Things to Consider When Joining the Marines

What to Know if You Want to Join the Marine Corps

Gen. Amos speaks to Marines at Marine Corps Base Hawaii

The Marines are often referred to as the "Infantry of the Navy." Marines specialize in amphibious operations with their primary specialty being to assault, capture and control beachheads that provide a route to attack the enemy from almost any direction.

History of the Marine Corps (USMC)

The United States Marine Corps (USMC) was officially established on November 10th, 1775, by the Continental Congress to act as a landing force for the United States Navy.

While the Marines fall under the Department of the Navy, they are a separate branch of service. This was established by Congress in 1798.

While amphibious operations are their primary specialty, in recent years the Marines have expanded to other ground-combat operations, as well. The Marines are generally a lighter force when compared to the Army, so they can generally be deployed quickly. For combat operations, the Marines like to be as self-sufficient as possible, so they also have their own air power, consisting primarily of fighter and fighter/bomber aircraft, as well as attack helicopters.

Despite being essentially self-sufficient, the Marines do use the Navy for much of their logistical and administrative support. For example, there are no doctors, nurses or enlisted medics in the Marine Corps. Even medics that accompany the Marines into combat are specially-trained Navy medics.

With the exception of the Coast Guard, the Marines are also the smallest service.

There are approximately 194,000 officers and enlisted Marines on active duty.

Things To Consider Before Joining the Marines

  • Job Opportunities
    The Marine Corps has over 180 enlisted jobs, with the ratio being heavily weighted toward combat jobs. Learn about jobs in the USMC and how Marines get them.
  • Basic Training
    Marine Corps basic training has the reputation of being the toughest of all the services. It is the longest, at about 12 1/2 weeks. Learn more about basic training, physical and strength requirements, leave and more.
  • Assignment Opportunities
    Find out about Marine tour lengths and assignment locations in the continental United States and overseas.
  • Deployments
    It doesn't matter what your Marine Corps job is: If you're a Marine, you're going to deploy, sooner or later.
  • Quality of Life
    The Marine Corps does not put as much money and effort into Quality of Life programs as do the other services. Learn more about life as a Marine after enlistment.

More About Joining Other Military Branches

Things to Consider When Choosing Which Military Service to Join

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