T Nation

Joining the Marines


Ok so I'm 17 and I have always wanted to join the marines since i was 15. The only thing is i dont know if this is the best option in my life. I know i can easily get into college and that I can basically do what I want to. But what I want to do is join the Marines. Many adults I have asked have said that I shouldn't because we are in war right now (I hate the war by the way).

I don't know the chances of something happening to you in war or anything. Plus some of the thoughts of coming back with out a limb or with some psychological problem is not exactly appealing to me.

I want to join the marines because i find it one of the most honorable things someone can do for their country and for themselves. I also want to be able to say that i have made it through the training because of how hard and grueling it is (i don't know if that sounds gay).

The people i have asked that have been in the marines said it was the best decision they have made in their life but they are not in the same time period that we are in right now. I don't know, a lot of people advice against it and some advise to it but i tend to listen to the some and call the rest pussys.

Can someone give me some insight being that i actually have respect for a lot of people on this site and alot of people have some experience in this. I just want to know if it is worth it and if it is a good choice to make in life.


I have never served in the military but if you're going in to serve your country then it shouldn't matter if it's peace time or war time. Just my lousy two cents.


I was in the Navy and I enjoyed it immensely. One of the biggest mistakes I did make was getting out. So if you chose to join, go for it and do not let anyone tell you differently.


Quite frankly, if you say you hate war, I'm not so sure the marines is your best choice.


Join the military if you feel compelled in your heart and soul. Like Bigjames stated sometimes I wish I stayed in.
Some days suck and some days your in awe of the things you have accomplished. The early morning wake ups. Visiting the 38th parrallel, flying over the Euphrates and Tigris.
If its going to give you a sense of accomplishment, do it. I was at the same crossroads you are now 8 years ago.
The first days you are going to feel like you made the worst decision ever made however if you say have the moxy to carry on then it will be one of the best decisions you ever made. My 2 cents.


I'm in the ARMY and I can say I wouldn't trade it for anything. Don't be one of those guys in 20 years who looks back and REGRETS not joining. Serving in the military is the highest calling on earth, and there's NOTHING more honorable than having served. How many people are going to get to say that they've been to Iraq and seen Baghdad ablaze, in the middle of the night from the back of a Chinook helicopter? That's just one of my personal experiences that so many people will never get to see/experience. It's worth it, trust me.

And also, every day is NOT boot camp. There's so much damn partying it's not even funny, lol! Just be careful and SAVE YOUR MONEY. Don't buy stereos and stupid ass cars with rims. SAVE YOUR MONEY!!


Well it looks like you've mastered the difference between there and their...so I'd say stay in school.

If you don't like or believe in the war, where do you likely think you will end up on active duty?

I appreciate all our soldiers and commend them. But....going to school, becoming better educated, ready to hit the workforce in a new business and have a great living by 25 is more likely to occur in school. You like girls? Don't plan on the best relationships or any at all if you ship out.

You may be right that joining the Marines is the "highest" calling, but you may find your "calling" in school. Your future wife, best friend, job opportunity, parties...etc. The prime of your life. Take full advantage of it.

I wouldn't trade my college experience for anything. Many people go to the service before college, but many don't end up doing so. Do you want to risk the trauma of war on your brain...THEN go to school and get the best out of it?

I say get educated and wait for a draft. The risks are not there if you stay in school and you'll have 4 years to create new opportunity toward your future better in school than in the sand.

I say staying alive and going to school give you the best odds on ultimately being in a position to serve as a good balanced husband to your future wife and father to your future children is the highest calling.

I've go 2 cousins in Iraq, and their Mother has been through almost a full 4 years of worrisome hell now. One plans on staying in for life, the other is going to drive a Tractor in construction for a living. Niether plan on school.

Not to disparage the service or the opportunities there....you asked and I answered.


If you want to serve AND go to college, enroll in ROTC. Its a great program, will set you up for junior officer and will leapfrog being a grunt.

I regret not doing ROTC.


You want to join the marines because it's the most honorable thing for your country and yourself. Stop and really examine that statement for a second. Once you're out there, you aren't going to give a fuck about honor. Abstract concepts go away very quickly, so make sure that you have something real behind all the bravado. You will care about doing what you have to in order to succeed and keep your buddy alive.

You may never find yourself in a life or death situation at all. You will definitely find yourself in a life-or-bullshit situation. Look forward to cleaning toilets with Q-tips.

Be careful about asking people their opinion on the military after they've given twenty of the best years of their life to it. People overvalue that which they pay dearly for, will tell themselves anything they have to in order to feel ok with themselves, and memories will distort with time. Someone will look back on ten years of boredom and misery and remember the ten minutes of coolness in the middle more than anything else.

The marines are full of people who joined specifically because they feel inadequate and want to be able to tell the people who picked on them in high school that they are now a marine, and thus a badass. Terrible reason.

Yes, marine boot camp will suck, but how many people who start it make it through? Nearly all of them. Same with any other branch. No job or experience can really make you into something that you are not. At best, these things can only reveal what you really are. If you want to answer that question in the back of your mind of who you are, volunteer for a Special Ops group with a selection phase, such as Recon or Scout Sniper. Usually only about 20-30% of the volunteers make it through. You'll learn something about yourself there.

Whatever it is that you do, have a plan. The four years that you initially obligate will pass and you will be a 22 year old with little education past high school and job experience that qualifies you to be either a security guard or a butler. A lot of people stay in at that point because they really have no idea what else to do. Always think a few steps ahead and work on your education, financial and personal life.

It will be a new world and you will gain experiences that you wouldn't anywhere else. Once you've been in for a while, you'll have a hard time identifying with soft frat-boy civilians who complain about having a few hours of homework. It will probably bring you many of the high points of your life, but it will also bring you a good deal of the lows. You'll meet some of the best people that you are likely to ever find, but you'll also come across some of the biggest idiots you could imagine. Many of them will be in charge of you.

The thing is that whatever abstract end-goal it is that you're seeking in the military can be found elsewhere as well. A strong person is strong regardless of externalities. You are in control of directing the course of your life through as much challenge and experience as you can create. There are plenty of ways to test yourself, see the world, etc. What happens to you in life will matter much less than how you react to it.

And your recruiter will lie to you. If you remember only one thing; remember that.


Being in the Marines is like being married. Everyone tells you how great it is, but there are little things that irritate the hell about your "spouse".

Now being in the military doesn't mean you are a priest and that you can't have a gf. There are even more possibilities since you get deployed to many countries you get to pick the women not like the in the states.

However if you say "I hate the war" then the marines are not the place for you. . .

You DO understand the requirements of being a Marine???.....


As a former infantry sergeant, if you don't believe in the war, I'd rather not have you in my squad. That doesn't mean that I think you're a pussy or that you don't love your country. What it does mean is that you're willing to engage in something you don't believe in (war) just to be part of a group (the Marines).

The odds of something happening to you in war vary by your MOS, where you're stationed, ect. If you look at the overall math of it, the odds of you getting hurt are pretty low, but then again, I've lost a friend over there. I also have a personal enemy that died over there because he was a stupid asshole. But if you are a pogue, then you increase your chances of living.

Go to college mac. If your heart isn't in the fight then you're just joining up to put on a pretty little uniform and claim a title. Boot camp IS NOT THAT HARD. Boot camp didn't come close to preparing me for infantry life. It also isn't going to make a man out of you. That's your job, not the Corps'. It is emotionally difficult, but physically it's a piece of cake unless you're a fat body.

The Marine Corps was the best decision of my life. But then again, at the expense of sounding like an asshole, my favorite time in was while I was at war. I had a lot of great experiences being in. I liked it enough that I may go back. But do you really want to be a man that is willing to shun your personal convictions to wear a stupid uniform? That's no man I'd want to share a fighting hole with.



Isn't that the truth? I remember we got our first set of boots early in '02. I was a corporal and I remember asking one of the guys in my fireteam why he joined. He gave me this whole speech about wanting to get some after 9/11. Mind you he was doing all of this while I had him and the rest of the fireteam picking up cigarette butts around the company office. I really felt for those guys that joined up post-9/11.



I've seen the enlisted and the officer side of the Marine Corps, and I advise you to go to college. A college degree will help you no matter where you are, and if you enlist after a couple years of college then that will get you closer to a degree. You are eligible to be an officer with a bachelors degree.
War is what we do, and the commandant has recently put out instructions to make sure all Marines get an opportunity to serve in Iraq. If you feel strongly about the war, and can't seperate your politics from your job, then the Corps might not be for you.


Honor is a very abstract concept and you probably don't want to take such a major decision based on that. As for bragging (I'm sorry, but that's what it is) about having made it thru the training, you're better off aiming for some triathlon or some other challenge. Remember, if millions of people made it, then it might not be as hard and grueling as you expect it to be.

A cousin of mine joined the army recently and I was stunned by the figures. It's something that's very very tempting. I'm amazed that not more people are going for it. So, be honest with yourself, and figure out valid reasons for joining the Marines (i.e: if you think your country's in danger, if you think that it's the best option you got, etc...).

I might be biased here because I abhor authority, but your mileage may differ...


Thank you guys for your input. I guess the only reason I wanted to join was because of how tough the training was and because I thought it was a challenge. You guys did put things in perspective so I thank you.


Im going to boot in march. One of the guys said you should enjoy the college lifestyle. I agree with that. I did the whole going to college thing. Even though i didn't do to well in my classes. I enjoyed college a hell of a lot though. I drink and partied my ass off and had a bunch of experiences i wouldn't trade for anything. Anyway i finally decided to join the marines which i had been thinking about since high school. Im planning on finishing my degree while in the marines doing my four years and going into a career in the electronics/computer information field hopefully.
I guess what im trying to say to you is. Why not do both.

Go to college four years and then join the marines as an officer. Or go a few years of school then join the marines and finish your degree while your in there. Just because you decide to go to college dont think you cant also become a marine later on. Just my 2 cents on this subject. Good luck with whatever you decide


I was going to join the marines, when I was 18, I didn't.

I still think about it, what spooked me was.

My recruiters were just about the least intelligent individuals I ever met in my life.

I told them, my friend died in Iraq, and this dude was like, "SO YOU WANNA GET SOME REVENGE??!?"

I'm thinking, 'is this rambo part 3?'

I also, saw them verbally manipulating young high school girls from poor neighborhoods, into filling out their quotas, and from what I could see screwing them on the side, they were like groupies. Nothing wrong with that, but if we're talking honor here, I find something a little skewed about that.

I remember girls express fears like "I don't want to die, in Iraq, maybe I should join the Air Force, or whatever it was' the recruiters response was something like 'The airforce doesnt have honor Marines have honor."

I'm not saying this to badmouth the marines, to the contrary, I think highly of them and still have some inkling of joining them however.

The one thing I noticed is that for the recruiters and enlisted ranks, those who carry the most clout and authority are those who have been in for a long time and never progressed to commission...

What does that mean?

You may be taking orders from a guy a lot less intelligent than you, and who is a lot less honorable than you think the Marines should be.

I was 17 once, I'm only 20 now, but I urge you to consider what you are doing.

If you want to live with honor, that is a personal creed one under takes, not something you gain from a Marine Corps Bumper Sticker, a hat, a mug, three months of calisthetics and rifle shooting, and 2 years juggling land mines, in a wrongfully and illegally occupied country, where most people just want to live their lives but have been swamped into a sensless pointless violence. Where you're counter strike playing ass is going to have to drive around streets on senseless "patrols" as if you are a police officer, except you don't speak arabic, and don't have any percieved authority by the people you're dealing with. Just rolling around, waiting to get blown up by an IED.

My brother joined the army and he regrets it now, I'd suggest just, saving up money, if you want to act like a hardass do some hard job or something like roofing and save up some money, lift weights after wards, then go try to make commission, go to school, or do something cool like spec ops.

They fill up young guys without alot of vapid bullshit to fill out their quotas. But what they don't tell you is you have to do alot of dumb bullshit when you're in the marines too. It's not like you get out of basic and put on a bandana and kill a billion people with an m60. You're going to have to do some dumbass mopping, and raking and all that bullshit too. As far as getting a good MOS, every marine is a rifleman first, so it doesn't really matter what job you get, because they are short on soldiers right now, so you're going to be some grunt in a Hummer waiting to get shot up.

I'd seriously consider your motives for doing these things.


I think you made the right decision. Be a roofer.


Nobody "likes" the war but you will be asked to fight it if you join especially since you are looking at the Marines.

Sucking dick is gay. Testing your physical limitations and overcoming obstacles is not gay.

If you want to serve but don't want to fight there are other options. For example the Coast Guard learns to save lives, not take them. I have never heard a single Coastie regret his service.


Dude, I'm in college, i just do dumb shit like roofing to make some money, wtf do you do for pay?

Wait tables?

I keep my gpa up high, and I build websites, and I'm going to get an internship, there is nothing wrong with my work.