Story by PO1 Amanda Kitchner on 02/26/2019CHAPEL HILL, N. C. (NNS) -- The University of North Carolina Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) unit hosted a physical training and injury prevention lab for Marine-option midshipmen preparing for Officer Candidate School (OCS), Feb. 21.
The lab was organized by midshipmen assigned to the unit to focus on preparation for the demanding physical fitness training that is conducted at OCS, with a primary goal of learning injury prevention skills.
"The intent of today's training is to aid and educate our midshipmen in the best ways they can improve and maximize their fitness level prior to arriving at OCS," said Maj. Barry J. Morris, Marine Office Instructor (MOI) for the North Carolina Piedmont Region Consortium NROTC Unit. "The end state is that our midshipmen are well prepared to be fairly screened and evaluated in a controlled and challenging environment at OCS. As an MOI, I work with my Assistant MOIs, supporting staff and students to ensure our midshipmen are provided every opportunity to train for and succeed at OCS, so they can prove they have what it takes to lead Marines," added Morris.
The primary instructors for the event were physical fitness professionals from OCS. Jess Vera Cruz, a certified athletic trainer who works with the midshipmen while they are officer candidates at Quantico; retired U.S. Navy Capt. Shelly Weinstein, a physical therapist, and United Kingdom Royal Marine Colour Sgt. Rob Conde, who provides fitness training advisement on an exchange program with the Royal Marines.
"One of the things we were asked to come down and do is to help the candidates have a better understanding of what the requirements are, what they can do in preparation to limit their chances of injury, and to help them better physically and mentally prepare for the six weeks of training that they're going to have at OCS," said Weinstein. "We're trying to encompass the physical aspect of it and also the mental aspect of it. They will be yelled at, they will be in stressful situations to be evaluated, they will be pushed to the brink physically. Our hope is that, in covering all of these areas, there will be more well-rounded candidates who have a higher chance of completing OCS successfully."
This training highlighted a growing focus on not only preparing candidates for the physical requirements of their job, but preparing them to maintain physical health and conscious awareness of common injuries brought on by overuse, overtraining, and lack of pre-care such as stretching, warm-up before intense work, and gradual, controlled increase of intensity over several workout sessions throughout their career.
"What I got from this training was that, overall at OCS, you get out what you put in prior," said Midshipman 2nd Class Seth McGann, a Junior at Duke University who attended the training. "When it comes to physical preparation and injury prevention, daily routines are a must. It was incredibly helpful to run through what a daily PT session at OCS would look like so we know what sort of expectations we can have from the fitness side of things."
"This is great exposure," said Midshipman 2nd Class Madison Hamby, a Junior at University of North Carolina who also attended the training. "We've never had an instructor from OCS come out before and really show us what the PT there looks like, we've always kind of had to guess at what areas we need to practice in to best prepare ourselves. The prevalence of circuit training was surprising, so that's a great area we can add in to our own preparation."
The NROTC program is overseen by Rear Adm. Mike Bernacchi and his Naval Service Training Command staff at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois. NROTC was established to develop midshipmen mentally, morally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, loyalty and core values in order to commission college graduates as Navy and Marine Corps officers who possess a basic professional background, are motivated toward careers in uniformed services and have a potential for future development in mind and character so as to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.
NSTC oversees 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy, as well as the Navy's Citizenship Development program. NSTC also includes Recruit Training Command (RTC), the Navy's only boot camp also at Naval Station Great Lakes, the Navy ROTC program at more than 160 colleges and universities, Officer Training Command (OTC) Newport, Rhode Island, and Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NDCC) citizenship development programs at more than 600 high schools worldwide.
For more information about NROTC, visit www.nrotc.navy.mil
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