Recommended Motivation: Films You’ll Love

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.

Today’s post: These are my personal recommendations of films to watch to either learn about USMC culture, history, or a general United States warrior ethos (vis-a-vis Band of Brothers).

The Pacific

The Pacific centers on the experiences of three Marines (Eugene Sledge, Robert Leckie and John Basilone) who were all in different

The Pacific DVDs
The Pacific DVD set

Regiments of the 1st Marine Division. You should read the books it was based on–but wait for a future post on that. The program was lauded by critics but actually met mixed reviews by the Marines I know, due to the overall depressing mood. Historically accurate, it shows war for the hell it is, so don’t expect any “tales of glory” like an old John Wayne-type movie. Still, it’s important history and you should view the stories with the mindset, “one day, men such as those will be ‘my Marines,’ who I will be leading.”

Band of Brothers

Greatest war mini series ever. Not Marines, but soldiering is soldiering. The series holds many lessons of leadership and warfighting that will be highlighted at OCS and beyond.

Band of Brothers DVD set
Band of Brothers

Continue reading “Recommended Motivation: Films You’ll Love”

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

Cover Art

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.

FREE ONLINE: Marines.mil

The Warrior Ethos

Cover Art

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

Help! My knee hurts. How can I run?

The “Candidates’ Curse:” Patellar Tendinitis Many candidates get patellar tendinitis, “jumper’s knee” or runners knee at OCS or while preparing for it. If you are truly injured in your preparation for OCS, you first need to be honest and open with your OSO. If you shouldn’t get sent to OCS, but attempt to “sneak” in, they will find your injury during medical inprocessing or the … Continue reading Help! My knee hurts. How can I run?

Candidate Q: Skinny Lieutenants: Impossible!

Candidate Comment: This is more for peace of mind, than anything else, so feel free to take your time responding. I can run approximately a 275 PFT (I vary from around 270 to 285). However, while working out in a local gym, someone who used to be a Marine told me that I do not have the ‘look’ of a 2nd LT. Not a attractiveness … Continue reading Candidate Q: Skinny Lieutenants: Impossible!

Candidate Q: How do I learn the basics before OCS?

Candidates, we are running a series of small posts which answer specific candidate’s questions. Feel free to submit questions as blog comments. If the information could help others, the question may be answered as a blog post under the Q&A category. Candidate Question: I am a recent graduate from college and have been feverishly training (physically) for OCS for about a year now. I’ve done … Continue reading Candidate Q: How do I learn the basics before OCS?

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)

Candidate Q: “Bodybuilder” at OCS

Candidate Question: I am 6 feet tall and 200lbs at approximately 15% body fat. I’d like to maintain the definition in my arms and shoulders (chest shouldn’t be a problem considering the amount of pushups done during OCS). Is there any place I can train with weights during Liberty? A: Imagine if you weren’t so obsessed with your own appearance and were instead focused on … Continue reading Candidate Q: “Bodybuilder” at OCS

How can currently enlisted Marines become officers?

Reservists Marines currently serving in the Marine Corps Reserve may apply for programs such as PLC and OCC through their Officer Selection Officer. Commissioning Programs for active duty enlisted Marines include: Enlisted Commissioning Program (ECP) For Marines who have earned a four-year degree before joining the Corps or during active duty Qualified Marines attend Officer Candidates School (OCS) Upon completion of OCS, they are commissioned as second lieutenants Reserve Officer opportunities … Continue reading How can currently enlisted Marines become officers?

Wet is the Enemy

Camp Dry is a godsend for the poor miserable creature known as the Officer Candidate. Wet is the Enemy. Always. It’s snow in the winter or freezing rain in the fall or freak rain showers and saturated, muddy ground in the summer. Next comes swollen, wet, blistering feet or soggy, chafing skin under belts and pack straps. I distinctly remember my whole squad feeling the … Continue reading Wet is the Enemy