Gunner: When I think about a 17 or 18 year old thinking about whether or not to become a Marine, I think it's really a question of who does he want to be. The Recruiters start the process of making you realize what being a Marine is about.
Holly: The basic requirements to become an enlisted Marine. You need to be a high school graduate. At 17, you do need your parents' permission to enlist.
Ryan: Becoming an enlisted Marine affords you the opportunity for a lot of different career options with different military occupational specialties. Anything from aviation to driving a tank. In the Marine Corps, you have to maintain a high level of physical fitness and also shoot well on the rifle range. In every military occupational specialty, there is advanced schools to go to in order to better enhance your career and your technical skills within your job.
Holly: Career options for Marine officers are very similar to the enlisted side. They are going to have the same experience and training in all the military occupational specialty fields but what separates them is they will be leaders of Marines in those fields. In addition, officers are required to have a Bachelor's Degree or come into the Marine Corps under one of our Officer Commissioning Programs and obtain their degree.
Eugene: As far as our enlisted members, they go to recruit training that lasts 12 weeks which is either at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina or MCRD San Diego, California. Our officers go through a course which is called Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia.
Bo: There are multiple options out there to transition from enlisted to officer whether you have educational credits, college credits, whatever the case may be, the Marine Corps will send you to college for four years to get your degree and then you come back as an officer. If you already have your college credits and you're in, there's a program where you just go to OCS, pass selection, become an officer. So, there's other routes out there and other options.
Michelle: After you finish with Officer Candidate School and the Basic School, when you go to your unit, you're leading Marines right off the bat.
Holly: The Marine Corps Reserve is very similar to active duty. In fact, the basic screening requirements are the same and those individuals who want to be a Reservist, there's a recruit training Marine Corps Combat Training and also there are Military Occupational Specialties School.
Kenneth: The Reserves is one of those things that is so critical to our Forces now. In the past, there was that division, active and reserve, but over the course of the last 20 years, the Commandants have made a concerted effort to break away from that division in the Service. And so now, we're one Force and we are there to fill certain gaps.
Holly: What separates a Reservist from an Active Duty Marine is that Reservists is going to do annual training two weeks out of the year and they're going to check in with their unit and do their drill and their training.
Christian: For me personally, the benefit of being a Reservist is to have that camaraderie. In addition to that is to put a uniform on and being able to serve my country in a different capacity other than active duty. To me, that's a huge moral benefit and plus, you get paid for what you really love doing.
Don: I was really enticed by the adventure and challenge that the military, and specifically the Marines, represented and the more I learned about the Marines, being part of something bigger than myself really appealed to me.