IN SEARCH OF EXCELLENCE
The Story of Robert Neal Sklare
by Joshua M. Sklare
Bob Sklare was a man who thought “outside the box” and came up with creative solutions to unique problems. Laugh when you read how he had tons of ice delivered to get a piece of machinery in a hole. You will be pleased when you realize that Bob entered into a government agreement to provide quality housing for the elderly and learn how he gave residents a wonderful living experience—not just a business decision, but a moral one.
OCS in all branches of the service is known as a “high-speed program.” The senior enlisted personnel, who lead most of the practical training, are not known for their sensitivity and easygoing dispositions. Theirs is not a “live and let live” universe. They may not harbor a great deal of affection and admiration for those they perceive to be spoiled college boys. The fast pace and high stress of OCS has a time-tested rationale behind it. By simulating real world combat scenarios, it gives the officers in charge of OCS the opportunity to evaluate the candidate’s ability to cope with rapidly changing and highly stressful conditions. Officers Candidate School consists of a rigorous academic schedule and an intense physical fitness regimen, during which prospective officers are expected to do everything better and faster than the men they hope to lead.
Robert remembers the high stress nature of the program. He states, “In going through OCS, they made it very difficult for you to keep your cool. Everyone who was in the program had been carefully checked out physically and had received good grades in college, so there was no question as to their intellectual abilities, but there was a very big question as to whether or not they could take and give orders. They deliberately tried to frustrate you but of course, it was all a test, so that if they got the better of you, you would in effect say, ‘the heck with this, I am out of here. Go stick it!’ About 20% of the class washed out, but when you are in OCS, there are four things to look forward to: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and graduation. Not that I did not look forward to the first three, but getting those ensign’s bars made all the chicken worthwhile.”