Every Marine who completes Recruit Training will find themselves reporting in to the School of Infantry (SOI). New Marines will usually attend the SOI closest to their Recruit Depot. West Coast Marines will attend Camp Pendleton, California (SOI-West) while East Coast Marines will attend Camp Lejeune, North Carolina (SOI-East) after their boot leave is completed.
The purpose of SOI is to ensure "Every Marine a Riflemen," and each Marine, no matter their Military Occupational Specialty, is required to graduate from one of these schools, no matter if they are infantry, musicians, engineers, or cooks.
The course Marines attend at SOI depend on their assigned MOS. The two main schools for entry-level training are Marine Combat Training (MCT) and Infantry Training Battalion (ITB).
Marine Combat Training is the base infantry skills training for all non-infantry Marines. This course consists of 29 training days which are a combination of classroom lecture and field training. Training is held continuously, including weekends, to ensure quick graduation from the school.
Typically graduates will report directly to their next school without leave, but some graduates awaiting training at their next MOS School may be required to remain onboard SOI to execute support duties at the base. Marines graduate from MCT and move to attend their primary MOS training in order to earn their official specialty.
Infantry Training Battalion is an MOS producing school for 0311 Rifleman, 0331 Machine Gunners, 0341 Mortarmen, 0351 Infantry Assault Marines, and 0352 Anti-Tank Missile Gunners. Marines who complete this training can expect to complete 59 training days of instruction and skills application.
Training at ITB is conducted in two phases. The first phase consists of 29 training days and focuses on basic rifleman skills that all infantry Marines attend. The second phase is composed of 30 training days dedicated to advanced skills specific to their future MOS. Graduates from ITB will join infantry battalions, Marine Security Forces, Marine Barracks 8th & I, or they may report to follow-on schools such as Recon Training Company with Advanced Infantry Training Battalion.
Advanced Infantry Training Battalion (AITB) is a follow-on school for Infantry Marines attending Basic Reconnaissance Course or Light Armored Reconnaissance Course. Marines will complete primary rifleman training at ITB, then attend their respective course at AITB.
Instructors for each school will focus on Marine Common Combat Skills such as combat marksmanship, urban operations, land navigation, patrolling, and identifying improvised explosive devices. Marines are exposed to each of these skill sets during Recruit Training, however SOI will develop advanced skills in each of these areas.
Students will be exposed to new skills in tactical radio communications, convoy operations, military intelligence, and small-unit assaults. Marines will each have the opportunity to employ hand grenades, explosives, and automatic weapons such machine guns and automatic grenade launchers.
A typical day for Marines assigned to MCT or SOI will be spent either in the classroom learning skills or in the field at live-fire ranges learning from hand-picked combat instructors who have shown superior proficiency in combat skills
Students will have opportunities to exercise field-craft and combat skills by living most days out of their packs and sleeping bags. They will often hike or ride in tactical vehicles to and from training events to maintain physical and mental toughness developed during Recruit Training.
Every Marine, no matter their future in the Corps, will depart SOI with time-proven skills required to win our nation's battles. They will have honed abilities to close with and destroy any enemy they face utilizing any rifle, automatic weapon, or grenade at their disposal in lethal fashion.