There are pros and cons of joining the Marines. Many people enjoy the idea of working for the military, but it can be difficult to figure out what branch they want to go into. The motto for the US Marines is “Semper Fi”, which is Latin for “always loyal”. This is a great motto to live by and one that many people choose to uphold when they join the military.
There are more than 180 enlisted jobs within the Marine Corps, and the job ratio is heavily weighted towards those of combat jobs. This is why there are more men within the Marines then there are women, but that is not to say that women are not able to join the Marine Corps. It’s just another thing to add to the list of pros and cons depending upon who you are.
The Pros of Joining the Marines
You will have the pride of working for the US military and defending your country in times of war. The Marines are one of the first ones to be deployed if there is a war, and that is because the Marines are very versatile in what they do.
2. Many Opportunities Available
The Marines are the ones that are generally on the ground as well as in the air, which provides you with various opportunities for careers in the Marines. They have also worked very closely with the Navy and therefore they offer amphibious warfare ships that operate around the world. Depending upon your squadron as well as your specialty, you may find that you spend more time on land or in the sea, and this may be a preference that you are able to push towards when you sign up.
There is the saying that you are once a Marine, always a Marine – and this can be a very favorable aspect. Even after you leave the Marines, you are still considered a Marine. This is not said of any of the other military branches. Marines are often considered to be the toughest ones in the military, and this is a great reputation for you to have.
4. No Cost Training
When you are in the Marines, you will receive all of your training at no cost. This means that they are going to show you everything that you need to know in order to do your job. You will go to specialized training following boot camp and you will continue to receive training in an ongoing manner throughout your military career, whether it ends at four years or you choose to make a lifelong career out of it.
5. Free Education
Even after you are out of the Marines, you may decide that you want to pursue another career. This is what the Montgomery G.I. Bill is used for. It will pay for a significant amount of your tuition, and you may not have to pay anything out of pocket. There are also various scholarships available to veterans and other bonuses from the government.
6. Long Term Benefits
If you complete 20 years in the Marines, as active duty, once you retire, you will be able to get your pension immediately. Many people who have served in the Marines will live off of this for the rest of their life, and it’s one of the primary incentives for staying in for a full 20 years.
Because you are serving the military, you are also eligible for a VA loan once you are out. This can help you to qualify for a mortgage faster because you don’t have to worry about private mortgage insurance. While you are in the military, you are often going to receive free room and board – and if you choose to live off of base, you will be given housing allowance that can help you dramatically.
There are going to be various other savings that you will encounter as well, including being able to shop on base, discount at local restaurants, food allowances, and much more. While you are stationed outside of the United States, you will also be paid at a higher rate, which can help you to save for the future.
Marines have a great reputation for being the strong ones. As the line includes, the Marines are the few, the proud, and the Marines. These are the people who are the most hard-core, and the strongest. If you say that you are marine, people are likely going to make assumptions that you are strong willed and minded, and this is generally not a bad thing.
The Cons of Joining the Marines
There are several cons for joining the Marines, and it is important to know about all of them. It is going to differ based upon who you are, what your personality is like, and what you want to do when you get into the Marines.
1. Lower Retention Rate
The Marine Corps has a retention rate of approximately 30%. It can be a great stepping stone for the future, but there are many people who get out, and that is because of the high level of deployment. If you become a Marine, you are going to be one of the first ones that are shipped out overseas when there is a problem. This means that you could potentially spend a significant amount of time away from your family and friends.
2. Too Tough
While the Marines are viewed as hard-core, they are also referred to in a negative way because they are the “muscle”. Nicknames will include “jar head” and “leathernecks”.
3. Low Pay
The pay can be low in comparison to some of the things that you are going to be asked to do on a regular basis. You may be required to jump out of airplanes, spend weeks or months in the desert, and much more. The pay is not as high as you would assume that it should be based upon the fact that your life is in danger at almost all times. The military is known for being paid lower than many other job positions. It’s not about the money, but the fact that you are defending your country.
4. Face Danger
As any recruiter will tell you, you have to be ready to die for your country. Marines especially are told this because of the dangers that you will face throughout your career. It’s not the job with the most cushion, but you do have job security if you do your job and do it well. Every single Marine is considered to be a rifleman first and then whatever MOS they hold as second. This means that anyone can be deployed in combat zones, and the Marine Corps has been known to send band members out for combat patrol when needed. This means that regardless of what your MOS is, you have the ability to be sent out into a combat zone.
There is almost always someone with a higher rank than you. You will need to show respect at all times, and there is a protocol that you will always need to follow. You will salute your officers, you will take orders, and you are expected to do all of this without complaining. There is always work to be done, and there may be times where you pull 18 hour or 24 hour shifts without break.
Making the Decision
One of the best things that you can do is talk to some people who are in the Marines currently as well as people who used to be in the Marines. Talk about the pros and cons and find out the reality of being in this branch of the military. It’s also a good idea to go down to your local Marines recruiting office and talk to one of the recruiting officers.
Ask about some of the questions that you have on your mind, take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test (ASVAB) and see how well you do. This will make it easier for the recruiting officer to tell you more about what you will likely do once you get out of basic training. Be realistic about what you expect and ensure that you make the decision after understanding all of the pros and cons.