I attended the 70D long course (June 21 2021 – July 12 2021). This is supposed to be a 4 week course but was condensed to clear the training backlog due to COVID.
If you are an Army Reservist, you need to reach out to USAREC HQ for registration. Your unit shouldn’t register for this course as this is considered as Initial Military Training (IMT). Email [email protected] for registration. I recommend that you register and complete the school as early as possible immediately after taking the Oath of Office. Orders will be sent to you a month before the school report date. If you don’t have your orders, send them an email requesting Orders.
Course Materials & Syllabus
Here’s the syllabus (for our class only). This may be different for you. Here’s the In Processing brief and the relevant Course Materials.
- Fort Sill is very humid in Summers. Get some Cloth Hangers. Towels don’t dry. Bring in a thin cotton towel instead of the thick Army kind which don’t dry out.
- You may not have an opportunity to use laundry or go to the PX in the first 5-10 days due to COVID Restriction of Movement (ROM). Make sure to bring enough pairs of clothes/PTs/OCPs. Since you sweat a lot, you may not want to go without washing them frequently
- Bring in a few cloth hangers, a pair of scissors, a soap box (or a body wash bottle). I brought a wireless keyboard, a mouse, phone stand since we spend a lot of time in front of the computer for virtual classes.
- Wifi is from Suddenlink. Slow, Intermittent and unreliable. Bring your hotspot or have your Phone carrier turn on Hotspot feature on your phone.
- Bring a HDMI cable if you want to enjoy some war movies with your battle buddies from the second weekend in Day Room 2 (Day Room 1 TV’s HDMI ports don’t work)
- Bring a pair of portable speakers as you will have a ton of downtime and you can watch war movies or whatever with your roommates.
- You may bring your phone/laptop.
Travel (6/21/21, Mon)
You will need to use your Government Credit Card if you have one. Call the number listed on the Orders to schedule your flights. My flight couldn’t be confirmed because my Government Card was inactive. I had to call my unit’s DTS liaison so that my unit can claim my profile and temporarily turn on the Citi Government card.
My travel itinerary was as follows
- Newark to Dallas
- Dallas to Lawton
- Shuttle from Lawton to Fort Sill (C Battery, 2nd Battalion, 6th Air Defense Artillery 2745 Miner Road Fort Sill, OK 73503)
Travel to DCC was very tiresome because American Airlines (Which is the only airline they allow us to book flights on) has been canceling about 80 flights per day in June 2021. I arrived in Dallas around 2pm. I was notified of a flight Cancellation from Dallas to Lawton. The next available flight was on the next day and since I didn’t want to miss reporting on the “Report Date”, I called them up and switch the flight to Oklahoma City instead, which they did. But the flight isn’t scheduled for departure until 8pm. I fortunately had access to the Airport Lounge. It had a waitlist too for an hour. The Amex Centurion lounge was nice to unwind, have some good food and drinks. The flight to OKC was short and I arrived around 9pm. Upon arrival, I head to the Military Welcome Center on the Second floor. There were DCC and Basic Training trainees waiting for a ride. Make sure to grab a few water bottles and some snacks for the ride. I got to talk to some of my soon to be DCC classmates. Some of their luggage was misplaced as their flights were canceled and they switched to OKC as well. The bus to Fort Sill didn’t arrive for pickup until 11:30pm. It was a two hour ride to Fort Sill. There were around 30 other DCC classmates with me.
Reporting (6/22/21, Tue)
We lined up near the CQ desk, pulled up our Oath of Office document and a copy of our orders. It was around 2:00am and I was already very tired. There were about 280 trainees in this class and we were split in to two platoons (Last names beginning with A to K were assigned to the first platoon). I got in to my room to find my two other roommates sleeping. They arrived earlier. One of them is a LTC! He is a Physician and did a Direct Commission. I brought disinfectant wipes, my own sheets and a blanket. I wiped everything down, did the personal hygiene, put on the new sheets and got a 2 hour sleep before waking up at 5am.
There were three of us in a room with three individual beds. Each bed has a metal closet. There’s one bathroom per room.
You may receive passes for the weekends after a week or two. We were allowed to roam around the base, although there isn’t much except for a few hikes.
Day 1 (6/22/21, Tue)
The formation was around 6am but we had to show up at 5:30am for accountability on the side of the building. Make sure to eat your MRE as it’s going to be a long day and you won’t have chow (Field feed) until that afternoon. We marched to the nearest Hospital, lined up in the parking lot for a COVID test. It was long line as there were 280 trainees. We returned to the side of the training building and formed up. For the next few hours, the cadre disciplined us with some PT, introducing soldiers to the Army culture, formations, command structure, reminding us that we are trainees (that we can’t pull rank on the Sergeants). The Cadre knew what they were doing. They did not mess around. They did a fantastic job balancing their role as trainers and also understanding that the trainees are Commissioned Officers in the US Army. We then rushed to chow, which was field feed. As a vegetarian, I couldn’t find anything to eat. I let them know about it and was asked to compile a list of soldiers with dietary restrictions, which I did.
The cadre identified some soldiers and assigned the responsibilities of the Platoon Sergeant, Platoon Leader, Battery Commander etc. to relieve some of the responsibilities. The Cadre has been conducting back to back classes and were hoping to let the student leadership take care of the coordination, accountability and disseminating information. We then did some distance learning through DCS. The WIFI is spotty and I used my own Hotspot (AT&T). I had a decent signal and had no problems connecting. The course materials and the link to the DCS class was shared by email. The emails also included the Course Syllabus and the Slide decks for the training. Virtual training is done from the Barracks. You need to keep the doors to your room
It was a busy day with back to back training activities with hardly a minute to spare for rewinding until 18:00 in the afternoon. We were sent to the barracks only to be called back to form up again. The student leadership was asked to self organize and disseminate the training information for the next day and also to split up the individual squads in to separate teams for accountability (To make sure that everyone shows up on time for formations and identify those who are late). We were issued Camelbaks and a Poncho. We had to sign and return the Hand Receipts for the Ponchos. Camelbaks are billed to us (on paper). We then retired to the barracks again. I had excellent roommates. One of them is a Physician, a LTC and another one who is a Dentist. It was such a relief to have good roommates. I did the personal hygiene and was added to multiple Whatsapp groups (for the squad, the platoon) for accountability and sharing information. I gathered a list of soldiers with dietary restrictions, created a Spreadsheet on Google slides and passed it on to the Student leadership. I then had to mute notifications so that I wouldn’t get distracted with a constant barrage of notifications.
We formed up at 5:30am, did the PRT with the Preparation drill and the Recovery drill. Since this was new to a lot of soldiers, they had to break each exercise down. We were asked to learn the Soldier Creed and the Army Song After a couple of hours of PRT, we went around the building for Field feed. Food was ok. I had hash browns, fresh fruit (apple, pear and an orange), oatmeal and pancakes. We then received instruction on Resiliency Training (A slide deck pulled from the OCS program). The HPSP students were taken to a gym and were offered information on their program while the rest of us went through the training slides, memorizing the Army song and the Soldier’s creed. We practiced D&C (Column Right, Column Left etc.) for about three hours. It was 101 degrees and felt like 120. We then formed up as a battery, did the Retreat (Salute), went back to the barracks for DCS training on ACFT Familiarization. We then had Dinner Chow around 1700 and that concluded the day.
We got up at 4:30am, formed up at 5:00, marched (double time) to a stadium which was already occupied by another unit. So we marched back, did the PRT (Preparation Drill, CD-1, CD-2, two laps around the buildings 0.7miles, Recovery Drill). We then had Chow, conducted DCS (Anti Terrorism 1). We then did some D&C (Counter Column, Flank Left, Flank Right, Column Left, Column Right etc.). We then continued our virtual training on Sharp, Customs & Curtsies.
We got up at 4:30am, formed up at 5:00, marched (double time) to a stadium. We ran the stairs then got to the side of the stairs to do sprints, lunges, squats, half jacks with music playing in the background. It was fun. I’ve been taking showers twice a day as it’s hot and humid. Uniform is OCPs if you have them or PTs or Civilians in that order. We had classes on EO, Cross Cultural understanding, Code of Conduct, Financial Readiness (LES)
Day 5 (4/26, 27, Sat & Sun)
There was no P.T or formation (probably due to bad weather). We got up at 6:30am, were on our own time until Noon (AAR class was postponed). We had Outside time all day on Sunday. We exercised individually, ran around the building, used the bars next to the neighbor’s building for pull ups. We also did laundry, change of student leadership, cleaning the rooms etc.
It rained in the morning. We went for our second COVID rapid test, came back for training on Transition to a Direct Leadership and Special Operations Forces. We had a change in Student Leadership.
Restriction of Movement (ROM) was lifted. We went to DFAC for the first time. We received training on Counselling, Troop Loading Procedures, Types of Military Briefings. We returned the completed Initial Welcome Packet.
We went to the PX for purchasing any missing uniforms. We literally stood in a formation in the PX parking lot for 3 hours, the we marched back. We then marched to the DFAC which took an hour just to get in. We were all at Parade rest and moved up slowly. We then had a class on Army Ethics, Recommend Administrative and Personnel Actions. We were smoked in the evening for a bit as some soldiers weren’t walking to the right side of the hallway, not addressing the Sergeants properly etc.
We did the 120-60-30 second push ups and sit ups. Training in the morning was on Military History (WW1 & WW2). In the afternoon, the training was on “Solve Problems Using the Military Problem Solving Process”. We did some D&C
We were supposed to have Squad PT competition but it was shelved due to rain. We went to the DFAC wearing ponchos. Training was on “Overview of Military Justice” and “Developing your Subordinates”
Day 12 & Day 13 (7/3 & 7/4)
We received a weekend pass. We all march to the chow every day though for breakfast on every weekend but folks can eat out for the rest of the day. We all need to be back by 2000 for final formation. In a small group, I hiked the Martha Songbird Wildlife trail, visited the U.S. Army Field Artillery Museum, Artillery Park, spent some time at the PX. There’s a yellow Mexi-Asian fusion Food Truck that I recommend for everyone. The PX has a Starbucks, Taco Bell, a Subway and a few other restaurants. The Clothing & Sales store across the street has a Qdoba. I put on the movie Fury on Sunday at 1800 and watched it with my battle buddies. It was fun. The weekend was very relaxed.
We received an instruction on “Developing Effective teams”, “Reporting Intelligence Information”, “Army Leadership Doctrine”, “Military Joint Forces Structures and Capabilities and Operations”. We did some D&C in the afternoon to prepare for the competition for tomorrow. I led the formation and offered my prior service experience
We did the Preparation Drill, Hip Stability Drill & MMD 1, Recovery Drill. Training was on Deliberate Risks Management (DRM). Each of the squads were separately called in to the Day room for an AAR on the training and general Army issues. We had a laid back and a very productive conversations. We were again called out squad by squad for D&C test.
Day 16 (Medical)
There was no morning P.T. We marched to Reynolds Health Clinic for Medical in processing (Immunizations, Dental, PHA etc.). My records were up to date so I was done with my stuff by around 10am. We were shuttled back to the barracks in groups.
Day 17 (Finance)
There was no morning PT today as well. But we were allowed to exercise outside from 0500 to 0630. Later, we marched to the Finance office. Folks who are new to the Army needed to bring two ID cards, Marriage certificate, Birth Certificate, University Certificates (all original). Later we had a repeat one of the courses
We had no PT again today. We showed up in OCPs around 6am and we were given a walkthrough of the ACFT. Later, folks who still needed their blood drawn, needed ID cards, DEERS updates marched out. We then filled the USAR 25-R forms, received an introduction to Land Navigation. We then took the end of course exam. It’s a pretty thorough exam and covers everything being taught during classes and some more. It’s an open book exam. I had to review the slides and search for Army regulations during the exam.
The Platoon marched to Reynolds Clinic to complete the remaining Blood work, immunizations, dental etc. Although I’m all green, I still had to stay with everyone in the lawn near the building. I spent my time reading DA PAM 600 -4 on AMEDD Professional Development. It’s 56 pages long but it was a good read. In the afternoon, we marched back to the barracks. MREs for Breakfast and Lunch although we were given no time to have our lunch. Immediately after arriving at the barracks, were were taken in to a bus that drove to an Auditorium. We conducted an AAR with the Course Manager, Battery Commander, XO and the 1SG. It ran for over two hours but it was pretty engaging. It was very detailed. We were then driven back to the barracks. Everyone needed to march for dinner Chow but folks were allowed to order food through Uber Eats or Grubhub.
We formed up for the morning for chow and then received a pass for the day. We took Platoon and Squad pictures. I went on a hike to Medicine bluffs, played volleyball at the Fires Gym so it was a busy day for me and I was pumped with the work out. It was a lot of fun. We then cleaned our rooms, did our final laundry and began packing our bags for our departure.
We had buses scheduled to Lawton and OKC. My flight was through OKC around Noon so I got on to the 8am bus. They needed a copy of my orders. We traveled out in civilian clothes. It was a day of mixed feelings. Although it was a short course, I made some good friends. I bid good bye to them and excited to return home
2 thoughts on “Direct Commission Course”
I see medical, dental and shots records are listed on document list. Are they required?
We were asked to download the PDFs from lhi.care and email them to a Civilian here at the base who does the PHAs. They created a list of immunizations, blood work, dental, PHA etc. that’s needed for each of us. So, you don’t need to bring any printed documents unless you don’t have them already uploaded to MEDPROS (Eg: May be you received an immunization shot from a civilian clinic and it hasn’t been uploaded to MEDPROS. In that case, bring a copy with you)