Combat engineers build, repair, and maintain buildings, roads, and power supplies within the Marine Corps, frequently while under fire or in dangerous combat environments. Their jobs are among the most important in the Marines, and they're often on the front line of any offensive action against enemy troops.
Their jobs involve using explosives for both construction and demolition projects. They also use heavy machinery like the Assault Breacher Vehicle to clear minefields. This is considered a primary military occupational specialty (PMOS) and is open to Marines between the ranks of private and master gunnery. It's categorized as MOS 1371.
Duties of Marine Combat Engineers
After successful completion of basic recruit training, Marines slated to become combat engineers will complete a specialty course dependent upon their career field specialty.
The combat engineer may be assigned to an engineer battalion, an engineer support battalion, or a Marine wing support squadron.
Within the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), the combat engineer supports ground forces by removing obstacles, building causeways, constructing bunkers, and other civil engineering roles. Learning to use explosives for the demolition of structures and to clear mines and minefields are also a major role of the combat engineer.
They also construct, alter, repair and maintain buildings and structures; lift and move heavy objects and equipment by setting up, bracing, and utilizing rigging devices and equipment.
Personnel assigned this military occupational specialty (MOS) are taught carpentry and other construction skills as well as demolitions, specialized demolitions for urban breaching, and landmine warfare. These Marines are specially trained to do all of this work while potentially under enemy fire.
Qualifying as a Marine Combat Engineer
To be eligible for this job, candidates need a score of 95 or higher on the mechanical maintenance (MM) portion of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests. This comprises the general science (GS), auto and shop information (AS), mathematics knowledge (MK) and mechanical comprehension (MC).
There's no Department of Defense security clearance required for this job.
The first step after basic training (otherwise known as boot camp) is to complete the Basic Combat Engineer course, Marine Corps Engineer School, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. If you hold the rank of gunnery sergeant, you may also need to complete the Engineer Operations Chief course.
Once the Marine is a fully qualified, they will be assigned to a combat engineer battalion, an engineer support battalion, or a Marine wing support squadron.
Expanding the Combat Engineer Platoon
When the Marine Corps announced its plans to phase out the infantry assault MOS (0351) in 2018, it increased the number of Marines in a combat engineer squad, from nine to 13. Since many of their duties are similar, and there is a great deal of overlap in the two MOS, the decision was in keeping with the Marines' force reorganization plans.
Both MOS 0351 and 1371 use the same shoulder-launched assault weapons, and combat engineers are as skilled in combat as their fellow infantry Marines.