“I was watching TV, and I saw a Marine officer in his dress uniform standing at attention. He flipped his sword up, and I thought, man, that could be me,” claimed former Marine sergeant, 1st Lt. Tito Jones.
“As an officer I could be a part of the few, of the few and the proud.”
Opportunities for enlisted Marines to become commissioned officers in the Corps are out there.
The Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program is one venue that offers qualifying enlisted Marines the chance to go to school full-time, while maintaining active duty status and pay.
The Corps never sends a devil-dog into battle without the right gear and training.
In the same respect, the Broadened Opportunity for Officer Selection and Training Program is preparatory training for a Marine to adjust for college level courses of study.
BOOST brings a Marine’s knowledge of science, math and literary skills up to a level of competency that can give them the tools for success in college courses.
After BOOST they’re trained and armed to dodge the bullets of the classroom.
To meet basic eligibility requirements for acceptance into MECEP, a Marine must be in between 20 and 26 years of age, but Marines may apply at any rank.
They must also score at least 1000 on the Scholastic Assessment Test, 40 for the American College Test or a 74 on the Armed Forces Qualification Test.
After meeting the initial prerequisites for acceptance into MECEP, Marines must submit a package.
“Putting in a package to apply for acceptance into the MECEP program is a long process, so it’s important to take the initiative and get started early,” said Cpl. Kurtis J. Adams, U.S. Marine Forces Pacific systems repair technician, who recently submitted a package. “The package has several enclosures that are required.”
A Marine has to provide proficiency and conduct marks, medical evaluations, a history of education, letters of recommendation and many other enclosures. Anything and every thing that could affect an applicant’s acceptance has to be included.
Prior enlisted Marines, now officers via MECEP, are great sources of information due to their experience.
“I have assisted six Marines with their packages for the BOOST and MECEP Program, three from Camp Smith,” said Jones, MARFORPAC Provost Marshall’s Office operations officer.
Jones assisted Cpl. Justin Griffis, a military policeman assigned to Camp Smith, who completed the BOOST program in May of this year and will begin the MECEP Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder in the Fall 2005.
There are also other sources of planning for this particular career move.
“My career planner provided an example application, but it was outdated. I had to create my own using the old one as an outline that met all of the required criteria,” said Adams.
Applicants must also appear at a series of informal boards held by officers that will review the application and interview the Marine.
“The purpose of the boards and interviews is to analyze the Marine’s intentions while attending school and his reasons for pursuing a commission,” said Adams.
A 500-word essay is also required of Marines applying for acceptance into the MECEP program.
The essay is used for multiple reasons.
It’s another way of measuring a Marine’s ability to communicate literally and his reasons for becoming one of the officers in the Corps.
A handwriting analysis is also used to judge moral character and personality, said Adams.
The process is lengthy and strenuous because of the necessary hours put in to create a package to submit, but it shouldn’t be easy. Marine officers are held to a higher standard. They’re leading “the few and the proud.”