Advice and Info About Enlisting Into the Marine Corps 

Click here to edit subtitle



The following info applies to those who enlist with an active duty contract and not reservist. Reservists are not stationed anywhere. They go home after their initial training and do the weekend warrior thing at their local reserve center.
The USMC doesn't have many bases where it can send you to be stationed as a new Marine. You won’t get stationed in Korea, Africa, or Europe (Germany). There are a very small number of Marines in those locations, but you are not assigned there as your first duty station fresh from your MOS school. Getting stationed in one of those locations is something you should not be worried about right now since it doesn't apply to new boot Marines.

In most cases the Marine Corps places you where they need you at that time. The assigning of your duty station takes place while at your MOS school. In some MOS schools, they might reward the top graduates with a duty station of their choosing. Most schools do not do this, so don't expect to pick where you get stationed. In most schools you may get to fill out a list of your top three preferences, but you will be placed where they need you.
From time to time a Marine may get stationed where he had asked to be stationed on his wish list. This happens because the USMC placed him where they needed him and it just so happened to be the same place he picked. This is why you may hear about some Marines who picked their duty station.
  • The bulk of the Marine Corps is stationed in either sunny Southern California, or on the east coast's Camp Lejeune. Since these are the largest USMC bases population wise, your chances are high that you get stationed there. Hawaii and Japan are smaller bases, so this lowers the chance of getting sent there, but Marines get assigned there all the time.

  • It is amazing when future Marines can't wait to get in, and then once in they whine and bitch that they are stationed so far away from home. If you enlist into active duty, you should expect to be gone for your entire enlistment and to be stationed far away from home. Always assume the worst when it comes to the USMC. And of course not every Marine is going to be satisfied with his or her duty station.

  • Reservist will not be stationed anywhere. They live at home and report to a reserve center once a month and two weeks during the year unless activated for their yearly training or for some special duty.

  • 29 Palms is the base most Marines will say is the worst place to get stationed. Of course there will be some Marines who enjoy the lonely desert environment and will love being stationed there. 29 Palms has extremely hot summers, cool winters, and it is out in the middle of the Mojave Desert and there isn't much action going on out there. It is also home to Comm. school. The funny thing about all of the negativity about 29 Palms is that MCAS Yuma, AZ is a much worse place to be stationed at, and MCLB Barstow is no paradise either. Yuma seems to get much hotter or just as hot as 29 Palms and it is just as if not more isolated.

  • Hawaii of course is a paradise, but it can get old really fast and you are stuck on an island. It is expensive, many locals despise the military especially Jarheads and when taking leave it can get really expensive and it can eat up a day or two just to fly back and forth.

  • Camp Pendleton and MCAS Miramar are considered the best duty stations because of the weather and because of their location. Both bases are located in the middle of the Southern California coastal area. You will have the San Diego area to the south and the Greater Los Angeles area is to your north. There is very little that you cannot do while stationed out here.

  • No matter where you are from, you should want to be stationed in an area that you've never been too. If you are a country person or a person who prefers the backwoods, why wouldn't you want to get stationed in a place like Southern California? Why would you want to get stationed as close to your home as possible if you're going to live in that area for the rest of your life once you get out. You joined for the adventure, right? Why not enjoy new things and why not venture out into a world that is new to you? You only live once and the USMC is paying for you to go out there, so take advantage of it. Once again, it is amazing to see some of you who have this strong desire to serve right now and can't wait to get in, but you want to get stationed in your backyard and when you're sent across the country, you whine and bitch that you're so far away from home. Don't enlist into active duty if you're not prepared to move very far away.

  • All bases have their pros and cons and since we are all different, some of us might enjoy one location more so than others. Regardless of where you get stationed, the base life is basically the same on every base and the same basic facilities will be found on each base.

  • Most people forget that you can get stationed at one of the two MCRD's, in Washington DC, in Albany, GA, in New Orleans, and in Barstow, CA. These are smaller bases, but some Marines will be sent there. There are several other smaller bases/installations where new Marines get sent to, but since the number of new Marines who get sent there is so small, this is why they are not listed here.

  • Japan is basically the only base the USMC has in a foreign land that new Marines can get assigned to. So don't expect to get stationed in Germany or Italy or Korea. And remember, we are talking about duty stations and not locations where you can deploy to.

  • The SF or Security Forces MOS will have you being stationed in places that are not mentioned on this website.

  • If your MOS is tanks or will have you working on tanks, the only two bases you can be stationed at are 29 Palms, CA and Camp Lejeune, NC. I have heard from several new tank Marines that they were allowed to pick their base since they only have two locations to choose from.

Where you go to boot camp and where you go to infantry school has absolutely no bearing on where you get stationed. You will get stationed wherever the Marine Corps needs you at that time. From your permanent unit you then will deploy to wherever it is they are deploying to if it applies. And in your first four years, you should expect two deployments if you serve in an infantry battalion.

Remember, no one can tell you where exactly you will be stationed, so don't listen to those who try to tell you otherwise and understand that there is a giant difference in being "stationed" somewhere and in being deployed somewhere.

You will be stationed at one of the following bases if your job is active duty 03xx-infantry or if your job gets stationed with an infantry battalion. Yes folks, infantry battalions do have other jobs other than grunt jobs. Some examples are radio operator, admin, intel, armorer, and several others.

The bulk of you will end up at either Camp Lejeune or Camp Pendleton since these are the larger bases with the most grunt battalions. Hawaii has the least, so if you get sent there, consider your ass one lucky mother fucker and Aloha means hello and goodbye.
Note: Okinawa, Japan does not have permanent grunt battalions where you can be stationed as a new Marine. You may eventually deploy there, but you wont be heading there right after grunt school.

  • Camp Pendleton, CA
  • Camp Lejeune, NC
  • 29 Palms, CA
  • MCB/MCAS Kaneohe Bay, HI


These are the larger bases were you will most likely end up. Not every MCAS has the same type of aircraft, so the aircraft you end up working on will dictate which bases you can end up in. Other MOS's such as communications, engineers, admin, supply, and many others will also be stationed at these bases with the exception of the combat MOS's.

  •  MCAS Yuma, AZ
  • MCAS Mirimar, CA
  • MCAS Camp Pendleton, CA
  • MCAS Kaneohe Bay, HI
  • MCAS Cherry Point, NC
  • MCAS Beaufort, SC
  • MCAS New River, NC
  • MCAS Iwakuni, Mainland Japan
  • MCAS Futenma, Okinawa (Japan)


Do not pray to be stationed at any base and always keep an open mind. It will always be up to you to take advantage of where you are stationed, so don't be like many Marines who listen to others and then have a negative view of a place well before they even get there. Many of you may never return to wherever the USMC sends you, so make the most of it.