|To meet the immediate need for Army Air Corps Officers in wartime,
the Officer Candidate School (OCS) was established on 19 February
1942, and located temporarily in several Miami Beach Florida resort hotels.
The initial input of Officer Candidates was composed of former aviation
cadets, eliminated for medical or flying deficiencies, active-duty warrant
offices, and enlisted men under 36 years of age.
OCS adopted the class system of training in which the student
body was divided into a first class and a second class where the senior
students held OC ranks and the responsibility for training underclassmen
in all aspects of military discipline and decorum similar to the
training practices used by the United States Military Academy. However,
due to the urgency to turn out officers during wartime, all of the
training - military, academic and physical, had to be compressed into a
4 month period.
OCS was relocated to the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center (later to
become Lackland AFB) in April 1944. After only 14 months at Lackland, the
school was relocated to Maxwell Field, Alabama. OCS was returned to the
Army Air Forces Military Training Center at Lackland on 1 February 1946.
The OCS that returned to San Antonio in February 1946 was a shell of
its former self. It consisted of two classes (1946-B and 1946-C) that would
graduate a total of 33 men. Classes during the second half of 1946 (i.e.,
1946-G to 1946-L) averaged 48.5 enrollees per class.
When the United States Air Force was constituted in August 1947, the
fledgling Air Training Command began work on organizing the 3700th Officer
Candidate Training Group, which was finally established a year later in
August 1948. The school remained at Lackland Air Force Base (so named on
3 February 1948) and was extended from four to six months in length. The
West Point-type class system of training, was subordinated in 1947 to a
student organization with flights, squadrons, and groups as a means of
inculcating military discipline, confidence, and command abilities.
After this transition year, the Air Force OCS, continued to graduate
newly commissioned reserve officers at a rate of 300-600 per year for the
next 16 years. The Korean War saw a temporary increase in OCS production,
from 970 graduates in 1951 to 1,494 in 1952 and then to 2,085 in 1953.
OCS, the main commissioning program for enlisted personnel, produced
about 450 new officers annually between 1953 and the middle of 1957. Most
went to non-rated duties, although a few did earn wings. Unique among the
commissioning programs, OCS grew, if only slightly, during the last years
of the decade when itís annual quota was raised to 600 in 1958.
Then, with the Air Force Academy and ROTC, the Air Force found itself
with two major sources of rated officers capable of furnishing numbers
far in excess of need. Cuts had to be made, and the deciding factor on
where to make those cuts was the serviceís long-standing goal of having
a college-educated officer corps. Since Aviation Cadets attracted few with
college degrees, the cadet program was an obvious target. Once the primary
source for rated officers, the Aviation Cadet programís percentage of new
rated officers fell from 70% in1957 to just 12% in 1959.
It soon became obvious that the Air Force needed to develop a program
that could produce college-educated officers and still respond to the rapid
changes in manpower needs. The answer was a program for which only college
graduates or those within six months of graduation could apply. That program
was the Officer Training School, or OTS. The first class of the Officer
Training School (1960-A), consisting of 79 men and 13 women graduated at
Lackland AFB on 9 February 1960. Quickly, the OTS shadow fell most heavily
on the Aviation Cadet and OCS programs. The Air Force waited for the OTS
numbers to catch up - and then scheduled a phase-out of the earlier programs.
With the success of OTS, the Air Force OCS program was finally terminated
1 July 1963 after twenty-one years of service and over 41,000 officers
produced. The final OCS class (Class 1963-D) of 119 was graduated on 21
June 1963. Interestingly, in a study of undergraduate pilot training attrition
for 1962, OCS-trained officers
maintained academic, flying, and military grades equal to Air Force
Academy graduates and superior to those of aviation cadets or officers
from OTS and ROTC. Further, history has shown that many OCS graduates advanced
through the officer grades to the rank of General Officer.