The first three to six months of a recruit/Marine's career are usually scripted rather easily. The recruit will go to boot camp and finish 13 weeks later. Then they will move on to SOI and attend either MCT or ITB. After that, they will attend their MOS school and then finally hit the fleet.
Injuries are a common reason for why this may not go according to plan. Another reason, is that sometimes your Marine's MOS school is "backed up." This is more common with the larger MOS's such as infantry and motor transportation, but it happens with many other MOS's as well.
The reasons for why an MOS school can get log jammed vary from lack of instructors, to delays in training, to lack of space. Finding instructors to cover all of the Marine students can be difficult for some MOS's, and that will directly affect the delays in training. There are normally limits to how many students there can be per instructor, and when there are not enough instructors some students have to wait to start their school. Instructors also need breaks from time to time. So for example, after they finish three straight cycles back to back to back, they may be given a two week break or so to rest and spend some time with their families. While it may be frustrating to you as parents to hear your children complain about how they are just sitting around wasting their days away, try to see it from the standpoint of the instructors who have not been home in a couple of months.
Space plays a role in this as well. Marine MOS schools are spread out across the country, but the majority of them take place on other bases where the schools may not be the priority. This can result in less barracks being set aside for the MOS school and only so many Marines can be there at a time. Most of these schools will have an area for Marines who are waiting to pick up with their schools to stay but even these can fill up fast. It is often the case that you may hear from your Marine that they are staying at SOI to work with Camp Guard while they wait for spots to open up at their MOS school.
There are many reasons for why your Marine's MOS school can be backed up. It is important for you and your Marine to remain positive and stay focused for what may lie ahead. There will be lulls often during your Marines career, use this as a time to practice.
Written by David Ogden, Sgt. USMC '11-'16.
David was a Sergeant with the United States Marine Corps from 2011-2016. He is a combat veteran. He has worked at Marine Parents as a writer since he left the Marine Corps. He is currently in college and writes for the organization full-time. Click here to read more about the author.