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Reserve Commission Officer Training (RCOT) Living Arrangements
Air Force Training Dormitories
Reserve Commission Officer Training (RCOT) is a formal Air Force school and you have the great fortune to live in Air Force style dormitories for the duration of the training. Staying off-base at any time is not authorized, even the day prior to graduation, so if you have family or friends coming in make sure they’re aware of this.
The rooms are sparse but functional and most people will have a roommate. Although the idea of having a roommate for class may not be a palatable one before you get there, when you arrive it’s nice to have someone else around so you can keep each other on-time and help each other out with the mandatory items that must be taken each time you leave the room for the day. (When there are so many items to keep track of and you’re always running behind it’s always nice to have someone else watching your back.) No one in my flight had a problem with their roommate as we were in our rooms for such a short amount of time each day and were always doing homework or other duties that there was not enough time or energy to get upset about any otherwise annoying personal habit.
Room from the doorway
The rooms are serviceable and clean. You and your roommate will have your own personal sinks and there is a private shower and toilet attached to your room so there’s no sharing between rooms. There is never time to take a tub bath so you won’t even notice one is missing. You will also have your own walk-in closet, study desk with credenza, and clothes drawers. Your drawers will include one that has the ability to secure items in if you bring a lock. The lock is highly recommended as there are times you will not be allowed to wear your wedding rings or carry other valuable items (your extra small bills cash for meals and your cel phone, unless you have special permission to carry your phone) and it’s better to keep them locked up just in case. Some days you will not be allowed to wear jewelry at all due to safety issues so my roommate locked her wedding ring in my secure drawer as well.
Sink and bathroom/shower attached to the room
Locking the security drawer
If you do bring a lock I highly recommend something that is easy to open. I used the Master Lock 1500ID Speed Dial Combination Lock which needs no special spinning to specific numbers, however if you get one of the easy combo locks that would work as well. Most of the time you are there you will not have the minutes to spare playing with a lock that may or may not open when you turn it to your magic number one way then twice the other way and so on so get something simple and quick so you’re not stuck making your flight wait (or worse yet, being left behind).
Master Lock 2500ID Speed Dial Combination Lock
Bring your own laptop
The Holm Center website suggests students bring their own laptops. I would recommend that people bring their own laptops, and if they don’t have one, that they beg, borrow or steal to bring with them. Make sure the laptop has the ability to create Word type documents and PowerPoint presentations.
Thankfully I had brought my own laptop but didn’t bring my own internet connection source. There is wireless internet available for students in the dormitories but the routers can only handle a few connections and then it bogs down and becomes very slow or kicks people off randomly. When there is very little time to accomplish additional duties or homework having a good, solid internet connection becomes very important, especially when much of the information needed is on a web Blackboard created for the class.
This web Blackboard was an issue for my flight. At first – like almost all the rest of the directions given in the course – we were given different url addresses for the site and neither urls worked for anyone. We asked members of other flights and they were having the same problems. After a few days one person got one of the urls to work and only they could login, and although she shared the correct url with everyone else, none of us were not admitted to the site. That one individual who gained access to the Blackboard became extremely popular as we then had to ask her to download the forms we needed and other items posted which were only available on that site.
As the template for memorandums was on the Blackboard site that we had no access to yet but memorandums were due, I looked at the memorandums posted in the WELCOME PACKAGE we received the first day and created a memo template that looked similar. I found the logo online and used the same letterhead with the font as close as I could get it. As I was my flight’s Administrative Officer every memo had to come through me before it was sent to the Flight Instructor so I was able to fix the margins and make sure their signature blocks were in the correct place and in the proper format. Thankfully the crafted memorandum worked and our Flight Instructor accepted all the memorandums as they were submitted.
PowerPoint is required for the formal briefings that need to be done in week 2. One of my flight members didn’t have PowerPoint so he created his briefing through Google documents. I watched him do a little of it and even though he had his own wireless hotspot through his cel phone the process was extremely slow and tedious. As sleep is the lost commodity during this course the faster the briefing slides are completed the better off the student will be, so being able to create PowerPoint slides is a valuable option.
If there is no way to bring a laptop of your own the school will issue you one, however it will be a government laptop which means you will not be able to access anything but official sites on it. If you are not familiar with using a military computer that pretty much means you can’t access anything you want, to include stock photos for your presentation. It will have the programs you need for the class installed on it so that’s a bonus.
If you can't beg, borrow or steal a laptop to bring...
There are also desktops available to use in a student lounge near the flight rooms. These computers are CAC enabled so the first time you login to one expect to wait a while as the system will need to recognize you and allow you access.
Printing and copying
Printing is a challenge. There was a printer on the second floor of the dormitories for everyone to use but it didn’t print – it made copies. Supposedly someone figured out how to get it to print two days before graduation but at that point most turn-in requirements were done so it was worthless.
The other item to note about the printer/copier is that there was no paper available for it. When our administrative officer asked for paper she was told it was rationed out on a daily basis. After that we were on the lookout for discarded copies where people only used one side as we’d make copies on the other.
If you’re not interested in paper scavenging while you’re in class perhaps it would be better to bring your own ream of paper (or two) just in case. If I knew we were going to have such issues with basic items I most certainly would have.
23rd Training Squadron Dormitories
Location of the dormitories for RCOT, COT, AMS and BOT trainees.