Candidates, there are so many motivators out there who bother me every day with questions like, “What more can I do to prepare for OCS?” that I am debuting a new series of posts. This summer’s posts will give you plenty of ways to use up all your time before OCS to get ready or motivated for your future Marine Corps life.
The Commandant’s Professional Reading List is the official Marine Corps list of recommended reading, and includes a list of books for each rank to read. Every Marine is required to read at least one of these books each year for his current rank.
The following books are the required reading materials for Officer Candidates. Don’t ask me “what more can I do?” if your PFT isn’t 300 and if you haven’t read these books:
First to Fight: An Inside View of the US Marine Corps by LtGen Krulak
Deftly blending history with autobiography, action with analysis, the legendary Marine general Victor “Brute” Krulak offers here a riveting insider’s chronicle of U.S. Marines–their fights on the battlefield and off, and their extraordinary esprit de corps. He not only takes a close look at the Marine experience during World War II, Korea, and Vietnam–wars in which Krulak was himself a participant–but also examines the foundation on which the Corps is built. In doing so, he helps answer the question of what it means to be a Marine and how the Corps has maintained such a consistently outstanding reputation. First to Fight has been included on the Marine Corps’s recommended reading list for many years.
MCDP 1 Warfighting
The United States Marine Corps is the largest such force on the planet, and yet it is the smallest, most elite section of the U.S. military, one with a long and storied history. Here, in the most current version of the manual used by the
Corps itself, is an explanation of the philosophy that makes the Marine Corps unique-here are the concepts and values behind how the Corps fights. Topics discussed include: . war defined . the science, art, and dynamic of war . war as an act of policy . styles of warfare . professional military education . the philosophy of command . and more
The Armed Forces Officer, DoD 2006
Initiated in 1950, this 2007 edition is the latest in a classic series of books of the same title. Journalist-historian S. L. A. Marshall wrote the first at the behest of Gen. George C. Marshall, who formed the great citizen army of World War II. The general believed officers of all services needed to base their professional commitment on a common moral-ethical grounding, which S. L. A. Marshall set out to explain. Ever since, these books have provided a foundation of thought, conduct, standards, and duty for American commissioned officers.
A Message to Garcia by E. Hubbard
This short story is required reading at TBS. It is available for free on many websites. Just read it!
Rifleman Dodd by C.S. Forester
This is a classic tale of one man’s fight against the enemy. A British rifleman has been cut off behind enemy lines by the French advance into Portugal during the Napoleonic Wars. The British Army was pushed back to a last line of defense. The rifleman continues to do what he can to stop the French advance, with no hope for personal recognition or
rewards, and a slim chance of survival. Highly trained to do his duty, he takes to the woods, scouts the enemy, and carries out hit and run raiding. The novel is a study of one man’s commitment to duty taking precedence over his own personal survival. It shows how one man with ability, courage, and initiative can make a difference to the outcome of a war.
The Soldier’s Load by S.L.A. Marshall
Since, 1950, official studies have relied extensively on
S.L.A. Marshall’s “The Soldier’s Load and the Mobility of a Nation,”
which examined a man’s physical load-bearing limitations and ways of
overcoming them. Marshall noted that the infantryman is “a beast of burden” but that his
chief function in war does not begin until he delivers that burder to the
appointed place. His load should therefore be light enough to enable him
to fight unimpaired when he arrives at the field of battle. In the past,
this has not always happened. Marshall contended, for example, that
during the assault on Normandy, the troops were slow coming off the
beaches because they were exhausted from their heavy loads.
Enders Game by O.S. Card
Intense is the word for Ender’s Game. Aliens have attacked Earth twice and almost destroyed the human species. To make sure humans win the next encounter, the world government has taken to breeding military geniuses — and then training them in the arts of war… The early training, not surprisingly, takes the form of ‘games’… Ender Wiggin is a genius among geniuses; he wins all the games… He is smart enough to know that time is running out. But is he smart enough to save the planet?
Once A Marine: An Iraq War Tank Commander’s Inspirational Memoir of Combat, Courage, and Recovery
The last human being I see with perfect clarity – the last I will ever fully see – does his damndest to kill me.
From this dramatic opening line in Chapter One to the last sentence of the Epilogue you will not want to put this book down; it’s simply that good.
The Lions of Iwo Jima
In this intense, moving account, the authors bring the reality of the fighting on Iwo Jima to readers, who are likely to be shocked and even numbed by the nonstop descriptions of carnage. Warren is a journalist and author specializing
in military affairs; Haynes is a member of the diminishing group of Iwo Jima survivors, and he has collected for decades letters, diaries, and previously unpublished memoirs, written by his comrades, which are put to superb use here.
The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War
Up until now, the Korean War has been the black hole of modern American history. The Coldest Winter changes that. Halberstam gives us a masterful narrative of the political decisions and miscalculations on both sides. He charts the disastrous path that led to the massive entry of Chinese forces near the Yalu, and that caught Douglas MacArthur and his soldiers by surprise. He provides astonishingly vivid and nuanced portraits of all the major figures — Eisenhower, Truman, Acheson, Kim, and Mao, and Generals MacArthur, Almond, and Ridgway.
Tiger Force: A True Story of Men and War by M. Sallah & M. Weiss
During the Vietnam War, Tiger Force was the code name of an elite platoon of the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry. Its pedigree was impeccable. The battalion’s executive officer, Maj. David Hackworth, organized the 45-man volunteer force in 1966, and it became one of the war’s most highly decorated units, paying for its reputation with heavy casualties. But for seven months beginning in May 1967, Tiger Force descended into a moral abyss. Operating in what was defined as enemy country, the platoon engaged in an orgy of atrocities that ranged from taking ears, scalps and teeth to the mass killing of unarmed civilians.
The Last Stand of Fox Company by B. Drury & T. Clavin
The authors of the bestselling Halsey’s Typhoon do a fine job recounting one brutal, small-unit action during the Korean War’s darkest moment. In November 1950, as General MacArthur’s troops were advancing deep into North Korea, China warned that it would intervene if armies approached its border. U.S. troops were scattered through mountainous terrain at the onset of a freezing winter. Using extensive interviews with survivors, the authors tell the story of one 234-man company ordered to secure a rocky promontory overlooking the legendary Chosin Reservoir.