Following completion of Officer Candidates School, Marine Officers attend a ceremony where they take an oath to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States before being commissioned as 2nd lieutenants. Upon taking the oath, their status of candidate is transitioned to that of 2nd Lieutenant.
The Officer Oath of Office
Marines pledge themselves completely to the Constitution of the United States. From the day they first raise their hand and throughout their honorable service, the oath every Marine takes is a promise and a reminder of their commitment to defend our nation and its interests.
I, [NAME], DO SOLEMNLY SWEAR (OR AFFIRM) THAT I WILL SUPPORT AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES AGAINST ALL ENEMIES, FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC; THAT I WILL BEAR TRUE FAITH AND ALLEGIANCE TO THE SAME; THAT I TAKE THIS OBLIGATION FREELY, WITHOUT ANY MENTAL RESERVATION OR PURPOSE OF EVASION; AND THAT I WILL WELL AND FAITHFULLY DISCHARGE THE DUTIES OF THE OFFICE ON WHICH I AM ABOUT TO ENTER. SO HELP ME GOD.
Following the Commissioning Ceremony, new lieutenants conduct their own "pinning ceremonies", where individuals of their choosing pin the gold bars, the insignia of a second lieutenant, to their uniform. At that time they will also receive their first salute, traditionally from an enlisted member of the armed forces whom they have chosen and asked to do so.
One of the proudest moments in the life of an officer candidate is the day they receive their commission. From that moment until the end of their service, Marine Officers are given the honor of protecting our nation and entrusted to lead Marines in service of our nation—meeting challenges across the globe ranging from humanitarian assistance to counter-insurgency missions. On the day a candidate receives his or her commission, the final transition from civilian to Marine Officer is complete.
The Graduation Parade takes place at Officer Candidates School on the final day of training in recognition of those proud candidates that have met the challenge and have earned the right to lead their fellow Marines as officers in the USMC. During the parade, the top performing candidates receive awards and the Commanding Officer addresses all attending families and guests before the candidates’ pass in review.