What Does It Take to Become a Marine Corps Mortarman (0341)?

Marine Corps Job Descriptions: The Mortarman (0341)

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A mortarman is a soldier who operates a weapon system called a mortar. A mortar is a smooth bore, muzzle-loading, high-angle-of-fire weapon used for close-in support of ground troops. 

Mortarmen in the U.S. Marines are the unit that's mainly responsible for the tactical employment of the 60 mm light mortar and the 81 mm medium mortar. They provide indirect fire in support of the rifle and Light Armored Reconnaissance(LARS) squads, platoons, and companies, as well as the infantry and LAR battalions. Indirect fire is aiming and firing a projectile without relying on a direct line of sight between the gun and its target, as in the case of direct fire. Weapons that rely on indirect fire have a larger kill radius with explosive rounds to assist in the expansion of effectiveness. The two mortars used by the Marine Corps is the MM224A1 (60mm) and the M252 (81mm). There is a big difference in size, weight, and effectiveness of the two mortars in use by the Marine Corps:

The M224 60mm Lightweight Mortar is a smooth bore, muzzle-loading, high-angle-of-fire weapon used for close-in support of ground troops. Depending upon the configuration, the M224 will weigh between 18-45 lbs. Each of the 60mm rounds weight 4 lbs.

The M252 81mm Medium Weight Mortar is a smooth bore, muzzle-loading, high-angle-of-fire weapon used for long-range indirect fire support to light infantry, air assault, and airborne units across the entire front of a battalion zone of influence. The M252 weighs 90 lbs and each round weighs 10 lbs.  

Mortarmen are located in the weapons platoons of the rifle and LAR companies and the weapons company of the infantry battalion. Noncommissioned officers are assigned as mortar gunners, forward observers, fire direction plotters, and squad and section leaders. Expect to be carrying heavier weights than the rest of the platoon / squad and be tasked with a variety of responsibilities within the mortar platoon.

The USMC organizes the mortar platoon as part of the weapons company. There is a headquarters platoon (platoon commander, platoon sergeant, ammunition technician, and two ammunition men). There are two mortar sections made up of 32 men each. There are 8 men in each of the mortar sections and are made up of an eight-man section headquarters (section leader, two ammunition men, and a fire direction center with two forward observers (FOs), and four mortar squads) The mortars squats are which is made up of a squad leader, a gunner, assistant gunner, and three ammunition men.

Job Requirements of the Mortarmen

Applicants must possess a GT score of 80 or higher. They must complete the Mortarman Course at the School of Infantry, East or West.

Apprenticeship Opportunities

Marine Corps Mortarmen can participate in the United Services Military Apprenticeship Program, commonly called USMAP. This official military training program offers active duty Navy and Navy Reserve Full Time Support (FTS) servicemembers the ability to enhance their job skills and to complete their civilian apprenticeship requirements while still on active duty. The U.S. Department of Labor provides the nationally recognized "Certificate of Completion" when the program is finished.

USMAP gives you the opportunity to upgrade your job skills. It also shows your motivation for taking on more challenging military assignments. 

Related Civilian Jobs

Having a DOL Certificate of Completion is beneficial for getting better civilian jobs because employers recognize the value of apprenticeships. The skills you acquire as a mortarman can be advantageous for a variety of careers when your military duty is complete, including:

  • Hazardous material removal experts
  • Police officers
  • Security guards
  • Explosives workers

About the Marine Corps

With the exception of the Coast Guard, the Marine Corps is the smallest military service. It needs to enlist only about 38,000 new recruits per year compared to the Army's average 80,000 yearly recruiting ​goal.

The Marine Corps requires a minimum ASVAB score of 32 to enlist. In recent years, however, about 68.9 percent of all new Marine recruits have scored a 50 or above.

The Corps recruiting regulation only allows about 5 percent of their enlistees per year to join without a high school diploma. The vast majority of new Marine recruits have a high school diploma plus at least 15 college credits. An applicant must score a minimum of 50 on the on the ASVAB to even be considered for a GED enlistment, and your chances are much better if you score at least a 90. 

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