Enlisted Marines thinking about becoming officers face a gambit of new hurdles before they can be selected for commissioning, but Marine officials urge those who are dedicated to act quickly.
One such program is the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Program.
Packages for MECEP are due to Marine Corps Recruiting Command by May 28, but Marines with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, have until April 30 to submit for approval through their command.
Though the requirements change from year-to-year, recently enlisted Marines did not have a minimum rank or time in service requirement for selection and had waivers available for certain other requirements. But this year’s message, Marine Administrative Message 213/10, has tightened the reigns, leaving many Marines who wish to apply ineligible.
“The Marine Corps isn’t hurting for officers anymore,” said 2nd Lt. Derek DeBoy, Headquarters and Service Battalion’s, MarForPac, adjutant. “This has always been one of the most selective programs we have and it’s just become a lot tougher.”
Applicants must have at least three years of active service by May 28 and be at least a sergeant between 20 and 26 years of age. General and special court-martial or civil court proceedings, other than minor traffic violations, are disqualifiers. All applicants must have a first class physical fitness test and combat fitness test, a 74 or higher Armed Forces Qualification Test, at least a 1,000 SAT score or a 22 on the ACT.
Though having college credits is not a requirement, it does improve the Marine’s package.
According to the MARADMIN, Marines accepted to the program will no longer attend the MECEP prepatory school at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., putting an additional strain on applicants who have not been to school for several years.
“You have to learn self discipline,” said DeBoy, who earned his commission through the MECEP program. “Classes are going to take up the majority of your time. If you haven’t been to school in a while take college courses. Get back into those study habits.”
While in the program, the Marines remain on active duty and receive full pay and allowances with the expectation of proficiency pay, i.e., pay for speaking a foreign language.
In addition, the college selected must have a Naval ROTC program, which the Marines will report to and participate in during their time as a college student.
“Above all, the board is looking for two things; leadership potential and the ability to succeed in college,” DeBoy said. “Make yourself as competitive as possible.”
To apply, Marines must be willing to reenlist or extend to have six years of obligated service prior to detaching from their command. Upon commissioning, the enlistment becomes void and the new officers must serve a minimum of four years on active duty.
Furthermore, tuition, supplies and living allowances are the selectee’s responsibility, but in service Montgomery GI Bill benefits, student loans and grants are encouraged to be used and are available.
The MARADMIN highlights multiple requirements for entering the program to include, a credit check, secret security clearance eligibility, and willingness to renounce dual citizenship.
The selection board is scheduled for Aug. 24.
MarForPac Marines interested in the program can contact DeBoy at (808) 477 – 8365.