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The Officer Basic Course

Hello fellow soldier or potential fellow soldier. OBC, Officer Basic Course, is a 5 to 8 week course designed to familiarize new officers with the Army ways. The course will begin for dental officers around July (for recent grads) and takes place in sweltering Fort Sam Houston. Before you even step on to the plane be sure to have 20+ copies of your orders and all other important documents as: immunizations, marriage certificates, power of attorney (for you married folks) and whatever else they instruct you to bring. Be prepared to waste hours upon hours being inprocessed in San Antonio and being asked for documents they never told you to bring. The key is to be patient and try not to get frustrated. With so many people coming and going in the military, it's no wonder why they are so disorganized.

During the first week all the dentists (there were about 70) have classes together (called the dental track). I felt this was a great time to make friends with people (dentists) from all over the country. However this coziness soon ends when the rest of the Army Corps are integrated: Vets, Doctors, ROTC Medical Service people, pharmacists, Psycholgists and Physician Assistants. The total class size grew to 300+. This is when those boring miltary classes begin. You will learn about leadership and other unusuable Army stuff that will NEVER, NEVER be needed as a dentist. We were bored to tears. Prior to class we all engaged in Physical Training (running your ass off). The Army is HUGE on PT. You better be able to do 40+ sit ups, 40+ pushups and run 2 miles in about 17 minutes otherwise you will be in for a rude awakening. Don't think you can do this just by showing up at OBC unless you are a previous athlete, especially in the humid heat of Texas. I personally had no problems exceeding the minimum (I did 88 push-ups, 68 sit-ups and ran 2 miles in 14:22). Basically the message here is be ready! As OBC nears the final week everyone gets to play soldier out in the field for a week. That means no showers and MREs (army processed food). The tents are coed and it is HOT (100 on some days). I'm not much of a camper so I pretty much hated the whole thing. Here's a list of some of the things you will do in the field: night and land navigation, assembling the M-16/M-9, working radios, litter course, repelling (if it doesn't rain), medical first aid, nuclear/biological warfare training and YES you get to get GASSED in the chamber. Now, provided that you passed all the coursework AND the PT test you graduate and report to your duty station.

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