US Marine Corps Lifestyle Should you Join?
No Jobs so why not the Military
I know in the past few years the economy has been terrible and recruiting was very good due to the war in Iraq. The Iraq war is now over and Afghanistan does not seem like a long commitement for the US military. Budget cuts, reduction of forces, bad economy are just some factors that will make it somewhat difficult to join in the next few years; having said that I believe that if you have a strong desire to join then you must be highly prepared to do so physically and mentally and of course there are things to consider before joining any service because it is a big commitment and this decision should not be taken lightly.
I have been in the Marine Corps for over 15 years so I will write about some of my experiences and things to expect for someone wanting to join my Marine Corps. This is my own personal experiences so take it for what is worth. I will try to answer most questions if it's within my capabilities otherwise I will try to give you resources to find the answers.
I joined the Marine Corps when I was twenty years old. A friend of mine kept insisting that I go with him and talk to the recruiter about joining so I decided to go just so he would stop. Well fifteen years later I am still in, unfortunately my friend was caught with drugs and did not even go to boot camp. The reason I decided to join was because I did not have a plan about my future and the recruiter told me about all the benefits and things I could do so I said hey not a bad idea. the truth is i did not know much about the Armed Forces and I knew even less about the Marine Corps but fortunately for me it worked out. I have to say joining without researching and not knowing exactly what I was getting into was not one of my brightest ideas, considering that the Marine Corps is considered the toughest service. (not my words, just common knowledge).
I suggest anyone tinking about joining should take the time to research thoroughly everything they can to avoid surprises and I mean the bad kind.
Anyway I signed up and I went to the processing center where I waited a couple of days to be shipped to Marine Marine Corps recruit Depot Sand Diego California.
Marine Corps Boot Camp, yes it was Hard
Boot Camp was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I am not exaggerating. I flew along with other would be recruits to San Diego Airport. There I waited with many others who had flown from all over the country to be picked up in a bus and be taken to our first taste of boot camp. The drill instructor that picked us up gave us a hint of what was to come, a lot of yelling and more yelling all the way to the depot. The first few days is all about processing and very little sleep if any at all, you get rid of all personal belongings and everyone is issued the gear for the next three months.
After three days you are taken to the house of pain which is home for the next three months. There you will meet your permanent DI's or Drill Instructors. Introductions from everyone and then hell breaks loose, the Drill Instructors go around the squad bay giving out orders jumping from place to place dumping everything in sight and making the place looking like a tornado went through, it was a lot of fun I have to say hhhmm maybe not.
Boot Camp is about doing what you are told without asking why and doing it quickly. Drill instructors yell at you and they want you to yell back, basically it is about bringing out the outspoken person in everyone. If you do not scream back to acknowledge orders you will be ignored or punished, simple as that.
You learn to swim with full gear and rescue others in the water. You learn to drill as a unit, you will learn martial arts, you will run every day, you will learn to shoot an M16, how to assemble it and take it apart and show proficiency as well. You will be taught how to eat, walk, answer questions the Marine Corps way. You will learn and memorize Marine Corps history and be evaluated on it.
There are many things you will learn in Marine Corps Boot Camp. The first few weeks is hell but once you start to realize you can do things you never thought you'd ever do then things begin to click and everyone starts working together as a team, by the time you graduate Boot Camp you feel like you can do just about anything and then the hard part begins where you are on your own and no Drill Instructor will be watching your evry move and you have to live up to the high standards of the Marine Corps.
Marine Corps Boot Camp
Your MOS and What to Expect
After Boot Camp you are given 10 days of leave to go back home and show off the cool uniforms. then you report to the School of Infantry either Camp Pendleton CA or Camp Geiger SC. If your MOS (Military Occupational Skill) is Infantry you will stay at SOI (School of Infantry) for a couple of months to learn Infantry tactics. If your MOS is non infantry you go to MCT (Marine Combat Training) to learn basic infantry tactics for a couple of weeks. The time I went it was 18 days straight in the field now i believe it is longer with some days off in between. Once you graduate you will go to your MOS school which should last from a few weeks to a year depending on the MOS you are assigned.
If you sign your contract and it says open, you can be assigned any MOS so be careful unless you do not care to be anything the Marine Corps wants you to be. Once you graduate from MOS school you will go to your first duty station and your career begins.
Travel, Benefits, war
Your first duty station can be anywhere in the world the Marine Corps has a presence. It could be Okinawa, Japan. Europe, Middle East, or Oklahoma City. You just have to be flexible to be able to travel and adapt to any environment. The first few years in the Corps will be hectic, a lot of traveling and a lot of work. You will be at the bottom of the barrel so there will be many instances where you will be used on different details to clean, move things, but all this decreases as you advance in your career and you get to delegate the work.
Unfortunately the Marine Corps has a high divorce within first term Marines. The first few years can be very hard in the life of a Married couple. Compound that to twice the stress on a young Marine couple and there is trouble. Deployments, late nights, stress can put a strain in a young family. There are many services offered to married couples in the Marine Corps but even with all these services it will be hard, but not impossible of course as long as it is understood that Marine Corps life is not easy but it gets better as time goes by.
There are many benefits that you will enjoy while being part of the Marine Corps family. There are many services offered for free about relocation, financial education, counseling, and anything you can think of that will help you and your family adapt well to Marine Corps life.
Education is one of the benefits that attract young people to join the service. Tuition assistance pays up to $4500 per fiscal year on education and the GI bill provided that you have it covers anything above that so getting an education while in the service is possible. I still regret that I did not get mine early in my career but hey it is never too late so I am going to school and I know I will get my education for free.
War is always a possibility for any US Marine. It does not matter if you are a cook, a mechanic, personnel, you have to be ready to pick up a rifle and be proficient at being part of an infantry squad. I for instance work in the personnel side. I work in an office making sure Marines in my unit are paid on time, training is recorded in their career. At the same time I have to qualify every year with an M16, be physically fit, be Martial Arts proficient, basically be ready for war. I deployed to Iraq for seven months. My job was to make sure all administrative issues were resolved so I worked indoors, but several times I was told to get ready, get all my gear to go out the wire either providing security or manning a M240 as a gunner. These are things expected of a US Marine of any specialty male or female.
Once a Marine always a Marine. It does not matter if you served one year or thirty years you will always have the Marine tittle with you until you die. It is a lot of pressure but remember anyone can be a Marine but not everyone wants to. You will have a family of almost 200,000 brothers and sister that will have your back no matter what, and a whole nation as well, just remember if you are going to join the Marines you need to understand it is a very serious commitment.
Some may say we are crazy for some things that we do, like not walking and talking on the phone, no hands in pockets, haircuts every week, running and running and running and many many other things, just remember "IT'S JUST THE WAY IT IS"
Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem.
Ronald Reagan, President of the United States; 1985
Marines I see as two breeds, Rottweilers or Dobermans, because Marines come in two varieties, big and mean, or skinny and mean. They're aggressive on the attack and tenacious on defense. They've got really short hair and they always go for the throat.
RAdm. "Jay" R. Stark, USN; 10 November 1995
There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion.
Gen. William Thornson, U.S. Army
A Marine is a Marine. I set that policy two weeks ago - there's no such thing as a former Marine. You're a Marine, just in a different uniform and you're in a different phase of your life. But you'll always be a Marine because you went to Parris Island, San Diego or the hills of Quantico. There's no such thing as a former Marine.
General James F. Amos, 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps
I come in peace, I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I'll kill you all.
Marine General James Mattis, to Iraqi tribal leaders
Why in hell can't the Army do it if the Marines can. They are the same kind of men; why can't they be like Marines.
Gen. John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, USA; 12 February 1918
I have just returned from visiting the Marines at the front, and there is not a finer fighting organization in the world!
General of the Armies Douglas MacArthur; Korea, 21 September 1950
The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!
Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States, 1945
They told (us) to open up the Embassy, or "we'll blow you away." And then they looked up and saw the Marines on the roof with these really big guns, and they said in Somali, "Igaralli ahow," which means "Excuse me, I didn't mean it, my mistake".
Karen Aquilar, in the U.S. Embassy; Mogadishu, Somalia, 1991
You cannot exaggerate about the Marines. They are convinced to the point of arrogance, that they are the most ferocious fighters on earth- and the amusing thing about it is that they are.
Father Kevin Keaney
1st Marine Division Chaplain
Do not attack the First Marine Division. Leave the yellowlegs alone. Strike the American Army.
Orders given to Communist troops in the Korean War;
shortly afterward, the Marines were ordered
to not wear their khaki leggings.
US Marine Corps Pride
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