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BOLC II and OBC?

Discussion in 'Military Medicine' started by JJHoppers, Dec 21, 2005.

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  1. JJHoppers

    JJHoppers Junior Member

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    I am an Army ROTC cadet and I will begin medical school in Fall of 2006. I have learned that the Army has created a new part of the Officer Education System (OES) where newly commissioned officers must take a course called BOLC II (Basic Officer Leadership Course II). BOLC II is a course designed to improve leadership in infantry skills and situations (https://www.infantry.army.mil/BOLC/content/welcome_packet.htm). OES consists of 3 parts - BOLC I (ROTC, Academy, or OCS) BOLC II, and BOLC III (OBC - Officer Basic Course).

    My question is, are newly commissioned medical officers (who will be going to medical school to become a military doctor) required to attend BOLC II???

    Since BOLC II is infantry/combat arms based I would think that future medical officers would not be required to take it but I have heard that ALL newly commissioned officers must take it, regardless of branch.

    IF I DO HAVE TO ATTEND BOLC II, when will I take it??? Which will I attend first, OBC or BOLC II??? Would I attend OBC the summer before my first year in medical school and then attend BOLC II after I graduate from medical school???

    I would greatly appreciate it if anyone could clear this up for me. I have gone to many people including my Health Care Recruiter on this one but nobody seems to know the answers. Maybe this is because this BOLC II is so new?
  2. colbgw02

    colbgw02 Delightfully Tacky

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    i might be able to help, as i went through/am going through a relatively similar situation...

    i did army rotc and then went to medical school, but i did not do hpsp so i've been in the irr during school. hpsp students are in the reserves and can easily actived to do obc sometime in the first year or so of medical school, but for me, they either couldn't or just didn't activate me from irr to go to obc. so now i'm going back to active duty to start residency where there isn't time to do obc without disrupting medical training - considered the priority and subject to civilian oversight. that leaves only after residency as an opportunity to do obc, and here's where the army actually does something that makes sense. they figure it doesn't make much sense to send a doc who has already been on active duty for 3-5 years to obc where he ostensibly will only learn how to salute properly. you apply for and get a waiver from attending obc, which works out well because everything you would do in obc you've done a thousand times over in rotc. imho, there's really not much utility in sending an rotc-trained officer to the medical corps obc.

    for you, obviously the situation is different. if you do hpsp, i imagine that you will only do obc. BOLC II, i'm sure, is designed to hone small infantry tactics which you have learned over the course of 2-4 years in rotc. i doubt that those tactics can be taught to any effective degree to an as-yet-untrained hpsp commissionee in enough time to fit into an already jam-packed medical school schedule.

    if i were you, i would strongly consider taking my road, depending on your medical school costs and career goals, of course. without hpsp, you get the chance to be a regular old civilian for a few years; you miss out on those extra 4 years of obligation as a board-certified attending (where you could possibly miss out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue depending on specialty); you lose nothing in the way of competitiveness for the army match system, and you get to miss out on obc. and believe me, there's really nothing to be missed about doing d&C in the Texas summer heat at ft. sam houston, especially if it has already been drummed into you via rotc. clearly, if you're going to a private school, or if you're already decided to be career military, then do hpsp. however, consider that if you graduate from college at roughly 22 years of age, do both rotc and hpsp, do the shortest possible residency without a fellowship, then the earliest opportunity to leave the army will be when you're 37.
  3. Tiger26

    Tiger26 Senior Member

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    I am an Army ROTC cadet too, and I read somewhere recentely that BOLC II was required for any branch except medical officers. However, I can't remember where I saw that info.
  4. Mirror Form

    Mirror Form Thyroid Storm

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    The reason is b/c if you go to OBC, somebody has to pay for it. Since you're not active duty, there is no funding available.

    All good points. Here are a few extra tips from another ROTC person who went into med school:
    1.) MSC obc is useless for anybody who's been a cadet.
    2.) If you take an ed delay (i.e., go IRR like colbgw02) instead of doing HPSP, you'll be credited w/ four years of service toward pay scale when you start active duty. So by paying for med school yourself, you start internship as an 0-3 w/ fours in service, instead of an 0-3 w/ 0 years in service. Overtime this accrues to be alot of money.
    3.) If you're sure you want to pay back 8 years, then keep in mind that there are plenty of financial bonuses designed to retain physicians who are reaching the end of their commitment.

    So, if you combine the extra years in service toward pay scale, w/ the financial bonuses of staying in 4 more years after your commitment is up, then the HPSP scholarship doesn't add up to much. So I figure, if you decide to stay in the military you can, but why lock yourself into that contract when the scholarship isn't worth much more then all the incentives you lose on the back end (higher pay due to more years in service and bonuses for staying past your commitment).
  5. JJHoppers

    JJHoppers Junior Member

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    Thank you for your replies. However I am required to attend OBC and I plan on going straight through medical school as a 2LT so my question is more about WILL I HAVE TO ATTEND BOLC II and if so, when???

    Has anybody taken BOLC II or going through the same situation I am in?
  6. roboyce

    roboyce Senior Member

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    I think you're missing the point. This course is not designed to train future infantry officers...we get plenty of that in IOBC/Ranger/Airborne. The purpose of BOLC is to develop the same "fighting spirit" in the support personnel, who typically don't get the small unit tactics and small arms training that is so ubiquitous in the combat arms side of the house. In other words, this course was specifically designed for soldiers who normally wouldn't be exposed to this stuff. Basically the army stole the idea from the Marines, who send all of their officers to a general infantry tactics course before further training. The idea is that with the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are no safe areas and those personnel that were once "in the rear with the gear" are now more exposed than ever and must be able to fend for themselves. Plus, infantry missions naturally lend themselves to leadership lessons.

    A couple of my friends were in the BOLC pilot programs back in 2001 at Ft. Benning. The program was a real mess at that point. It was essentially advanced advanced camp. The infantry guys hated it because it wasn't "hard" enough, while all the other people were just confused why they were there. I'm not sure how much it has evolved.

    I can't speak to whether you will have to go, but let me just step on my soapbox for a minute. If you do have to go, please don't see it as some **** you'll never use again. This is probably the only taste you'll get of how the combat arms units operate and what it is they go through on a daily basis. If you can gain an understanding of that, you will be light years ahead of your peers when it comes time to take care of soldiers...which by the way, is your primary mission. We understand that you're never going to be there at the front of a four-man stack ready to kick down and door, and quite frankly, we wouldn't want you there, but just the fact that you've walked that line a few times will earn our respect. During my year in Iraq, the best docs were the ones who were able to step out of thier comfort zone (ie the BAS) and really get down and relate to soldiers. They spent time with boys, even went out on a few missions and this experience gave them the real sense of purpose that was shared among the line units...they became part of the unit, not just an attached officer. They gained the trust of the soldiers and sometimes, that faith might be enough for a guy to hold on a little longer when he's bleeding out all over the floor.

    Oh yeah, learn how to wear a beret too. That will save you a lot of grief from the line units. Hint - you have to shave it and shape it.

    Best of luck.
  7. JJHoppers

    JJHoppers Junior Member

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    No, roboyce, I am not missing the point because I understand the Army's reasoning behind BOLC II and that the infantry training it teaches is important to everyone. After all, even the Transportation Corp nowadays is seeing a lot of action and they could use BOLC II just as much as the Medical Corp can.

    The point of my question is to find out when/if I must attend BOLC so that I may begin some long term planning as far as my summer and academic schedules go.

    However, thankyou for your comments roboyce because you are correct that the any combat training doctors can get will only bring about more understanding and a better relationship between doctors and their patients.
  8. roboyce

    roboyce Senior Member

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    Yeah, sorry, you still haven't exactly gotten your initial question answered. Here's my advice -

    1. You said you were currently an ROTC cadet and I'm assuming you've gotten an ed delay to attend medical school. I can't remember if they actually branch you guys or not at this point. Nonetheless, you know that you are eventually going to be branched into the medical corps. I would advise you to call up your branch rep (I posted the site below). Each branch typically has a representative for each rank. Call them and ask about your scheduling. You might also call the AMEDD OBC School.

    2. If that doesn't work, I would try calling 1/11 IN, the unit that runs BOLC at Ft. Benning. Yeah, you might get some jerk on the phone, but you also might get the answers you're looking for.

    3. Finally, I would try getting in touch with someone at cadet command. I would think your PMS could take care of this for you. Cadet command typically forgets about you once you are commissioned, but they might have some insight into this since it is going to affect so many new LTs.

    Here's some stuff I found for you in case you didn't already have it. You might have to login with an AKO username and password - ask one of your cadre to help if you don't have one:

    A. AMEDD OBC Site: http://www.cs.amedd.army.mil/obc/ and here is the unit that runs OBC - you can call them: http://www.cs.amedd.army.mil/187medbn/alpha/
    B. Medical Corps Branch Site: https://www.hrc.army.mil/site/active/ophsdmc/medcorps.htm
    C. Medical Corps Branch Contacts: https://www.hrc.army.mil/site/active/ophsdmc/MCEmail.htm
    D. Ft Sam Public Site: http://www.samhouston.army.mil/sites/local/

    By the way, I didn't see anything about BOLC on the OBC website so you might be exempt.
  9. alferec

    alferec Future Army OD

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    JJHoppers: I've gotten the ed delay for optometry, and I was not assigned for BOLC II. Also, the personnel technician at our ROTC department (the guy who handles our accessions packets) told me that ed delays do not go to BOLC II. But to be sure, I would dig deeper and do more research since you're going for the med program.
  10. alferec

    alferec Future Army OD

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    colbgw02 and/or sledge2005:
    1. Where did you get this information that you will be in the IRR while on the ed delay? And how do you know that you can get time in service while doing to school? I would appreciate the sources so I can be sure.

    2. I'm also in the predicament where I can choose HPSP or not (I have the 4-year ROTC commitment). Are you sure that it's worth to shoulder a $100,000 debt (I'm planning for optometry school) during my time in active duty? Oh, add $30,000 to that amount (from undergrad). That's tons of money to pay off considering that I'll just be getting O-4 pay...

    3. I also heard that educational loans can be deferred while you're in active duty (but interest still accrues). Do you know if this this true???

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