This past April, Army and Navy Academy’s junior class and 20 sophomores were given the opportunity to advance our training by attending Officers Candidate Course/Leadership Candidate Course camp at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.  The experiences we shared at OCC/LCC were amazing. Although the days were long and full of hard work, we still had a great time getting to know each other better as friends, and ultimately, as brothers.

On the first day, we gathered in front of Davis Hall with our supplies and equipment and then loaded our gear and piled into two buses and two vans.  As soon as we arrived at Camp Pendleton, we unloaded and began our 5-mile uphill hike to our campsite for the first night. The hike was long and rigorous. As brothers, we motivated each other to keep on going, and told ourselves not to give up. When we finally arrived at our campsite a few hours later, we put down our heavy packs and rested. After a short break, we pitched our tents and went to sleep. The next day started with another but shorter hike to the buses, which were unable to reach the campsite due to the rugged terrain.

Once we all got on the buses, we headed to the Marine CCS, or, Combat Convoy Simulator. This was my favorite part of OCC. The simulator was a Humvee with a mounted turret, surrounded by a large 360-degree screen. The turret and the weapons inside the Humvee acted as laser guns for the screen. Enemy targets would appear on the screen and we would have to eliminate them.  One of my teammates was the driver, another was our communications, and the other two were scouts in the back. Being the gunner for the CCS meant that I lead our team and had to make tough decisions that could mean life or death if we were in a real combat situation.

The Marines at the CCS taught us how to use teamwork to our advantage and put it to use in our everyday lives. The leadership skills I learned from the CCS taught me that communication is the most important thing in leading. Overall, OCC taught me how to be a leader, improved my communication skills, and taught me how to make decisions that can have a positive impact on my life.

Special thanks to Cadet Ambassador Enoch Profancik ’18 for writing this guest post.