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Joining the Military: Marine Corps Reserve
Joining the Military: Marine Corps Reserve


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U.S. Marine Corps
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The Reserve of the United States Marine Corps, since its establishment by law in 1916, has been responsible for providing trained units and qualified individuals to be mobilized for active duty in time of war, national emergency or contingency operations.

Over the past eight decades, Reserve Marines have regularly operated alongside the active component in the two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Shield/Storm and Enduring Freedom.


If you are interested in enlisting in the Marine Corps Reserve, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or a resident alien.
  • Meet exacting physical, mental, and moral standards.
  • Be between the ages of 17-29. Seventeen-year olds need parental consent. Prior service age limits differ.
  • Have a high school diploma.
  • Take and pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test. For tips on doing well on the ASVAB, see the Ace the ASVAB section.
  • Pass a Military Entrance Processing Station medical exam.
  • Women are eligible to enlist in all occupational fields, with the exception of combat arms specialties: infantry, artillery, and tank and amphibian tractor crew members.
For more on general Reserve benefits and pay, see the Reserve Help Pages.

Education Benefits and Skills Training

Montgomery G.I. Bill - The MGIB allows you attend school full-time while serving in the Reserve and get up to $272 a month in addition to your Reserve paycheck and any other Reserve educational benefits you may be eligible to receive. For more on the GI Bill for Reservists, go to the Reserve GI Bill section.

Tuition Assistance - The Marine Corps Reserve offers you tuition assistance. You can be reimbursed up to 75% of tuition costs for up to 15 credit hours per fiscal year.

Credits for Experience - Members of the Reserve can also take advantage of free College Level Examination Program tests (CLEP). For every test you pass on a particular subject, you earn three transferable college credits.

DANTES - You can also pursue college and university independent study courses through the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Educational Support (DANTES) as a member of the Reserve. The program is comprised of over 1200 colleges and universities nationwide which help sevicemembers transfer credits from school to school and get college credits for military training and experience.

The Marine Corps Reserve Experience

The Marine Corps Reserve offers four drill status options. These options let you decide on the amount of time spent in the active Reserves and in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR).

6x2 Option - You will drill for six years and spend the last two years in the IRR. This is the most popular option and the one that qualifies you for Montgomery G.I. Bill educational benefits. Other options include 5x3, 4x4 and 3x5. If you're a high school senior, you can join the Marine Reserve before you graduate. You'll earn full pay for one weekend a month for up to six months. Then after graduation, you'll go through recruit and skills training, which usually takes five to six months.

Incremental Initial Active Duty for Training (IIADT) - IIADT is designed especially for college students. It allows you to become a Marine Reservist without interrupting your college education. If qualified, you can enlist in the Reserve while still a high school senior. You attend recruit training and become a Marine after graduation.

As a Marine Reservist, you earn your regular pay and qualify for G.I. Bill educational benefits while attending college. As a college student and a Marine Reservist, you attend one weekend drill per month. Depending on your Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), you will attend one or two summer training sessions to complete your MOS training, then continue your summer training with two week drills. This program is ideal for college students.

Drills - A drill consists of two days of training per month. Your pay will also be adjusted automatically for cost-of-living increases. You'll get pay increases for every two years of accumulated service and may earn special duty pay. To calculate your drill pay, visit the Drill Calculator.

Annual Training - Annual training in the Marine Corps Reserve is held for two weeks per year. Depending on the unit and your specialty you could be stationed at a shore location, with an aviation squadron or aboard ship.

Travel - As a member of the Marine Corps Reserve you will have the opportunity to travel both on duty and off. You also qualify for military Space Available travel within and between the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and Puerto Rico. For more on military travel options and benefits, see the Travel Center.

Life Insurance, Medical Care - The Marine Corps Reserve provides comprehensive medical care while on duty. You also qualify for low-cost life insurance. For more on these and other benefits, visit the Reserve Help Pages.

Home Loan Program - Members of the Marine Corps Reserve with at least six years of service are eligible to apply for the Department of Veterans Affairs Home-Loan Guarantee program. For more on this program, go to the Home section.

Base Privileges - As a member you can access to all recreational facilities on military bases such as gyms, tennis courts and libraries. You and your family can also enjoy unlimited access shopping at any Military Exchange nationwide. Marine Corps Reserve members and their families are also entitled to use base commissaries for up to 24 days annually, plus any days spent on active duty. For more on recreational and family benefits, see the Reserve Family and Individual Help page.

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