January 28, 2012
NERVOUS FOR NEWPORT?, by Ensign Greg Melville
10 Ways to Prepare for the Direct Commission Officer Indoctrination Course
So, you’re a new Navy Reserve DCO. Congratulations. You’ve probably got the uniform, and you know how to say “sir” and “ma’am” real well. Now there’s just one more thing, newbie: learning how to be a Navy officer. The two-week indoctrination course for reservists at Naval Base Newport is your starting point. The chiefs who do such a fantastic job of running the program probably wouldn’t be pleased if we give you the lowdown on exactly what DCO school entails, so at least allow us to provide some insight on how to prepare.
1. Get in good physical shape. Throughout your Navy career you’re going to need to stay physically fit. You should prepare by working out before you head to DCO school, not expect to get whipped into top condition while you’re there. You should be able to jog two to three miles, and competently do push-ups and sit-ups. This Web page contains links on training plans and PRT standards, based on age and sex (http://www.navy-prt.com/trainingplan.html).
2. Watch your weight. If you don’t meet the weight standards for your height, you’ll be measured for body fat. If you’re not within the proper limits, you’ll be sent home immediately. Check out this link for more information on weight and body composition: http://www.military.com/military-fitness/navy-fitness-requirements/navy-body-composition-assessment.
3. Embrace the Navy way. Many of you have enjoyed success and stature in the professional world, and some as prior enlisted personnel. You may think it’s a little silly to find someone suddenly yelling at you to drop to the ground and do 20 pushups. But there’s reasoning behind all of the training you receive here. You joined the Navy willingly, now embrace the culture and customs. Take your time at DCO school seriously, work hard, show respect, and try to enjoy it.
4. Follow the gear list. Shortly before you go to Newport, you’ll receive a list of stuff to bring. Follow it closely. Buying a pair of shower shoes or a combination lock at the local discount store will be cheaper, and easier, than picking them up once you’ve arrived at the DCOIC. You can also see the list here: http://www.ocs.navy.mil/dcoic_uniform.asp.
5. Do some homework. Complete your required Navy Knowledge courses before you go, so you’ll have a little less to worry about once you arrive in Newport. You can find out which courses you’ll need to take from the folks at DCO in the weeks preceding your time there.
6. Don’t freak out about uniforms. If you’re down to the last minute, and you still haven’t gotten your uniform, you’ll be able to go to the uniform shop on base in Newport.
7. Learn how to make your rack. The better you can do this, the easier and quicker getting ready each morning will be. Here’s a helpful video (sorry about the commercial): http://video.about.com/usmilitary/How-to-Make-Military-Corners.htm.
8. Wean yourself off of caffeine before you get there. You’ll be glad you did.
9. Bring a small plastic ruler, and a lint roller. And put your name on both. You’ll become a very popular person on your hall if you have these items. They’re extremely handy for preparing your uniform.
10. Know how to shine your shoes. This is a lost art. Watch here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeScJ_Hemno