What are the Marine Corps Reserves?

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  • Written By: Misty Amber Brighton
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  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2019
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The United States Marine Corps Reserves is a component of the United States Marine Corps. This organization consists of corpsmen who perform duty one weekend each month, along with a two-week annual training period each year. They train at a military facility during these times, to prepare themselves for a call to active duty.

The Marine Corps Reserves is composed primarily of prior active-duty Marines who have time remaining on their enlistment contracts, yet have served their required active-duty time. The primary function of the reserve components of the United States military is to support the active troops during a time of national emergency. This means that a Marine Corps reservist may be deployed to a war zone or mobilized state-side if needed.

Members of the Marine Corps Reserve must maintain the same levels of physical fitness as that of active-duty Marines. They must also meet the requirements for height and weight established by Marine Corp regulations. They are responsible for properly maintaining and wearing their uniforms during periods of official duty. Reservists must also be properly groomed while in uniform. This means that a Marine's hair must be within regulations, unauthorized jewelry is not permitted, and males are clean-shaven.


Individuals who are members of the Marine Corps Reserves receive pay and allowances for attending weekend drills and annual training periods. This amount will be based upon the service members rank and his time in service. Members are also eligible for medical and dental insurance, life insurance, and a thrift savings program. Such service personnel also have post exchange and commissary shopping privileges while they are members of the reserve component. When called to active duty, Marine reservists receive the same pay and benefits as their active-duty counterparts.

Marine Corps Reservists receive promotions just like their active-duty counterparts. They are also eligible for retirement benefits after 20 qualifying years of service. Unlike retirement from active military service, however, reserve retirement pay is not be issued until the retiree reaches 60 years of age.

Members of the United States Marine Corps Reserve play a vital role in the security and defense of America. They provide strength to deploying units who would otherwise have a lack of personnel available to perform the mission. The Marine Corps Reserves have played a huge role in many major conflicts throughout the nation's history. Many are currently serving in the Global War on Terrorism, where some have even paid the ultimate sacrifice of perishing in battle.


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Post 4

@Aplenty- I just wanted to add a little bit about the IRR. The only thing that is required of an IRR reservist is that they maintain a Marine Corps uniform, they pass a yearly physical, and they report any changes in address. While these soldiers will be called to duty during a crisis event, they are seen as soldiers that have fulfilled their obligations to their country. The IRR essentially keeps the network of qualified soldiers strong, acting much like an alumni association for the Marine Corps Reserves.

Post 3

@Framemaker- I am not in the military, but I know a few marines and a former marine. My friend told me that a typical marine reservist would commit to eight years of service. This can be either part-time service, or full-time service. Some marines will also opt for part of their service in the reserves, often serving as Individual ready reserves (IRR).

IRR reservists (one of my buddies is an IRR reserve, having served two tours in Afghanistan) are essentially battle hardened or well-trained marines that have fulfilled all of their commitment requirements, but still have time left on their contracts. These reservists do not need to drill or go through annual training, but will be called upon when

a crisis arises. That being said, IRR reservists receive no pay.

The selected Marine Corps reservists are the typical reservists that most think of. These reservists are required to drill once a month, and meet for two weeks a year for annual training. They also need to maintain their weight and body composition, but they are paid a monthly stipend for their commitment.

You will likely need to talk to a Marine Corps recruiter to gather more information on the Marine Corps, and to verify what you are told. Most of the information beyond a definition of the reserves is not published so that recruiters can have contact with those interested.

Post 2

@Framemaker- If I am not mistaken, the Marine Corps revised their weight and body composition requirements in 2008. I think that they relaxed them slightly to increase the enlistment of otherwise qualified candidates. Furthermore, Marine Corps boot camp will definitely help an enlistee on the cusp fall in line.

Anyway, you can find weight and height charts for the Marine Corps. I think that the maximum height is 6'8" and the maximum weight is 250 pounds. The minimum height is 4'10" and 91 pounds.

When considering these weight standards, you should keep in mind that body composition plays a role. While falling out of your weight class can lead to a discharge, if you are out of your weight class, but still fall below the body fat standards, no remediation is necessary. I know this does not answer all of your questions, but I hope it helps with some.

Post 1

What type of situation would a marine corp reserve be deployed state-side? I am curious about learning more about the marine corp reserves because it would allow me to serve my country, but remain a little closer to my family (unless obviously I were to be sent off to war). What are the height and weight requirements for the marine corp reserves? What length of a service contract is a reservist required to sign? Do you have to sign up as a reservist until retirement age?

I know I could have a recruiter answer these questions for me, but I do not know if I am ready to speak to a recruiter yet. I would appreciate any information that people could provide. I like the idea of joining some branch of the military, but family considerations weigh heavily on me.

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