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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany


Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Career Marine advises 'take detours in stride'

By Lance Cpl. Nicholas Tremblay | | December 20, 2001

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"You need to take detours in stride," said Staff Sgt. Samuel D. Monk, supply materiel manager here. "If you are trying to get some where and there is a roadblock, you are not going to cancel your trip are you" You just find another route to get to your destination." Monk, a Geneva, Ala., native, referred to his journey of becoming a commissioned officer. After submitting two commissioning packages, to attend Officers" Candidate School, Quantico, Va., Monk was finally selected in June. But during his sixth week there, Monk was injured, causing him to leave with only four weeks left. Monk is still sending in commissioning packages, hoping to be selected again. He is also on his way to completing four years of college. "I will make it to OCS, one way or another," said Monk. "If I don't get selected to return, then I will eventually be eligible because I will have my bachelor's degree." Enlisted Marines can apply to attend OCS through four commissioning programs. The 10-week school is boot camp for college graduates or enlisted Marines who want to become Marine officers. The four programs available to Marines are the Meritorious Enlisted Commissioning Program, Enlisted Commissioning Program, Meritorious Commissioning Program and Enlisted Commissioning Program. A boost program is also available for Marines who would be a good candidate for the other programs, but lack secondary education skills. Monk said he thinks OCS was more physically challenging than boot camp, but it was not as tough mentally. "From day one, when you get to OCS, you are being evaluated as an individual," said Monk. "You are evaluated on how you handle different situations and how the platoon responds when you take charge of them." When Monk enlisted in the Marine Corps he knew he would make a career of it, but never thought he would some day become an officer. While serving on embassy duty, Monk's thoughts about becoming an officer changed. "I sat down and evaluated what I wanted to do with my life," said Monk. "I looked at being an officer and thought, maybe I fit this profile more than I do an enlisted profile. I don't think an officer is better than an enlisted Marine, I just think it is a different path that I choose to take." Monk also decided that he wanted a challenge, and going to OCS to become an officer was exactly that, he said. For Marines to enter officer programs, they need to have a score of 115 for the electronics section in the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. The ASVAB is the entry test that individuals take to determine their military occupational specialty qualification. Another point that Marines should focus on when interested in going to OCS is their physical fitness test score, said Monk. A first-class PFT score, which is a minimum of 225 points, is required. "If you want to be competitive, your score needs to be at least 250 or above," said Monk, "because there are many other people submitting packages for these programs. "The MCP is probably the most competitive program," said Monk. "When I submitted my package I had an EL [electronic portion on the ASVAB] score of 130, a PFT score of 277 and my grade point average for my associates degree was 4.0. Even with those high scores, I was denied for the program. But when I submitted my second package I was selected." Along with the submission of a commission package, the Marine needs a written recommendation from his battalion commander. If Marines finish four years of college they will automatically be eligible to become an officer. Monk encourages Marines who want to become an officer to submit a package. "I think every Marine has what it takes to become an officer," said Monk. "If you are a Marine you've got what it takes. The question is whether you want to choose the hard path and become rewarded at the end" "In my eyes, any Marine deserves everything he wants, if he is willing to work for it," said Monk. 1st Lt. Jayson L. Durden, Marine Corps Logistics Bases commander's aide de camp, was an enlisted Marine for 2 1/2 years before being commissioned. "If there are a lot of young Marines here who are talented and gifted and have the ability to become an officer should go for the challenge," said Durden. "The Corps needs prior enlisted officers," said Durden. "Just going through OCS, an officer doesn"t understand what an enlisted Marine goes through." Monk admits it takes a lot of time and effort to put the MECP package together. The package requires a lot of paperwork that needs to be filled out, and it's not a simple process. If any Marine wants to submit a MECP package and would like some assistance, they can call Monk at 639-6287.
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