Officer candidates braved the unusually chilly and wet July day on Thursday to train in Niantic and ultimately acquire the skills they will need for the National Guard.
Candidates from Connecticut, the rest of New England, as well as New York and New Jersey reported to Officer Candidate School at Camp Niantic this morning before the sun came up and they are pushing themselves to the limit.
"It was a little tough." David MacFarland, of Brooklyn, Connecticut, said.
The candidates here for Phase One Officer Candidate School are part of a more than yearlong program that includes extensive training and stress and endurance drills.
"Everybody has a job to do in the military and this is their opportunity to show that they can perform these basic soldier tasks," Captain Jonathan Norton, the platoon training officer, said.
One of the exercises on Thursday is called the lines of knowledge, which requires candidates to demonstrate how they can retain information.
"It's a challenge because we incorporate stress," Norton said.
Those taking part in the exercise said this is only a small part of the officer candidate school.
"Land navigation was pretty tough. We were out there for four or five days, walking around the woods for eight hours or so," MacFarland said.
Sara Graham, of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, said that no matter how challenging the training is, she plans to stick it out.
"The females have a rare opportunity, where we started with over 100 candidates and only 11 females and now were down to seven, so it's an opportunity to prove ourselves even more," Graham said. "We’re doing exactly everything that the males are doing. We carry the same weight, so I think that's kind of a motivator."