PAGE EDITED IN 2016: I will try to clear up some things about lat moves, or lateral moves and keep in mind that as of 2014, things are really changing in the USMC, so you cannot take what anyone says and think it will apply to you, especially when it comes to changing your job. And this section is directed at new Marines who are on their initial contract and not poolees in the DEP.
A lat move is you changing your MOS once in the Marines after all of your schooling is done with. A lat move is not you becoming a DI, sniper, recruiter, etc etc. These are different things that you don’t need to worry about right now.
There seems to be many of you who have this wonderful master plan of lat moving once you get into the Marine Corps. Some recruiters love to say that you can change your job after two years or at your enlistments mid way point and will use this crap to persuade you to pick a job you do not really care for. Well I am here to tell you this most likely is not going to take place and you should always assume that the job you ship to boot camp with will be the job you do for your entire first enlistment.
I once asked an admin Marine how often lat moves get accepted and he told me in his unit he has never seen it happen. Keep in mind that a lat move request must be approved by the HQMC (Headquarters of the Marine Corps) and it must first go through the admin shop. In my time in the Corps I never saw a single Marine who was in his initial contract lat move and I have never even seen a new Marine request to lat move. This doesn’t mean that lat moves don’t happen, but I am quite certain that lat moves would only be approved for certain critical fields and for those Marines who are very well qualified and who have a strong desire to fill those roles. You won’t be allowed to change jobs just for the sake of changing jobs, this I guarantee you. And of course if you are injured and cannot perform your job, then this will make it easier to lat move.
Here are some things to think about when you are enlisting with lat moving on your mind:
- The USMC can’t just let every new Marine change jobs as they please. If they did this would turn the USMC into a cluster fuck with people coming and going from job to job.
- The USMC isn’t going to spend all this time and money to train you in a specific job only to have you change that job after one or two years. That logic makes no sense.
- These days the USMC is filled, so to try to get a slot in another job is kind of silly since those jobs are already filled. If this was a few years ago when the USMC had many vacancies, then I can see them letting some Marines lat move to fill critical jobs. But this isn’t the case today.
- There is a huge difference in changing your job once you are going to reenlist and in changing your job during your first enlistment. Lat moving when reenlistment is more common, but you wont be picking from any job you may want. The job you wish to lat move into must have an open space for you and of course you must qualify for it.
When you enlist you’d better hammer it into your head that the job you ship out with will be the job you will have for your entire first enlistment. Do not leave to boot camp thinking you can change jobs if you don’t like it or if you just want to try a new gig. The USMC doesn’t work like this. If you re-enlist or extend, then this is a totally different scenario and lat moving is possible.
What won’t happen is this: You pick infantry. After one deployment you realize this job sucks and it’s not for you. So now you want to go be an MP. You can’t seriously expect the Marine Corps to just let you go to a new job. That just won’t happen. Or this also won’t happen: Many of you feel you need to try infantry for the sake of saying you did it. Well you won’t be allowed to try infantry for a deployment or two and then request to change your job. Serving in the Corps is not a game where you pick a job until you find the one you like, so don't have that mentality and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Just because you heard of one Marine who did change his job, this doesn't mean the same is going to happen for you.
Just understand that when it comes to most things in the USMC, always assume the worst and hope for the best. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can change your job at a later date once you have shipped to boot camp. You must be convinced that the job you pick is the job you will do for your entire enlistment. It is very important you pick your job and that you accept this at all costs. All jobs will suck and be the greatest jobs equally, so don’t try to find that perfect job.
If your recruiter or any other Marine is telling you to accept a certain job and that you can change it in a few years, understand this is called misleading you and in most cases it won’t happen.
- As always remember that just because you may of heard about a Marine being allowed to lat move, this doesn’t mean you will also be allowed to. Never ever plan your career based off of what another Marine went through. Each Marine’s adventure is different and rules/regulations do change.