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The Spartan Runner Alpha Co. Class 017-10 Newsletter

Issue Two

November 2010

Upcoming Events 25–28 Nov 2010

Thanksgiving Holiday

9 Dec 2010 6–9 pm

Graduation Social – Family or guest, no children

14 Dec 2010 6–9 pm

Graduation Formal – Spouse or 1–2 guests, no children

Through The Weeks

By BOC Archangel Sanon The Spartans have completed the first quarter of their training. Now they have entered the second quarter, which will lead them into Senior phase. That also means, they will don a new ascot: the much anticipated white one. Weeks four through six were physically demanding and the Spartans responded with panache. During week four, the Spartans completed their 5 mile release run followed the very next day by the first series of two seven mile Foot March. The successful completion of the 5-mile release run provided some relief to many Candidates since it was the last graded release run. (Continued Page 3)

Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills The Army Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills are the essential components of every unit. These drills prepare and equip each candidate for the rigors of future deployments. During the next three weeks of Field Exercise, the candidates will be tested on their comprehension and efficiency in managing squads and platoons in completing orders involving the execution of these tasks and drill.


Commander’s Mile Marker Greetings Family and Friends of OCS Class 017-10, “In 490BC a Persian army of over 25,000 men (some accounts put the figure as high as 60,000), plus cavalry and some 600 ships, invaded Greece and began to ravage the coast of Attica. The target was always the city state of Athens and their plan was simple: to land at Marathon, 26 miles north of Athens; beat the small Athenian army; then sail round the coast to invade the city from the south, where they hoped the gates would be opened to them by traitors within. The Athenians could only put up an army of 10,000 men, with no cavalry and no ships. Their allies from the tiny city state of Plataia sent 1000 soldiers. The Greeks were hopelessly outnumbered, but when the Persians landed, the Athenians and Plataians marched out to Marathon, a narrow plain by the sea where they could block the road to Athens. This is where the running epic began. The Athenians needed help from Sparta. Before they marched to Marathon the Athenians had sent the runner Pheidippides to beg the Spartans for assistance. He was a professional military messenger and must have been quite an athlete; able to cover dangerous ground alone, look after himself, commit accurate messages to memory and answer questions when he arrived. If the situation was so desperate why didn’t he use a horse? Because the quickest route to Sparta was too rough. It had to be done on foot. The distance from Athens to Sparta is 140 miles and Pheidippides apparently did it inside two days. The Spartans would not send forces immediately. It was a religious festival in Sparta and they refused to set out until the full. It was vital that the Athenians knew the bad news as soon as possible, and Pheidippides must then have run another 140 miles back to Athens with the dire news. Pheidippides had covered 280 rough miles in, at most, 10 days. He might have ridden some of the time, near to the Athens road, but he still covered almost a marathon a day, allowing for the time he spent fruitlessly in Sparta. After the first battle at Marathon, the Persian fleet put to sea, and in the second phase of the plan, sailed around Cape Sounion to arrive on the beach at Phaleron and march against an undefended Athens. It would be 8-10 hours’ sailing. An advance fleet, probably with cavalry on board (for the dash into the city) had already set off before the battle had begun. Almost certainly, this is what accounts for the legendary 26-mile run of Pheidippides. He was running back to announce the victory, but also to warn the Athenians that the Persian fleet was even now on its way. Quite possibly he did die at this point, perhaps from long-term exhaustion, perhaps from wounds. One of the walls of the Acropolis is named after him, to mark the place where he was said to have collapsed” (The Real Story of Marathon, by Michael Clark, Runner’s World, March 2003) A truly great story, as is the story of Class 17-10 over the past 6 weeks. The Class has really come together, and I, 1SG and the Alpha Company Cadre are very proud of their accomplishments. Through the Mid-Cycle APFT, The Senior Officer Candidate Review, the Branching Ceremony and Land Navigation, they continue to exceed the standard. In many respects our Candidates are similar to Pheidippides. They have run a long trek. Be it college or prior service, they ran a previous race and had to be successful to get here. Now they are running a marathon of sorts, to report a significant victory at its end. I wonder how Pheidippides felt 13.1 miles into that last run. I am sure you can ask any one of our Candidates and they can speak for Pheidippides. They would most likely say, “we are tired, but anxious and excited to report the victory at the end of this run!” Halfway There…just 6 weeks to go! Standards, No Compromise!! Josiah B. Blalock CPT, IN Commander, A/3-11 IN (OCS)


Having achieved senior status, the candidates participated in the most anticipated event of all OCS – Branching Ceremony. Throughout week four, Candidates had classroom along with hands-on training on Army Operations. Morale is constantly improving since Candidates enjoy additional privileges. For example, Candidates are now allowed to have coffee; they are allowed a movie night on weekends. Week 5 began with a test on Army Operations: as expected, Spartans performed very well on that test. Spartans remain focused throughout the week despite an extremely busy schedule. Week 5 to a certain extent ended on an apotheosis: indeed, the Company Commander allowed the candidates to order pizza night for that weekend. Needless to say that Pizza companies in the area registered record sales for that night regardless of the fact that on Monday of week 6, every candidate had to take a physical test consisting of push ups, sit ups followed by a two

mile run. To the surprise of the cadre, the candidates performed magnificently despite overindulging themselves the weekend before. As a class, Alpha Company averaged 277 points out of a possible 300. A total of 18 candidates scored a perfect score (300 out of 300). Based on observations from our Company Commander, we, Alpha Co. Class 017-10, are the fittest class he has ever commanded at OCS thus far. The remainder of week six stayed very busy with American Military History classes every morning and various Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills throughout the week. Having studied American Military History from the Formative years through the Civil War, candidates had to take a test on the subject. Overall, the result of that test was very good.

Join the conversation. On behalf of Class 017-10’s Student Council, I would like to take this opportunity to invite all family members and friends to follow along with our OCS journey on www.facebook.com. Search for “Alpha Company Class 017-10” and join the group. You can see daily photo updates, get to know other candidates families and get all of your questions answered. Thank you for your support. BOC Nathan Freeman, Public Affairs Officer Nathan.k.freeman@us.army.mil

The key event for week 6 was the Senior Officer Candidate Review (SOCR) on November 5. The SOCR marked the transition from basic phase to senior phase. Having achieved senior status, the candidates participated in the most anticipated event of all OCS – Branching Ceremony. In this ceremony, each candidate selects the branch that will define much of his or her Army career. The order of selection is based on the order of merit list, which is comprised of scores from each OCS event that gauges the physical and academic capabilities of each candidate. This is both an exciting and anxious day for all. After the ceremony, candidates, cadre, friends and families met at Uchee Creek for a well-earned and enjoyable mid-cycle social.

The Spartan Runner - OCS Class 017-10 Issue 2  

In each issue, we will recount the journey of the previous three weeks, provide key upcoming dates and receive a status update from the Comp...

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