Marine Corps Tactical Switching Operator Job Description

Tactical switching operator
Lance Cpl. Corey Harris, a tactical switching operator with Detachment One, Communication Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 45, 4th Marine Logistics Group.

U.S. Air Force/Getty Images

Tactical Switching Operators or Field Wiremen are the foundation of wire communications in the Marine Corps. MOS 0612 is the Tactical Switching Operator is a primary MOS (PMOS) and it has a rank range between Private to Sergeant. 

Understanding MOS Designation Codes

Military Occupational Specialty codes (MOS) are used to designate job descriptions and duties within the Marine Corps. A series of numbers follow each MOS. The first two numbers identify the field of the job and the last numbers designate the job within that field.

Several MOSs were renamed in 2016 to be less gender-specific, but the MOS 0612 title remained unchanged at that time. However, it was amended from just the Field Wireman position to include Tactical Switching Operator within the Communications field. Both terms are still used, and this position is sometimes informally referred to as "wire dog." 

Job Responsibilities for Tactical Switching Operators

Personnel holding this designation construct, operate, and maintain wire networks to link key outposts, control points, and headquarters. They provide reliable paths for the transmission of telephone, facsimile, and digital data messages.

Typical duties of this MOS include the installation of telephones and switchboards, and laying wire and cable. Tactical Switching Operators and Field Wiremen adjust equipment for proper operation. They recover wire, locate wire system faults, and operate switchboards.

Marines in this position can obtain the additional skill of pole climbing if it's deemed necessary to perform wire functions.

A complete listing of duties and tasks is available in NAVMC Directive 3500.106Communications Training and Readiness Manual.

Requirements to Become a Tactical Switching Operator 

Applicants for this job must possess an entry-level (EL) score of at least 105, and higher is preferred. Tactical Switching Operators and Field Wiremen must have normal color vision. They must be U.S. citizens and hold a confidential security clearance in addition to being eligible for a secret security clearance. 

Applicants for MOS 0612 must complete the Telephone Systems Installer Maintainer Course (TSIMC) at MCCES located in 29 Palms, California. 

The Telecommunications Supervisors course provides skill progression training for those holding ranks from Sergeant to Corporal. 

Related Department of Labor Occupation Codes

The Marine Corps MOS 6012 equates to several other occupations in the Corps and in the private sector. Private sector occupations shown below include the Department of Labor Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) occupation code.

Private Sector

  • Station Installer and Repairer 822.261-022
  • Line Installer-Repairer 822.381-014
  • Line Installer and Repairers/Telephone Line 49-9052
  • Telecommunications Systems Installers and Repairers, Except Line Installers 49-2022

Marine Corps Communications Jobs

  • Construction Wireman MOS 0613
  • Unit Level Circuit Switch (ULCS) Operator/Maintainer MOS 0614
  • Electronic Switching Operator/Maintainer MOS 0618
  • Wire Chief MOS 0619
  • Radio Field Operation MOS 0621
  • Digital (Multichannel) Wideband Transmission Equipment Operator MOS 0622
  • SHF Satellite Communications Operator/Maintainer MOS 0627
  • EHF Satellite Communications Operator/Maintainer MOS 0628 
  • Radio Chief MOS 0629
  • Strategic Spectrum Manager MOS 0648
  • Data Network Specialist MOS 0651
  • Tactical Data Network Gateway Systems Administrator MOS 0658
  • Data Chief MOS 0659
  • Information Security Technician MOS 0681
  • Information Assurance Technician MOS 0689
  • Communications Chief MOS 0699

The above information derived in part from MCBUL 1200, parts 2 and 3.