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Gunner: When I think about a 17 or 18 year old thinking about whether or not to become a Marine, I think it’s really a question of who does he want to be. The Recruiters start the process of making you realize what being a Marine is about. Holly: The basic requirements to become an enlisted Marine. You need to be a high school graduate. At 17, you do need your parents’ permission to enlist. Ryan: Becoming an enlisted Marine affords you the opportunity for a lot of different career options with different military occupational specialties. Anything from aviation to driving a tank to being an infantryman. In the Marine Corps, you have to maintain a high level of physical fitness and also shoot well on the rifle range. In every military occupational specialty, there is advanced schools to go to in order to better enhance your career and your technical skills within your job. Holly: Career options for Marine officers are very similar to the enlisted side. They are going to have the same experience and training in all the military occupational specialty fields but what separates them is they will be leaders of Marines in those fields. In addition, officers are required to have a Bachelor’s Degree or come into the Marine Corps under one of our Officer Commissioning Programs and obtain their degree. Eugene: As far as our enlisted members, they go to recruit training that lasts 12 weeks which is either at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina or MCRD San Diego, California. Our officers go through a course which is called Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia. Bo: There are multiple options out there to transition from enlisted to officer whether you have educational credits, college credits, whatever the case may be, the Marine Corps will send you to college for four years to get your degree and then you come back as an officer. If you already have your college credits and you’re in, there’s a program where you just go to OSC, pass selection, become an officer. So, there’s other routes out there and other options. Michelle: After you finish with Officer Candidate School and the Basic School, when you go to your unit, you’re leading Marines right off the bat. Holly: The Marine Corps Reserve is very similar to active duty. In fact, the basic screening requirements are the same and those individuals who want to be a Reservist, there’s a recruit training Marine Corps Combat Training and also there are Military Occupational Specialties School. Kenneth: The Reserves is one of those things that is so critical to our Forces now. In the past, there was that division, active and reserve, but over the course of the last 20 years, the Commandants have made a concerted effort to break away from that division in the Service. And so now, we’re one Force and we are there to fill certain gaps. Holly: What separates a Reservist from an Active Duty Marine is that Reservists is going to do annual training two weeks out of the year and they’re going to check in with their unit and do their drill and their training. Christian: For me personally, the benefit of being a Reservist is to have that camaraderie. In addition to that is to put a uniform on and being able to serve my country in a different capacity other than active duty. To me, that’s a huge moral benefit and plus, you get paid for what you really love doing. Don: I was really enticed by the adventure and challenge that the military, and specifically the Marines, represented and the more I learned about the Marines, being part of something bigger than myself really appealed to me. END

Before becoming a Marine, your son, daughter or student first decides whether to pursue a path as an enlisted Marine or a Marine Officer. They must then decide between active or reserve status.

It's important to know the difference between each option, its requirements and its role in supporting the Marine Corps mission. No matter which path your son or daughter chooses, he or she will be trained to live up to Marine standards.

Enlisted Marines
Act as America's premier expeditionary force, ready to protect our nation's interests in the air, on the ground and at sea
  • Make up a majority of the Marine Corps
  • Are high school graduates or have earned their GED
  • Fulfill at least a 3-, 4-, 5- or 6-year active-duty commitment
  • Maintain Marine Corps physical fitness standards
  • Attend recruit training at a Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) in San Diego, CA or Parris Island, SC
  • Able to select a Military Occupational Field (such as Infantry or Intelligence) which leads to training in a Military Occupational Specialty (such as Mortarman or Imagery Analysis Specialist)
Marine Officers
Receive a commission from the President of the United States to lead Marines and defend the Constitution
  • Lead Marines in many Military Occupational Specialties (MOSs)
  • Must have a bachelor's degree
  • Enlisted Marines who graduate from college can pursue a path to becoming a Marine Officer
  • Maintain Marine Corps physical fitness standards
  • Attend Officer Candidate School (OCS) and The Basic School (TBS) in Quantico, VA
  • Live by the motto "Leadership by example"
Marine Reservists
Maintain a civilian lifestyle but are trained and ready to support active Marines in major combat operations, humanitarian efforts and national emergencies
  • Undergo the same training as active-duty Marines
  • Ready to supplement the active-duty forces when needed
  • Attend training one weekend a month and two weeks a year
  • Eight-year commitment

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Comments (3)

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larry bills Avatar

Former Marine

I am trying to get a copy of my MCRD yearbook. What site do I need to be on.

Posted by: larry bills on 01/09/2011




Norb Logsdon, Jr. Avatar


go to the MCRD bookstore website that you graduated from.

Posted by: Norb Logsdon, Jr. on 07/27/2011




Charles Jenkins Avatar


My sons recuiter told him for him to enlist and go to boot camp quickly he had to enlist as a Reservist. And once he got thru with his training he could become on Active Duty. He has gone thru Parris Island, received an award for his shooting, finished combat training in North Carolina and now is in 29 Palms in Communication training. He Graduates on November 9th. He wants to make a career in the Marines. He talked to his recruiter to see about becoming on active duty to make his Career and his recruiter told him he may not be able to become active. He called us very disappointed about his recruiter lying to him. My question is Can he change from Reservist to Active duty. If not why would a recruiter tell a kid something just to get him to sign up. If we would have known this we would have waited until he could have signed up as an enlisted marine. Please can you help me out. Thanks from a concerned Father of a Marine

Posted by: Charles Jenkins on 10/24/2011