Hello! I am not the Errant Ensign, however, we did attend OCS together. My name is Unidentified Female and am the newest author on the site.
After reading through some of the blog posts, I thought there was another perspective to be offered on life at Officer Training Command Newport, especially for any inquiring females. While I agree with everything Errant suggested, I remember searching for some female-specific gouge pre-OCS and not finding much.
Many of the packing lists I found on the World Wide Web for OCS attendees were geared toward men. I thought I would take the time to cover some female-specific topics which I would have liked to know more about before leaving for Newport.
It is also important to note that we went through OCS during COVID, so we had a ROM (basically quarantine) period where staff did not look through our bags to discard items before beginning the program. Take anything said here with that in mind.
It is listed on the Navy website that you should have seven white sports bras. I believe the only reason they must be white is so that they do not show through your bright yellow ever so slightly see-through PT shirt.
Most of the time you will be wearing coyote shirts, or khakis so the color of your undergarments is not the most important factor. I would make sure to have comfortable and supportive sports bras, and compression shorts, you never know when you will be sent to the sandpit.
Also, there are opportunities to do laundry every day if you wanted, so bring whatever number of items you feel comfortable with.
Compression shorts were a last-minute purchase for me pre-OCS. They make having to do remedial physical training in your NWUs slightly more comfortable and offer a bit of protection against the arctic winds while waiting to get into the chow hall. I did have a hatch mate who brought leggings to wear under her NWUs through the coldest months we were there.
Female Hygiene Products
As mentioned on the Navy OCS website and by the Errant Ensign, there are opportunities to buy supplies at the Naval Exchange. However, there are a variety of ways females manage their periods, so I thought to offer some insight on how easily that might be done.
Unlike bootcamp (as we’ve learned from our priors), there is generally plenty of privacy available for hygiene if not always time. You also are almost always carrying around a backpack or wearing something with pockets allowing for discretion when attending to periods. However you manage it, you should be able to continue that through OCS.
Additionally, from personal experience my period did stop for the first 10 weeks or so of OCS, I know it did for a few of the other females in our class as well, while some didn’t have any changes. Be prepared for your body to react to stress, diet, and exercise changes in a variety of ways.
Be prepared to put your hair back as frizz-free as possible. You may be lucky enough to have a female Marine drill instructor who wears her hair in a sleek shellacked battle-ready helmet and she will expect nothing less from you. If this is the case, practice before OCS and bring whatever products you need to make this happen. In the beginning, you have very little time between PT and breakfast, so having this down preOCS will help.
That being said there is also a decent selection of hair products and toiletries at the Navy Exchange. Bring enough for the first three weeks if you don’t want to take full bottles and products. After that, there is more free time and availability to grab what you need.
As far as the selection goes: it is not terrible but not great either. If you have a curlier hair type and use specific products it might be beneficial to bring these or have someone send you a care package with anything specific you feel you may need.
These are not necessarily extras you need to bring, but being aware of them might help you form your first NEX shopping list:
- Nail polish remover and hand sanitizer are great for removing mistakes when stamping gear
- Any cleaner will work for RLP it just requires some scrubbing and elbow grease, plus there are usually leftovers in the laundry rooms
- Gorilla glue, super glue, or nail polish are great for putting on the ends of belts or other items you want to stop from threading out
- The NEX was always out of lint rollers and swifter pads
- Boot insoles and boot socks are generally available but could be purchased ahead of time if you wanted to be extra sure