The Basic School

Following Officer Candidates School, newly commissioned officers head to The Basic School to learn how to lead and inspire fellow Marines. Guided by the mentorship of experienced Marines, new officers develop the leadership, knowledge and esprit de corps that define the Marine Corps.

Platoon Leadership

Before you can lead a platoon of Marines, you need to study infantry tactics and learn maneuvers that create a strategic advantage. More importantly, you must learn to trust your Marines and their abilities.

As a second lieutenant assigned to an infantry unit, you could command a platoon of 41 Marines within your first year. You will need to evaluate each Marine's abilities, and decide how best to position them for success. Platoon commanders work with the senior Enlisted Marines in their unit, who have several years of experience. The teamwork between the platoon commander and platoon sergeant is critical to accomplishing any mission.

The Marine Corps warfighting philosophy and infantry tactics you will study lay the groundwork for operations from basic patrolling to complex urban warfare. The critical thinking skills you develop here will prepare you to make sound decisions no matter what type of unit you lead from coordinating humanitarian assistance to conducting complex urban warfare.

The basic four-man infantry unit, built around a weapon with a high rate of fire.

A small infantry unit made up of three fire teams and a squad leader, capable of patrolling, attacking the enemy or defending key terrain.


A unit of three rifle squads and sometimes augmented with heavier weapons, commanded by a first or second lieutenant with the assistance of his platoon sergeant, platoon guide, platoon radio operator, and the platoon corpsman.