July 14 , 2010

Officer Candidate School retains Learning Institution of Excellence title

By Capt. Matt Nowak
Virginia Army National Guard Public Affairs

FORT PICKETT, VA – The Fort Pickett-based 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute’s Officer Candidate School earned the U.S Army Training and Doctrine Command’s highest level of accreditation for a training course during a March 2010 inspection. Subject matter experts from Fort Benning’s Officer Candidate School rated the OCS as a "Learning Institution of Excellence" during their inspection conducted March 26-28.


Soldiers from the Blackstone-based 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute’s Officer Candidate School Class 53A graduated and pinned on second lieutenant bars April 17 in a ceremony held at Fort Pickett. The Virginia Guard OCS program earned "Learning Institute of Excellence" recognition after an inspection by Training and Doctrine Command. (Photo by Maj. Cotton Puryear, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

The OCS has achieved the “Learning Institution of Excellence” rating for two consecutive assessments. This is unprecedented in the history of the RTI. The previous inspection was completed October 2008.

“This rating is a direct result of the high level of support the OCS program has received and continues to receive from our higher headquarters, 183rd RTI, notably the S1 (personnel) and S4 (logistics) sections working through administrative and logistical issues and looking past their own staff sections to ensure the success of the Regiment as a whole,” said 1st Lt. Carlos Maldonado, Virginia’s OCS training officer.

The inspection is a comprehensive look at all of the accreditation standards with emphasis on conduct of training and training support. There are 18 standards under 6 categories: Doctrine, Organization and Proponent Function, Training, Leader Development, Personnel and Facilities.

The OCS received the rating by successfully meeting all criteria for all 18 standards and received an overall rating of 98%.

During the process, inspectors interviewed some of the staff and candidates. They observed training on Army Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills, as well as administration of the tactics exam. The accreditation record was conducted in accordance with the TRADOC Record of Evaluation of Accreditation Standards.

This achievement was not an easy task for the OCS. The organization had its share of obstacles to overcome. The OCS changed commanders in 2009, hired a new full time training officer in February 2010 and incurred a 100% staff turnover within a few months prior to the inspection.

“This accomplishment is even more notable in light of the OCS company change of command and reassignment of the full time OIC this year,” said Col. Marie Mahoney, commander of the 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute. “This is a testament to the strength of the Virginia OCS program, as well as to the dedication and hard work of the entire 183rd RTI team.”

Scoring is based on how well the school meets the standards set by the officer candidate school proponent at Fort Benning, Ga., which also conducts the evaluation.

TRADOC and the proponent branch develop the criteria. Approximately 30 areas can be inspected. To get the highest rating, each school must maintain excellent student/training records and fully certified instructors, while also conducting training to standard and according to the program of instruction, with the necessary equipment and facilities.

Officer candidate schools are normally evaluated once every three years and are scored as Candidate for Accreditation (0-59 percent), Conditional Accreditation (60-79 percent), Full Accreditation (80-94 percent) or Learning Institute of Excellence (95-100 percent).

The RTI has a campus full of new buildings currently under construction on Fort Pickett. As the final stages of construction are complete, the RTI with the OCS is scheduled to move into their new buildings this fall.  

“OCS is looking forward to hanging this rating proudly in our new building this fall,” said Maj. Thomas Klump, OCS commander, .

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