Marine Corps MOS's can be very misleading and you need to clearly understand that certain jobs may land you in a type of unit that you may not want to serve in. Two identical Marines with the exact same MOS serving in different types of units can experience two very different Marine Corps'. How can that be you ask?
Well it all depends on what type of unit you are assigned to. As an example, a Field Radio Operator can be sent to any type of unit from infantry to artillery, radiomen man the radios. From tanks to amphibious vehicles, radiomen are needed to ensure communication gear is installed and operated properly. Engineer, air wing and artillery are other examples of unit types that radio operators can end up in.
A radio operator who is in a grunt battalion will experience a much different Marine Corps than say a radio operator who is attached to an air wing unit. A radio operator in a larger communications unit will experience a different Corps than a Marine radio man who is attached to an artillery unit. Each unit type is assigned with specific missions, so how they train and where they train are going to be different in most cases.
This is why it is difficult to explain to someone when they ask, "what was your job like.?" When I tell them, I always warn them that my experience is only for a radio operator in an infantry line company who actually went out with a line company. Someone might think my job was fun and exciting and they may choose it, but they need to realize that if they get sent to a unit that is non-infantry, then they will never experience what I went through. There are entire communication companies at the higher levels that never get down and dirty. And it is not up to us to choose where we get sent to. And just because you end up in an infantry unit, this doesn't mean you will be assigned to a grunt company. Most radio operators will never do this type of duty while in an infantry battalion.
I will show you how an infantry battalion is typically made up. You can see that certain MOS's can end up in the infantry or any other level of the USMC. I will use my old unit as an example. Most infantry battalions are the same, but not all. Some contain light armored vehicles (LAV), ours did not. There are some variations to this example, but you will get the idea with this explanation.
-1st Battalion 3rd Marines 3rd Marine Regiment 3rd Marine Division (1/3 AKA The Lava Dogs)Heavy gunners get assigned to each line company as needed. Same with tow missile gunners and the 81 mm. mortar platoon provides support for the entire battalion as needed. They remain behind the front lines, but as the line companies advance, so do the mortars. 60 mm mortars stay with each individual company. A radio operator also stays with each company and as they do, so will he. Several corpsmen are assigned to each company. Snipers can also get assigned to a company. Remember, any Marine can be used in any fashion when needed in these battalions.
(A Co.) Alpha Company - Made up of riflemen, assault men, machine gunners, 60 mm mortars
(B Co.) Bravo Company - Made up of riflemen, assault men, machine gunners, 60 mm mortars
(C Co.) Charlie Company - Made up of riflemen, assault men, machine gunners, 60 mm mortars
(WPN Co.) Weapons Company - Made up of Heavy machine gunners (50 cal, 40 cal, 7.56) , Tow gunners, mortar men (81mm), assault men (dragons, smaw)
(H & S Co.) Headquarters and Service Company - Made up of Communications (radio operators, wiremen, radio techs, computer techs, data), supply, cooks, administrative, NBC, intel, legal, corpsmen (Navy), chaplain (Navy), motor transport, scout snipers, armors, and other headquarter elements.
The H&S and Weapons companies are to support the three line companies. So there is often many variations of who goes where, so keep an open mind. My examples are not exact, but will give you an example of how it works.
If you notice at the battalion level we have no Recon, tanks, artillery, air support, MP's, or engineers. Those are all higher level commands and will come into play in the bigger picture. As needed they will get assigned to our battalion or they will join the battalion and make up a much larger unit. Infantry battalions are the lowest level and only contain the MOS's mentioned above/below.
So you can be in an infantry battalion and not be an infantryman. Your main job will be what you went to school for, but if shit hits the fan you bet you ass you would jump into the mix. And often the entire battalion trains in various different environments and this includes EVERY SWINGING DICK. So even though you might be an admin Marine, you can still get down and dirty if you get sent to an infantry unit and you'd deploy along with them.
Cooks are the only MOS with great leeway as they have long hours. And once again, you WILL NOT be removed from your MOS to be in the infantry. This would only happen if hundreds of infantry Marines were being killed daily, or if asked to. If your MOS is admin and you're assigned to the infantry battalion, then that is what you will be doing. Even when deployed to a combat zone, you will still be doing your assigned MOS, unless you volunteer for some other duty, or are sent to another unit to fill a needed role.
So when choosing your MOS be well aware that even though it might not be "infantry-03XX", you can very well get assigned to an infantry unit. And you can train in such things as cold weather training, jungle warfare training, rappelling off towers, helo's, and many other infantry type stuff. This type of training is not guaranteed if you end up in a grunt unit, but understand it can happen.
Remember, infantry units love to deploy. In your first four years you will be guaranteed two deployments if you are in an infantry unit. And infantry units will PT/hump a lot more than non-infantry units. So you have been warned.
Aviation MOS's will never get you in the infantry side of things and these two sides are very different.
JOBS FOUND IN AN INFANTRY BATTALION
- All entry level infantry MOS's
- Communications (wireman, techs, radio operators)
- Motor transport (Motor T)
Just because you choose one of these MOS's does not mean you will end up in a infantry unit. And by the same token you might end up in a infantry unit. Just make sure you choose an MOS you're going to like. If you love desk work then intel, or admin is for you. If you love vehicles or mechanic type stuff then join motor t. If you love keeping track of lots of gear in large quantities then choose supply. But just be aware that the unit you get assigned to will dictate things such as deployments, PT, free time, and overall quality of life.
Here are some MOS's that are not infantry but will have you spending time in the field.
- It is very important that we are all on the same page here, so I will repeat myself once again: Just because you end up in an infantry battalion in a non-infantry job, this does not mean you are an infantryman, or that when deployed you will be made to fight in combat. Please understand this. Your chances to see combat are obviously higher since you are in an infantry unit, but you wont be killing anyone unless you volunteer or are forced to do a job that is not one you went to school for.
- All jobs suck and all jobs are the best ones equally in the USMC, so don't try to find that perfect job. You will have many days you like, and just as many that you hate. There are no bad jobs in the USMC, only bad Marines who fill them.
- When choosing your job, clearly understand what type of unit you might get set to, and clearly understand that the unit type you serve in can have you experiencing a very different Marine Corps than others with the same MOS.