Articles

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry

YouTube, We Are The Mighty


From fighting pirates in the First Barbary War of 1801 to seizing the Kandahar International Airport in 2001 and beyond, Marine Corps infantrymen have been fighting and winning our nation's battles for more than 200 years.

Known as "grunts," infantrymen receive specialized training in weapons, tactics, and communications that make them effective in combat. And while many things have changed for grunts over time, they continue to carry on the legacy that was forged from the "small wars" to the "Frozen Chosin" to the jungles of Vietnam.

After more than a decade of war following the 9/11 attacks, many grunts have deployed to combat ...

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

... In Iraq, where they earned their place in history at Nasiriyah, Najaf, and Fallujah (shown here), and many others.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

While others deployed to Afghanistan, into the deadly Korengal Valley ...

Photo Credit: Darren Allen

 ... Or more recently to Marjah, in Helmand Province.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

But before infantrymen join their units, they need to complete initial training. For enlisted Marines, that means going to the School of Infantry, either at Camp Pendleton, California or Camp Geiger, North Carolina.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

For officers, their training at Infantry Officer Course in Quantico, Va. involves both tactics and weapons, along with a more intense focus on how to lead an infantry platoon.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

While most enlisted grunts become 0311 riflemen, others receive more specialized training, like 0331 machine-gunners, which learn the M240 machine gun (shown here), the MK19 grenade launcher, and the M2 .50 cal.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

0341 Mortarmen learn how to operate the 60 mm (shown below) and 81 mm mortar systems, which help riflemen with indirect fire support when they need a little bit more firepower.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

0351 Assaultmen learn basic demolitions, breaching, and become experts in destroying bad guys with the SMAW rocket system. The Shoulder-launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon (SMAW) is shown below.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Packing even more punch that's usually vehicle-mounted, 0352 Anti-tank missilemen learn their primary M41 SABER (below) heavy anti-tank weapon and the Javelin, a medium anti-tank weapon.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Some more experienced infantrymen go into specialized fields, such as Reconnaissance or snipers (below).

Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

Always present is a focus on mission accomplishment, and to "keep their honor clean" — to preserve the legacy of the Corps ...

Photo Credit: Library of Congress

... That grunts are proud of. Always remembering heroics from the Chosin Reservoir Marines in Korea ...

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

... To those who fought in Vietnam jungles, or the storied battles of Hue and Khe Sanh.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Since Vietnam, grunts have been repeatedly been called upon for minor and major engagements, such as Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and Operation United Shield in Somalia in 1995 (below).

Photo Credit: Darren Allen

But it's not all combat.

Photo Credit: Darren Allen

Marine grunts are constantly training, whether it's practicing amphibious landings ...

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

... Or learning the skills needed to survive and thrive in a jungle environment.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Sometimes they take a break to catch up on their reading.

Photo Credit: Michael Sinclair

And when they're not training, they are trying to have fun.

Photo Credit: Josh Boston

Sometimes ... maybe too much fun.

Photo Credit: Donnie Hickman

While technology has made today's infantrymen even deadlier, the life of the grunt has always been spartan.

Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

Grunts often work in rough conditions, and they need to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Photo Credit: Nate Hall

And quite often, they need to be self-sufficient. At remote patrol bases, that means everything from burning their trash and other waste ...

Photo Credit: Paul Martin

To fixing their morning coffee in any way they can.

Photo Credit: Daniel Evans

Grunts learn to appreciate the little things, like care packages from home ...

Photo Credit: Matt McElhinney

... Any privacy they can get ...

Photo Credit: Daniel Evans

... Or a "FOB Pup" to play around with in between missions.

Photo Credit: Daniel Evans

When they get into a fight with the enemy, they battle back just as their predecessors did.

Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

And with solid training and leadership, they can easily transition, as Gen. Mattis says, from no worse enemy to no better friend.

Photo Credit: Nate Hall

When things don't go exactly as planned ...

Photo Credit: Josh Boston

... Grunts can usually shake it off with a smile.

Photo Credit: JC Eliott

Especially in a combat zone, humor helps a unit through tough times.

Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

And there are plenty of opportunities for laughs.

Photo Credit: Marc Anthony Madding

Whether it's graffiti on a barrier ...

Photo Credit: JC Eliott

 Or taunting the Taliban with a Phillies t-shirt.

Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

But the bottom line is that grunts are the Marine Corps' professional war-fighters.

Photo Credit: Nate Hall

They forge brotherhoods that last for a lifetime.

Photo Credit: Nate Hall

And they never forget those who didn't make it home.

Memorial ceremony for Sgt. Thomas Spitzer. (Photo Credit: US Marine Corps)

Military Life

'Operation Cure Boredom' is a funny, unrepentant look back at life in the 1990s Air Force

The following is an excerpt from the first book by Air Force veteran and Hollywood writer Dan Martin. Titled Operation Cure Boredom, it's a hilarious collection of short stories chronicling the adventures of Martin's 1990-1994 enlistment in the world's best Air Force.

This chapter, called "Guest on the Range," is about the extraordinary lengths Martin went to in order to qualify on the firing range as a junior enlisted Crew Chief.

Keep reading... Show less
Articles

How R. Lee Ermey's Hollywood break is an inspiration to us all

While there have been many outstanding actors and celebrities who have raised their right hand, there has never been a veteran who could finger point his way to the top of Hollywood stardom quite like the late great Gunnery Sergeant R. Lee Ermey.

Keep reading... Show less
Military Life

The top 6 reasons people decide to join the infantry

Deciding to join the military is a huge step for anyone looking to make a life-altering change. One of the most appealing aspects of becoming a member of the armed forces is the vast array of professional opportunities the service offers.

You can sign up, ship out, and, within a few short months, be guarding a military installation as your newfound brothers- and sisters-in-arms sleep.

Keep reading... Show less
GEAR & TECH

These high-tech glasses could change how sailors train

Training has evolved over the years but the core elements have always remained the same. There's an instructor and a bunch of students. They go over material, both in theory and in practice, mastering the skills required by the job. But no matter how good the teacher, students will always need a refresher from time to time. So, that means it's time to go back to school — or does it?

Now, mixed-reality technology — including smart glasses — could change the way sailors learn the skills they need to serve.

Keep reading... Show less
Entertainment

6 US conflicts that would (probably) make terrible video games

When developers set out to make video games, their focus should always primarily be on crafting a fun and engaging experience. Oftentimes, you'll see video games set far in the future so that developers can place an arsenal of advanced, sci-fi weaponry in the hands of the player — because it's fun. Other times, they'll take cues from real wars and toss the player directly into the heat of a historical battle — because that's fun, too.

Keep reading... Show less
Tactical

How to start a fire with only one hand

Heading out into the wilderness for a camping trip is exhilarating and refreshing. Starting a campfire and roasting some marshmallows under the stars is a great way to get in touch with Mother Nature. Although the idea of spending a night in the great outdoors sounds incredible, campers should always remember to bring specific tools and learn important survival skills in the event they sustain an injury and help is far, far away.

It gets cold out there at night, so it's important to know the basics of starting a fire to keep warm — even in the dire circumstance that you've been injured. Do you know how to start a fire with just one hand? You never know — this skill might just save your life.

Keep reading... Show less
GEAR & TECH

The Marines' newly-armed Osprey tests guns, rockets, and missiles

The Marine Corps is now arming its Osprey tiltrotor aircraft with a range of weapons to enable its assault support and escort missions in increasingly high-threat combat environments.

Rockets, guns, and missiles are among the weapons now under consideration, as the Corps examines requirements for an "all-quadrant" weapons application versus other possible configurations such as purely "forward firing" weapons.

Keep reading... Show less

It's been 10 years since the Air Force retired the Nighthawk

It's been 10 years since the United States Air Force retired the F-117 Nighthawk (an aircraft so secret, Nevada folklore labeled it a UFO).

"The Nighthawk pilots were known by the call sign 'Bandit,' each earning their number with their first solo flight. Some of the maintainers were also given a call sign," said Wayne Paddock, a former F-117 maintainer currently stationed at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.

Keep reading... Show less