Lt. Grose,

I am impressed by the amount of work you have abviously put into your web site.  I have also thoroughly enjoyed reading through it.

My question is not so much a question as a situation.  When I was eighteen and left home I was still a conscientious objector, just as I was raised to be. In my family I had few choices what to believe until after leaving home.

Currently, I am thirty, have an A.A. degree in Fire Science, and am a firefighter/paramedic.  Also, I am about a year away from three different bachelor degrees.  On top of this I am in excellent shape, think well on my feet, handle stress better than most I am around, and am always seeking to learn new things.

Such is my situation.  Now for my explanation.  When I think about what I would like to do to continue with my personal growth I keep thinking about the Marine Corps.  I am impressed with the "Code" that forms the core of the Corps.  I also realize that any medical personnel in the marines are provided by the navy so any career in the marines would be a departure from the work I currently do.

What suggestions, if any do you have about my joining the marines at my late age.  I understand that I can still join until I am 35, but that few recruits are even in their late twenties.  Should I join, what advice would you have concerning my enlistment or seeking a possible commision?

Thanks for you time.


Dear Paul,

You pose an interesting situation. A CO looking to join the Marine Corps. Here is the advice that I would give you.

First, you must decide if this is really what you want to do because if it is, you will have to go at it with full force. Ask yourself if you want to be a Marine for the novelty or for the opportunity to experience growth while serving your country. Understand that you might be called upon to fight an enemy that your country, not necessarily you, consider a threat. Can you live with that and will it hamper the safety of the Marines around you and the accomplishment of the mission?

If you decide to go through with this, you must decide to go either enlisted or officer. You must have a bachelor's degree to be an officer. So your first move would be to go back to school and get that and then decide if you want to be an officer or an enlisted. Having experience in both, I would rather be an officer because of the better opportunities to lead and make a difference rather than having to work your way up the ladder as an enlisted man. At your age, it would take too long to get enough enlisted experience to start having clout. As an officer, you would be in a better position faster to make change but with that comes an incredible responsibility to work twice as hard to get the knowledge and experience it takes to do your job well.

While we are on the subject of age, I only see that as a hurdle for the accession process. Obviously they look at that and set parameters for age. But do not let it dictate to you what you can or cannot do if you fall within the established age requirements. I am a 30-year-old lieutenant and am in better shape now than I was a decade ago. I can out-perform all of my Marines and my lieutenant colonel is that much better than me as I am of my troops!! I tell you this not to brag but to show you that it is you who decides what limitation age will have on you.

To sum up, look inside and see what you really want to do. Consider what the Marine Corps might ask of you and see if that is acceptable to your beliefs. Then decide to take the plunge or not. If you do, do not ever turn back and question your decision. That time will be past and the only obstacles will be the ones you place in your own path.

Good luck, God Bless, and Semper Fi.

-- Lt Grose