MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, CA -- The beginning challenges of becoming a reconnaissance Marine took place at a recent screening conducted at the Miramar pool and red physical training course at 4:30 a.m. here, Friday.
Any male Marine wishing to obtain the reconnaissance military occupational specialty, 0321, must be a United States citizen and releasable by their MOS monitor. The Marines must meet the following basic requirements: have a general technical score of 105 or higher on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, obtain a first class score on the physical fitness test, possess a combat water survival 1 qualification, be eligible for a secret clearance, have no page 12 entries in their service record book and have a minimum of 18 months remaining on current enlistment contract upon completion of the basic reconnaissance course.
In addition, the Marine's Battalion or Squadron Commander must submit a written endorsement for them to take part in the screening.
Many qualifications are mandatory for becoming the eyes and ears of ground forces. Some go through the screening process several times before obtaining the MOS.
Corporal Christopher B. Davis, patrolman, Provost Marshal's Office and Twentynine Palms native explained he has "been out to the screening on a few different occasions, but I'm not going to give up until I succeed."
With the logistical concerns out of the way, the screening process started off with a 25-meter underwater swim, a deep water rifle retrieval, a tower jump, a 30-minute water tread, a five-minute flotation with trousers and a timed 500-meter swim. After the pool portion of the screening was completed, the Marines jogged down to the red course to perform a physical fitness test.
Once selected, Basic Recon Course Marines can expect to spend a lot of time in the water learning how to negotiate the surf and training with a Zodiac boat. Communication and land navigation skills are also covered during training.
While B.R.C. training can be physically challenging it takes more than just brute strength to be successful. Mental strength weighs heavily in navigating the rigors of training.
Staff Sgt. Anthony J. Rivera, training staff, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, explained, "to be successful, you can't just say it takes one type of person. You just got to have heart. You just have to have that desire."
The motivation for desire can stem from different sources, whether it is the opportunity for travel or the advanced training the reconnaissance MOS provides.
Davis said, "(Reconnaissance) is something different, I wanted to be more pro-active instead of reactive."
First Sgt. Erik Shirreffs, Headquarters and Service company first sergeant, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, explained another source of motivation, "Recon Marines have a reputation as the best of the best. We bring the finest the Marine Corps have to offer."
Screenings are held weekly at Camp Pendleton and at the end of every School of Infantry training. All screenings are open to Miramar Marines. For more information, contact First Sgt. Shirreffs at DSN 361-2936 or (706) 763-2021.