The United States Marine Corps (USMC) has positions for both officers and enlisted personnel. Officers serve as leaders, and oversee operations within the Corps. The majority of jobs in the Marines, however, are performed by enlisted members. New recruits have several Marine Corps enlistment options, including the type of duty, job specialty, and length of service.
There are two broad types of duty available for enlisted Marines. The first, called "active duty," requires individuals to serve full time. Recruits who choose active duty Marine Corps enlistment usually live on or near a military base or ship, and perform their duties nearly every day. Marines who are engaged in a combat area are typically on active duty.
A second type of duty is called "reserve." People who choose to enlist as reserve Marines attend the same basic training course as active duty personnel. Following initial training, however, reservists serve only part time. These military members typically report for duty one weekend each month, and one full week out of the year. People who select the reserve Marine Corps enlistment option are able to have civilian jobs, though they must be available for active duty during times of military conflict or national emergencies.
New members of the USMC are often able to select job specialties at the time of enlistment. A Marine Corps job is called a military occupational specialty (MOS). Recruits are able to qualify for an MOS based on individual physical and intellectual ability, as well as the needs of the Corps. Examples of MOS jobs that are available include Infantryman, Field Radio Operator, and Tank Crewman.
Not all USMC recruits report immediately to boot camp after signing an enlistment contract. The Marine Corps delayed entry program (DEP) allows newly enlisted members to postpone basic training for up to a year. During this time, people in the program are able to finish schooling and prepare for the challenges of USMC training. The DEP Marine Corps enlistment option also allows recruits to wait for a preferred MOS to become available if it is temporarily full.
Marines can enlist for varying lengths of time. Recruits can initially choose to commit to three, four, or five years of Marine Corps enlistment. Individuals have the option to re-enlist prior to the end of service. A Marine with previous experience in the Corps can also choose to re-enlist as a part-time reservist, and retain the military rank attained during the first enlistment.