Dispelling 5 Enlisted vs Officer Myths for Future Jarheads

This post is aimed directly at the hard-charging future Marine in high school who does not really understand the different implications between the enlisted vs officer paths. First, for a very thorough discussion of how to decide which path is better for you, read the following post on Future Jarheads: Should I Become an Officer or Go Enlisted? Myth #1: Officer prospects must join the military ASAP … Continue reading Dispelling 5 Enlisted vs Officer Myths for Future Jarheads

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Commandant’s Reading List Books for Second Lieutenants

The Commandant’s Professional Reading List (also known as the Marine Corps Reading List) is a list of required annual reading for all officer and enlisted Marines, whether active duty or reserve. Any book off this list would be a great gift idea for a newly commissioned Second Lieutenant. Read Gen. Amos’ message to Marines in CMC White Letter No. 4-12: Reading in the Marine Corps… “Thirty year old … Continue reading Commandant’s Reading List Books for Second Lieutenants

OCS Applications: Leadership vs. GPA or PFT

From a candidate: My father is a former Marine and has always pounded the fact that leadership experience is a must when looking to enter OCS. The folks down at Quantico don’t just want well-built men with decent brain power. They are looking for the future leaders of their organization. Someone who can gather information, react and drive a path forward in stressful situations. Prove … Continue reading OCS Applications: Leadership vs. GPA or PFT

Commandants Reading List Books for Candidates

The Commandant’s Professional Reading List (also known as the Marine Corps Reading List) is a list of required annual reading for all officer and enlisted Marines, whether active duty or reserve.

The great thing about the Commandant’s famous reading list is that most of these books are free. Download the other ones on your kindle, and you can easily knock out the required reading for candidates before you report to OCS. The Commandant’s Choice Books are great to have done before OCS, but not required.

Read Gen. Amos’ message to Marines in CMC White Letter No. 4-12: Reading in the Marine Corps… “Thirty year old body and 5000 year old mind”. The Commandant’s guidance and additional information can be found in ALMAR 001/13 dated 2 JAN 2013.

This post features two lists: Commandant’s Choice, which are for all Marines, and the list for Entry Level Officers, or Candidates.

Commandant’s Choice Books

All Marines are required to read these books.

A Message to Garcia

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Story of an American soldier charged with delivering a critical message to a leader of Cuban rebel forces during the Spanish American War. He delivers the urgent missive with no questions asked, no complaining, and no hedging. The enduring and almost unbelievably simple message of the essay is this: When asked to perform a task, don’t ask How…? or Why…? or Wouldn’t it be better if? Just do it. This book is also on the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Reading List and Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Reading List.

Free Online: Free pdf ebook

Leading Marines

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This publication describes a leadership philosophy that reflects the traditional strengths of the Marine Corps as an institution and attempts to define the very ethos of being a Marine. It is about the inseparable relationship between the leader and the led, and is as much about the individual Marine—the bedrock upon which the Corps is built—as it is about any leader.

FREE ONLINE: Marines.mil

The Warrior Ethos

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Do we fight by a code? If so, what is it? What is the Warrior Ethos? Where did it come from? What form does it take today? How do we (and how can we) use it and be true to it in our internal and external lives? The Warrior Ethos is intended not only for men and women in uniform, but artists, entrepreneurs and other warriors in other walks of life. The book examines the evolution of the warrior code of honor and “mental toughness.” It goes back to the ancient Spartans and Athenians, to Caesar’s Romans, Alexander’s Macedonians and the Persians of Cyrus the Great (not excluding the Garden of Eden and the primitive hunting band). Sources include Herodotus, Thucydides, Plutarch, Xenophon, Vegetius, Arrian and Curtius–and on down to Gen. George Patton, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, and Israeli Minister of Defense, Moshe Dayan.

Available in multiple formats on Amazon

Why You Will Leave the Marine Corps (After One Tour)

A 2011 study at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government of young officers who had left the military found that their top reasons for doing so were not the high operating tempo or the chance of being maimed but rather two other factors: “limited ability to control their own careers” and “frustration with military bureaucracy.” –Thomas Ricks, The Generals You’re going to enter the Marine Corps … Continue reading Why You Will Leave the Marine Corps (After One Tour)

Interview With A Dropped Candidate

Candidate X did well at OCS physically, but ended up dropping with a new appreciation for his own strengths and weaknesses. He has graciously accepted an invitation to conduct an interview with the OCS blog as he prepares for another run at the grueling course. How far into OCS did you get? While I wasn’t able to successfully complete USMC OCS by our end date in … Continue reading Interview With A Dropped Candidate

Marine Corps Leadership Traits: Tact

Candidates, this is a post in a series of leadership posts relating specifically to the Marine Corps Leadership traits–the most basic introduction to the Corps’ philosophies that you will learn about at OCS. Study the leadership traits and other lessons ahead of time on our academics page. Tact Definition Tact means that you can deal with people in a manner that will maintain good relations … Continue reading Marine Corps Leadership Traits: Tact

Leadership Advice for Future Marine Officers Still in High School

Future Candidate’s Question: Hi, I’m a high school junior wanting to know what you did for leadership postitions to prepare for your application and as a future officer. I hold a leadership role in a school club and am joining National Honor Society. I know that I’m a few years away from applying, but that leadership is one of the key things that the selection … Continue reading Leadership Advice for Future Marine Officers Still in High School

Candidate Q: High School Preparation for USMC OCS

Candidate Question: As a sophomore in High School, how can I better myself…especially at a young age? I can do 90 push-ups, 13 pull-ups, 100 crunches, but I have not done much running. Unfortunately I don’t participate in any sports but I am in some clubs (yet I don’t have any leadership positions). I am very motivated to joining the Corps as an officer, I … Continue reading Candidate Q: High School Preparation for USMC OCS

Marine Corps Leadership Traits: Endurance

Candidates, this is a post in a series of leadership posts relating specifically to the Marine Corps Leadership traits–the most basic introduction to the Corps’ philosophies that you will learn about at OCS. Study the leadership traits and other lessons ahead of time on our academics page. Endurance Definition Endurance is the mental and physical stamina that is measured by your ability to withstand pain, … Continue reading Marine Corps Leadership Traits: Endurance