usmc leadership jj did tie buckle


JJ DID TIE BUCKLE is the nonsensical ditty you’ll remember for decades. The Marine Corps Leadership traits are perhaps the essential concepts Marines learn during recruit or OCS training. And with most Marines, terms are easily remembered using acronyms. JJDIDTIEBUCKLE (pronounced “JJ did tie buckle”), representing justice, judgment, dependability, integrity, decisiveness, tact, initiative, endurance, bearing, unselfishness, courage, knowledge, loyalty, and enthusiasm. JJ DID TIE BUCKLE is an … Continue reading What is JJ DID TIE BUCKLE?

The Inside Story of “Pizzagate”, the OCS Scandal of 2017

Thank you so much to our friend Michelle, one of the former candidates involved in Pizzagate, for sharing her story. If you have not heard of this scandal from last year, read on! We hope this story and advice helps you understand and prepare for the reality of the high standards of OCS. As a naive, 18 year old girl in college, I viewed the … Continue reading The Inside Story of “Pizzagate”, the OCS Scandal of 2017

Marine Officer Candidate

Candidate Hindsight is 20/10

Thanks to 2ndLt Y for passing along his knowledge and wisdom as a successful Marine Officer candidate at OCS. Life of a Marine Officer Candidate OCS is different from college in every way. As a candidate just be comfortable being uncomfortable. Go in with the attitude that nothing is going to surprise you, that way you don’t have to worry about being surprised.  Some things are absolutely … Continue reading Candidate Hindsight is 20/10

Application Advice from a Successful Candidate: Part II of III

Thank you to Candidate C for taking some time to share advice you learned through your long, yet successful, Application! Stay tuned for more parts throughout this week. What characterized your own application? Priority Components: The application package you submit to the regional board has many items on it but the main things they look at are: what the OSO thinks of you (from the … Continue reading Application Advice from a Successful Candidate: Part II of III

Lessons Learned for the Mental and Physical Challenges of OCS

Thanks to a recently graduated OCC candidate who volunteered to share his advice and thoughts on the physical and mental rigors of OCS! My personal experiences at OCS Every selected candidate on his or her way to OCS will be understandably nervous. Whether that be at the airport when you arrive, when you first meet your sergeant instructors , or when you first get selected in … Continue reading Lessons Learned for the Mental and Physical Challenges of OCS

How OCS Views College Extracurriculars

College Student’s Question I’m an incoming college freshman trying to prepare for OCS after college. My question is: What extracurricular activities look best for OCS? Do they even care for extracurricular activities much at all? Do team sports look great or just clubs, or are they all the same in worth to OCS Admissions? Answer Extracurriculars with the following components look very good: Military Sports teams Fitness … Continue reading How OCS Views College Extracurriculars

Advice for Future Officers in High School

If you’re in high school and aim to become an officer in the Marine Corps, consider the following discussion and goals for your planning. The Realistic Odds and the Importance of Backup If 1 out of 3 OCS attendees fail (worse odds for females), and less than half of applications are accepted, your odds of becoming a Marine officer are tough even if you’re a qualified … Continue reading Advice for Future Officers in High School

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

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

Cover Art

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.


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