View Full Version : life in the USMC?
I thought I'd post this in here, because you gentlemen could probably answer best...
I'm a finn, with one year of military service (military police 2nd lieutenant) and three years of LE. I have been interested in a military career for about as long as I can remember, but I don't see anything interesting in the finnish military. That's because the closest a finnish soldier can get to actual combat is peacekeeping missions for the UN. And I am interested in really doing something, something I can someday tell my grandchildren about. Not just training recruits or making plans. I'd love to be able look back someday and feel proud I served on the front line of the War on Terror.
I have been interested in the United States Marine Corps for quite some time. Enlisting would be a long and difficult process with all the US citizenship applications and all. I know all this.
What I am wondering about is what the actual service is like? How does the Marine Corps spend a usual day on base? I love firearms training, marches, CC, outdoorlife, but I have some reservations about the on base aspect of military life - I hate inspections, drills, petty discipline and bureacracy.
And what are the chances of being deployed into actual war zone? At what point of enlistment could it happen? I understand basic training is about 13 weeks at Parris Island, but what happens after that? I am most interested in the infantry MOS's. Do you get to choose your own MOS, or can you be dumped into some MOS because someone in HQ thought you'd fit right in?
Finally, I am quite happy with my current life, and would not want to leave it just to stand guard at the US embassy in the middle of nowhere. :)
After boot camp you will get a short break. Maybe 10 days leave, then you'll go to school. When I was in there was 30 days for marine combat training, all marines are infantry no matter what your job. They train all marines to be able to pick up a rifle and fight whenever needed. After marine combat training you'll go to your MOS school. Now, if you are signed up to be infantry then I don't think you have to go through the combat training because you will be getting all of that in the school of infantry. This info. is from when I was in which was some time ago, I'm sure it has changed some. Also, when I was at the school of infantry near the end, marine recon. showed up and asked if anyone wanted to attempt the physical fitness entrance test to join recon. As entertaining as Heartbreak ridge with clint eastwood was it was a total load of ####. Recon is highly trained and highly dedicated to their job. As far as the discipline end of things, marines are HIGHLY disciplined, this is ingrained into you the second you start your training and there were a lot of rifle drills in boot camp. This trained your platoon to act as a unit and respond instantly to comands. Whatever you choose good luck.
I believe SOI (school of infantry) is something like 50 days of combat training, very physical, however you get most weekends and evenings off. In the Marine Corps you do get to pick your mos and if you decide on infantry I believe you can pick your specialty, (mortars, machine guns, anti tank, rifelman) depending on how much work your recruiter is willing to do and how well you score on your ASVAB test. Regardless, if you pick infantry you will get becsuse the Marines never have too many infantry boys. A typical day on base will vary from week to week in the infantry. You will spend as much time in the field training as your unit can afford. The weeks when you're not in the field you will either be preparing for your next field op or cleaning weapons, veichles and gear from your last one. You will also have unit pt (physical training) 1 to 5 times a week depending on how gung-ho your platoon sergeant is. When the schedule permits you will have classes given by your peers on various types of weapons, tactics and combat procedures. Then once in a while you will have a break in the training schedule where there are no field exercises and all veichle/weapons maintinance is up to date and there is virtually no work that needs to be done. On those days the senior enlisted always think of someting to do and it's usually something not too grueling and kind of fun.
As far as seeing actual combat it all depends on what unit you're assinged to and how many replacements are needed in your mos. With the current situation in Iraq I know requests for replacements in the infantry fields are high. I remember when I was in Iraq last year we had a few very young Marines shipped to us who were right out of SOI, less than six months in the Corps that's including boot camp! They told me that upon completion of infantry training they were sent to a holding company along with a hundred or so other marines where they awaited orders to join theit new units in Iraq. So the chances of deploying to a combat zone in your first year of enlistment is there. Really it's all about timing by the time you finish all your training the U.S. could be withdrawing troops or atleast Marines from Iraq, or they could be recalling recently discharged marines like myself for duty. You never know.
Anyways life in the corps is tough but if I had the chance to do it all over again maybe in a different branch of the military or a different mos I wouldn't change a single thing. SENPER FI ;Y
FWIW, the last I heard is you only need a Green Card (Legal Alien Resident) to enlist in the US MIlitary. You need to be a citizen to become a Comissioned Officer or to hold certain MOSs.
Thank you all for the information. That's the stuff I have been looking for. The Corps' official recruiting site is a good source of information, but of course, it's a bit slanted: all good, no bad. :)
I'm not looking into officer programs or specialty MOS's. If I do decide to go ahead with this, my primary goal is rifleman or machinegunner - just a plain good old grunt. I'd like special forces, and if I do come over, I'll sure as hell give it a try, but I don't think I'm cut out for that kind of stuff (and they require citizenship).
I was a platoon (our platoons are a bit smaller than your, four teams, HQ element, total of about 30 men) leader in the finnish army, but I hate leading people and organizing things. Highest I would ever want to advance would be team leader.
You state that you hate "leading people" and "organizing things".
With all due respect, I don't think that the Marine Corps is the place you want to be. The Marine Corps demands a lot of even it's most junior Marines and even more of it's NCO's, SNCO's, and officers. I was always taught to conduct myself as if I was one rank higher (i.e if you're a Corporal and you want to be a Sergeant, conduct yourself as a Sergeant) and to lead by example. If you don't want the responsibility of leadership ,the Marine Corps may not be what you're looking for.
If you really hate inspections, drills, petty discipline and bureacracy, do not join the Corps. If not on deployment and your not in the field, inspections, drills, petty discipline and bureacracy are the norm. A PFC is expected to lead privates. If you do not or can not take responsibility for others I would suggest you look for another thing to fill the void.
If you really want to be a Marine there are numerous things for you. You'll make a recruiters day by walking in and saying i want to be infantry. I personally would suggest something like TOW's. They seem to deploy as scouts, alone, with armor.
You do not need to be a citizen, green card will do it.
good luck in whatever you do.
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