The Role of a Rifleman in the USMC Marine Corps 0311

Marine Rifle Qualification
A Marine aims in during the new course of fire on Edson Range aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif. The new course provides an increased emphasis on combat marksmanship. Official USMC Photo

"Every Marine is a Rifleman" has been the mantra of the United States Marine Corps since there have been Marines fighting wars. Though it does not mean that every Marine has the MOS 0311 of the actual infantry rifleman, it does mean that every Marine, from food specialists to logistics personnel, have been trained in the basics of being a rifleman. The Marine Corps built the entire service around the training and support of the Infantry Rifleman.

All non-infantry personnel (POGS—People Other than Grunts—a term "affectionately" used by the Infantry) will attend basic infantry skills at the USMC School of Infantry (SOI) in a separate infantry training program called the Marine Combat Training (MCT). Being able to pick up a weapon and defend yourself and your fellow Marines when needed is more what the phrase "Every Marine is a Rifleman" means.

The Infantry MOSs attend the actual SOI Infantry Training Battalion (ITB). This is where the MOS0311 Rifleman learns the skills to operate within an Infantry Unit. This Infantry MOS is earned through the ITB school and will be the primary military occupational specialty (PMOS) of the Marine finishing ITB.

Rank Range: Sgt to Pvt

Job Description

The riflemen employ the M4 service rifle, the M203 grenade launcher, the M249 squad automatic weapon (SAW), AT-4s, and M72 Light Anti-Tank Weapon (LAW) rockets. The riflemen learn to be the primary scouts, assault troops, and close combat forces available to the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF).

The riflemen are the foundation of the Marine infantry organization, and as such are the nucleus of the fire team in the rifle squad, the scout team in the LAR squad, scout snipers in the infantry battalion, and reconnaissance or assault team in the reconnaissance units. Non-commissioned officers are assigned to fire team leaders, scout team leaders, rifle squad leaders, or rifle platoon guides.

Some of the Positions of the 0311

There are 13 members of a squad element in the platoon, with two squats making up the platoon generally. 

  • Fire Team Leader: In the platoon, there are fire teams. Each fire team is lead by a non-commissioned officer who is known as the Team Leader. The remaining three positions of the fire team are the Automatic Rifleman (SAW), Assistant Automatic Rifleman, and a Rifleman. 
  • Scout Team Leader (LAR squad): The Light Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle (LAV-25) Scout Team Leader is a rifleman who performs their intelligence gathering behind enemy lines in LAV-25s to quickly locate and harass enemy forces. These patrols are done to relay information back to Marine commanders concerning the size, strengths, location, and any other pertinent information about the enemy. 
  • Rifle Squad Leaders: Rifle Squads are led by non-commissioned officers and consists of three fire teams. They can also be placed in charge of the crew service weapons squad using weapons such as automatic weapons and sniper rifles. 
  • Rifle Platoon Guides: Are led by a non-commissioned officer who acts as an assistant platoon sergeant and is tasked with keeping the platoon fed and loaded with ammo. When in combat, the platoon guide will assist with casualties or enemy detainees until they are evacuated to the rear.

Job Requirements

  • (1) Must possess a GT score of 80 or higher.
  • (2) Complete the Marine Rifleman Course at the School of Infantry, East or West.

Duties: For a complete listing of duties and tasks, refer to NAVMC Directive 3500.87, Training and Readiness Manual.

Related Marine Corps Jobs

  • (1) Machine Gunner, 0331
  • (2) Infantry Assaultman, 0351.

The Weapons/Rifle Company within the USMC Battalion, Infantry Regiment, Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force is made up of three rifle platoons and one weapon platoon. The MOS 0311 are part of the rifle platoon and soul mission is to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver, or to repel his assault by fire and close combat.

This is the job description of the USMC Infantry Rifleman MOS 0311. So, out of the hundreds of jobs in the USMC, as you read their job descriptions, they are obviously not Riflemen, but all Marines have the basic skills to do the “rifleman” job—as long as they stay proficient if these skills.