39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry - We Are The Mighty
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39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry

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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 …

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

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

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

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

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: Darren Allen

 … Or more recently to Marjah, in Helmand Province.

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
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.

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
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.

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
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.

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
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.

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
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.

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
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.

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: Wikimedia

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

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
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 …

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: Library of Congress

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

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

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

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
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).

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: Darren Allen

But it’s not all combat.

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: Darren Allen

Marine grunts are constantly training, whether it’s practicing amphibious landings …

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

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

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

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

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: Michael Sinclair

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

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: Josh Boston

Sometimes … maybe too much fun.

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: Donnie Hickman

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

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: US Marine Corps

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

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
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 …

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: Paul Martin

To fixing their morning coffee in any way they can.

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: Daniel Evans

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

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: Matt McElhinney

… Any privacy they can get …

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: Daniel Evans

… Or a “FOB Pup” to play around with in between missions.

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: Daniel Evans

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

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
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.

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: Nate Hall

When things don’t go exactly as planned …

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: Josh Boston

… Grunts can usually shake it off with a smile.

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: JC Eliott

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

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

And there are plenty of opportunities for laughs.

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: Marc Anthony Madding

Whether it’s graffiti on a barrier …

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: JC Eliott

 Or taunting the Taliban with a Phillies t-shirt.

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: Zac Mercoli

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

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: Nate Hall

They forge brotherhoods that last for a lifetime.

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Photo Credit: Nate Hall

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

39 Awesome photos of life in the US Marine Corps infantry
Memorial ceremony for Sgt. Thomas Spitzer. (Photo Credit: US Marine Corps)

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