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Things to Consider When Choosing to Join the Marine Corps

Deployments

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The Army and the Marine Corps make up the bulk of the ground forces deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, so the Marines get their share of deployments. A 2007 RAND study showed that single (unmarried) Marines averaged 311 days deployed during a four year enlistment period. Those with dependents averaged 254 days deployed. The main reason given for the difference is that Marines without dependents are more likely to volunteer for deployments. 91.3 percent of all Marines had at least one deployment during a four year enlistment period. The average Marine Corps "boots on the ground" deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan is 8 months.

It doesn't matter what your Marine Corps job is -- if you're a Marine, you're going to deploy, sooner or later. The Marines are proud of the fact that all Marines are considered riflemen first, and whatever their MOS (job) is, second. In fact, the Marine Corps has even been known to deploy Band members to combat zones, and use them on combat patrols (see Laying Down the Flute and Picking up the Rifle ).

Marine Corps units are also often attached to ships deployed at sea. In fact, Navy aircraft carriers typically deploy with a Marine flying squadron alongside Navy squadrons. As the Marine Corps increases in size, they are also planning to provide small detachments to permanently serve on Navy ships for security, vessel boarding, search and seizure operations, reprising their original role as "Infantry of the Navy."

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