.Reserve Recon Officer

jknightusmc

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Good morning gentlemen,

I have searched up and down these forums, and have found plenty of information regarding Reserve Recon Marines (enlisted) as well as Recon Officers (active) but I have yet to see anything regarding Reserve Recon Officers, so that’s what I’m here for today.

TL;DR:

What is the process to become a Recon Officer in the Reserve? How is it different from active duty?


Longer version:

I have been in the Marine Reserves for 8 years and counting as on 0341, and as I am finishing up school, I have my sights set on becoming an officer, but I’ve also had a long interest in entering the Reconnaissance and or Raider community (like every other young Marine, I know, I know).

Why I’m asking about reserves is because I am getting older, and also have sights of attending grad school sooner rather than later. Complicated goals, I know, but rest assured, I’ve been in the Reserves long enough to understand the needs of the Corps come first, and I’m ok with that as I’ve always put 100% into everything I’ve done for the military. Though I’m sure as an Officer (if I make it to commissioning) the requirements only get more strenuous, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take, and I’ve worked with some fantastic officers in the infantry that have completed or are attending grad school, and they very much motivate me.

I apologize for the length of this post, but I’d rather ask my “dumb” questions here, rather than annoy an OSO.

I appreciate any knowledge passed, gentlemen, as this forum in general has given a lot of good advice and intel.
 

boxinabag

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Also interested in this but on the MARSOC side if anyone can also provide that info. I goto OCS this summer under a reserve contract, non-prior.
 

butler

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What is the process to become a Recon Officer in the Reserve? How is it different from active duty?
Broadly, there are two ways to fill an officer billet in the Selected Marine Corps Reserve (SMCR).

Path #1. You go through the Officer Candidate Class-Reserve (OCC-R) process. That means you work with your Officer Selection Officer (OSO) to apply for a specific billet at a specific unit. If selected, you go to Officer Candidate School (OCS), The Basic School (TBS), and your Military Occupational School (MOS) -- and these days, add a follow-on year-long operational tour in the fleet -- with a guaranteed job (so to speak) waiting for you. From what I understand, these OCC-R contracts were unheard of back in the day; now they're more common (but still very rare -- probably 10% of the younger company grade officers I know took this route)?

Path #2a. The other way is to go through the "regular" accession pipeline: do your four years in the fleet, then transition from active duty to the reserves. (This is the "traditional" path to the reserves, and still represents the overwhelming majority of reserve officers -- which is why most reserve platoons are led by captains and not second lieutenants.) At that point, you have to exercise a lot of initiative by doing a lot of cold calls and/or working with a prior service recruiter (PSR) to find a reserve billet and a reserve unit that will work for you.

Path #2b. Concurrent to this transition from active duty to the reserves, a handful of officers will apply to change their MOS in order to fill a specific reserve billet. This is generally done only if the stars align: there's an open billet, the unit wants you, the unit is willing to wait for you to finish your MOS training, there's a school seat opening up soon, etc. But yes, if it works out, you get sent to MOS school, change your MOS, incur a service obligation/payback tour, and serve at the reserve unit in your new MOS (e.g. I know an active duty Finance Officer who then became a reserve Armor Officer). The MARADMIN for this can be found here:
FISCAL YEAR 2019 (FY19) SELECTED MARINE CORPS RESERVE (SMCR) LATERAL MOVE (LATMOV), CAREER PROGRESSION MILITARY OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY (MOS) AND MOS PROFICIENCY TRAINING PROGRAMS > The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website > Messages Display
,
That being said, I only know of one Reconnaissance Officer (0307) who did Path #1, and he was a prior enlisted Reconnaissance Marine who'd already completed BRC, served with the teams, etc (i.e. he was already a known entity within the reserve recon unit). It may be technically possible from a recruiting standpoint to join a reserve recon unit without prior reconnaissance experience, but the likelihood of successfully completing the arduous process (IOC, BRPC, BRC, etc) is so low that I can't imagine any reserve recon unit willing to take a chance on a stranger, especially when there are already quite a number of 0307s transitioning from active duty to the reserves (Path #2a). As for the possibility of a MOS transition (Path #2b), I know one officer who did it. He was already an 0302 coming off active duty and found a reserve recon unit willing to take a chance on him. He went to BRC (there was no BPRC in his day), graduated, and then served as an 0307 at the reserve recon unit. I can't imagine anyone other than an Infantry Officer being given the same opportunity.

TL;DR: The overwhelming majority of reserve Reconnaissance Officers (not support guys like me) were active duty Reconnaissance Officers first who then transitioned to a reserve recon unit (i.e. they were ready to start leading from day one and didn't have to wait for a school seat at IOC, BRC, jump, dive, etc).
 
Last edited:

Teufel

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Good morning gentlemen,

I have searched up and down these forums, and have found plenty of information regarding Reserve Recon Marines (enlisted) as well as Recon Officers (active) but I have yet to see anything regarding Reserve Recon Officers, so that’s what I’m here for today.

TL;DR:

What is the process to become a Recon Officer in the Reserve? How is it different from active duty?


Longer version:

I have been in the Marine Reserves for 8 years and counting as on 0341, and as I am finishing up school, I have my sights set on becoming an officer, but I’ve also had a long interest in entering the Reconnaissance and or Raider community (like every other young Marine, I know, I know).

Why I’m asking about reserves is because I am getting older, and also have sights of attending grad school sooner rather than later. Complicated goals, I know, but rest assured, I’ve been in the Reserves long enough to understand the needs of the Corps come first, and I’m ok with that as I’ve always put 100% into everything I’ve done for the military. Though I’m sure as an Officer (if I make it to commissioning) the requirements only get more strenuous, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take, and I’ve worked with some fantastic officers in the infantry that have completed or are attending grad school, and they very much motivate me.

I apologize for the length of this post, but I’d rather ask my “dumb” questions here, rather than annoy an OSO.

I appreciate any knowledge passed, gentlemen, as this forum in general has given a lot of good advice and intel.
How much school do you have left? You could try to lat move as an enlisted Marine, attend BRC, and come over to recon after you commission.
 

jknightusmc

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Joined
Nov 16, 2017
Messages
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Broadly, there are two ways to fill an officer billet in the Selected Marine Corps Reserve (SMCR).

Path #1. You go through the Officer Candidate Class-Reserve (OCC-R) process. That means you work with your Officer Selection Officer (OSO) to apply for a specific billet at a specific unit. If selected, you go to Officer Candidate School (OCS), The Basic School (TBS), and your Military Occupational School (MOS) -- and these days, add a follow-on year-long operational tour in the fleet -- with a guaranteed job (so to speak) waiting for you. From what I understand, these OCC-R contracts were unheard of back in the day; now they're more common (but still very rare -- probably 10% of the younger company grade officers I know took this route)?

Path #2a. The other way is to go through the "regular" accession pipeline: do your four years in the fleet, then transition from active duty to the reserves. (This is the "traditional" path to the reserves, and still represents the overwhelming majority of reserve officers -- which is why most reserve platoons are led by captains and not second lieutenants.) At that point, you have to exercise a lot of initiative by doing a lot of cold calls and/or working with a prior service recruiter (PSR) to find a reserve billet and a reserve unit that will work for you.

Path #2b. Concurrent to this transition from active duty to the reserves, a handful of officers will apply to change their MOS in order to fill a specific reserve billet. This is generally done only if the stars align: there's an open billet, the unit wants you, the unit is willing to wait for you to finish your MOS training, there's a school seat opening up soon, etc. But yes, if it works out, you get sent to MOS school, change your MOS, incur a service obligation/payback tour, and serve at the reserve unit in your new MOS (e.g. I know an active duty Finance Officer who then became a reserve Armor Officer). The MARADMIN for this can be found here:
FISCAL YEAR 2019 (FY19) SELECTED MARINE CORPS RESERVE (SMCR) LATERAL MOVE (LATMOV), CAREER PROGRESSION MILITARY OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY (MOS) AND MOS PROFICIENCY TRAINING PROGRAMS > The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website > Messages Display
,
That being said, I only know of one Reconnaissance Officer (0307) who did Path #1, and he was a prior enlisted Reconnaissance Marine who'd already completed BRC, served with the teams, etc (i.e. he was already a known entity within the reserve recon unit). It may be technically possible from a recruiting standpoint to join a reserve recon unit without prior reconnaissance experience, but the likelihood of successfully completing the arduous process (IOC, BRPC, BRC, etc) is so low that I can't imagine any reserve recon unit willing to take a chance on a stranger, especially when there are already quite a number of 0307s transitioning from active duty to the reserves (Path #2a). As for the possibility of a MOS transition (Path #2b), I know one officer who did it. He was already an 0302 coming off active duty and found a reserve recon unit willing to take a chance on him. He went to BRC (there was no BPRC in his day), graduated, and then served as an 0307 at the reserve recon unit. I can't imagine anyone other than an Infantry Officer being given the same opportunity.

TL;DR: The overwhelming majority of reserve Reconnaissance Officers (not support guys like me) were active duty Reconnaissance Officers first who then transitioned to a reserve recon unit (i.e. they were ready to start leading from day one and didn't have to wait for a school seat at IOC, BRC, jump, dive, etc).
This was extremely informative, thank you.

On the off chance that i were to go path #1, do you have any idea what the pipeline would be?

1. As I understand it, only active duty Ground Intel Officers have a chance (albeit very slim) to go straight into Recon. Does the same hold any influence on the reserve side?

2. Regardless of question 1, do you have any idea what a pipeline might consist of? Would an Officer do BRC, Dive, Jump etc? What would his active duty year look like?

Again, I apologize if these are “dumb” questions, but I’d rather ask them here where I’m anonymous and not have an OSO rolling his eyes before I even attempt a package.
 

jknightusmc

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How much school do you have left? You could try to lat move as an enlisted Marine, attend BRC, and come over to recon after you commission.
Sir, I have about a year and a half or so left of school. So maybe “finishing up” wasn’t the most accurate phrase, but relatively speaking, I don’t have too much longer.

I’m not opposed to the idea of lat moving. I just don’t know how that would affect school.
Do you have any kind of general outline for that sir? Would I go to BRC during a summer? How would this affect a PLC package (what I’m hoping to submit)?

Again, I apologize if these are vague or dumb questions. I’m just trying to get an overall better idea of what I should expect or what I should do to set myself up for success
 

Teufel

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Sir, I have about a year and a half or so left of school. So maybe “finishing up” wasn’t the most accurate phrase, but relatively speaking, I don’t have too much longer.

I’m not opposed to the idea of lat moving. I just don’t know how that would affect school.
Do you have any kind of general outline for that sir? Would I go to BRC during a summer? How would this affect a PLC package (what I’m hoping to submit)?

Again, I apologize if these are vague or dumb questions. I’m just trying to get an overall better idea of what I should expect or what I should do to set myself up for success
I don’t think it would affect a PLC package and BRC plans school dates around their schedule not yours. The unit would have those answers, not me.
 

Teufel

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BRC takes a long time to get through though. I don't think you could fit both BRPC and BRC into a summer. BRPC is a month but BRC doesn't always start immediately after BRPC ends. I think it's 4 months if you do it all back to back.
 

butler

Recon H&S
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On the off chance that i were to go path #1, do you have any idea what the pipeline would be?
Sorry; I don't know.

1. As I understand it, only active duty Ground Intel Officers have a chance (albeit very slim) to go straight into Recon. Does the same hold any influence on the reserve side?
Again, I don't know.

2. Regardless of question 1, do you have any idea what a pipeline might consist of? Would an Officer do BRC, Dive, Jump etc?
Of the reserve Reconnaissance officers I've met, all are BRC graduates, nearly all are jump qualified, and most are dive qualified. But again, with two exceptions, every single 0307 I've met was an active duty Reconnaissance officer first before joining the reserves, which means they went to whatever schools that 1st Recon, 2d Recon, or 3d Recon saw fit to send them to (given the limitations of optempo, school seats/funding, etc).

What would his active duty year look like?
I only know OCC-R lieutenants who've gone 0402, 0602, 3002, etc (not the sexy MOSs). All have spent a year at a big unit specific to their MOS (e.g. MLG, CommBn) where they're surrounded by their MOS community to learn as much as possible before returning to the reserves. Some are lucky enough to lead a platoon; others become the S-3/4Z and/or "special projects officer".
 

Teufel

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You may be able to run through the whole pipeline back to back as an enlisted Marine. I would consider lining things up so you do that right after you graduate college. That would almost guarantee you a platoon commander spot at a reserve recon battalion after you commission. I imagine they don’t lack applicants on the officer side and it’ll be hard to compete with seasoned captains with active duty time, especially 0307s, as a brand new 2nd Lt without any recon qualifications.
 

RockHard13F

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You may be able to run through the whole pipeline back to back as an enlisted Marine. I would consider lining things up so you do that right after you graduate college. That would almost guarantee you a platoon commander spot at a reserve recon battalion after you commission. I imagine they don’t lack applicants on the officer side and it’ll be hard to compete with seasoned captains with active duty time, especially 0307s, as a brand new 2nd Lt without any recon qualifications.
Well somebody has to monitor the urinalysis sample production...
 

Hillclimb

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Also interested in this but on the MARSOC side if anyone can also provide that info. I goto OCS this summer under a reserve contract, non-prior.
I've never seen a Reserve Officer come through A&S/ITC to become an 0370. I've also had a former Marine of mine become a Reserve Officer who wanted to goto A&S, and I believe the end state was that he wasnt eligible.

Your best bet would be calling the MARSOC recruiters, or just go active duty if you want a shot at a career here
 

jknightusmc

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You may be able to run through the whole pipeline back to back as an enlisted Marine. I would consider lining things up so you do that right after you graduate college. That would almost guarantee you a platoon commander spot at a reserve recon battalion after you commission. I imagine they don’t lack applicants on the officer side and it’ll be hard to compete with seasoned captains with active duty time, especially 0307s, as a brand new 2nd Lt without any recon qualifications.
Sir, I actually like the sound of this quite a bit, and I am now seriously considering this path.
I truly do appreciate the information.

If I can just ask two more questions since this would be uncharted territory for me:

1. Earlier I asked about PLC but I just want to be more specific here: would I still be able to go the PLC route if I choose to lat move after college?
Example: go to OCS (PLC) between semesters, graduate college, and then attend the recon pipeline as enlisted, before accepting my commission/TBS?

I imagine I’d have to forgo PLC and instead opt for OCC-R which leads me to question 2.

2: Assuming I make it through the pipeline, is the unit likely to let me leave for the Officer route? Is that even something they could administratively stop?
 

jknightusmc

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To clarify question 2:

Would the unit let me leave soon or relatively soon after completing the pipeline to attend Officer training? Or would I obligated to serve a few more years on the enlisted side first?
 

Teufel

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Well it would probably take a year to finish the pipeline. I don’t think they can stop an officer package and probably wouldn’t want to of you’re going to stay at the same unit after commissioning. I wouldn’t mention in until you’re done though.
 

butler

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1. Earlier I asked about PLC but I just want to be more specific here: would I still be able to go the PLC route if I choose to lat move after college? Example: go to OCS (PLC) between semesters, graduate college, and then attend the recon pipeline as enlisted, before accepting my commission/TBS?
I've known PLC complete, college graduates who have delayed commissioning for personal reasons (e.g. their grandfather is flying out for the ceremony but he's got surgery scheduled, so they do the pinning not on college graduation day, but at some other private event a few weeks later), but I don't know how long you can do so. Could you delay commissioning for the entire Reconnaissance training pipeline? I don't know the answer to that question.

I imagine I’d have to forgo PLC and instead opt for OCC-R which leads me to question 2.
I don't believe you can delay if you're doing OCC-R.

PLC/OCC graduation is in the morning; those returning to college (PLCers) pack up and return home with their loved ones. However, those who are already college graduates (OCCers) get commissioned in the afternoon and administratively transfer to TBS. There's no delay.

2: Assuming I make it through the pipeline, is the unit likely to let me leave for the Officer route? Is that even something they could administratively stop? // BREAK // Would the unit let me leave soon or relatively soon after completing the pipeline to attend Officer training? Or would I obligated to serve a few more years on the enlisted side first?
Any schoolhouse training you undergo in order to conduct a lateral move into a different MOS generally incurs a service obligation. The latest MARADMIN doesn't have it (I don't know why), but the MARADMIN from 2015 spells it out:

MARINES WILL BE REQUIRED TO OBTAIN SUFFICIENT CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION TO COVER REQUIRED SERVICE AT THE TIME OF SUBMISSION FOR RETRAINING, IF APPLICABLE. THE OBLIGATED TIME STARTS THE DAY THE MARINE REPORTS TO ACTIVE DUTY FOR ATTENDANCE AT A FORMAL SCHOOL. IF LATMOV IS UTILIZED IN CONJUNCTION WITH A MONETARY INCENTIVE, THE SERVICE OBLIGATIONS WILL BE SERVED CONCURRENTLY AND THE MANDATORY DRILL PARTICIPATION STOP DATE (MDPSD) WILL BE THE LATER OF THE TWO DATES. EXAMPLE: A MARINE RECEIVES A MONETARY INCENTIVE REQUIRING A 3-YEAR SERVICE OBLIGATION AND SCHOOL TRAINING 10 WEEKS LONG, REQUIRING A 2-YEAR OBLIGATION; THE INCENTIVE DATE WILL BE USED TO CALCULATE THE MDPSD. SERVICE OBLIGATIONS ARE AS FOLLOWS:
(1) TOTAL SCHOOL(S) LENGTH OF 5 WEEKS OR LESS REQUIRES A MINIMUM 1-YEAR SERVICE OBLIGATION.
(2) TOTAL SCHOOL(S) LENGTH OF 5 TO 12 WEEKS REQUIRES A MINIMUM 2-YEAR SERVICE OBLIGATION.
(3) TOTAL SCHOOL(S) LENGTH OF 12 WEEKS OR MORE REQUIRES A MINIMUM 3-YEAR SERVICE OBLIGATION.
MCBUL 1500. FY 2015 SELECTED MARINE CORPS RESERVE (SMCR) LATERAL MOVE (LATMOV) PROGRAM > The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website > Messages Display


That being said, service obligations can be completed concurrently. In other words, there's no reason why you can't be "paying back" your service obligation for a MOS latmov at the same time as you're "paying back" your service obligation for officer accession. I've seen several young lance corporals leave the SMCR well before the end of their six year reserve contract in order to go commission as second lieutenants. They're still fulfilling their service obligation; it's just in a different capacity.

Moreover, the officer accession process generally takes precedence over whatever your unit had in store for you (i.e. some pissed-off First Sergeant can't prevent you from going to OCS if you have orders)...but it's certainly not going to win you any friends at your old unit if they feel like you did an end-run behind their backs.
 
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RockHard13F

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I completed the 10 week PLC/OCC Combined in August 2008. For personal reasons (I moved to the middle east as a civilian to study, among other things) I did not accept my commission until 2010. Unless something has changed, graduating OCS by whichever route leaves you with two years maximum to commission before you must go through OCS again.

Edit: If you delay your commission without a very good reason, be prepared to possibly end up on a naughty list somewhere. The OSO might be very unhappy with you.
 
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