More Marines needed to lat-move into recon
By John Hoellwarth - jhoellwarth@militarytimes.com
Posted : July 30, 2007

First-term Marines hoping to re-enlist for the $61,000 bonus offered for a lateral move into reconnaissance no longer have to pass a screening test with their local snake-eaters before shipping off to the toughest military occupational specialty school the Corps has to offer, according to a Corps-wide message released July 18.

The recon lat-move bonus, currently the highest offered to first-term Marines, speaks to the Corps’ need to draw personnel into a field that must grow on pace with the service’s efforts to add 22,000 Marines to the force by 2011.

“To address future shortfalls, [the Corps] is encouraging all interested and qualified Marines to request a lateral move into PMOS 0321, reconnaissance Marine,” the message states.

Even with the increased requirement for recon Marines, the Corps isn’t lowering standards to meet personnel shortfalls in the recon field, and removing the first step in the screening process does not change the basic requirements, according to MarAdmin 417/07.

“The intent of these pending changes is to optimize 0321 entry-level training and to relieve operational units from physically screening and preparing Marines for [the basic reconnaissance course],” the message states.

Though it takes only a second-class physical fitness test score to get a foot in the door, Marines who don’t meet the Corps’ body composition standards “will not be considered” for the basic reconnaissance course, and everyone there must score a first-class PFT before graduating. They’ll also have to pass a recon water-survival training package currently under development at Training and Education Command in Quantico, Va., the message said.

Marines who move laterally from any military occupational specialty outside the infantry field are required to earn the rifleman MOS at the School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton, Calif., or Camp Lejeune, N.C., before starting the recon course, which will be offered at Pendleton’s SOI exclusively by the end of this fiscal year, according to the message.

Only male Marines can go recon and U.S. citizenship is required because recon Marines also need a security clearance and a recommendation letter from their command’s security manager, according to the message.

Other prerequisites include a third-class swim qualification, a general technical score of at least 105 on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test and “normal color vision,” the message states.

Recon hopefuls need good visual acuity as well. They will be considered if their vision has been corrected, as long as they’ve got at least 20/20 vision in one eye and 20/100 in the other, according to the message.

“Personnel who do not meet the visual acuity standards, but who have a completed favorable refractive surgery consult conducted by a Department of Defense optometrist will be considered on a case-by-case basis,” the message states.

Any upper respiratory problems or ear, nose, throat and skin conditions that would “preclude a Marine from participating in prolonged training in salt water” are an immediate disqualification. Applicants must also be free from any ankle, knee, back or shoulder injuries that would keep them from participating in field and physical fitness training, according to the message.

Ellie