC Operations Research/Systems Analysis
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Edited 5 y ago
I was the senior officer, and therefore president, of an OCS selection board. It consisted of just 3 officers, Captains and Majors, in a room for 3 days and we each had the full packets for all personnel applying to go to OCS for that cycle. We rated each packet from 1 to 6 and could further modify the rating with a + or -.

Before beginning, we were given a briefing by the OCS selection office of what the packets consisted of and potential ways to evaluate the candidates. Beyond that point, it was up to each member of the board to determine their own approach to rate the packets. Board members were not allowed to discuss individual packets with each other. We did not previously know each other or any of the packets that we rated.

Once all of the packets were rated, which took 3 days, we were told that if there were any discrepancies in the ratings by more than 3 points for an individual between any board members, the board would reconvene to come to a consensus on those specific individuals. However, this did not happen on my board.

We were not told how many slots were available, and it has been quite some time, but it seems to me that there were somewhere between 100-200 packets. Once the ratings were submitted, that was the end of it for us. I presume (speculation) that candidates were racked and stacked in order of merit based on the average rating from the board, and then the OCS slots available were probably filled in that order.

I say all of this to explain to you that it is up to the individual board member to determine what criteria they will judge your packet by. I tried to be as consistent as possible from one packet to the next. So, I looked at the same things in each packet. It's hard to have a consistent approach to subjective letters of recommendation. I looked more carefully at the rest of the packet first for proven track records and had a good idea of my rating before reviewing the letters of recommendation. Things like academic performance, extra curriculars, assignment history, etc...

With specific regard to the letters of recommendation, I did not think particularly highly of those who had letters of recommendation from high-ranking (COLs & Generals sometimes) friends of parents/family that were writing on behalf of someone they had not worked directly with. It's not that I held it against them. It's just that I cared about directly observed performance of the individual than the love of family friends. Also, everyone has friends and letters with flowery language just didn't stand out from any other packet. The most valuable letters came from superiors, unlikely to be swayed by peer pressure, who wrote about actual performance, work ethic, morals, and potential. All the better if this came from a PSG, 1SG, Commander, CSM, or Bn Commander that knew the individual directly. These kinds of leaders speak to me as coming from someone with experience, who can really differentiate between performers and non-performers and who understand both officership and those qualities in said individual. Perhaps one or two from supervisors in different commands, and a 3rd letter from a teacher, or a volunteer organization would be a nice way to round out a packet. Recommendations of this type that stood out might have been enough to overcome what would otherwise be a weaker packet and earn a slightly higher rating, but it would not make a night-and-day difference. Maybe it would make a 1 point difference. But again, that was just my approach. Hope this helps & Good luck!
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SGT Infantryman
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If it only took 3 days, they why does the RC OCS board results come out 8-12 months after submission?
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