Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Oysters

On my way back from Chicago last week, I took advantage of a chance encounter I had with Bill, a fellow who went to Officer Candidate School with me about twenty five years ago. Bill recognized my reference to the jetway as a "p-way," and told me he first heard that word in King Hall at OCS. After doing a little research, I was disappointed to learn that the Navy split up the Office Indoctrination School (OIS) and the Officer Candidate School (OCS), moving the latter from Newport to Pensacola. The OIS folks ("Oysters") were all graduate students who joined up after becoming doctors or lawyers, and were commissioned immediately as Lieutenants without enduring the least bit of boot camp training.

We mere college graduates, known as "indocs," had to pass our course before we earned the rank of Ensign (two pay grades below Lieutenant). Lore has it that, if you didn't pass OCS, the Navy would bust you to the rank of petty officer, and you would spend the rest of your career chipping paint on a sub tender. Needless to say, the intensity and focus of the two courses of Officer training were quite different. We found the Oysters to be sloppy in their appearance and attitude, which is probably why the Navy split up the two schools, to avoid having the OIS rub off on OCS candidates.