JJ asked in Politics & GovernmentMilitary · 7 years ago

becoming a u.s. marine?

I'm 19 years old, working and in college. I've been interested in the marines for a long time, but now I wanna enlist because I can't take living with my parents anymore. I need to know a few things first. 1) Will I be able to provide for myself after boot camp? (getting my own place, enough salary, etc.), 2) how long will I be away from home after boot camp and will I be deployed automatically? 3) I have a girlfriend and we know we wanna get married one day, will we be able to do that and start a family while I'm enlisted? I know I'll be gone for long periods of time but I hope I'm not gone too long. Do they let you go home after a deployment?

Any experience is appreciated, thanks

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  • Marine
    Lv 7
    7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    JJ - you do NOT want to enlist in the Marine Corps based on your questions. Suggest you consider the National Guard. Following is your direct answers:

    1. No, the Marine Corps will provide for you after bootcamp. We will send you to either Camp Pendleton or Camp Lejeune for Infantry training - length and detail depends on what MOS you are assigned. After that, we will send you to MOS school to learn how to perform the job we have assigned to you. During all this, we will provide a barracks room to sleep in, food at the messhall, and give you enough pay for a night or two in town every two weeks (E-1/E-2 pay). After you are promoted to E-4 (about 2 to 3 years depending on your MOS), you will find that you have enough cash leftover from uniform cleaning and other requirements to date every weekend (no fancy restaurants though - too expensive on your pay). E-5 is when your pay allows you more latitude. "Own place" - I did mention the barracks didn't I? Sharing a room with another Marine is much better than I when I started off in the Corps as enlisted. I shared my room with 30 other Marines in what was called a squad bay. A lot has changed over the years for enlisted Marines.

    2. As a single Marine, you will never be "away from home" since the Corps will be your home throughout your enlistment. Like I said in 1 above, we provide you a room, bed, and food. That is the basics of a "home". If you are asking when you can take your first leave (vacation), you get 10 days after bootcamp. After that, you have to accumulate leave on the books before you can "apply" again. If you have the time on the books and your Non-commissioned officer -in-charge and Officer in Charge and afford to lose you for a while, then your leave will be approved (2nd vacation). Deployed automatically? - whenever your unit is deployed, most likely you will go with them. If it is a combat deployment, it may be unannounced. You can also be assigned overseas orders right out of MOS school as well (about 50% of new Marines head overseas out of MOS school).

    3. Yes, but she will have to patient since your pay will be at the absolute bottom of the military with little money left over. If you do marry, the Corps will provide a home for you and your spouse on base, small but adequate. If base housing is not available, then you will be given a reasonable stipend to live off base. It won't pay for anything elaborate, but should be adequate. As you raise in rank, your housing allowance goes up also. All medical for you and family is covered by the Corps. You will have pay extra for family's dental care though. The cost is pretty small.

    4. Yes, you can visit your wife/take leave after your overseas orders are complete (about 1 year away) and/or returning from a major deployment of over 6 months. Sometimes it will not be immediate though. Normally the Commanding Officer allows a percentage to take leave immediately and others later.

    If you can afford college, suggest you stay in and get your degree. You can apply for the Platoon Leaders Class (PLC) - google it, for an opportunity to go to Officer Candidate School while a full-time college student. That would change many of my answers above to your benefit especially pay (assuming you do not wash out of OCS).

    Lieutenant Colonel, U S Marine Corps-Retired (prior enlisted to Sgt, college on GI Bill, commissioned and total 27 year career)

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