Brothers Take Army Officer Candidate School Together

Jony and Ben Rogers come from a Pensacola, Florida, family of 13 children. Both brothers joined the Army, and both are now enrolled in the same class and platoon of Officer Candidate School here.

Ben, 30, served in the Army from 2011 to 2015, where he worked in human intelligence. He left the Army and did contracting work in the Washington area and taught English in Iraqi Kurdistan. Then, he returned to the Army to become a commissioned officer.

Jony, 23, went to school from 2013 to 2017 at the University of West Florida in Pensacola. After he graduated he worked as a software engineer and applied to Officer Candidate School.

Waiting for basic training and OCS to line up, his entry into the Army was delayed by six months. Jony had to wait a further six weeks for OCS to have a class size large enough to proceed. Because of this timing, the two brothers happened to be placed in the same class together.

“We didn’t plan it at all,” Jony said. “It just all kind of lined up.”

The two brothers were happy when they found out they would attend the school together.

‘It Was Pretty Cool’

“It was pretty cool,” Ben said. “I knew mom would be happy, because she would only have to go to one graduation.”

“I was initially quite happy with it, coming from basic,” Jony said. “I didn’t know what OCS would hold. I was told a lot of things by a lot of people who had never been to OCS.”

One piece of information Jony considered reliable was that prior-service soldiers were likelier to do better at OCS.

“So knowing that he [Ben] would be there, someone I knew and trusted as far as having that experience and discipline, I knew that would make the course I was going through a lot easier,” Jony said. “I wouldn’t be stumbling around as much.”

“It is nice to put some of my knowledge [to use] to try to help him along, and try to avoid some of the mistakes I made,” Ben said.

Career Choice

Jony and Ben branched infantry, but Ben said he is ultimately hoping for military intelligence with a branch detail to infantry.

“A lot of my [noncommissioned officers] were prior infantry, and you could see the difference,” Ben said. “The infantry and armor branches produce a lot of fantastic leaders. And I want to be a leader — first and foremost.”

“Of all the people I talked to — prior enlisted, prior officers — a lot of them highly recommended going infantry due to the high quality of soldiers that are in there — a lot more dedicated because you’ve got a lot more on the line,” Jony said. “People that are in the infantry generally tend to be more motivated to be better trained, better disciplined and just tend to have a good experience overall.”