Life at OCS: What are the Rooms Like?

“Hi there. Navy wife and mom here. I’ve got a son headed to OCS. My older son and husband both commissioned through college, so OCS is on the unfamiliar side to us. Can you give some insight into the area of the rooms where personal gear and miscellaneous items are stored? I noted that you recommended bringing a pillow and blanket. Is there room for these things to be stashed prior to inspections? How large of a space is this area? Any advice is appreciated”

Anonymous Reader 001

One area of confusion I’m commonly asked about regarding OCS is the living situation. With the number of times the Officer Candidate Regulations mentions buzzwords like demerits and contraband, it definitely gives you the impression that anything other than what they issued will get you kicked out of the Navy before you’re even in it. Hopefully this will give a better understanding of the living situations and, consequently, help you pack more effectively. That way you won’t have to order a new pillow from Amazon on the second day of ROM because the blood-stained one they gave you at check-in didn’t quite have that “homey” feel to it.

The OCR defines contraband as “as any item that is prejudicial to the good order and discipline, health, welfare, or safety of any candidate at OCS” and gear adrift as “anything other than authorized items being actively used by a candidate in their room. Whenever leaving a room all gear adrift shall be stowed and secured”.

But wait, does this make your designer underwear contraband? Where can you store the hundreds of photos of your cat while you’re at drill? REFERENCE THE OCR, CANDIDATE.

Nimitz and King

For your first eight weeks you will be in Nimitz Hall—a college dorm of sorts except in this case your RA is a Chief with twenty inch biceps. Nimitz is the newest building at OCS and comes equipped with another candidate, climate control, your own toilet and sink and a shower that you share with your suitemates. You will have a public laundry room on each floor and lots of ironing boards and irons. The biggest downside of Nimitz is the staff that are constantly walking to and from their offices, resulting in lots of opportunities to get pushed.

Your last five weeks will be spent in King Hall. King is older than dirt, has no A/C and fewer washing machines per candidate. Unlike Nimitz, there aren’t staff constantly roaming the halls—a definite plus. The rooms in King are smaller, hotter, and the furniture is way older but overall not all too different from Nimitz.

The Rooms

For the most part I’ll be talking about the rooms at Nimitz since by the time you get to King you’ll be more familiar with the rules and regulations (read: what you can get away with as a CandiO).

Each candidate gets the following furniture in their room:

  • Rack (cool word for bed)
  • Two Drawer Unit—I’ll talk about this in depth below.
  • Desk and chair—some drawers where you can store class books and stationary.
  • Wall locker—this is where you’ll hang all your uniforms and will hold all your shoes on top.
  • R2D2—a little drawer unit that will hold all your socks, underwear, PT gear, and shirts.

Two Drawer Unit

This is where you can keep your “contraband”, i.e. anything not issued from OCS: pillow/blanket from home, foam roller, books, sentimental things. The Two Drawer is to be locked at all times and you will only be forced to open it during a Health and Wellness Check if they suspect you have something really contraband-y (alcohol, food, tobacco, electronics, etc.). Although the OCR calls everything contraband, it’s generally okay to have anything reasonable like a pillow or blanket that doesn’t suck, yoga mat, foam roller, books, pictures of family, etc. and your Two Drawer is where you will keep it.

If I were to guess each drawer is about three feet wide, two feet deep and a foot tall. Keep in mind not to bring too much stuff to fill in your Two Drawer as it will also be the place you put your extra issued gear during the week of RLP so that you only have the minimum amount of inspectable items out, AKA gear adrift.

If you have any questions whatsoever please send me a message or leave a comment. I love hearing from future candidates and it helps me write more useful material than whatever drivel typically comes to mind.