Category Archives: USMC Enlistment

Marine Corps Recruit Knowledge

What does someone interesting in going into the Marines need to know? What is crucial important knowledge that recruits can focus on before going to boot camp? Well, there’s a lot to memorize and a lot that can help…more really than just a simple checklist. The best thing you can do is read as much as possible from a variety of sources. You want to know some specific details to memorize, but you also just want to read about Marine Corps life and culture.

Read About the Marine Corps on Wikipedia

Obviously you should first read about the corps at…and no we aren’t biased. OK, maybe a little bit. Seriously though, Wikipedia has tons of basic information that will simply help you get a general understanding of what the Marine Corps is about: the history of the Corps, specific details on different units, information on any MOS you may be interested in, etc. Pretty much anything that you might be curious about will have a nice summary in Wikipedia, so it’s a nice source for Marine Corps topic overviews.

Learn The Marine Corps Chain of Command: Including the Current USMC Commandant

You’ll have to learn the chain of command during boot camp, but wouldn’t it be really great if you didn’t need to spend your extremely limited free time trying to memorize the chain of command when you could’ve simply squared that away before your shipped off for boot camp? And here’s a tip: great Marines go the extra mile. That means, don’t just learn the ranks and names of the chain of command. Find out the real names of your leaders. You will of course not know all of them before you are at boot camp, but you can certainly find out the name of the highest ranked Marine. You don’t want to get caught not knowing that one; it’s like not knowing who the President is. (There’s a joke in there for anyone paying attention).

Become Familiar With Marine Corps Terminology

When you first arrive at boot camp, one of the first things you’ll learn is that Marine Corps terminology is a little different than at home. At boot camp, and throughout your military careers, you’ll be expected to use the “correct” Marine Corps words. Don’t say window, say port hole. Don’t say hat, say cover. There’s a bunch of Marine Corps terminology that you’ll learn in boot camp. Get a head start on that before you go so that you don’t slip up and end up forcing you and your platoon to do more push ups.

Memorize the Marine Corps General Orders

Learn the Marine Corps General Orders before you ship out to boot camp. There are only 11 and they’re pretty important, so recite them until you can say them in your sleep. Have someone pick a number 1 through 11 and recite the order of the number they’ve chosen. If you can only recite the orders in chronological order, you’ve haven’t really learned them. Your drill instructor will most likely yell a random number at you and expect you to call it back, so make it easy on yourself.

Read Books on Marine Corps History and Boot Camp

There’s really no substitute for a thorough book on Marine Corps history or boot camp. There are several boot camp specific guidebooks or first hand accounts out there. We wrote a post suggesting some good Marine Corps Books and guidebooks for anyone headed to boot camp soon. There are more, find a few that appeal to you.

Marine Corps Recruit Attrition

The military and government agencies have done a number of specific studies and reports on Marine Corps Recruit attrition rates, including analysis of factors that increase or decrease the percentage of recruit attrition.

Recruit Attrition and the Training Unit Environment: 1981 report that compares attrition and performance of Marine Corps recruits who have and have not graduated high school. The conclusion was higher attrition occurred amongst recruits who did not graduate high school.

Trends in Attrition of High-Quality Military Recruits: A 1988 report that examines why attrition rates remained unchanged even after the military managed to recruit “higher quality” recruits.

Military Attrition: Better Screening of Enlisted Personnel Could Save Millions of Dollars: A 1997 report that lays out some statistics and arguments for better recruit screening processes

Emerging Issues In USMC Recruiting: Comparing Relative Attrition Risk Among Marine Corps Recruits: Published in 2006, this report examines Marine Corps boot camp attrition and documents recruit characteristics. It finds that the recruits with the lowest attrition rates are those that sign contracts as high school seniors, go to boot camp from June-September or October-January, are “high quality”, and meet weight-for-height retention standards.

Predictors of one-year attrition in female Marine Corps recruits: This 2009 study examines the demographic profiles and health-related predictors of female Marine recruit attrition.

Marine Corps College of Continuing Education

One hugely important thing for people going into the Marines to think about it continuing their education, whether they decide to make the military their career or use their years of service as a stepping stone to a civilian job. A major misconception of military life is that it is an alternative to higher education. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the Marine Corps offers a variety of educational programs designed to provide Marines with opportunities to gain a better education…even while on active duty.

CCE is now “The College of Distance Education and Training” (CDET)

What was formerly called the “Marine Corps College of Continuing Education” is now called “The College of Distance Education and Training”, aka CDET, in order to better reflect the school’s focus on distance education and training for Marines. The program maintains distance learning programs throughout the world. It’s a part of the Marine Corps Training and Education Command (TECOM) that maintains distance learning programs for the benefit of increasing operational readiness. In other words, an educated Corps is better for operational readiness.

CDET provides educational opportunities for all Marines, government employees and USMC family members. CDET uses an online system called MarineNet that provides Marines with access to learning opportunities anywhere they can get internet access.

Available courses focus on leadership, warfighting, and staff development to name a few. Services are available to both enlisted Marines and officers.

More information can be found at the CDET website.



Young people who are looking to enlist in the military will probably at some point come across a very long acronym: USMEPCOM. It stands for the United States Military Entrance Processing Command. It’s part of the Department of Defense (DOD…another acronym you’ll come across). The USMEPCOM is charged with the responsibility of screening and processing individuals interested in enlisting in the Marine Corps, army, navy, air force or any US military branch. Its headquarters are in North Chicago, IL and it overseas all of the MEPS (military entrance processing stations) throughout the nation, 65 in all.

Denver MEPS Station

Denver Military Entrance Processing (MEPS)

The purpose of the military entrance processing (MEPS) station is to check a potential Marine recruit’s aptitude for service in the armed forces in general, and the USMC specifically. Young people that want to join the Marine Corps must pass physical tests that are required for all people serving in the military and they must pass specific physical requirements of the Marine Corps itself. At MEPS, they also do all sorts of background screenings and mental health tests and a bunch of evaluations to make sure that you can handle the stress of military life.

In Denver, anyone interested in joining the Marines will probably pass through the New Customs House. It has been the home of the Denver MEPS since the mid-1950’s (although it used to be called the “Armed Forces Examining and Entrance Station, AFEES for short. This was when it was part of the Army Recruiting Command). In the 90’s, the New Custom House was renovated. It’s now one of the nicest MEPS stations in the US, which has a total of 65 stations nationwide. The Denver Meps Station also houses the USMEPCOM, a Department of Defense (DOD) Agency.

Denver MEPS Address and Phone Number

721 19TH Street
Suite 275
Denver, CO 80202-2515
Phone: (303) 623-1020 ext. 223
Fax: (303) 623-5506

MEPS Hearing Test

Marine Corps recruits must pass a hearing test at MEPS. There isn’t a whole lot you can do to prepare for this one; you either have good hearing or you don’t. There are different levels of hearing though, so if you don’t pass the test with a perfect score, you may still apply for a waiver if the job you want doesn’t require the highest hearing level.

A few tips for passing the MEPS hearing test:

  • Make sure you don’t have an ear infection at all before you go. Have you been swimming lately?
  • Clean out your ears! Make sure you don’t have a wax build-up (the doctors won’t disqualify you for a wax build-up, but they might make you go to a nearby doctor’s office to get it removed, which may add an entire day to your MEPS visit.)
  • Don’t listen to loud music or go hunting or shooting or ANYTHING loud ahead of time that might create ringing in your ears
  • Don’t wear earrings during the hearing test. You want your ear to not be obstructed at all.

The Marine Corps Hearing Conservation Program (MCHCP)

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for members of the military to suffer from hearing loss from a variety of loud sounds (i.e., gunfire, explosions, airplane engines, etc.) Gunfire in particular can be damaging to Marines ears due to the high-intensity impulse. Often, Marines don’t notice that they are losing their hearing as it can happen slowly over a long period of time.

In April of 2010, the Marine Corps Times published an article titled “War is Hell — On Your Hearing”. In the article, it is written that “Defective hearing and tinnitus are the most common service-connected conditions diagnosed among veterans” and that around 50,000 Iraq and Afghanistan vets have reported hearing loss.

For anyone wanting to be a Marine Corps recruit, take your hearing seriously. Once you lose it, you can’t get it back. Don’t cheat on the test (if that’s even possible) and practice safe hearing practices throughout your military career.

List of Meps

There are about 65 Military Entrance Processing Station (Meps) locations throughout the US, including Puerto Rico. Meps Stations aim to process potential recruits for enlistment or induction into the Marine Corps. The three primary considerations in determining an applicant’s qualifications for enlistment are the person’s aptitude for USMC service, physical qualification and background evaluation screenings. Some of the Meps military locations with address and phone number are listed below.

MEPS Dallas

Federal Building
207 South Houston Street
Suite 400
Dallas, TX 75202
Phone: (214) 655-3200

MEPS San Diego

4181 Ruffin Rd
Suite B
San Diego, CA 92123
(858) 874-2400 ext. 261

MEPS Chicago

1700 South Wolf Road
Des Plaines, IL 60018
Phone: (847) 803-6111
Fax: (847) 803-4626

MEPS Los Angeles

LA Meps
1776 Grand Avenue
El Segundo, CA 90245
Phone: (310) 640-6050 ext. 221
Fax: (310) 640-9754

Nashville MEPS

20 Bridgestone Park
Nashville, TN 37214-2428
Phone: (615) 833-1347 ext. 111
Fax: (615) 833-2570

Albany MEPS

Leo W. O’Brien Federal Building
N. Pearl St & Clinton Avenue
Albany, NY 12207
Phone: (518) 320-9860
Fax: (518) 320-9869

MEPS Atlanta

1500 Hood Avenue
Building 720
Fort Gillem, GA 30297-5000
Phone: (404) 469-3090
Fax: (404) 469-5367

Milwaukee MEPS

11050 West Liberty Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53224
Phone: (414) 359-1315
Fax: (414) 359-1390

Kansas City MEPS

10316 NW Prairie View Road
Kansas City, MO 64153-1350
Phone: (816) 891-9490
Fax: (816) 891-8258

MEPS Seattle

4735 East Marginal Way South
Seattle, WA 98134-2385
Phone: (206) 766-6400 ext. 7525
Fax: (206) 766-6430

MEPS San Antonio

1950 Stanley Road
Suite 103
San Antonio, TX 78234-5102
Phone: (210) 295-9031
Fax: (210) 295-9151

Lansing MEPS

120 East Jolly Road
Lansing, MI 48910
Phone: (517) 887-1714
Fax: (517) 877-9160

Detroit MEPS

1172 Kirts Boulevard
Troy, MI 48084-4846
Phone: (248) 244-8534
Fax: (248) 244-9352

MEPS Minneapolis

Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building
1 Federal Drive
Suite 3300
Fort Snelling, MN 55111-4080
Phone: (612) 725-1757
Fax: (612) 725-1749

MEPS New York

Fort Hamilton Military Community
116 White Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11252-4705
Phone: (718) 630-4646
Fax: (718) 765-7338

Louisville MEPS

600 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Place
Room 477
Louisville, KY 40202
Phone: (502) 582-5921 ext. 2222
Fax: (502) 582-6566

Syracuse MEPS

6001 East Molloy Road
Building 710
Syracuse, NY 13211-2100
Phone: (315) 455-3012
Fax: (315) 455-7807

MEPS Phoenix

1 North 1st Street
Suite 613
Phoenix, AZ 85004-2357
Phone: (602) 258-1703
Fax: (602) 258-8206

Springfield MEPS

551 Airlift Drive
Westover JARB
Springfield, MA 01022-1519
Phone: (413) 593-9543 ext. 200
Fax: (413) 593-9485

Albuquerque meps

505 Central Ave NW
Suite A
Albuquerque, NM 87102-2113
Phone: (505) 246-8020
Fax: (505) 246-8861

Meps Disqualifications

Joining the Marine Corps requires at least one trip to the Meps (Military Entrance Processing Station) nearest to your recruitment office. Typically, you spend at least one day at Meps to make sure that you qualify for the Corps, and then you’ll go back there on the day you ship out to boot camp. This is not a comprehensive list and it certainly does not mean that you will automatically be disqualified for any of the reasons stated below; these are simply some contributing factors that can ultimately lead to either being completely disqualified from joining the Marine or disqualify you from applying for specific jobs within the USMC. These Meps disqualifiers also do not always mean that you will never be allowed to join; you may simply need to take care of something before you are able to enlist.

Meps Disqualification List

  • Lack of depth perception (This will only disqualify for certain jobs; not the military in general)
  • Color blindness (This will only disqualify for certain jobs; not the military in general)
  • A history of mental depression and/or other mental health problems
  • Tattoos on the head, neck, hands, fingers or inside of the mouth
  • Any tattoos that are racist, sexist, drug-related, vulgar, anti-American or are associated with any extremist group or gang
  • Lying about any information you provide
  • Extensive criminal background
  • Overweight or underweight
  • Marijuana or other drugs in your system
  • Too young or too old (must be at least 18 and not over 28 for active duty, 29 for Reserves)


Marine Corps Physical

When a recruit prepares to join the Marine Corps, they are required to make a trip to a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). There are 65 MEPS in the US and a recruit will go to the processing station that it closest to wherever they live. It is part of the initial processing of joining the Marines. Recruits may visit MEPS for a second time on the day they ship out for basic training.

At MEPS, military personnel from any military service and civilians are staffed to test a potential recruit’s physical health and aptitude required by each branch of the military, the Department of Defense, and the federal government.

Marine Recruit Pre-screening

The first step to complete at MEPS is a pre-screening with your recruiter. Your Marine Corps recruiter will help you complete a DD (Department of Defense) Form 2807-2. Your recruiter will send this form to MEPS and medical personnel will determine if any of your listed medical conditions automatically disqualify you from enlisting in the Marine Corps. Your recruiter will also make sure that you bring any required medical records with you to MEPS.

You’ll probably want to bring records describing any surgeries, hospitalizations, counseling, heart conditions, or any other major health services you’ve needed.

When you go to MEPS, you’ll want to bring your social security card, birth certificate and driver’s license or state id. If you wear contacts, bring along glasses and a contact case.

Don’t bring inappropriate clothing (clothing with vulgar images, profanity, etc). Don’t bring a hat. Don’t bring a lot of money or valuables, there are a lot of folks around and you’ll be busy being shuffled from one station to another.

Recruit Arrival at MEPS

MEPS Military Entrance Processing Station

A potentional Marine Corps Recruit enters a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS)

Recruits will need to take the ASVAB test if they haven’t already. The ASVAB test is an aptitude test that makes sure you have the mental aptitude required for Marine Corps life and it helps determine what kind of job you qualify for once you finish recruit training. If you have already taken the test within the last two years and you passed it, you will not have to retake it at MEPS.

You may have to stay in a nearby hotel while you go through MEPS processing (usually it takes one to two days to complete). The military will cover your hotel and food expenses. You’ll probably be roomed with another person who is also at MEPS; it is possible that they’ll be enlisting in a different branch of the military than you.

You’ll spend most of your time at MEPS waiting to be seen at whichever station you are told to report to next. You’ll undergo various tests and evaluations to make sure that you qualify to join the Marine Corps and some tests to target what job in the Marine Corps will best suit you.

USMC MEPS Medical Evaluation

At MEPS, a potential Marine Corps recruit will have to take a blood and urine test. Tests will check for HIV, Hemoglobin, Hematocrit, RPR, the presence of alcohol/drugs. You’ll be tested for the pH, blood, protein, and specific gravity in your urine and female recruits will be tested to see if they are pregnant.

You will take a hearing test and a vision test. You’ll have your weight checked. You’ll meet with several different doctors to evaluate your overall health.

MEPS Pre-Enlistment Recruit Interview

Once a potential Marine Corps recruit has successfully completed all of the physical and aptitude testing, they have to meet with a MEPS Military Processing Clerk for a one-on-one interview. You’ll be fingerprinted and asked questions regarding possible law violations, past drug/alcohol abuse, and other issues that are relevant to your service in the Marine Corps. You’ll be briefed on the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), Fraudulent Enlistment Policy and restrictions on personal conduct while in the Delayed Entry Program (DEP).

US Marine Corps MEPS Enlistment Oath Ceremony for New Recruits

After the evaluations, pre-enlistment interview and you have signed your pre-enlistment contract, you will be ready for the Marine Corps recruit enlistment oath ceremony. You’ll be taught how to properly stand at attention. You’ll take the oath and sign an enlistment contract that enlists you into the Delayed Entry Program. Family and friends are allowed at the ceremony if you wish. You’ll then be able to check-out and go home.