Marine LAAD Gunner MOS 7212

Marine Corps LAAD Gunner (MOS 7212): Career Details

Marine Corps LAAD Gunner (MOS 7212) provides surface-to-air fire support.

The Low Altitude Air Defense (LAAD) Gunner supports Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) and joint air defense assets.

LAAD Gunner is included in Occupational Field 72, Air Control, Air Traffic Control, Air Support, and Antiair Warfare.

Qualifications and Training

MOS 7212 is open to both men and women who have the manual dexterity required for man-machine interface, the ability to communicate effectively via radio, highly developed visual/auditory skills, and the ability to work as a team member.

Individuals must be 17-28 years old, have a high school diploma, posses a valid state driver’s license, have normal color vision, and must be 5 feet 4 inches or taller.

Those in this USMC MOS must meet Secret security clearance eligibility and must be U.S. Citizens.

20/20 vision is required (can be correctable to 20/20) and individuals cannot be left-eye dominant. They also cannot have hearing loss that is greater than 15 dB between 500 Hz and 2 kHz.

A minimum score of 90 on the General Technical (GT) portion of the ASVAB test is also required.

Recruits must meet medical and physical requirements and will need to pass the Physical Fitness Test and Combat Fitness Test.

Recruit Training will take place at either the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island or Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego for 13 physically and mentally challenging weeks.

Coursework includes the Basic Gunner (LAADGC) Course at Twentynine Palms, CA.

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What are the job duties of a LAAD Gunner?

Marine LAAD Gunner 7212
Marine LAAD Gunners firing at remove-controlled airplanes to simulate a real encounter. Image:

According to the LAAD Gunner’s Handbook, the primary mission for the LAAD is to support the MAGTF commander by providing close-in, low-altitude, surface-to-air weapons fires.

Through this primary mission, they provide defense to forward combating areas, maneuver forces, installations, vital areas, and independent and special operations.

The second mission is to defend MAGTF vital areas, installations, and independent and special organizations with task-organized ground security defense.

Gunners provide ground security defense when they are not engaged in air defense operations.

LAAD Gunners use the mobile Stinger antiaircraft missile.

The Stinger missile is lightweight and provides both mobility and flexibility.

Stinger Missiles, such as the FIM-92, weigh about 22 pounds and are infrared, homing missiles that track and engage an aircraft to an altitude of 12,500 feet.

They use the exhaust on the aircraft to track it.

Stingers provide short-range air defense in order to combat high-speed, low-level, and ground attack aircraft.

LAAD Gunners are familiar with all components of the Stinger and will perform regular checks of the equipment, including daily checks before initial use.

They will follow all safety procedures and standard operating procedures for using the equipment.

Safety considerations include understanding the backblast zone and how to handle misfires or duds.

LAAD Gunners are required to understand threat aircraft characteristics and capabilities.

They must be familiar with the capabilities in order to accurately evaluate the target course, speed, or position.

Generally, LAAD Gunners work in teams of two consisting of a team leader and a gunner.

Both team members must be familiar with how to properly identify a target as well as recognize aircraft types and armor.

While both team members can fire the Stinger weapons, the team leader usually evaluates targets and makes engagement decisions, while the gunner fires the missile.

Teams will vary based on mission needs and combat loads.

When firing the weapons, Gunners locate and report firing positions on a map.

They will also submit action reports.

Communication is important in this role.

Gunners need to communicate via radio/telephone to report unidentified aircraft and gain an understanding of air traffic in the area.

LAAD Gunners are required to provide maintenance on all equipment and weapon systems used.

As LAAD Gunners rise in rank, their job functions include more supervisory roles, operating advanced systems, and increased record-keeping duties.

What does a LAAD Gunner Get Paid?

LAAD Gunners in the Marine Corps will be paid based on rank and time of service.

Entering into the MOS with no prior military experience will earn around $1,900 a month in base pay as a private.

This MOS is open to Master Gunnery Sergeant to Private and the base pay for these ranks can be found below.

InsigniaPay GradeRankAbbreviation2023 Minimum Monthly Pay
E-1 +4 monthsPrivatePvt$1,917.60
E-2Private First ClassPFC$2,149.20
E-3Lance CorporalLCpl$2,259.90
E-6Staff SergeantSSgt$2,980.50
E-7Gunnery SergeantGySgt$3,3445.80
E-8Master SergeantMSgt$4,957.20
E-8First Sergeant1stSgt$4,957.20
E-9Master Gunnery SergeantMGySgt$6,055.50
E-9Sergeant MajorSgtMaj$6,055.50
E-9Sergeant Major Of The Marine CorpsSgtMaj$6,055.50


Working in the Marine Corps provides additional opportunities and benefits that add to the base pay amount above.

The Marine Corps provides housing, including utilities and maintenance, to all enlisted men and women and their families.

Marines have opportunities for advanced training and continued education with tuition assistance programs.

Living on base provides access to workout facilities, recreational centers, and more.

Other benefits include medical, dental, low-cost life insurance, sick time, vacation, and retirement.

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Job Reviews

Although there is not a large number of reviews for this position on common review sites, the available ones are positive.

The reviews discuss travel and the opportunities that the Marine Corps provides.

Positive aspects include getting excitement and enjoyment from the position.

Negative reviews discuss the amount of time that must be dedicated to deployments or travel.

A few reviews of LAAD Gunner can be found below.

MOS 7212
Image: Indeed

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Civilian Career Opportunities

While there is not a civilian equivalent that directly relates to the main job function of LAAD Gunner, there are civilian positions available that use some of the skills learned.

Experience working with ordnance allows for civilian positions as Ordnance Handlers or working in stores that sell firearms.

Positions in security or civilian police also relate to skills learned in the Military.

LAAD Gunners perform maintenance duties that relate to Mechanics, Installers, and Repairer civilian positions.

The Marine Corps also participates in USMAP, which allows Marines to participate in Department of Labor apprenticeship programs.

Through the USMC COOL program, Marines can earn credentials for other civilian careers.


Marine LAAD Gunner
Marine LAAD Gunners firing missiles during training to get used to the feel of the weight shift once the missile has been fired. Image:

Marine Corps LAAD Gunner (MOS 7212) or Low Altitude Air Defense Gunner, provides surface-to-air fire support using the Stinger Missile.

This MOS requires Secret security clearance along with recruits meeting physical and medical requirements.

Training consists of Recruit Training, Combat Training, and coursework.

Reviews for this position are mostly positive, with the average rating 4/5.

Related civilian careers include working in security, police forces, and maintenance.

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Stinger Missile

LAAD Gunner’s Handbook

Military Occupational Specialist Manual


Jeff E.
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