T Nation



Hi, I found this board through a link and after browsing I have come to the conclusion that this is a pretty damn cool site. I read a post or two about the military and found that there is a decent amount of people that are or were in the military. I plan to join the United States Marines come January and figured some people on here might be able to help me with some decisions. I have already 100% sure decided to join the Marines but I am not sure on what exactly would be the best job for me. I do not want to sit behind a desk and fill out paper work. Nor do I want to be a grunt who has no use in the civilian world, seeing as there is not a high demand for people who can purely kick ass. I am most focused on being a medic because I would be in the action and still learn a skill that is highly valuable in the civilian world. Other than a medic I don't really have a clue of what would be a good job for me.
A bit of history about myself:
I am not the average person who joins the Marines. I graduated from a top high school with a 3.3 GPA, scored a 26 on my ACT, scored a 96 on my ASVAB, went to the University of Kentucky for one year, live with my parents in a $200,000 dollar house, drive a $12,000 dollar vehichle that I've completly paid off with my own money, and work 45 hour weeks at a decent job. So if you think System of a Downs lyrics asking "Why do they always send the poor?" is absolutely true, I am here to proove your wrong.
My reasons for joining the military:
I am not looking to the military strictly for a paycheck, nor do I think that I owe it to the United States Government to serve in the military. My motivation is a combination of both. I think the military can provide me with hands on training that will give me a healthy paycheck for the rest of my days while at the same time think that serving is something people OUGHT to do. I do realize that a country that strictly separates it's soldiers from it's schollars will have dumbass's fighting it's wars and cowards running the country.
What I want to get out of the military:
Like I said I want to get a solid education that I can use in the civilian world and a great 4 year experiance. I have thought about having a 20 year career in the USMC but that's not the plan as of now and not what I want to do with my life at this point.
Basically I want to know what people would reccomend I do in the Marines. I understand that I will be a Marine first, then a medic if that's what I become. Any comments will be greatly appreciated. And to anyone who asks why I wouldn't just sit back, go to school (which sucked) and live a decent rich life, the answer is that if I died today I would feel like I never got to do anything worthwhile in this life. If I die in some sand box in a country that I don't care about fighting for my country, I will felt like my life was worth living.


Hey, Im not in the military but im also looking to join up. What I did is went to all the recruiters for each branch(except navy, i dont want that) and am currently focusing on air force.

Personally what I saw between the branches was that the Marines were feeding me alot of bullshit. This is just the recruiter though, not the branch. Make sure you do alot of research before joining. A great source to look for jobs and to learn about the military is (http://about.com). For example, It was nice finding out that technically when you enlist for 4 years, they can call you back in for another 4 years after that.

But yeah, just in my opinion I wouldnt pick the marines. You arent guaranteed a job there, and they can transfer you around. If you want a sure job and want to around some action, you can just as well go into the army. In your case, that is what i would do.

You can always do air force too, they also have medics which is pretty cool. You would be flown in and out of hotspots, no doubt. That would also be some pretty good action.

But yeah..just do more research. You can find everything on the website I gave you. Good luck man.


There aren't any medics in the Marines. If you want to be a medic or corpsman join the Army or the Navy. If you want to go to college don't join the Marines with all the deployments it is nearly impossible to go while you are in.

If you want money for college it sounds like the Army college fund is something to take advantage of.


before i start i am british and want to join the army but as an engineer then go into the royal marine comando's or para's, but have to wait 2 years as i had asthma as a child. so i decide to get my qualification in marine engineering while i was waiting and become an officer, but anyways sit down write what your interest are, mine was fitness, maths and practicality( if thats a word), so engineering was the clear option for me. also on my apt test i got 82% which meant i could mi, tech officer, tank commander, aircraft pilot....... best thing to do other that list the jobs (and interest you have) you want is to see if you can take a test like i did??

good luck all the best and remember medics kick ass then run and patch the guys up.

pete the newbie


WVille... I am a Marine and served for 4 years. My story is like your story. I wanted a skill and some college money but most importantly I wanted to serve my country. I admire you for your decision to serve this great Country. The Marine's mecdics are actually Navy Corpsmen. The Marine Corps is a department of the Navy and Corpsman are our mecics. I was a 0613-Construction Wireman. I built communication towers, provided service for base telephone service and in the field we run communication cable and towers. The schools I attended were top notch and helped me land my job when I got home. Communication jobs are hot in the Corps and they are fast promoters. What has your recruiter told you so far?


Maybe I can give you a little help. First, where I am coming from; I was Marine for six years as an engineer. I got
out for a year and a half, and then joined the army as a medic. So I have direct experience in the branch and field you are interested in.
Unfortunately, Marines don't have medics. All Marine medical personel are Navy. The Navy docs are called Corpsmen. I do believe you can sign up to the Navy guarenteed to work with Marines. And let me add, a corpsman worth his weight is considered every bit a leatherneck as the Marines he works with.
The Army has medics. It's official title is 'Health Care Specialist'. True, some go into a clinical setting, but those who go to a combat arms setting are the combat medics. (See my name and guess which one I do). I love my job and I feel it is one of the best fields in the military. I get to work side by side with the grunts, do a job the tests every bit of my wits and skills, gives me a chance to actively help people, and learn good training that I'll be able to take back to the civilian world.
The Army also has a pretty good Physician Assistant program. With some college prereqs, and if you qualify, you get put through an intensive two year program, become a PA and get a commision.
So sorry to say, you can't be a Marine medic. Other branches offer it, and there are other good fields in the Corps. A smart kid like you might consider intell or commo if you insist on the corps. Hell, if I were in your shoes, I'd stick it out through college, and go officer, but that is just me.
Anyway, good luck. I sincerly wish you well. I am here if have anything for me, specific questions, thoughts, or just want some reassurement.


I don't want to take away from the post, but the above statements bother me. How do you know what the average Marine is like? Are you implying they are all stupid? I spent over 4 years in the Marine Corps and found, for the most part, it reflected society well as far as intelligence levels. Some brilliant, some stupid, most somewhere in between.

Anyway, like others have said, the Marines have no medics. If your main priority is marketable job skills, look into the other services as well. I have no first hand knowledge, but it seems like the Air Force would be better for the sole purpose of after-military skills. I don't know what they have as far as medics, though.

You should also look into the Army, as well. It likely has the widest variety of jobs just by virtue of size.

Good luck to you.


If you are really interested in being a medic maybe check the Army. When you graduate the medic course you will be EMT qualified. If you are really hard charging then you can volunteer to go to Ranger Regiment. They will send you to Ranger school, and then to the Special Operations Combat Medic course. This will boost your qualifications up to paramedic plus teach you skills that most paramedics dont know (chest tubes, venous cut-downs, suture, etc). The only problem with army medics is that I have heard that promotions past E-4 can be rather slow.

Best of luck no matter what you decide.


Go to college before you join.


just like my self everyone has there own opinion, i am a proud member of the USAF. i have been in for three years and running and really enjoy it. im an SF member (a cop) i just spent 8 months in iraq. im going to tell ya when you first find out your going you get those feelings in your stomach, but when you get there its not that bad (depending on were you are) most air force jobs only go over sea's four 4 months at a time and not every year most SF members can expect to go every year for 6 months or more. army goes for a 12-15 months on an averg,

i don't know much about the marines or the navy exept the navy is usually the medics for the jar heads if you have an IQ keep your eye looking at the air force if not do army, navy and then the jar heads. that order is also a better way of life. some would say the air force is civilians in uniforms sound good to me : )

if you can stay in school and get a 4 year degree that would be better. better jobs much more money and respect. if you have any questions i will do my best to help you out

have a great AF day


10count, I hope you were not saying that all Marines and Soilders are stupid. I'm a Marine and I attended my schools with Sailors, Airmen and Soilders and there was a fair share of unintelligent Airmen. You make it sound as if the Air Force is reserved for anyone with brains. I'll put a 03' that's a "GRUNT" up against a Airman any day. I was stationed at Lackland and was in shock of the undiciplined Airmen I came across. Not to say that I didnt meet some great Airmen, and I don't want to make this seem as if I am bashing the Airforce. Each branch has it's "10%".The fact that you say Airmen are like civilians in uniforms should be looked at as an insult to the Airmen who try to set themselves apart as an elite force. Wville dont't think that one branch is "smarter" than the other. Each branch has a specific function and an Air Force medic is no better than a Corpsman or Army Combat medic.


I was an 0311 (grunt) from 78 to 84. Marines are different from the rest. It has nothing to do with jobs or guarantees. If you want to learn why, read "Making the Corps", by Thomas Ricks.


Oh yeah, I graduated high school with a 3.75 GPA and scored in the top 10% of the ASVAB, which is a whole lot easier than other standardized tests. I had brains, but no money or even the notion of applying to college.

Don't fool yourself. Smart rich kids joining the military are exception, not the rule. Peer and family pressure keeps them on the college track. It is disproportionally the poor, non-college bound, underclasses that shed their blood for American strategic and economic interests.

Having said that, the training of a Marine will stay with you through life.


W Ville,
I was in the Marines for 6 years during desert storm and several other operations as security forces and then transferred to the Army to become a medic. I think that one of the best "jobs" in the Marines is security forces because your training never stops. You will go to school after school all pertaining to combat and survival. I can tell you it is more than a challenge, its a way of life to say the least. No one can ever say otherwise about that unless they have done the same.

However, if you are looking for a career for when you get out, I think Army medic is the best place to start. The Army has the best medical options to their medics. PA school, respiratory techs, physical therapy, the list is very long.

I was in the military for over 14 years and was forced to retire with a medical discharge, so beware it is a very very tough road to choose. I have a long list of injuries dated back to 1991 in desert storm, and it does not get any better. I can hardly crawl on the floor to play with my children.

Well, good luck.


i will agree that every branch has its share of so called fuck up's, and i never said anything about airmen have more dicipline then a marine and body thats in the armed forces no damn well that the marines are the most diciplined of all branches. the fact of air force personal being like civilians in uniforms stands for a better way of life then most if not all of the other branches. even over in the desert the airmen live better we had hardend building were the marine's lived in a tent.

there is also a reason that the air force has higher standards for there jobs then the marine corp does and thats because they need a high quality of education for those jobs.

i also have worked with the marine corp (both intel and grunts) your intel personal have there head in the right place but your grunts have there heads up there ass's. you say you would put an 03 grunt up against an airman any day well shit i would to, but an 03 grunt compared to an 03 airman wouldn't stand a chance. you can argue it all you want, but the facts are there.


I dont want this to turn into a "my branch is better than yours" pissing match. But you've got to be kidding me on this. Your using your whole 3 years of experience and a deployment or 2....and a few experiences with a few grunts/soldiers/etc to judge who's got a head up their ass?
If it comes to a tactical operation of any kind give me a marine over any airforce....even an airforce "SF". Ive worked with airforce for over 3 years (intel) and have many friends that were in when they still had SP's. Ive also worked with marines in both garison and the field.

If your looking at standards of living the airforce has it made. If your looking for opportunities to challenge yourself.....take some excellent training opportunities...and advance (promotions are slow in AF and are mostly based on written exams, unless things have changed) then go for Army or the Marines. If your looking for quality of life then join the AF.


well it been fun talking this over with you guys. Wville hope you pick the right branch for you. take the advise about staying in school it will help you out in the long run, not only in the military but in life. and for all of the marines out there keep your heads down over there.

good luck and god speed


As a Marine (0331 machine gunner) 00-04'. I've always wanted to be in the grunts. It has been the greatest thing that has happened in my life. It had its love/hate relationship but the things you will learn and the marines you meet will always be with you. The only problem is you cant keep wait on and your always hungry. :slight_smile:


My 2 cents, go to college and join the reserves. Looks like you are from KY, there is a MP unit in Lexington and a tank unit at FT. Knox.


Also you dont need to prove anyone. Thinking like that is a waste of you own time, ask yourself what you have to offer not what you can prove.

"Nor do I want to be a grunt who has no use in the civilian world, seeing as there is not a high demand for people who can purely kick ass".

It doesnt matter what your MOS is. The Marine Corps will teach you to adapt and overcome in any situation. I was a grunt, a mailclerk, and admin, and i worked in the legal field. I am finishing up and going into law enforcement in march.

I graduated from a top high school with a 3.3 GPA, scored a 26.....blah blah blah.

Thats great. I graduated with a 4.0 still that doesnt mean anything scored a 92 on the asvab. I joined the grunts. My best friend was a defense lawyer making 200-250,000 a year, he said it wasn't satisfying so he joined the Marines.