This email will explain how TBS and your MOS are connected.
I have intermixed the questions and my answers.
"I've praised you before on your page and will again.
Also, I have a few questions/suggestions for you.
1. What is TBS like? I have heard of a 3 tier system
where if you place in the top 3% of a tier you get to choose
your specialty. Do you know anything about this?"
TBS is a six-month school that teaches you everything you
need to know to be an Officer. It gives you all the basics.
The pace is fast and the curriculum is diverse. You learn everything
from etiquette to attacks and everything in between. It is classwork,
field work, inspections, discussion groups, physical training,
exercises, tests, and much more. It is basically six months
of total emersion into the Marine Corps where you learn about
everything the Marines do, see, use, and believe. No other service
does this and it is the hallmark of the Officer Corps.
The scoop about the 3-tier system is this. Your assignment
after TBS is dependent on how well you do at the school. You
are rated in order from one to however many Lieutenants are
in the Company. This rating depends on your academic scores,
peer evaluations (Spear Evals), input from your Captain, etc.
These scores are always changing so there is no way to tell
for sure where you fall at any particular time.
At the end of the course, they take the list and break it
into three equal parts: the upper third, middle third, and lower
third. Then they go to the top third and ask #1 Lieutenant what
he wants from a list of available Military Occupational Specialties
(MOSs). He picks and then they go to the #1 Lieutenant in the
second third who is actually about #80 overall. He picks and
then they go to the #1 Lieutenant in the bottom third who is
actually about #160 overall. After he picks, they go back up
to the #2 Lieutenant in the top third who is actually #2 overall
but gets 4th pick. They #2 in the second third and then #2 in
the bottom third. This goes on until everyone gets an MOS.
You are probably asking why they do this. It is called quality
spread. To explain, I will show you what would happen if they
DIDN'T do this.
Say you have 300 Lieutenants in a class and you let them
pick an MOS without the quality spread. For some reason, the
majority of Officers want Tanks. I don't know why but it is
probably because it is considered a "sexy" MOS. Historically,
there are about 3 slots open for tanks so you would get the
superstars (1, 2, and 3) pick tanks and the tank community gets
the cream of the crop. Now you get to the end and you have the
MOSs that not a lot of people drool over: Supply Officer, Motor
Transport (Yes, Adjutant is in this group, too). Now you get
the bottom feeders (those Lieutenants who are less than stellar
compared to their counterparts) and they are "stuck" in a bummer
of an MOS. As this process repeats itself class after class,
you get a great tank community because all the water-walkers
are being fed into it. But your Motor T and supply section
keeps getting the leftovers. Over time, the Corps suffers because
you have a collection of weak officers in one MOS.
To try to alleviate this, they came up with the quality
spread. That way, you get good officers and less-than-outstanding
ones in all MOSs. It is good for the Marine Corps because you
get the two mixed where the good can help the needy. But it
is sometimes bad for the individual because you could work your
butt off at TBS and not get what you want while a bottom-feeder
gets a great MOS.
Case in point, I came out 78/236 (the 66th percentile) but
the cut-off for the thirds was 80. Therefore it went something
As you can see, I was at the bottom of the top third and out
of 236 Lieutenants, I got about 230th pick. Adjutant was my
5th choice out of 25 so I was not as jammed as you would think.
In fact, I feel lucky to get what I got but I originally wanted
to be a communications officer so I could get into data processing.
But alas, it was not to be and I am happy with my current assignment.
"2. I believe that a great addition to your page
should be a site descriptive of your decorations, awards, commendations,
I never thought about that but I will take it into consideration.
I am proud of my accomplishments and the majority of my 7 ribbons
are a result of my involvement in the Gulf War. Thanks for the
"Well, thats all I can think of right now. I look
forward to getting the best job in the world which is being
a United States Marine and serving with you one day, not far