Marine Corps M1A1 Tank Crewmember

What it takes to drive a tank for the Marines

U.S. Marines with tank
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The tank crewmembers in the Marines have a few different responsibilities, but all center around driving, maintaining and operating the weapons systems on tanks. The tank crewmembers prepare the tanks, ammunition, personnel, and equipment for movement and combat.

The various jobs of a Tank Crewman include operating, maintaining, firing and maneuvering the 70-ton M1A1 Abrams tank.

Tank Platoon in the Marines

A Marine Corps tank platoon supports ground forces, with the Marine Corps' M1A1 Abrams tank, a heavily armored tank that has a 1,500-horsepower engine. Every Marine tank platoon has four M1A1 Abrams battle tanks. 

The typical duties of the tank platoon include preparing tanks, personnel, and equipment for movement and combat; preparation of ammunition for firing, locating targets, loading, aiming and firing of organic tank weapons, driving the tank, and performing necessary maintenance.

Tank crewmen include a tank gunner, who preps personnel and equipment as well as the tank for movement and combat, and as the title suggests, employs the tank's weapons system. The tank driver does what this title suggests, moving the tank in order to fire on targets, and has maintenance and operational responsibilities.

The tank commander oversees all operations of the tank and its crew. 

This MOS (Military Occupation Specialty) is considered a PMOS (Primary Military Occupation Specialty), and the rank range for this MOS goes from Private all the way up to Master Gunnery Sergeant

M1A1 Tank Crewmember Job Description

 As members of an M1A1 tank crew or unit, M1A1 tank crewmembers perform various duties around the operation and maintenance of the tank. This includes everything from tactical employment to firing and maneuvering.

Typical duties of a tank crewmembers include preparing tanks, personnel, and equipment for movement and combat, preparation of ammunition for firing; locating targets; loading, aiming and firing of organic tank weapons using the tank fire control system; driving the tank; and performance of operator- level preventive and corrective maintenance.

Job Requirements of MOS 1812

After recruit training, Marines tank crewmembers take the M1A1 Armor Crewmember Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky. In addition, tank crewmen must possess a General Technical score from the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test of 90 or higher. All tank crewmembers need to have vision correctable to 20/20 and must have normal color vision (no color-blindness).

This training will include on-the-job training as well as skills training under simulated combat conditions. It's a lengthy process conducted in stages but it provides comprehensive and thorough instruction. 

MOS qualified prior service reservists may be certified as tank crewmembers after completion of a two-phase training syllabus along with a 21-day attendance at the Marine Corps M1A1 Reserve Tank Commander/Gunner Course at Fort Knox.

Post-Military Career Options for MOS 1812

Although there won't be a lot of opportunities to drive a tank or fire its weapons outside the military, there are some career options, including driving, maneuvering and loading big trucks and heavy equipment like tractors.