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Posted: 3/15/2006 7:58:07 PM EDT
Okay guys, need some advice from you guys with experience. I'm 29 with a college degree (I have a BS in BS) and an itch to enlist. I talked to an army recruiter who is telling me that if I enlist, I could be sent to 'Officer's Training School' which I imagine is tough as nails. I have no intention of pushing pencils and not afraid to get my hands dirty. People close to me are telling me I'm nutz for doing this now, but I can't shake it. I'd even like to try out for Ranger school if possible, but I'm not sure if they'd take me this late in the game. You guys have any advice??? Everyone is telling me not to trust the promises of the army recruiter... Maybe you guys can help me with some questions I can ask him??
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 2:34:56 AM EDT
Get in real good shape. Is there an age cut off for OCS?
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 6:03:48 AM EDT
The cutoff is 29, however, if your 30-34 you can request a waiver.

And yea, I hear ya. I've been working out pretty strenuously every other day, however, I'm sure what I put myself through now is a cake walk compared to what i'm in store for... I really just need to building up my stamina...
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 6:13:43 AM EDT
Be in shape. You don't have to be an officer either. Ranger school is kinda tough.
Link Posted: 3/16/2006 6:20:27 AM EDT
from my experience, when it came to PT, people got the most respect when it came to the 2mile run. Push ups and sit ups can be very subjectively graded unfortunately, depending on who you got as a grader.

BUT, if you can smoke the 2mile, and even start pressing a good 5mile time, everything else should come together.

The best way to train for the pt test is to train for the 3 events. its sad to say, but there were quite a few people who were out of shape that still could score pretty damn well on a PT test.

So, i dont know which one I would do first if I were in your situation, but the run is probably the hardest to train for.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 6:10:10 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/17/2006 6:15:32 AM EDT by Sgt_Gold]
Most of the Army's officers come out of ROTC. OCS is at Ft. Benning and is basic training for officers. I went through Infantry school at age 18, but there were two 29 ish guys that made it through so it's not impossible. The first thing you have to ask yourself is do you want to be an officer? If so you need to act now before you get any older. As to the cut off age, yes you will need a waiver but it was easier to get into OCS from inside the Army then from outside. I saw at least three trainees get accepted into OCS while they were at the Infantry school for the enlisted course. I don't know if the Army is still doing this, but it pays to ask. Whatever you do, make sure you pick an enlisted job you actually want because if you don't end up an officer you're going to be stuck with the job for the next eight years.

If you enlist with a BS you should go in as an E-4.

usmilitary.about.com/od/armyjoin/a/advancedrank.htm

In order to enlist with rank, you MUST get it in writing as part of your contract. DO NOT take a spoken promise or "you can try to get that later" line from anyone. If you want to be an airborne Ranger you can get it in writing. The Army is hard up for non prior service recruits, and someone with an education is even more valuble. If the recruiter dosen't fall all over himself to get you under contract something is very wrong.


Originally Posted By books:
I talked to an army recruiter who is telling me that if I enlist, I could be sent to 'Officer's Training School' which I imagine is tough as nails.

Maybe you guys can help me with some questions I can ask him??

Link Posted: 3/17/2006 9:57:29 AM EDT
You guys are wonderful. I imagine you've saved me from a lot of frustration and misery in the future!!
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 10:02:48 AM EDT
You basically have 2 options. Go enlisted as an E4, spend some time learning the Army, then apply for OCS and become an officer or do a direct commission and join as an officer and go strait to OCS.

Either way gets you in. Going enlisted first will give you Army experience before you take a leadership role but going in as an officer is automatically a leadership position and the pay is much greater.

I see no real draw backs to either choice. Joining will definitely help you learn who you really are and the whole physical part is mostly in your head. I'm 42 and can still do good hard physical exercise.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 7:44:23 PM EDT
Are you dead set on being an officer or going active duty? I enlisted out of college with my BA and have avoided OCS ever since. Rank can come quickly with your degree and if you know where to jump to and you can continue to do fun and productive work late into your career as an NCO. Had I gone to the "O" ranks I would have been behind a desk years ago. My current junior resigned his commission to go enlisted and do real work again. Anyway, look into the 18X (SF Baby) program. I think it's called the Rep. 63 program in the National Guard. As an older recruit I suggest you look into SOF as an entry level job. I would not be able to put up with the necessary mentality of the regular Army at my age. Ranger BN is an awesome place, but it is a place you need to go as a kid. Once you get so old you want things a little more your way and you just can't be psychologically manipulated into believing that things are more important than they really are. Don't trust recruiters, do your own research and get in shape.
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 10:42:07 AM EDT
I can't stress this point enough: get what you want in WRITING!!!! If you want airborne get it in writing when you enlist, if you want Ranger, get it in writing when you enlist. The "you can get a slot later" bullshit is just that, mostly bullshit. You are only 29. You are young. I am 33 and can do as much or more than I could at 20.
Link Posted: 3/21/2006 3:58:09 PM EDT
If you enlist, you WILL be told to pick up cig butts for a good two years by 18-19 yr old kids. I dont care how young you think you are, you are not 18 anymore and it will take you longer to recover from day to day work, let alone physical shit. Your degree will be a sore spot among the sncos'. They will think of you as a know-it-all. You will regret enlisting from day one to your eas.
If you go officer, you will constantly be judged against your fellow (22yr old ROTC, athlete,stud)
officers everyday. You will use your age as an excuse for your shortcoming and your (40yr old ROTC, athlete,stud,been training for ever) CO will smoke you.
Your choice. I say you're too old.
Link Posted: 3/21/2006 5:19:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/21/2006 5:21:08 PM EDT by Unicorn]
I'd ignore the previous poster. He seems to be bitter about something. Perhaps he just had a bad experience with people who knows. It's likely that you'll run into some people like that, but most of it will be your own attitude. Brag about your degrees, and it will be a problem. Use your age as an excuse and it will be a problem. Do your job without whining, and you'll get along fine. Just be sure to understand that you will have people who are 20 or 21 controlling your life. Accept it and move on.
There are a lot of people who go in later in life, or who go enlist after getting a degree. Not common, but not really a rarity. If getting a degree is such a problem for the senior NCO's, why do they always push the younger guys to go to school as much as they can?
There is at least on member here who is about 34 IIRC, that joined about a year ago. He seems to be doing ok. Another member who is 26ish I think, that was demoted from E-4 to E-3 when he switched from Guard to Active (sometimes happens when going from a reserve component to active) that is doing ok. If you have a good head on your shoulders, have some patience, and aren't ful of yourself you'll be fine. And get in shape. The 27-31 age bracket is the hardest age to max out the PT test. Not the hardest to pass, just the hardest to max.
Link Posted: 3/21/2006 6:43:43 PM EDT
I wouldn't worry to much about your degree man. Having one is a good thing! The drills might give you a hard time about being a college grad a couple of times in basic training, but then they give EVERYONE a hard time about EVERYTHING. That's just the way it is. Understand it's a headgame and move on.

I don't know what southfloridaguns is talking about with senior NCOs and degrees. ALL of the senior NCOs that I know have a LOT of college if not their bachelor's. Just the way it works these days. Education equals promotion points. Not saying that you have to have the degree to get promoted, just that all of the senior NCOs that I know personally happen to fall into that category (have a degree or close to one).

Also..... Some people age faster than other's, but if you're in good shape it won't effect you as much. So get in shape and stay there. Age won't mess you us as much. Captain in my old unit used to smoke us all on the run and come back for more the next day. You won't recover as fast, but the Army doesn't throw soldiers away at 25. If it's something that you want, do it. And do it all the way.

Good luck and let us know how it works out for you.
Link Posted: 3/21/2006 7:36:21 PM EDT
Thanks guys for all this advice and (most of you) the encouragment! Its inspiring to hear that guys older than myself are still going strong. I've convinced myself that if one guy can do it, theres no reason I can't too... I will keep you updated as I go on.
Link Posted: 3/22/2006 5:59:25 AM EDT
29?!

29?!


You ought to be ashamed of yourself, you damned disgrace!


When I was your age, I was 34!
Link Posted: 3/25/2006 3:14:02 AM EDT
A thread in the team forum is similar and I realised something tonight, so I am going to commit the sin of crossposting, and a cut and paste at that.

Just something I realised tonight at my part time job. I am the security guard at a club on post, and often I check ID's at the door. There are a lot of older Privates and Specialists in the Army these days. Quite a few in their late 20's, and some in their early 30's.
Link Posted: 3/25/2006 9:39:45 PM EDT

When I enlisted in the Army, late 1961 they had the DRAFT, all of these guys were in their mid to late 20s and they made it.

For those that didn't know:
The draftee's serial number started with US, the enlistee's number started with RA for Regular Army. Draft was for 2 years, enlistment for 3 years then.


Link Posted: 3/26/2006 5:01:23 PM EDT
Hey man, if you want to do it, than do it. And if someone you dont know post some shit on the internet that makes you upset, you need to thicken up your skin. All I'm saying is you will have more shitty days than you will have good. And if you are thinking about infantry work, then it is really gonna be difficult for you. If you want supply or some shit, then yeah it's like a civilian job.
I know because I am a grunt that spends most of my time in Iraq. Going back for the third time here in a few months. I am your age, enlisted on my first term. At my age most Marines are either an E6/7 or O3. Everyone calls me "old man". And no, I'm not bitter. I love my job and I have had a great career. I just get pissed when people who dont know what they are talking about post shit that they heard from their brother or some shit they read in the paper. I am here doing what you want to do at your age. And I'm not gonna promise you a rose garden.
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 9:08:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By southfloridaguns:
Hey man, if you want to do it, than do it. And if someone you dont know post some shit on the internet that makes you upset, you need to thicken up your skin. All I'm saying is you will have more shitty days than you will have good. And if you are thinking about infantry work, then it is really gonna be difficult for you. If you want supply or some shit, then yeah it's like a civilian job.
I know because I am a grunt that spends most of my time in Iraq. Going back for the third time here in a few months. I am your age, enlisted on my first term. At my age most Marines are either an E6/7 or O3. Everyone calls me "old man". And no, I'm not bitter. I love my job and I have had a great career. I just get pissed when people who dont know what they are talking about post shit that they heard from their brother or some shit they read in the paper. I am here doing what you want to do at your age. And I'm not gonna promise you a rose garden.



I'm not upset at all dude, and I'm actually glad that someone posted an alternate view on what the hell I could be up against. If I were to pursue infantry work, is there any advice you can give me that maybe you wish you had from the get go?? Believe me, I'm not expecting a goddam vacation. But if there something that can help me from the start, I'd love to know about it now...

Thanks for your post man. Every once in a while I do need someone to push me back down to reality, especially with what I want to do at my age...
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 12:31:10 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/27/2006 12:41:10 AM EDT by BillofRights]

Originally Posted By chromeluv:
from my experience, when it came to PT, people got the most respect when it came to the 2mile run. Push ups and sit ups can be very subjectively graded unfortunately, depending on who you got as a grader.

BUT, if you can smoke the 2mile, and even start pressing a good 5mile time, everything else should come together.

The best way to train for the pt test is to train for the 3 events. its sad to say, but there were quite a few people who were out of shape that still could score pretty damn well on a PT test.

So, i dont know which one I would do first if I were in your situation, but the run is probably the hardest to train for.




+1 If you are a runner, you have it aced. If not, become one.


Make sure you can do pushups using the correct form. Don't look like a monkey F@cking a football.

Re: recruiters: Get it in writing is the best and only advice.

If you can get into an Officer position, you should. If not, go enlisted. Either way, you and your country will be the better for it. Do it, and have fun. Best of luck.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 1:02:47 AM EDT

Originally Posted By southfloridaguns:
If you enlist, you WILL be told to pick up cig butts for a good two years by 18-19 yr old kids. I dont care how young you think you are, you are not 18 anymore and it will take you longer to recover from day to day work, let alone physical shit. Your degree will be a sore spot among the sncos'. They will think of you as a know-it-all. You will regret enlisting from day one to your eas.
If you go officer, you will constantly be judged against your fellow (22yr old ROTC, athlete,stud)
officers everyday. You will use your age as an excuse for your shortcoming and your (40yr old ROTC, athlete,stud,been training for ever) CO will smoke you.
Your choice. I say you're too old.



ignore this nimrod! he's probably old and fat and disgusted with himself. i think either route is good, officer or enlisted!
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 5:04:18 PM EDT
I ran a 264 pft 10 days ago. 200 is first class at my age. Made E5 in three years. I'm not old or fat. I just know from experience that joining the military at 29 is insane. Even as an officer. Even in the friggin army. I'm sorry if thats notwhat you want to hear. I'm sorry if everyone else has no friggin clue what their talking about. If you were to show up at my unit tomorrow morning, you wouldn't last past pt before they moved you to hq co for some support position. When I walk around work,it seems all the bullshit jobs are taken by the old or fat guys. And one more thing, there are people walking around wearing a military uniform doing whatever, then there are the people fighting in that uniform and making a difference. Just joining to join may not give you what your looking for.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 6:41:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By southfloridaguns:
I just know from experience that joining the military at 29 is insane. Even as an officer. Even in the friggin army. I'm sorry if thats notwhat you want to hear. I'm sorry if everyone else has no friggin clue what their talking about.



As I recall, the average age of the guys going to the Q-course was around 30. The 18X program may have lowered that number a bit, though the big dogs are apparently "old" by your estimation.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 4:21:07 PM EDT
Q-Course huh? You even know what that is or where it's at? Did you even consider the fact that most of those guys have already been in awhile. You folks need to stop watching movies. Dont get me wrong, you can join and do something, but your crazy if you want to fight in Iraq at your age. Simple as that. Sure there are people our age there (myself) but we have been in awhile already and are no longer the first one in the door if you know what I mean. Just to give an example because you all only care about high speed guys, our STA plt is right around 75% under drinking age.
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 3:55:14 PM EDT

Originally Posted By southfloridaguns:
I just know from experience that joining the military at 29 is insane.



It may be insane, but it can be done, and has been done. I had my 27th birthday the second week of OCS. There were quite a few people in my class older than me. There was one guy that if he rolled back to the next class couldn’t graduate because his 35th (whatever the cutoff age is) birthday was a week after our class graduated. Dude 29 is not old, and defiantly not too old to join the military. One of my college friends enlisted at 31 and did just fine. Even got top graduate from AIT. Sure, it will be a little more difficult to keep up with the 18 year olds, but not so much that it would deter me. There are a lot of 29+ year olds in the military that do it every day. Having been an E I would recommend going zero (with maybe a little E time first) – the pay is better, the benefits are better (espically important if you have/plan to have a family), less BS details, you still get to do some cool stuff (although there is an equal amount of mind numbing office work), and I relish the challenge of leading. I was an E for 9 years, and have been a zero for a little over 7.
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 4:11:15 PM EDT
Have you any idea the number of upper 20's, to 40's National Guardsman who are doing their jobs in Irak this very day, as E-4's and E-5's?

If a person is in shape, they are in shap. If not, then they aren't. If they have the mindset and mental toughness to handle the bullshit, they do, and if they don't they don't. Regardless of age.

Some things will be harder due to age. Physicall fitness will be harder to get and keep, and the body will take longer to recover. That happens to everyone, whether or not they have been in since they were 17 or went in at the cut off at 37.

Not every civillian is a fat couch potato like you seem to be implying. This guy could be benching 350, and running marathons in under 4hours. You don't know. You are just saying that he's too old. You also imply that he is too weak minded to handle being told what to do by people 9 years younger. Just because you can't handle it doesn't mean that others can't.
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 6:39:36 PM EDT
And what exactly is the national guard doing? Just being in Iraq is not a great honor. Sitting in a firm base providing site security is not a hard job. I said fighting in Iraq will be very difficult as a 29yr old boot. I can tell you right now that if this guy showed up to any random Marine BN tonight, he would be picking upcig butts, cleaning heads, general bullshit/hazing, until his senior Marines get out. Thats just the way it is now. Life in the grunts is very aggressive right now. As I already said, he could join for some high tech comm job and do well. But then why the fuckwould you join for that if Cingular would hire you for the same shit for double the pay. In my opinion, post 9/11 people join to fight. They come here (grunts) ready for Iraq. All my guys are hardchargers and put out 100%. I think my oldest guy is 24 and he's been in 2 yrs already. I can't imagine pulling into work in the morning and seeing some 29yr old pfc waiting for me with a check in sheet in his hand.
Enough said on this topic.
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 2:12:50 AM EDT

Originally Posted By southfloridaguns:
Q-Course huh? You even know what that is or where it's at?



You specialize in putting your foot in your mouth, don't you?
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 2:58:23 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/30/2006 3:01:28 AM EDT by Dave_A]

Originally Posted By books:
Okay guys, need some advice from you guys with experience. I'm 29 with a college degree (I have a BS in BS) and an itch to enlist. I talked to an army recruiter who is telling me that if I enlist, I could be sent to 'Officer's Training School' which I imagine is tough as nails. I have no intention of pushing pencils and not afraid to get my hands dirty. People close to me are telling me I'm nutz for doing this now, but I can't shake it. I'd even like to try out for Ranger school if possible, but I'm not sure if they'd take me this late in the game. You guys have any advice??? Everyone is telling me not to trust the promises of the army recruiter... Maybe you guys can help me with some questions I can ask him??



Ok, it's OCS, OTS is Air Force...

I've been there (OCS), here's the breakdown....

US Army OCS is located at Ft Benning, and is part of the Infantry School. It's a 14 week program that you attend AFTER basic training if you come in straight from the cviillian world

1) Age limit -> 27. But they do accept waviers. Your recruiter knows this, and probably knows he can get one.

2) Physical Standards: Pass the standard Army PT test with 60 points per event (PT Test Stanards 39 pushups, 45 situps, and a 17min 2mile) , and complete a 3 mile run in 27 minutes, as well as 4 & 5 mile runs without walking or stopping. Other physical activities include daily PT, unarmed combat, and road marching (3x5mi, 2x7mi, 10mi, 12mi). You take 3 PT tests while you're there. One on day one, one half way which is done to teach you how to administer it (your classmates grade), and the final... You have to pass them all (they don't care by how much) or you get sent to HHC 3/11 to mow lawns & pull staff duty untill the next class starts... 2 failures of ANYTHING (physical, academic, or otherwise) and you are an E-4 in whatever MOS the Army gives you...

3) The course is, indeed, hard as hell. It's not the physical aspects, or the academics (In general, Army tests are all multiple choice, OCS follows this)... It's the dynamics of 160 'type-A' personalities (about 50-50 between 'prior-service' (E-5 and up active duty) and 'college-op' (straight from basic, promoted to E-5 on graduation day)) living & working together for 14 weeks... Throw in long hours (5AM to 10PM, on duty) and a weekly rotating leadership schedule that has you at student CO (doing a CPT (O-3)'s work) one week, and then all the way on the bottom of the pile the next... Oh, you're eveluated 24/7 by the course cadre & your peers... The students run the company from day one, the 'real' chain of command just tells you what they want to see & write your evals... If you can handle the interpersonal dynamics, and the mountain of minor rules & BS procedures designed to test your attention to detail & time management skills, GO FOR IT...

Now, as for what you would do in the Army... Army officers are assigned 'Branches' not MOSes. Each branch corresponds to a segment of the Army, i.e. Armor, Infantry, Field Artillery, Quartermaster, Aviation, Military Intelegence, Military Police, etc... Here's a link on that subject (designed for ROTC, but the branches are the same) - you pick 10 of those choices, and they give you one of your 10. If you don't like what you get, you can trade with another member of your class...

If your answer to the above is 'Infantry', there's no need to ask, you WILL be going to Ranger school - consider yourself a perminant resident of Ft Benning for the next year and a half plus (OCS, BOLC II, IOBC, Airborne & Ranger, possibly more (Mech leader's course, for example))....

Other branches have other requirements (Eg if you go Armor and get assigned to a Cav unit you'll be taking Scout Leader's Course after AOBC)....

The reference to xOBC is 'Officer Basic Course' - you take that after OCS and BOLC (basic officer leader course) to learn your actual job.

Oh, if you go & you fail (including non-service-precluding medical issues), you're reduced to E-4 and sent out to the army for the remainder of your 3yr contract. That was my fate, I'm in Aviation now, working my way to E-5 & trying to build credentials for another shot at 2LT...

Good luck if you choose to go...

P.S. Although you get to play with all manner of weapons, you do not fire one live round of ammunition during the entire course (All training is with blanks and MILES (think laser tag)).... You also never touch a 9mm pistol... Weapons are primarily road-march weight and training aids (ok, dissassemble this and put it back together, then functions check it. Mark... get set... GO).... You do get to do force-on-force in McKenna village (Benning's urban combat training area - yes, it's a complete small village, complete with (busted) furnature... M240B with MILES is fun if the MILES works...
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 3:07:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/30/2006 3:09:04 AM EDT by Dave_A]
P.S. Whoever told you that 21yos would be running your life is fucking nuts...

The average officer in the Army is around 24-25 for a 2LT. Remember, you need a damn degree or time in and most of a degree to get commissioned. 21yo officers are a RAIRITY (read 'boy wonder' MI types)... I know folks who are 21-23yo E-4s...

You will be working for a 28-31yo CAPTAIN and a 35-40yo LTC... You will have 21yo PFCs and SPCs under you, as well as a bunch of SSGs in their mid 20s and a SFC around your age (Platoon SGT - your 'right hand man' & the guy who will make or break your early-on career).... And of course, the 18-20yo privates... Heck, the average age of a new recruit is 20...

You ain't too old... Period...
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 3:34:04 AM EDT

Originally Posted By southfloridaguns:
I dont care how young you think you are, you are not 18 anymore and it will take you longer to recover from day to day work, let alone physical shit. I say you're too old.



'None o' my bizzniss, but one of my shooting buddies enlisted to become an officer (Cdn. Forces) at the age of.... 41.
'Been to A-Stan once already.
I'm sure he's an exception to the rule as he was/is in better physical shape than any 21 year old I know...
I think the only thing his class mates resented was getting their asses kicked by the old guy
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 6:45:38 AM EDT

Originally Posted By southfloridaguns:
And what exactly is the national guard doing? Just being in Iraq is not a great honor. Sitting in a firm base providing site security is not a hard job. I said fighting in Iraq will be very difficult as a 29yr old boot. I can tell you right now that if this guy showed up to any random Marine BN tonight, he would be picking upcig butts, cleaning heads, general bullshit/hazing, until his senior Marines get out. Thats just the way it is now. Life in the grunts is very aggressive right now. As I already said, he could join for some high tech comm job and do well. But then why the fuckwould you join for that if Cingular would hire you for the same shit for double the pay. In my opinion, post 9/11 people join to fight. They come here (grunts) ready for Iraq. All my guys are hardchargers and put out 100%. I think my oldest guy is 24 and he's been in 2 yrs already. I can't imagine pulling into work in the morning and seeing some 29yr old pfc waiting for me with a check in sheet in his hand.
Enough said on this topic.



The NG is doing patrols, clearing and searching buildings, the same shit that every other Solcier with their MOS does. You know, being Soldiers.
You are an old man when you went in and are hurting. Too fucking bad. Not everyone who goes in older was a lazy fastass before deciding to get off the couch and join.
So what if his team and squad leaders will be younger. Unless you are one of those jackasses that has to respond with, "son, I am a what-the-fuck-ever age, and shouldn't have to do this," for every stupid thing, then it'll be fine. Not as if you aren't told what to do by youngsters in the corporate world these days.

Just because you are a bitter, out of shape old man, does not mean that everyone else is. As long as he knows that he'll be given orders by younger men, and that he'll have to work harder to keep up physically (just like everyone else his age), and definately should get started now, he'll be fine.
Link Posted: 3/31/2006 9:08:51 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/31/2006 9:10:54 PM EDT by R0ME0]
join!!!
Link Posted: 4/4/2006 12:17:02 PM EDT
You are not too old.

Look into the 18X program, if you want HSLD.
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