Can I Drop an Air Contract for a Guaranteed MOS?

Candidate Question

I’m looking at switching from an Air Contract to a Ground Contract, but I really only want to if I can secure an 0203 Ground Intel Officer MOS (to possibly further go on to Recon). How hard is it to get a specific MOS at TBS? I am in pretty good shape, I can stick with most candidates and run a 285+ PFT no problems, but then again, so can a lot of candidates/new lieutenants. I want to make the switch badly but I don’t want to end up not getting 0203 and being thrown into another MOS I am not meant for.


Frankly, you have no guarantee of getting the MOS you want at TBS if you switch. I personally know a Lieutenant who got his very last choice. Most people get one of their top 4 choices, but there’s no guarantee. But, you can definitely go Recon from Infantry as well. A Captain now, I dropped my air contract and got my 4th choice, which I was very happy about and enjoyed a lot. In retrospect, my 4th choice MOS was the best option for me.

MOS Discussion

Why so set on just one MOS? One’s MOS is not a complete determinant of what your Marine Corps career will be like. As a logistics officer, I personally deployed with Comm, Infantry, Combat Engineer, Intel, Finance, and Artillery on an advisor team together where we had very similar experiences even though we had a diverse background. Also you can go MARSOC from most MOSs as well, which is the place to be in today’s “elite” Marine units.
Eighty percent of all officers’ days are the same: planning, admin, office work, meetings and  reviews. A fraction of officers’ experiences differ. Also, if you hate your first boss, you’ll hate your first job and vice versa.

All the things that look cool are terrifically uncomfortable
All the things that look cool are terrifically uncomfortable

The biggest differentiation is between air and ground.

Unlike amongst other ground MOS’s, that is a for-sure, total different experience in the Marine Corps. When you get more information, it should be an easy decision where you fit, air or ground. It changes your natural post-Marine Corps career opportunities as well. Do you see yourself as a career pilot? Serving 4 years, 8 years, or 20? Leaving the Marines to go into management/operations roles? Or back to school?

Be Ready for Life’s Curveballs

Most candidates think they know what they want, but their experiences end up differing very much from their original stated goal as they get more information, and the Marine Corps gives them different assignments. Keep an open mind and talk to as many Marine officers about their experiences as you can.

One thought on “Can I Drop an Air Contract for a Guaranteed MOS?

  1. As someone who used to frequent this website for input about OCS, I came across this post and decided to give my two cents.

    First and foremost in regard to the original question, I read allot of “I” statements. Let me be clear in saying that being a United States Marine Corps Officer is NOT about you, especially in an infantry related MOS. There are junior Marines out in the Fleet Marine Force who are in dire need of leaders who are willing to put others before themselves. Remember, you are seeking to be a Marine Officer the Marines Corps did not draft you into service.

    That being said, with my experience at OCS, TBS, and IOC I have seen flight contracts who have dropped their contracts for 0302/0203 MOS’s, failed out of flight school and received 0302/0203 MOS’s, gone to and graduated from IOC before flight school, and gone to and graduated from IOC only to drop their contract to be an 0302/0203.

    In addition, I think you have been misinformed in regard to the 0203 MOS magically translating into a sniper platoon commander, recon, or MARSOC Marine. Having gone to SSULC and interacted with my 0203 peers, I can tell you that you will most likely give up an infantry “tap rack bang” for “control ALT delete” as you sit constantly at your desk as a company 2A.

    My recommendation would be to keep your flight contract and try to get a spot at IOC from TBS and see if thats something you actually would be interested in doing. I would also strongly suggest working on your physical fitness if you truly intend on pursuing a Recon/MARSOC route as BRS/R&S will only take the best of the best.

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