0303 - Light Armored Reconnaissance Officer
2ndLt - LtCol
The 0303 Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) Officer MOS is a secondary MOS for 0302 Infantry Officers who will spend their careers in the Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalions. LAR Officers are the commanders or their assistants in the Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) Battalions or Supporting Establishment designated billets. As such, LAR Officers plan, direct and assist in the tactical employment and deployment of LAR units. To fulfill these responsibilities, they collect information requirements; evaluate intelligence; estimate the operational situation; and formulate, coordinate and execute appropriate plans for armored reconnaissance and surveillance, armored security in support of maneuver, offensive and defensive actions, fire support, raids, communications, operational logistics and maintenance. LAR Officers are also responsible for the discipline, morale and welfare of their units' Marines.
Basic Officers volunteer for the Infantry MOS - no one is selected to be an 0302 against their will. Once selected and successfully completing Infantry Officers Course (IOC), Marines designated for the 0303 MOS will attend the Light Armored Reconnaissance Leader Course (LARLC), Camp Pendleton, California.
Jokingly referred to as "smart grunts," 0303 Officers generally have the same career opportunities as 0302 Infantry Officers, just with more time inside the LAR Battalions versus the traditional Infantry Battalions.
LAR Battalions, are fast and mobilized armored terrestrial reconnaissance units that conduct reconnaissance-in-force (RIF) ahead of the battalion landing teams or division infantry forces. They mainly provide the Marine Air-Ground Task Force and the Marine Expeditionary Unit commanders vital intelligence of the enemy. They perform their methods as special motorized, infantry-based reconnaissance units as they are equipped with LAV-25s to quickly penetrate enemy lines and locate and/or harass any enemy forces to determine their size, strengths, location, and any other pertinent information requested of the Marine commanders.
LAR differs from regular infantry, as their is an emphasis on reconnaissance. The LAR [Light Armored Reconnaissance] battalion performs combined arms reconnaissance and security missions in support of the Ground Combat Element. Its mission is to conduct reconnaissance, security and economy of force operations, and, within its capabilities, limited offensive or defensive operations that exploit the unit’s mobility and firepower. LAR is not mechanized infantry and LAR scouts are not employed the same way as infantry or mechanized infantry.Operations requiring large numbers of infantry favor employing mechanized infantry units due to their higher troop density. LAR units are not equipped with either an armored personnel carrier or an infantry fighting vehicle, which a designation as either armored or mechanized infantry would require, and the LAV should not be viewed as an infantry fighting vehicle or as an armored personnel carrier. This vehicle is an armored reconnaissance vehicle that lacks sufficient armor protection and troop density to perform missions normally assigned to a mechanized infantry unit.
Prerequisites to become an LAR Officer are US Citizenship, 0302 Primary MOS, normal color vision, Water-Survival Basic Plus Squi Qualification, a finally adjudicated secret security clearance based on national agency check, law enforcement and credit check (NACLC) prior to acceptance to assessment and selection (A&S). and Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) security eligible.
LAR Officers will almost always start out as LAR platoon commanders in an LAR battalion. By the end of a first tour, the most capable 0303's should be Company XO's, Deputy Operations Officers (S-3A), or even Company Commanders. There are 4 LAR Battalions (3 active duty, and 1 reserve). 1st LAR Battalion, callsign "Highlander," out of Camp Pendleton, California, 2nd LAR Battalion, callsign "Destroyer," out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, 3rd LAR Battalion, callsign "Wolfpack," out of Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California, and the reserve 4th LAR Battalion, callsign "Iron Horse," out of Camp Pendleton, California.
The billets that 0303's can fill throughout their careers are endless. Just like regular Infantry Officers, LAR officers are considered the consummate leaders in the Marine Corps officer ranks. Billets may take them from LAR battalions to the supporting establishment and back again. 0303's also have opportunities to go on Marine Rotational Forces in Darwin, Australia (MRF-D), MRF-Europe, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Forces (SP-MAGTF's), Battalion Landing Teams (BLT's) on Marine Expeditionary Units (MEU's), and the Black Sea Rotational Force (BSRF), Battalion Executive Officers and Commanders, and the leaders in the supporting establishment.
To learn more about officer career paths, and infantry officers course (IOC), please visit our Officer Info section.
To learn more about other MOS's, please visit our Complete MOS List.
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