Things to Consider When Choosing to Join the Marine Corps


A Marine with Echo Company, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, simulates engaging a potential threat as part of a mechanized raid training event during Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), May 20. COMPTUEX is the second at-sea period during the 11th MEU's predeployment cycle, during which the MEU will conduct concurrent mission planning and execution integrated across all elements of the Marine Air Ground Task Force while supporting Amphibious Squadron 5 in their evaluated training.
••• U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Melissa Wenger

The Marine Corps has 15 major bases in the Continental United States (CONUS). They have bases located overseas in Hawaii and Japan, and Okinawa. There are plans underway to relocate Marines stationed in Okinawa to Guam, but this is still a few years off. Of course, assignment opportunities depend on your Marine Corps job. For example, if you're Marine Corps job is rifleman, you will be assigned to bases with an infantry unit. If your job is to repair F-18 aircraft, you would only be assigned to bases that have F-18 fighters.

Marines assigned to stateside bases, generally must stay there a minimum of three years before being eligible to move to another stateside base (there are exceptions to this rule). Overseas assignments have designated "tour lengths." For most locations, it's two years for an unaccompanied Marine, and three years for a Marine who elects to have his/her dependents relocated with them.

Junior enlisted Marines (those who are on their first enlistment) who are assigned to Japan or Okinawa have more assignment restrictions. The tour length for unmarried junior Marines is two years (except for Camp Fuji, which is a 12 month "remote" tour for everybody). First-term married Marines (or first-term Marines with dependents) serve a 12-month unaccompanied tour. In a very few cases, these Marines may be approved for a 24 month accompanied tour. All other Marines served the standard tour lengths, which is 36 months for accompanied and 24 months for unaccompanied.

While the normal Marine Corps assignment locations are rather limited, Marines (in any job), in the rank of E-2 through E-8 can volunteer for the Marine Corps Security Guard program, and be assigned to 12-month or 18 month assignment tours in more than 120 countries throughout the world.

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