You are here:

Military History/Failing OCS during World War 2


Hello Colonel Lynn:

I have been looking around the internet, but haven't been able to find an answer to my question.  During World War 2, did the standards for graduating OCS change at any time during the war?  If so, what as the "failing" mark?  Was it possible for a soldier to "fail" because the OSC staff thought he could be an enlisted soldier, but was not officer material?  What action would the Army take with an enlisted soldier who "failed" at OSC?  Would he be sent back to his original unit, with no change in rank?  Or would he be transferred to a new unit, with no change in rank?  

Thanks in advance,


Dear Janet,
         First, I would like to apologize for not getting back to you sooner but here is what I was able to find out. Yes, the standards did change. The following programs were utilized to commission officers in the U.S. Army during World War II:

*Officer's Candidate School (OCS)-This was branch specific which lasted 90 days and you had to attain a score of 110 on the U.S. Army General Classification Test (AGCT). Here are the way the scores were grouped: Class V (Under 69-Very Inferior), Class IV (70-89-Inferior), Class III (90-109-Average), Class II (110-130-Superior), and Class I (130 or higher-Very Superior). OCS was the most common method of commissioning. Only about 1/3 of the men graduating from OCS were high school graduates with about 6.5% not receiving their diploma. This is a remarkable number of men that graduated from OCS since they had no college and were commissioned based solely on their demonstrated abilities at OCS. Enlisted men selected to attend OCS were promoted to corporal and upon completion of OCS; were then discharged from the U.S. Army and then commissioned in the U.S. Army.

*West Point-Prior to October, 1942, it was 4 years of instruction were needed to be commissioned. After October, 1942, it was changed to 3 years. Prior to June, 1943, West Point graduation was always held in June but after June, 1943, graduation was held in January and June respectively.

*ROTC-Located on more than 125 colleges and universities in United States.

*Military colleges-Upon graduation.

*Citizens Military Training Camp (CMTC)-This was identical to ROTC but this program was for men who couldn't afford to go to college/university and receive military training. This was a 4 year program in which each man attended a month long camp each summer for 4 consecutive summers. CMTC was suspended shortly after the U.S. entry into World War II because of a shortage of instructors and training areas.

*Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP)-This was equivalent to the U.S. Navy V-12 Program and it was more demanding then West Point or the Naval Academy.

*Direct Commissions-These were given to men who had specific experience or had a particular
specialized skill. This type of commission was rare, however and candidates would go through some form of OCS before being commissioned.

*Battlefield Commissions-These were of two types and one of which was by demonstrating leadership abilities in the field. The individual would then be transferred to another unit upon being commissioned. Many soldiers turned this commission down because they would had to leave their old units and be sent to a new unit of complete strangers. The other type was one in which they were sent to a crash course for new officers at Fontainbleau, France in the European Theater of Operations or ETO. Soldiers that attended this location were considered battlefield commissioned officers. Some of these same officers were also selected to be sent back to the United States to attend a service school.

May God Bless-Colonel Robert A. Lynn, Florida Guard  

Military History

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


LTC Robert A. Lynn, Florida Guard


I can answer both specific and general military history questions from ancient times to the present. I also provide references and footnotes where I obtained the answers from.


Past/Present Clients

©2017 All rights reserved.