So You Want My Job: Marine Corps Officer

by Brett & Kate McKay on October 13, 2010 · 42 comments

in So You Want My Job


Once again we return to our So You Want My Job series, in which we interview men who are employed in desirable jobs and ask them about the reality of their work and for advice on how men can live their dream.

There are different routes into the military life: you can go down to the recruiter’s office and simply enlist or you can apply to enter one of the service branches as an officer. I know there are guys out there who are curious about how the latter option works. So today we have First Lieutenant Ryan Kwan, who recently became a Marine Corps officer, to walk you through the process. Thanks Ryan!

1. Tell us a little about yourself (Where are you from? How old are you? Describe your job and how long you’ve been at it, etc).

I am from San Gabriel, CA, a suburb of Los Angeles. When I was 18 I moved to San Diego to attend the University of California, San Diego. Near the end of college I decided to become a Marine Corps officer. Now, I am twenty-five years old, and I am training to be a communications officer.

2. Why did you want to become an officer in the Marine Corps? When did you know it was what you wanted to do?

The military was an option that was always in the back of my mind. I grew up watching and reading about World War II, and I was fascinated by the military life. The branch that I admired the most was the Marine Corps. They have the reputation of being the best, and I wanted to be a leader of the best fighting force. I also wanted to work on improving my leadership skills and at the same time serve my country.

I really didn’t know if being a Marine Corps officer was what I wanted to do, even at the end of Officer Candidate School (OCS). I still had the option of not accepting the commission because I had one more year in college. By the time I graduated from OCS and was starting my last year at UCSD, I felt that I could do a lot of good and learn a lot from joining the Marines, and so I decided to accept my commission once I graduated from UCSD.

3. Why did you choose the Marines over the other branches of the military?

I chose the Marines because they have a reputation for being the best fighting force, have the toughest training, and are the most admired branch. I also think the commercial with fighting a dragon had something to do with it.

4. What are the different routes a man can take to become an officer in the Marines? What are the pros and cons of the different routes?

There are quite a few ways to become an officer in the Marines; the minimum requirements are that you have to have earned at least a bachelors degree by the time you commission and you are a U.S. citizen. Most officers come straight from college. During college, candidates have to go to OCS through one of two options: a 10-week or two 6-week Platoon Leaders Course. If you’re already done with college, then candidates go through the 10-week long course. The other routes are to join NROTC or attend the Naval Academy. Lesser known routes are the enlisted commissioning programs, but I won’t get into them.

Some pros and cons of the different routes:

Officer Candidate School

Pros: You get to enjoy a normal college life, and you only go through training during your summers or after your college career.

Cons: The only con I can think of is that you lose your summer(s) if you attend OCS while you’re still in college.

NROTC

Pros: You get your college tuition paid for, and you get more experience with the Navy side and the Marine Corps side. You get to choose whether you want to be a Naval Officer or a Marine Corps Officer.

Cons: You spend your summers in military training.

Naval Academy:

Pros: You get to experience and learn more about the Navy and the Marine Corps than the normal public does. Like the NROTC route you get the option of being a Marine Corps officer or a Navy officer. Your tuition is also paid for.

Cons: Instead of a normal college lifestyle, you’re in a highly rigid and structured lifestyle that’s not for everyone.

5. How competitive is it to be selected for Officer Candidate School? What is the application process like?

When I applied to OCS in 2007 there was very little competitiveness. Now the process is highly competitive. The experience can vary. First you find an Officer Selection Office; it is similar to a Marine Corps Recruiting Station. Then you have to show that you are physically fit, which means that you will have to take a physical fitness test and score high. There is actually quite a lot of paperwork to process, i.e. citizenship and SAT scores. You have background checks to see if you have a criminal record. You have to get a physical examination. It is a lot of work, so I made sure I finished my application process as quickly as possible, and it took about one month for me to be accepted to OCS.

6. What is the OCS experience like? Do you have any tips on making it through the course successfully?

If you have seen the movie Full Metal Jacket, it will paint a basic picture of what OCS is like. Granted that the goal of Boot Camp and OCS is different; at OCS the mission is to screen and evaluate candidates for their potential to be Marine Corps officers. Candidates can be dropped from the course if they do not meet the standards.

The entire ordeal is going to test your mental, endurance, and leadership abilities. If you can keep a cool head then you will make it through the mental toughness. Make sure you’re in your top shape before you attend OCS. There is a lot of physical training, and the course will wear your body down. As for leadership, it’s hard to give tips for that because there are different styles that will work. Find out what works best for you and speak with the Marine officer working at the Officer Selection Office. They have a lot of good advice.

7. You’re currently training to be a specialized officer in communications. Do all officers become specialized in something, and do you get to choose your specialty?

All officers are first trained to be provisional infantry officers at The Basic School. From there they get to rank which specialty they’d like to do. The only two exceptions are pilots and JAGs; they have already selected their specialty. But to answer the question- yes, all officers become specialized in an occupation ranging from infantry officer to air traffic controller to comptroller. Unless you’re a pilot or JAG you have to rank which specialties you want. I had ranked communications as my number one pick, and I was fortunate to get what I wanted. Others, for example, might have picked infantry as their first pick but ended up with their fifth choice or lower.

8. What is the biggest misconception people have about being or becoming an officer in the Marines?

The biggest misconception is that most people don’t understand the difference between becoming an officer versus becoming an enlisted Marine. My friends and family kept thinking I was going to boot camp.

9. Any other advice, tips, or anecdotes you’d like to share?

Find a vocation you will enjoy. In the back of my mind I always wanted to be part of the military or law enforcement. I never saw myself sitting in a cubicle and doing a “normal” civilian job. I felt that everyone else was getting a corporate job, but I wanted adventure and excitement. I am glad that I followed my intuition because I am happy and satisfied with the experiences that I have gone through. To keep it short, I followed what my heart told me, and I am enjoying what I do.

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christian October 13, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Oorah! My dad was in the Marine Corps and just retired a few years ago. I moved around a lot growing up, but I definitely enjoyed living on the various bases. Good luck and God bless.

2 Steve October 13, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Semper Fi Brothers!

3 Jordan October 13, 2010 at 6:59 pm

I’m currently in the process of applying for OCS and I can attest that it is extremely competitive. I have been training for the past year to lower my three mile run time to 18 minutes (a perfect score on the Marine Corps physical fitness test). Progress is being made! I hope to join the ranks soon. Semper Fi

4 Jordan October 13, 2010 at 7:45 pm

So there is another Jordan on here. And he is trying to become a Marine Officer, while I am one. That may become confusing.

There are a few Marine Officers on this board. I’m sure that we can answer any questions anyone has.

Fire away.

5 Harry October 13, 2010 at 8:02 pm

I’ve been an Officer of Marines for nearly 25 years and now serve as the Commanding Officer of a Naval ROTC unit. It’s been a great career but definitely not for everyone. Those who want to become “Marine Option” midshipman have to get through my Gunny first…

6 Amyd5 October 13, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Semper Fi. The Marine Corps is the Men’s Dept of the Armed Forces!
-MC Capt’s wife :)

7 Andy October 13, 2010 at 8:08 pm

How long was your contract when you signed up after college? Was it a regular 4(+4 inactive) contract? And if I were to graduate next year, wanted to serve (USMC), but only wanted to serve one contract period (~4 years) would you deem it worth it to attempt going in as an officer or would it make more sense for something only serving one contract period to just enlist?

8 Harry October 13, 2010 at 8:29 pm

To Andy,

It depends on what you want to do. If you get your commission through the Officer’s Candidate Course (OCC), you obligate yourself to 3 1/2 years of active duty once commissioned. After you finish your obligation, you go into the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) for a period of time, normally 4 1/2 years for a total of 8 years of service. However, in the IRR you are inactive and unless recalled for a national emergency, the only requirement is for you to keep the Marine Corps updated on your contact information. If you enlist, you still obligate yourself to a period of time in the IRR after your active duty is completed, usually 4 years after completing 4 years of active duty. If you become an aviator, you incur a much longer obligation (6 years helicopters, 8 years for jets and C-130s). If you get a commission through the NROTC program and receive a scholarship, you are committed to 4 years of active duty and 4 years in the IRR. But due to needs of the Marine Corps these can shift but won’t change (for the longer) after you accept your commission. Of note, I intended to do my 4 years and get out but loved it so much here I am 25 years later.

9 Kris October 13, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Oorah comm Marines. I’m actually thinking about going MECEP or finishing my last 30 hours of college and getting a commission. I’ve had my experience with enlisted life, ready to move up.

10 Cat October 14, 2010 at 1:01 am

“In the IRR you are inactive and unless recalled for a national emergency, the only requirement is for you to keep the Marine Corps updated on your contact information”

Careful with the IRR – I don’t know how it’s been for the Marines, but in the Army we’ve had a lot of IRR horror stories (out fifteen years, in one case) and I’ve known several people who’ve been called up. Two of them twice in their four year IRR hitch. I don’t say that to discourage you from joining, just keep it in mind when you sign your name. The chance you can get called up these days is very real.

11 Clay October 14, 2010 at 1:31 am

I Enrolled and graduated from NROTC with my commission in 2008. I’m now living in Okinawa, and having an awesome experience as an officer in the Marines. It’s extremely rewarding having the opportunity to serve the most capable, hard working men and women our country has produced. If you have a degree and are looking for something great, I suggest you look into it.

Semper Fidelis Marines

12 Okierover October 14, 2010 at 8:36 am

Ooorah! Thanks for serving and thanks for sharing your story.
To all my fellow manly Marines, Semper Fidelis.
USMCR 1982-1988,
Fox Battery 5/14
0811 Artilleryman

13 BenR October 14, 2010 at 4:47 pm

As a military brat (dad was a career Marine officer), I have great respect for the USMC, but I’d also give some words of caution. Making a career out of the military can put a lot of stresses on your life in regards to family and other considerations. My mom, who was and is an attorney and a very independent and intelligent woman, was completely stifled and shunned among the other officers’ wives because she did not make a career out of being in the Officers’ Wives Club. Her inability and unwillingness to subvert her own professional life to my dad’s had a serious detrimental effect on his career – and I have immense respect for both of my parents for making the choices that they made. My mom could have “toned down” and given up her own professional aspirations to become a good housewife, but she didn’t. My dad could have chosen to marry a demure trophy-wife-wannabe, but he didn’t, and he didn’t ask my mom to change.

There are other considerations as well, like the constant moving. My dad was stationed in Okinawa when I was born in North Carolina. We had lived six different places by the time I was six years old. That took a toll on my brother and I as kids, and it took a toll on my parents’ social networks and family lives.

My Dad could have gone on after giving his 20 years of service but he had had enough of the backstabbing and political bullshit, so he happily retired when the opportunity finally arose. Now he has “retired” to a second career as a construction contractor and my mom is still very successful in her law practice and their relationship is very happy. Probably happier now than it ever was while he was still serving.

If you’re planning on dedicating the next 20+ years of your life to the military, you should be aware of how it can affect all the different aspects of your life and the lives of those you love. It’s certainly not an occupation for everyone.

14 jarhead October 14, 2010 at 6:24 pm

#8. Biggest misconception about the Marines: People think Marines are the dumb brutes of the military. Yes, we are brutish in combat…but some of the most intelligent, intuitive, brilliant men and women I have ever met are Marines. We emphasize leadership while the other services emphasize management. There is a big difference. There is a reason the Marines are the most efficient, effective and respected military force in the world. You don’t get that by being dumb.

15 K-Bay Mac October 14, 2010 at 6:46 pm

A friend recommended the Marine Corps just before I graduated from college. I received an aviation contract at the Basic School in 1977. Ultimately I flew ‘copters in the Western Pacific when liberty ports were legend. It was awesome beyond telling.

The challenges are at times larger than large, but well worth accepting. Simply get your head on right, make the commitment and go forward. Expect your un-fair share of petty crud. ( …get your head on right… ) After your active duty, you will stand head and shoulders above the crowd when among those who never served. I see this every day in the professional world. True leadership is hard to come by outside of the Corps. You can’t read about it, but you sure can mess it up and maybe never get it right.

Expect to receive a million dollar education a nickle at a time. Most likely you won’t give a quarter to do it all over again, though.

S/F
Mac

16 Mario Conti October 15, 2010 at 12:19 pm

One has to have a screw loose to join the military these days….

17 Macon October 15, 2010 at 6:50 pm

kwan you are ridiculous… semper

18 Stan October 15, 2010 at 11:48 pm

I’m going to OCS next summer. Reading up about as much as I can. The book/memoir “One Bullet Away” by Nathaniel Fick is an excellent book. It details Ficks life as young college student, OCS candidate and infantry officer.
With that said, thank you very much for this reading, it provides us with some valuable information. Would it be possible to ask the interviewees more questions via e-mail?

19 Stan October 15, 2010 at 11:55 pm

I have some questions. To make it pass OCS, how did you guys do it? What ran through your mind? Did you ever hide your injuries? I ask that because when I do full sit ups, I sometimes get lower back pain. Goes away in a day though and it’s pretty common.

20 Jarhead October 16, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Stan,

Yes, injuries are just dealt with. You will get injured at OCS. It is A LOT more physical than enlisted boot camp. OCS is training officers who are expected to lead from the front…literally. I had bursitis in my knee for about a week when the “DI” asked me why my knee was all swollen…then he lit me up for hiding it. I broke a finger, tore the sh*t out of my hands and I don’t know how many other sprains and strains I didn’t report…injury is probably the biggest reason guys drop out. The thing with OCS is that if you are dropped, you are done. At bootcamp you go to a medical holding platoon and get recycled to the next class.

21 Chris Kavanaugh October 16, 2010 at 8:42 pm

‘The marines are the most admired branch’ and ‘the marines lead and the other services manage.’
OH?
Esprit de Corps and a little inter service rivalry is all well and good, but nothing is so provincial as denigrating what is in fact a team.
I had a SQUID proudly wearing his National defence medal ( the batle of bootcamp) call me a ‘shallow water sailor’ to the laughter of 2 naval officers. I pointed to my fruit salad which included arctic,antarctic,vietnam,silver,gold and coast guard lifesaving medals, designated cosxwain and surfman pins and suggested he go get another tattoo and cut down his salt intake, since siting down as a yoeman was hard enough on hemmorhoids.
I will pass on like stories encountered with all branches of service.
The USCG has one CMH holder, look him up sometime and read about his management skills.

22 Clark October 17, 2010 at 1:19 am

Stan,

I just graduated from OCS this summer. I would agree with Jarhead that medical issues are going to be your biggest challenge while you are there. Take care of your feet! If they start giving you trouble, it will make your experience a lot harder. The sergeant instructors love telling you how bad you are, and how quickly they are going to get rid of you. Just sound off, be squared away, and don’t be afraid to take charge. Leadership is what they are looking for the most. Avoid the head games, stay healthy, and you will be very successful. Good luck! The proudest moment of my life was marching across the parade deck on graduation day. It was a feeling I’ll never forget.

S/F

23 Dave T October 17, 2010 at 11:21 pm

A few questions for the guys on here who are/were military officers. I graduated from college less than a year ago, and up until graduation I’d been considering applying to OCS in one of the branches (most likely Marines, possibly Navy). I ended up taking a corporate analyst job upon graduation, as I wasn’t 100% sure about OCS, and it’s something I wanted to be completely sure of before venturing out into. Lately, I’ve been thinking about the possibility of working a few years out in the business world before applying to OCS (I have a friend who became an Intelligence Officer in the Navy after a few years of corporate work). My only real worry is that I won’t get much say in my specialization, and they’ll want me to work in a more managerial or financial position. I know my top two picks would probably be Infantry and Intelligence, and I was curious if you think I’d have any real shot at them after a few years in corporate. How much does past experience play into your assigned specialization? Thanks in advance for any help.

24 Marc October 18, 2010 at 10:37 am

@Mario Conti

Why? Because we are currently in war, and you risk being deployed to combat? Some people will gladly take that opportunity to serve their country. It does not mean that they’re missing a few screws, it means that that’s the way they found of serving.

If you want a “less dangerous” way of serving, the Salvation Army is always a choice. I used the quotation marks because there won’t be an opposing force trying to kill you – at least not openly – but when you’re in some desolate area with no infrastructure, no running water and no readily available food source, you won’t have the support or equipment you’d have were you in the military.

If you don’t want to serve, that’s your choice. Holding a paying job or owning a company, or whatever can be described as a civilian job, adds value to the economy and contributes to your country. There’s a lot of value to a life like that, and I don’t consider it to be below military service.

I may be reading too much into your few words, and if that’s the case, I apologize. I’m seriously considering applying for USMC OCS, and comments that seem like cheap shots at the military annoy me, especially since I have quite a few servicemen in my family.

To end this soliloquy, I’ll use the words of one John Stuart Mill, a 19th century Brit: “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

25 D October 21, 2010 at 1:17 pm

To all of you Gents considering the USMC: good for you. I have met some fine Marines. However, if you want to get past the great commercials and want to use your mind as your greatest weapon, I highly recommend Army Special Forces. We don’t have great commercials, but what we do offer is a challenge to serve your county in the most austere environments and have a significantly higher impact as a memeber of an independent small unit. If greater challenges and less recognition appeal to you, then check out http://www.goarmy.com/special-forces.html . If not, I thank you for willingness to serve our nation and wish you the best of luck.

26 Terrell Gunn October 29, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Semper Fi to all of our marines out there. I am currently a college student with 80 units graduating in 2 semesters from San Francisco State University. I have a 3.7-3.8 gpa, studying criminal justice. I am licensed Baptist Minister, and am the president of a few clubs, I am also a senior member in the Civil Air Patrol. I would like to know am I considered competitive? Should I apply or should I not even bother? My goal is to become an Officer in the U.S. Military and really I am looking at either the Navy or Marine Corps. please give some specific advice as to what I should do, from this point, so that I am good to go when the time comes around for graduating from college.
Thank you
-Terrell Gunn

27 Harry October 29, 2010 at 11:41 pm

@Terrell

From what you’ve posted, you’d be very competitive. How is your physical fitness? How fast can you run 3 miles? Your best option to get a USMC commission is probably through the Officer Candidate’s Course.

I recommend that you watch the videos here:

http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/class186/videos.php

All I can say is that being an Ensign in the US Navy, or a 2nd Lt in the US Army, is noble. But, becoming an Officer of Marines is something truly special. It’s all about how much you are willing to give to prove that you are worthy of being a leader in the best military organization in the world. I’ve been an Officer of Marines for almost 25 years, and I wouldn’t trade my career for anything in the world.

Someone posted earlier about the officer wive’s situation and had some negative comments. From what I can tell this person was not a Marine so was probably posting from urban myth and second hand comments at best. In any case I have to strongly disagree with what this person said. My wife has been with me the entire time I’ve been a Marine Officer, almost 25 years. I’m a Colonel and her choice NOT to participate in the Marine Spouse’s Clubs and whatnot have had ZERO impact on either my career or her ability to make and maintain friendships. This person doesn’t know what he’s talking about so don’t let it deter you.

Semper Fi and best of luck!

28 Michael Bruce November 6, 2010 at 5:38 am

Terrell, as Harry said your physical fitness is now the major deciding factor. If you’re a healthy person of college age then you should feel fully capable of achieving a 300 PFT. I would just work gradually toward it so you don’t incur too many injuries which would slow your progress. You’ve got plenty of time though and it sounds like you’d be a highly eligible candidate at that point.
Let me know if you want tips on achieving a high PFT score and good luck!

29 James November 9, 2010 at 5:52 pm

To the Officers,

I just started the process of applying to OCS and am not too sure about which MOS I’d like to try for. What are some of your vocations and what has been your experience with it?

30 Danny November 12, 2010 at 9:32 am

Chesty Puller………….any questions?

SF

31 Judson R November 12, 2010 at 11:09 am

A few questions for the Officers on this board:

Do you have to go to Boot Camp, then OCS? Or just OCS and you’re an officer. I’m in high school now and want to join the Marines after college to be a lieutenant.

Thanks!

32 uarth October 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm

I’m 30 and will have my BA in Mechanical Engineering by the end of Spring Quarter, GPA is 3.39… (I didn’t takeit seriously for while before I joined the Army.) Prior service E6 5infantryman. I want in as an officer but would like a job similar to my field.

Am I considered a competetive candidate?

I was told to join the Core of engineers or the navy for engineering… I would rather be a Marine.

33 Logan December 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Thank you so much for what you all do. I am 13 years old and wanting to be a Marine. This review or what ever it is, is really a great help to insure that i am going to be a Marine.

34 Rigs February 10, 2013 at 9:35 pm

I spent 14 years as an enlisted Marine and reached the rank of GySgt before pinning on as a Warrant Officer. As much as I have enjoyed the “flat black” side I have to say that the Officer training is superior. My nephew is set on being a Marine and I keep pushing towards Officership. In my opinion it’s the way to go. As for being a Marine in general; my buddy got out and went into the Army and said its just not the same. I wouldn’t know what the other services feel but when I was a recruiter I got a lot more attention from everyone. Good Luck!

35 Caleb February 18, 2013 at 10:04 pm

I am currently a junior in college. If I would go to Officer Candidate School after I graduated, would the Corps pay the remainder of my tuition?

36 Jon May 1, 2013 at 2:15 am

(Former USMC Infantry)

If your college is complete, sure go commissioned. If not, go enlisted first then try and go commissioned. Your Marines will respect you more. You’re welcome ahead of time.

P.S. Listen to your senior enlisted. They already know the job well, that they are about to learn! I have witnessed officers do some foolish things and end young Marines lives.

37 StanB May 17, 2013 at 10:33 pm

Leaving to PLC-Increment 1 in 10 days! Excited and nervous at the same time. Wish me luck!

38 BrentK October 5, 2013 at 4:55 pm

As a 32 year old who could pass the fitness test, what are some opinions on joining the Marines?

Only finished 2 years of college, haven’t had steady employment for the last few years and I find the discipline and respect earned from becoming a Marine tempting.

39 Aubrey November 4, 2013 at 10:30 am

I want to become a Marine but am a little unsure the route I wanna take and whats best. My problem is I wanna go to school and get a degree. But I am having a hard time getting into the school with an NROTC program and I have the bigger problem of paying. Would it be better to enlist go to bootcamp but be a reserviest and when I get back go to school then go active? Or would it be possible to go to bootcamp and come out as active? Also a friend of mine that is in the Military told me that Officers do mostly paperwork they don’t get deployed much. While enlisted Marines get deployed and do more active work is that true?

40 Jordan Myers December 1, 2013 at 5:35 pm

I really want to join the military and actually be in war and fight for my country. Would the Marines be right for me? If so how could I prepare physically and mentally?

41 mae January 11, 2014 at 12:42 am

Hi, My fiancee was thinking of joining the Marines once he graduates College in 2015. He is in his third year of college now.

From what I read you said there was no bootcamp but more of a specialized field that you go into?

His brother and dad were serving in the Marines but they had no degree so they were not officers. Father was an E-9 and brother was E-4 (Father retired and Brother quit to go to college after five years in service)

The brother said he had to endure three months of intense grueling bootcamp sessions and has told the brother, my fiancee is not worth it. I feel like his brother said that because he was not getting paid well and he was not an officer. He however was a smart man because he graduated at Camp Pendleton.

So I hope you can clarify my question for me. If you join as an officer is there a bootcamp? Also, how much is the average salary as an O-1?

42 Danny March 24, 2014 at 12:30 pm

For those of you who are considering joining the officer ranks of the United States Marine Corps. I want to start off by cautioning you that it is not something you want to be on the fence about. You need to make a decision to pursue your goal, and make that pursuit a part of everything you do. As an officer, you will be required to physically and mentally overcome the worst possible situations one may face. You have to, in order to make sound and decisive decisions to accomplish the mission when everyone else has had enough. Whether it is a combat patrol in 120 degree heat, or a route reconnaissance in freezing, sub-zero cold; you will be focused and lead or you will fail (and be fired).

You will quickly realize it is not about you, it is only about the Marines you lead. As an officer, your focus is to enable their success, inspire them, and put them in the best possible position to defeat an adversary. In order to do this, you must at all times set the example of readiness. I am older now than when I joined, but still manage a 290 PFT, always a 300 CFT, black belt in MCMAP, multiple award double expert pistol/rifle. These qualifications would mean nothing to me if they didn’t mean anything to my Marines. Your fitness, finances, family and job proficiency must always be solid so you can focus on the 40 Marines (or in my case 397) who look to you for guidance. And don’t think it will only be the 18-22 year old first-term Marines, either. Numerous times I have sat down with NCOs/SNCOs and worked through their personal and professional problems, several times with tears in their eyes. There are times to be compassionate and understanding, only a nutcase would be an unforgiving hard-ass 24/7.

Think long and hard before you choose this way of life. If you move forward, it is your entire life for the years you give it. If you stay in long enough you will see a transition by many of your peers from preserving their Marines to preserving their careers. As I said earlier, if you fail, you’re fired, which in the officer world means your career is over. Despite this, never forget you wear the rank on your collar for your Marines. I often tell my Marines if I stand alone against an enemy, the rank on my collar means nothing, I will fight based on my personal abilities. But if I face an enemy with my company of Marines, the rank on my collar makes me extremely powerful. Use it to win.

-Captain of Marines

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

Site Meter