Hello, my name is Kevin Lentz. I am 17 years of age and
a senior in high school. I am from a small town of about
18,000 people in southern Mississippi and have the largest desire
to become a commissioned officer in the United States Marine
Corps. I was most impressed by your collection of Marine
text and commitment to respond to all emails, so i decided to
write and ask a few questions.
To begin with, I am hunting for commissioning programs.
I have already applied for NROTC Scholarship and to the Naval
Academy, but the most important decision I've made so far was
to enter the Delayed Entry Program for USMC Reserves.
I'm on a split program that will return me to civilian life
in time to go to college. If the scholarships or the academy
don't come through, I'll try Platoon Leaders Class in the summers
while a Reservist, or attend a college with NROTC and try the
college program there.
I know I want to be a Marine Corps officer, but my biggest concern
is what college major I should choose. From your experience,
what majors prepare Marine Officers the best? Does it really
matter what a canidate majors in? What did you major in?
I'm very interested in History and Political Science, and I've
also looked into Civil Engineering, but I'm not sure if I want
to persue a technical career. I've been told that technical
careers were the best for the Navy, and Air Force, but what
about the Marines?
If you could please respond, I would greatly appreciate it.
Kevin T. Lentz
Thank you for your email and your interest in my advice.
Your letter shows commitment, thought, and intelligence.
My thoughts about college and what to major in falls into
two categories. What you want and what the Marine Corps wants.
To tell you the truth, the Marine Corps does not really care
what you major in. One of the prerequisites for a commission
is a college degree and your mission while attending school
is to get that diploma. Within limits, the Marine Corps not
only has little interest in your choice but does not take into
consideration your education when assigning you to any particular
job once you are in the Fleet.
Take me for example. My background as an enlisted Marine
was a highly technical field as an avionics technician for Harrier
aircraft. I went to a full year of training after bootcamp and
was taught how to repair over 40 pieces of complicated avionic
gear using computers. Additionally, I was trained how to repair
the test computer, including rewiring, in the event that it
After being accepted to the MECEP, I took a ten-week prep
course to get ready for a technical, college-level course load.
In college I studied calculus, chemistry, physics, and an endless
line of computer programming and engineering classes. I majored
in technical communications (an engineering degree) with a focus
on computers and web page design. Additionally, I worked on
my own projects at home designing web pages, learning HTML,
and teaching myself the ins and outs of upgrading my own system.
I graduated college with honors and wanted to be a communications
officer, thinking I was best qualified for the job.
The communications field and the data processing field had
just combined and I was hoping to land a job doing the DP, specifically
something to do with computers.
Despite this extensive background, I was assigned as an
adjutant with not much chance of changing over since adjutants
are hard to come by these days. I petitioned to Corps for reassignment
stating the above facts but to no avail.
Now do not get me wrong, I enjoy what I am doing and get
a great deal of satisfaction as an adjutant. It fits my personality
and work ethic and I consider myself well-suited for the job.
But it goes to answer your question about college and supports
my view that it does not really matter much to the Corps what
If it does not matter to the Corps, then it falls on what
you want. I knew some people who were aware of this fact and
concluded that they would take an easy degree and have a good
time in college. My take on this was this: How many times in
my life am I going to go to college? How many times in my life
will the Corps pay for a four year degree and have my GI bill
pick up my tuition? With this in mind, I decided that I had
better take advantage of this opportunity and make the best
of it. So I chose a good degree that, while not being the easiest
road, provided me with a solid technical base and was also marketable
to a large part of the job market, in and out of the military.
It was the best decision I could have made and the knowledge
I gained from this degree touched many areas of my military
life including the job I am doing now.
So my advice to you is to work for a degree in something
you like. As the world gets more and more technical, technical
degrees become more valuable. But if you do that, make sure
you balance that out with classes in psychology and history.
On leadership, history and psychology are invaluable!! Keep
yourself well-rounded and learn how to learn. THAT will be your
most valuable lesson out of college. As an officer, you had
better know how to learn, how to absorb information, process
it, and them make an educated decision for action in a short
amount of time.
I hope that this answers your questions and if there is
anything else I can help you with, just drop me another email.
Semper Fi and God Bless.
-- Lt Grose