Is a Marine Corps Recon Job Right for You?

Marine riflemen provide security for combat engineers with Engineer Company, Marine Wing Support Squadron 373, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) while engaging in a route repair mission in Combat Outpost Falcon, Iraq.
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The reconnaissance man is responsible for providing the amphibious, long-range, small unit, ground reconnaissance, and raid skills. They are the nucleus of a reconnaissance team in the reconnaissance battalion or the reconnaissance or assault team in the Marine Special Operations Company (MSOC's).

A RECON Marine spends several months of challenging training to earn the distinction of wearing the Marine gold jump wings and Marine SCUBA pin on their uniform. Typically a recruit can request a direct pipeline to the RECON course but they must first graduate from the following schools:

Marine Corps Boot Camp is a complete boot camp with a 1st class PFT score and you can move onto the School of Infantry (SOI).
Marine Corps School of Infantry, Infantry Training Battalion is a 59-day course. A UZ contract holder must attend the infantry school. And infantry school graduates who volunteer and meet the standards can attend the Basic RECON Primer Course.

Basics of the Marine Corps RECON Courses

Primer is five weeks long and is the hardest physical and mental challenge of becoming a RECON Marine. Consider the Primer as your selection challenge to becoming a RECON Marine. 

The Basic RECON Course is nine weeks long and has three phases that challenge Marines to their fullest, both physically and tactically. Phase 1 focuses on Marine individual physical skills such as running, high repetition PT, obstacle courses, ocean swims with fins, rucking, land navigation, helicopter rope suspension training, communications, and supporting arms. But after the Primer, you will be ready for this phase.  

Phase 2 focuses on the tactical mission. Small unit tactics, mission planning, and several day-full mission profile exercises are included. Phase 3 focuses on the maritime mission and you learn to conduct amphibious RECON, boat operations, and small boat navigation.

Responsibilities of the RECON Marine

In addition to basic infantry skills, the RECON Marine is responsible for highly refined scouting and patrolling skills. They must possess advanced proficiency in scout swimming, small boat operations, close combat skills, airborne, surface and sub-surface insertion and extraction techniques, assault climbing, demolitions, forward observer procedures for supporting arms, initial terminal guidance operations for heliborne assaults, airborne insertion operations, and various waterborne operations.

The RECON qualified Marine specializes in communications, photography, threat weapons and equipment recognition, and various types of point, area, and related necessary overlap of ground amphibious reconnaissance operations.

Marines assigned to assault teams possess advanced skills in assault weaponry, breaching demolitions, close quarter battle skills, and raid techniques. Selected reconnaissance men are further trained as static line and free-fall parachutists and combatant divers.

Noncommissioned officers are assigned as reconnaissance and assault team leaders or their assistants and may be qualified as static line and free-fall jumpmasters, dive supervisors, helicopter insertion/extraction masters (HRST), and tandem offset resupply delivery system (TORDS) operators.

Requirements of RECON Marines

You'll need a score of 105 or higher on the general technical segment of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests. You need a first-class swimmer qualification and a first-class score on the physical fitness test. 

All Marines must successfully complete the Marine Rifleman Course of instruction prior to attending the Basic Reconnaissance Course.

In addition, you have to be a U.S. citizen and must be eligible for a secret security clearance from the Department of Defense to qualify for this job.