|MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C., Sept. 21, 2006 — Marines all over the world brave the tumultuous waters leading to the other side of the Corps: officer candidacy.
With the drive to strive for bigger and better things, 1st Lt. Thomas J. Mannino said he felt the need to experience the challenges of both the enlisted and officer sides of the Corps.
From an aircraft maintenance administration specialist to a material maintenance control officer for Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 464, Mannino’s decision in 2002 changed the course of his entire career.
As a staff sergeant in the Marine Corps, Mannino said he became tired of the monotony.
“The challenge was gone, I knew my job inside out, I was even an instructor for my job,” he said.
Mannino decided to become an officer and face the new challenges head on.
He said the hardest part of becoming an officer was actually making the decision to face the unknown and begin the Enlisted Commissioning Program.
In October 2002, Mannino went to Officer Candidacy School.
He said that while OCS was a physical training academy, that was not the hardest aspect of the school.
“The hardest part of OCS was not being in control of yourself - you’re back to being in boot camp,” he said.
Now, with 12 years of enlisted experience and four years as an officer, Mannino has definitely earned the respect of his commanding officer, Lt. Col. Mike Young.
“He has an outstanding work ethic,” Young said. “He works the longest hours of any officer in my command.”