examples of marine corps uniforms
Marines

7 Benefits Of Joining The Marine Corps

When most people think of the Marines, they think one thing:  killers.

While it is true that the Marines are the most lethal of all of the military branches, what most don’t realize is that there are some really good benefits to joining.

The purpose of this article is to discuss some of the benefits that aren’t often talked about when thinking about joining the Marines.

These benefits will not only help for your transition to the military world, but in some cases can even help your spouse or loved ones.

Here are 7 of the best benefits of joining the Marine Corps:

#7: Housing

While Marine barracks aren’t exactly the Plaza Hotel in NYC, there’s one thing about them that separates them from the competition: they’re free.

a marine corps barracks inspection
Image: Marines.mil

You can live and work on any of the dozens of Marine Corps bases in the US completely rent free.

What most people don’t realize is, not all Marines live in barracks.

If approved, you can actually live off base in an apartment, condo, or home.

The US Military offers subsidized housing to all branches of the military, the US Marines included.

It’s called the Basic Allowance Housing, or BAH, and it’s essentially a “bonus” on top of your regular pay.

How much you’ll receive is based on 3 factors:

  • Geographic Duty Location
  • Pay Grade (IE Rank)
  • Dependency Status

Obviously certain parts of the country are way more expensive than others.

For example, if you were stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii, the monthly allowance for a Corporal (E-4) is $2,139 without dependents, and $2,850 with dependents.

Honolulu bah estimate for e-4

However, if you were based in Camp Lejune in North Carolina, that number drops to $996 without dependents, and $1,146 with dependents.

camp lejune bah estimate for e-4

You can determine exactly how much you’ll get with the Department of Defense BAH calculator here.

The goal of the BAH is to make it so you literally live rent-free, and is one of the biggest benefits to joining the Marines.

#6: GI Bill

We get it, college can be expensive.  In fact, the average public 4 year tuition for out of state students rose to $23,890 per year in 2017.  (Source)

There are literally millions of college students graduating every year with a degree in one hand, and a massive student loan debt in the other.

college is expensive - this is where the gi bill comes in

That’s where the GI Bill comes in.

Originally introduced as the 1944 Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, the GI Bill is an educational benefit offered to members of the military that are serving in an Active Duty, Reserve, or National Guard role.

Without getting too much into the specifics, basically it’s designed to help you pay a good chunk of your college or trade school tuition.

Your recruiter will have way more details than what I can provide you here, but with the GI Bill you will essentially graduate college relatively debt free.

#5: Benefits For Your Spouse

An often overlooked benefit of serving in the US Marines is your spouse.

While most Marines enter the service without a spouse, it’s a fact that a good portion of Marines will end up with a family sometime during their career.

Some of the benefits afforded to Marine spouses include things like:

  • Military Spouse Preference Program (MSP):  This program essentially gives military spouses head of the line privileges when applying for Department of Defense civilian job opportunities. Keep in mind that it only applies to spouses of active-duty service-members, sorry reservists!
  • Added GI Bill benefits:  Some Marines simply don’t want to go to college for one reason or another.  What’s nice about the GI bill is that you can actually transfer it to your spouse and/or children.
  • Small business loans:  As part of the Patriot Express Pilot loan, military spouses are eligible for loans of up to $500,000 to start a new business.
  • Military discounts:  As a spouse of a member of the US Marines, you can be entitled to all sorts of discounts at a wide variety of retail stores.
  • Recreation benefits:  Since you’ll have an official military ID issued to you, you’ll be able to enjoy most of the same perks that active-duty personnel are afforded.  These include access to on-base recreation facilities like gyms, spas, pools, tennis courts, and much more.
  • Childcare services:  Some of the larger Marine bases in the US offer childcare / babysitting services free of charge.

While having a spouse that’s serving in the military can be difficult, the Marines do all they can to help with your overall quality of life.

Some of these benefits transfer over to your immediate family as well, like your parents for instance.

#4: Kick-A$$ Uniforms

There’s no two ways about it, the Marines uniforms are just bad-ass.

examples of marine corps uniforms
Image: Marines.mil

Just walking around town in your dress blues will get you noticed, and it’s widely known that the Marines have some of the coolest uniforms out of all of the branches of the military.

In the Marines, you’ll actually be issued 3 types of uniforms:

  • Field: These include combat utility, flight suit, and mountain warfare, with the most common one being the combat utility.  These are basically the cool looking camo uniforms you see Marines wearing.
  • Dress: These are the types of uniforms Marines wear to social functions, parades, and ceremonies.  They include the blue coat with sky blue trousers and slacks that you’re so accustomed to seeing Marine recruiters wearing.
  • Service: Service uniforms are another type of uniform that are used for social events and parades, and are identified by their unique khaki long sleeve shirts with green trousers and slacks.

In addition, you’ll also receive all of the other basics like socks, shorts, PT gear, boots, and more.

While the uniforms alone shouldn’t be your #1 reason for signing up for the Marine Corps, it certainly can help make your decision a bit easier!

#3: Healthcare And Insurance

Like college, healthcare in the United States is very expensive.

According to CNBC, the average healthcare premium costs around $321 per month for an individual, and and $833 a month for family plans.

On top of that, the average annual deductible for individual plans is $4,358, and $7,983 for family plans.

For a family with an average annual income of $59,039, these costs can quickly add up.

Do you know how much healthcare costs while you’re serving in the Marines?

$0…

That’s right, you won’t pay a dime.

navy doctor exams a marine patient
Image: Wikimedia.org

All US Marines (and service members in general) are provided with free comprehensive medical care.

It’s also worth noting that most military doctors are highly trained, and experts in their field.

So you know you’ll be getting quality medical care.

In additional, you’ll also be provided with heavily-subsidized dental care, should you choose to use it.

These benefits also transfer to your immediate family as well (IE your spouse and children), under the Tricare program.

#2:  Pay

While you won’t get rich serving in the Marine Corps, you certainly won’t be left out on the street either.

The pay in the military is the same for every branch, and is dictated by your rank and length of service.

For a private who is literally just entering boot camp (E-1), you can expect to take home $1,680 a month.

See the Marines Pay scale for E-1 through E-5 2019 rates below:

marines pay scale e-1 through e-5 for 2019
Marines pay scale chart for 2019

While this may not sound like a lot, you have to consider all of the other benefits that we discussed above that you will save money on.

Things like:

  • Free / subsidized housing
  • Free medical
  • Subsidized food
  • Access to gym equipment
  • Ancillary benefits

These are things that you normally would have to pay for, all provided nearly free of charge.

#1: Retirement

While most guys and gals enlisting in the Marines don’t think about turning it into a career, it’s certainly a good idea to consider it.

marine retires after 26 years of service
Image: Marines.mil

The way it works in the Marines is like this:

You serve on active duty for 20 years, and if you decide to retire on the day after 20 years, you will receive a monthly check for the rest of your life.

Obviously the pay is contingent on a wide variety of factors, including:

  • Exactly how long you served
  • What rank you achieved
  • Whether or not you served in an active-duty or reserve capacity
  • Several other factors

For example, a Marine that served for 30 years and retired as a Gunnery Sergeant (E-7) could expect to receive over $4,000 a month.

Keep in mind that this pay does increase year over year to adjust for inflation.

So while it might be $4,000 a month now, 10 years from now it could be way higher.

But the bottom line is this: If you served in the Marines for 20 years, you will be provided with a guaranteed check every month for the rest of your life.

Not a bad deal if you ask me!

7 Benefits Of Joining The Marine Corps
5 (100%) 1 vote[s]

References:

https://www.military.com/education/gi-bill/learn-to-use-your-gi-bill.html

https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/college-costs/college-costs-faqs

https://www.federalpay.org/military/marine-corps#enlisted

https://www.sapling.com/8625780/much-marine-sergeant-make-year

https://www.tricare.mil/

Jeff E.
Jeff E.
Jeff served with the Marine Corps Reserves as an Infantryman with Kilo Co. 3rd Battalion 23rd Marines from 1997 to 2003. 3/23 was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and served primarily in the Wasit Province of Iraq. Since exiting, Jeff has served as a non-profit manager in the area of foster care and adoption.

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