Enlisting FAQ's

As you ask us questions, we will post responses to commonly asked questions here

Before the Corps is a new website, and we have worked very hard to create quality content that answers all of your questions about what it is like to go through Boot Camp.

When you have any questions at all, use the Contact Us form on the previous page and we will get back to you.

As you ask questions of us, we will post the most commonly asked ones here.

Should I join the Marines?

We can't tell you what to do with your life, but can tell you what you might get out of joining our organization. Marines are proud, known for being reliable, tough as nails, and the people you call when you're in trouble and absolutely need a job done. We provide the same education, pay, housing, and job benefits as any other branch, but will take you farther than the Army, Navy, or Air Force. We believe in being our best selves and achieving the impossible. It will take more blood, sweat, and tears than any other branch. We do more with less, and don't care about comfort. The Marine Corps is the last bastion of warrior culture in the United States. If that sounds like something you're interested in, contact a recruiter. If you want an easy way to pay for college and a comfortable lifestyle, we aren't the branch for you.

When should I contact a recruiter?

You can enlist at 17 with your parents' permission or 18 on your own, so it depends on your age. If you are a high schooler whose parents support joining the Marines, reach out to a recruiter around 16 or 17. If your parents are against the military or Marines, you should wait until you're just about to turn 18. For those prosective Marines that are over 18, contact a Marine at any time, no matter where you are in life.

I heard recruiters can be sketchy, is that true?

Look, recruiters have a job to do - get people to join the Marine Corps. 99% of Recruiters are honest people and telling you the truth. There are a few bad apples here and there, but recruiters are not sketchy. Typically when you hear that, what you are hearing is someone who didn't listen carefully to what a recruiter told them. "My recruiter lied to me to get me here." No, they didn't. We've seen this a bunch of different times in our careers and when you pull the thread on the story you find out it's just a Marine who wasn't paying attention. Your life is in your hands - don't sign contracts without reading them, and don't think because something is possible that means you deserve it or get it. Example: I signed a MG - Marine Guard Contract because my recruiter told me I would get Embassy Duty. If you sign that contract, you are in fact eligible to be an Embassy Marine on your first tour provided you are a contract PFC and the needs of the Marine Corps require it (heads up, they don't need brand new Marines in high visibility positions like that). More likely, you will get a Security Forces billet after MOS School at the School of Infantry and Guard a Sub Base, Nuclear Warheads, or join a FAST Team. No one lied to you - you took a maybe and decided that was the life you were going to live. With all this said, read your contract. If you sign a Motor Transport contract because your recruiter said you can switch to Recon later, you better make sure you sign that Recon contract before you ship, otherwise you'll be driving LVSR's and 7-ton trucks until you get out.

I don't know how to swim. Will they teach me?

Completing the swim qualification during swim week is a graduation requirement. If you don't know how to swim, the swim instructors will teach you basic backstroke. It is much easier to learn how to swim before getting to boot camp than it is to wait until you get there. Spending an entire week in the pool during boot camp is much less fun than just knocking out the swim portion one morning and being finished. You will need to be able to swim about 25 yards (one pool width), dunk underwater and remove a helmet and plate carrier, and jump off a diving board that is 5 yards above the water.

What happens if I get injured during Boot Camp?

Depending on the severity of the injury and when it occurs in training, different things will happen. If you suffer a minor injury like a sprained ankle during a period in training where there is little going on, you may just see the Athletic Trainer and get taped up but continue training. If you suffer a more substantial injury, you will be sent to the Male or Female Rehabiliation Platoons in Support Battalion (MRP/FRP) until you can pick back up with a new training company. This includes any possible surgeries and rehabilitation required to be healthy to resume training. If your injury was extremely severe and precludes future military service, you will still go to MRP or FRP, but will be assigned to a medical review board which handles your medical discharge from the military.