Updated: Feb 27, 2020
Published Feb 25, 2018
I have been in the Army for almost ten years so far starting out as a combat medic. I performed my job for about six or seven years doing various trauma courses and operational assignments and really just having a great time. After that leg of my Army life, I went to LPN/LVN school through the Army's program and eventually applied to the AMEDD Enlisted Commissioning Program (AECP) in 2015 to obtain my RN license. AECP is a whole other information session so if you have questions with regards to that, I am always here to answer questions about packets for those of you who are Army enlisted.
The following is some information for DCC and BOLC because I haven't found any other information that is not a year or two old.
So prior to coming to AMEDD BOLC at San Antonio, I had to attend the Direct Commission Course (DCC) at Fort Sill, OK. My course only had around 36 newly commissioned officers so it was small and personal. It was stated that most courses have over 100 usually. Within my class, around 95% of us were prior enlisted E6 or E7's.
DCC is really directed to those who are brand new to the Army. We learned (relearned for most of us) how to do facing movements, introduction to hand receipts, Army History, Military Decision Making Process, land navigation, and tons of other PowerPoint presentations that were dragged out. The best part of the course was probably the rifle familiarization range or land navigation because it got us out of the classroom. A few of those within our platoon that were brand new were helped out by many of us when it came to firing a weapon and understanding land navigation. The course was 4 weeks and we were limited to post, unable to drive our vehicles, and only allowed to wear either the Army Combat Uniform (ACUs) or Physical Fitness Uniform (commonly referred to as PTs). Weekday nights were usually going to the gym or hanging out in the barracks. We had two to a room but they may increase that depending on class size. If you are brand new to the Army, make sure you have funds available to buy uniforms and all the small details that go along with them.
Now currently, I am attending BOLC at Joint Base San Antonio, former Fort Sam Houston. For the report date we were set to check in at building 592 (Holiday Inn) and single person rooms were assigned. After reporting, the rest of the day was yours. The first week was held in the auditorium as a whole class, roughly 160 officers. This first week we went over Army programs such as Sexual Harassment Assault Rape Prevention (SHARP) and the Equal Opportunity Program (EO). We also had our Army Physical Fitness Test the second day which threw a lot of people off, especially after Christmas. Other things that were done within the first week was Permanent Change of Station (PCS) information and information about life insurance, thrift savings plan (TSP), and other Army information. The end of the first week we have Central Issuing Facility (CIF) gear issue which was everything that we need for the field training exercise (FTX) later on in the course.
The second week of the course we were scheduled for the AMEDD Museum tour but it was cancelled due to post shutting down because of icy road conditions. This week we additionally gathered in our platoon classrooms. My platoon had 21 people or so assigned. Each platoon has a Platoon Advisor (PA) and four civilian instructors. From what I've encountered all of the PA's and civilian instructors are great at their jobs. You can tell they want to be there and want to further success within each Army Officer. Within our classroom we went over Army doctrine, troop leading procedures, and Master Resiliency Training (MRT). The end of the week we had a pre- Army Service Uniform (ASU) inspection. This is your dress uniform and it can be pretty expensive so once again, make sure you have funds available. I believe that male uniforms are around 300 dollars and females are a little more expensive.
Week three was more courses within our classrooms. More MRT and information about Non-Commissioned Officer and Officer evaluations. We began receiving homework this week, but all platoons were different when homework was due. Some received homework in the first week and got it all out of the way quickly. My platoon had it more spread out which was not as stressful. In addition to the evaluation homework we did, we also had to do a leadership philosophy brief and military brief. Aside from the briefing, most of the homework is done in groups.
At the beginning of week four we had our midterm exam. The exam can be difficult for some but if you study and have a good platoon to work with for a review, it is doable. This week we also had a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) course all day as a whole class. At the end of the day we had an exam over the material, but it was open notes. Rest of the week was just more classes, some as a whole class in the auditorium and some in the platoon classroom.
The fifth week was started with going over some of our homework. We also went and worked on the EST2000 which is basically a videogame range with real rifles that are adapted towards the game screen and there to help you develop your fundamentals of marksmanship. Rest of the week was more courses on law of war, standards of conduct, a FTX brief, layout of medical platoons and medical companies, and a class on land navigation. The Friday of this week, we had our final. A little harder than the midterm. We had a couple of fails within our platoon, but they had retests later in the field and passed. Additionally, we had reserve officers come in for the field. They go through what is called the short course because they complete the didactic portion online. We welcomed about 16 of them into our platoon and everything molded together with no issues.
Week six was the first week of the field. We had to meet outside of building 592 (the Holiday Inn) at 0420 for accountability and transportation to Camp Bullis. This is roughly an hour ride in the bus and you are able to get a nap in. Once we got out to Bullis, the platoons are sent through round robin training essentially. This first week we went over Army Warrior Tasks which include inspecting and throwing grenades, disassemble/assemble an M16 and M9 pistol with functions checks, and sending up a 9-line MedEvac request. We were supposed to complete a couple of actual live fire ranges but do to weather it was pushed back so we completed day and night land navigation on the Friday of this week. To receive a go, you have to get 5/7 points for day land navigation and 2/3 for night land navigation. After we completed our training for the week, we cleaned up our training site and were bussed back for the weekend.
The second week of the field was the same meetup time in front of building 592. This week we focused on roles of care so we were given information on running a battalion aid station (BAS, level I) from point of injury to first line treatment, brigade support battalion (BSB, level II), and a combat support hospital (CSH, Level III). Don't get too caught up on trying to do a nursing role and perfecting medical skills during these as they are there to give everyone an idea of how patient flow runs and not necessarily medical treatment. Be flexible and jump in where you can despite whatever your role title and job is. Learn and get a basic idea of patient movement. We were scheduled to have a range on Friday this week but once again weather pushed it back and we completed our actual role III exercise. Other platoons completed role I or II while ours is scheduled for the following week.
We have one more week of the field before graduation. I will provide information from the final week as well as the two-week nursing track once I get into it. If you have any questions, let me know! Hopefully this helps some. Thanks all.
Were you able to utilize your cell phone in the evenings while at DCC? I am married with children so I'm just curious if i will be able to have regular contact with them during that 4 weeks. Also, when you say PCS information was gone over in the first week do you mean you covered the PCS process or that you were given your PCS location for after BOLC? Is this the same for everyone? Thanks in advance! Your post has already been most helpful.
This is excellent. Thank you for your detailed explanations.
What is your AOC?
66T (ER nurse)
Thanks for the update! I had a few buddies go through Amedd BOLC last summer. San Antonio is such a fun city! Would you say the the majority of your class brought their POV's with them? How often do you or your platoon go out? Where are you PCS'ing too? Thanks again for the updated information!
Do reservists also need to go to DCC? Or is it only active duty ?
nursefitz23 said:Do reservists also need to go to DCC? Or is it only active duty ?
So in our group, which was smaller, we only had 36 individuals for DCC and all but one were Active Duty. The other one was National Guard. If I remember right, they were going to have a course specifically for reservists. I know that in BOLC, the nurse reservists did the short course which was online training and then they joined us in the field for the 3 weeks.
ArmyMedicRN said:What is your AOC?
66H - Med/Surg. I have less than 6 months experience so the Army has a 6 month orientation program called Clinical Transition to Practice (CNTP) for new nurses. This is typically done at your medical centers such as Tripler, Walter Reed, etc.
Ftr66T2018 said:Were you able to utilize your cell phone in the evenings while at DCC? I am married with children so I'm just curious if I will be able to have regular contact with them during that 4 weeks. Also, when you say PCS information was gone over in the first week do you mean you covered the PCS process or that you were given your PCS location for after BOLC? Is this the same for everyone? Thanks in advance! Your post has already been most helpful.
Yes we were able to use our cellphones in the evening. I have Verizon and my coverage was pretty spotty however but it was enough to say hello to my wife and kids. If you have an emergency, you can let the cadre know as well and they can allow you to have your cellphone during the day's instruction.
PCS information was really just the process. This included understanding setting up your household goods to be moved, your reimbursement expenses that are covered, etc. BOLC is considered a temporary duty (TDY) en route meaning if you are active duty, you will have your orders to your permanent duty station (PDS) before going to BOLC. This is the same for all active duty as they like to have you know where you are going so you can get everything set up. There are some circumstances where people were in the process of trying to get their orders changed during BOLC but majority of the time, you will know where you are going after your TDY en route.
Hopefully this cleared things up! Let me know.
Rhody16x said:Thanks for the update! I had a few buddies go through Amedd BOLC last Summer. San Antonio is such a fun city! Would you say the the majority of your class brought their POV's with them? How often do you or your platoon go out? Where are you PCS'ing too? Thanks again for the updated information!
AMEDD BOLC was really a great course. One of the better mandatory leadership courses I've been to in the military. A good amount of people had their vehicles but if you don't bring one, there are always plenty of people in your platoon who will have a vehicle. They consider the AMEDD Center and School a walking campus so your hotels are pretty close to the school house as well as the dining facility.
Our platoon did a few activities together but people gravitate towards certain individuals so some went out in smaller groups. I'll be going to Fort Belvoir, VA.
Did you notice if a lot of people were PCS'd to a post that was on their list of top picks or were most people sent else where?
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