The U.S. Marines oversees expansive travel for personnel and their dependents and shipments of military property and personal property. Coordinating travel and shipments fall under the responsibility of distribution management specialists, with the job code of military occupational specialty (MOS) 3112.
Marine Distribution Management Specialist Duties and Responsibilities
This job generally requires the ability to do the following work:
- Coordinate travel
- Manage handling of hazardous materials
- Assist with travel planning for dependents of military personnel
- Assist with shipping of military and personal property
- Execute planned troop movements
- Assist with acquiring visas and other necessary travel documents
- Assist with customs clearance
Distribution management specialists juggle military and contracted civilian transportation for the bulk of the troops and equipment needed to sustain large-scale overseas deployments. They also assist Marines and their families with routine moves from base to base by contracting with civilian moving companies.
These broad responsibilities require specialists to be able to coordinate travel through both the Defense Transportation System and commercial methods. This includes assisting service members and their dependents with securing passports, visas, and other required documents.
In addition to assisting with travel, specialists also help oversee the movement of military equipment and supplies. This requires experience with knowing how to handle and store hazardous materials, as well as familiarity with customs clearance for overseas shipping. Specialists also assist service members and their dependents with the shipping of personal items related to moves or relocations.
Marine Distribution Management Specialist Salary
Salaries are based on military pay charts, which take into account both rank and years of service. Distribution management specialists are enlisted members, which consists of nine pay grades, ranging from E-1 (privates) to E-9 (master gunnery sergeants). The maximum pay rate in any pay grade is for service members with 40 or more years of service. The lowest rate for pay grades E-1 through E-7 is for service members with two years of service or fewer. Service members need at least eight years of service for E-8 pay and at least 10 years of service for E-9 pay:
- E-1 to E-3 Pay Range: $18,649–$26,801 ($8.96–$12.88/hour)
- E-4 Pay Range: $26,335–$31,968 ($12.66–$15.37/hour)
- E-5 Pay Range: $28,721–$40,759 ($13.81–$19.59/hour)
- E-6 Pay Range: $31,351–$48,560 ($15.07–$23.34/hour)
- E-7 Pay Range: $36,249–$65,147 ($17.42–$31.32/hour)
- E-8 Pay Range: $52,146–$74,370 ($25.07–$35.75/hour)
- E-9 Pay Range: $63,670–$98,903 ($30.61–$47.55/hour)
Education, Training, & Certification
A high school diploma is the only requirement to join the Marines, but acceptance is more likely with a two-year degree or a four-year degree.
- Testing: Aspiring Marines need at least a 90 general technical (GT) score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).
- Training: Marines attend the Basic Distribution Management Specialist Course at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The course lasts five weeks, according to the American Council on Education (ACE) Military Guide, and consists of "[a]udiovisual materials, practical exercises, discussion, classroom exercises, and lecture."
- Certification: A current civilian driver's license is required, and a security clearance is needed once reaching the rank of staff sergeant (E-6).
Marine Distribution Management Specialist Skills & Competencies
In addition to the specific requirements of the job, there are general skills that are valuable to anyone seeking a career as a distribution management specialist in the Marines:
- Attention to detail: Because the job involves the transport of sensitive materials, hazardous materials, and service members traveling in and out of combat zones, it is vitally important that details not be overlooked.
- Organizational skills: The volume of travel and shipments are high, and specialists in this career need to be able to juggle all of it.
- People skills: Coordinating travel requires working with other people in order to make sure needs are met.
- Adaptability: The nature of all military jobs can change at a moment's notice. Military action anywhere around the globe can have a domino effect that requires a specialist in this career to change priorities immediately.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track specific military jobs, but job outlooks are better than average for a couple of careers that would be suitable for veterans who worked as distribution management specialists. Opportunities for logisticians and water transportation workers both are expected to grow at slightly better than average for the decade ending in 2026.
Specialists may be stationed at bases in the U.S. or other countries, and they also may oversee travel and shipments in combat zones. The environment can vary widely depending on the specific deployment.
Like the work environment, this can vary greatly. Specialists at U.S. bases are more likely to follow a consistent schedule. Specialists in combat zones will be required to be available at unpredictable times.
How to Get the Job
Study: Prepare for the ASVAB test by studying and reviewing books that can help you record your best score.
Train: Before enlisting, be sure you meet the fitness requirements for the Marines.
Research: Many jobs are available in the Marines. Review opportunities to make sure this is the one for you.
Comparing Similar Jobs
People interested in careers as distribution management specialists also might consider one of the following career paths, listed with median annual salaries:
- Railroad workers: $61,480
- Water transportation workers: $54,400
- Logisticians: $74,600