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Marine Duties and Responsibilities

The duties carried out by Marines depend on whether they are enlisted personnel or officers. Enlisted personnel are tasked with carrying out military operations, and officers are responsible for overseeing operations and enlisted personnel. Despite these differences, Marines may be asked to carry out the following duties at some point:

Direct Combat Many Marines work and train in various combat units. Each unit carries out a different combat task, and individuals may operate ships, battle tanks, and other vehicles. They also engage in combat against enemy forces using mortars, guns, and missiles. Members of special forces are usually tasked with carrying out the most complex and difficult combat missions.

Transport and Handle Materials Some Marines are responsible for loading and unloading military supplies and transporting supplies (such as fuel and water) to various locations. To transport materials, they may be asked to use vehicles, boats, or even aircraft.

Build and Maintain Structures Structures such as airfields, bridges, and buildings are extremely important during military campaigns, and some Marines are responsible for constructing them and performing maintenance. Some may specialize in electrical wiring or plumbing, and most will operate heavy equipment such as cranes or bulldozers.

Manage Human Resources Some Marines work in human resources and perform various administrative tasks. They are charged with recruiting personnel, providing information about job assignments, and placing recruits into appropriate occupations. Training specialists may teach enlisted personnel how to perform their jobs.

Engineer Many Marines work in engineering fields, and their primary goal is to solve operational problems, compile and interpret data, and operate technical equipment. The information they compile and interpret is usually used to plan military operations.


Marine Skills and Qualifications

Those interested in becoming a Marine should be mentally and physically fit and have a strong desire to serve their country. Depending on their role in the Marines, individuals may need to obtain certain certifications. To join the Marines, individuals must have US citizenship and a high school diploma or GED. Additionally, they must be able to obtain security clearance and should have no felony convictions. The military also seeks candidates with the following skills and traits:
  • Physical and mental fitness - prospective Marines must meet certain physical requirements and pass a test to prove they are healthy and capable of performing physical tasks. They must also be mentally stable and capable of withstanding the psychological stress that comes from combat and being in hostile territories. The Marines do not admit anyone over the age of 29 for active-duty service
  • Leadership skills - Marines are expected to perform their job under stressful and sometimes dangerous conditions. This means they should be capable of remaining calm and rational in most situations. Those who intend to become officers will need to be comfortable leading others and making hard decisions on their behalf
  • Ability to follow orders - Marines must be willing and capable of following orders issued by officers and superiors. If they become officers, they must feel comfortable giving orders to others

Marine Education and Training

To become an enlisted Marine, an individual will need a high school diploma or GED. Officers must have at least a bachelor's degree in any field of study. Before enlisting, all Marines must take the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), which will determine which occupation they are placed in. They must also complete seven to 13 weeks of basic training, which will help them understand military protocol and life before they are assigned to a unit.

Marine Salary and Outlook

The military compensates Marines according to their rank and time in service. The military uses a distinct pay structure that considers the Marine's occupation as well as the type of assignments they take (individuals who are assigned more dangerous tasks are paid more). This pay structure is used for all branches of the military, and members usually start receiving retirement pay after 20 years of service. Marines also receive free medical care, education, and a housing allowance. Employment prospects for Marines tend to be relatively good, and the military increasingly needs new recruits to replace older, retired members. When the economy is healthy and wages are high, the military usually has more difficulty meeting recruitment goals. During recessions, prospective Marines may face additional competition.

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