It is called, simply, "The Basic School.” For each junior Marine Corps officer, whether commissioned via university, service academy, officer candidate school, or platoon leader course, it is the introduction to the duties and responsibilities accompanying his new commission. Located at the Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia, the school provides more than 1,100 hours of scheduled classroom and field instruction during a rigorous 21-week cycle. In addition to formal instruction, provided by staff members expert in fields ranging from military law to communications or company personnel administration, there is the constant education provided by the Staff Platoon Commanders—the experienced officers responsible for the day-to-day tasks of each 50-man student platoon.
Physical conditioning is a hallmark of the Marines and, accordingly, is not neglected at the Basic School. Excess pounds slip off quickly during the 120 hours allotted to physical training. The activities take many forms, ranging from combat swimming with utilities and an M-14 rifle, to strenuous running and calisthenics and demanding obstacle and confidence courses.