Marine Corps Issued Gear
Not too long ago we did an in-depth review and cover of the 10 essential pieces of personal equipment that Army soldiers are issued when joining the branch. Today, we’re reviewing the gear and equipment that Marine Corps soldiers are issued.
You’ll notice throughout this blog, just like for Army Soldiers, that while a great deal of gear is issued to the soldiers upon entry, there are many items which the soldiers decide to upgrade or purchase themselves, in order to have higher-end, better quality equipment. Thus, not only helping them become better soldiers but also have a better chance to complete the mission at hand.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Marine Corps gear, then just keep on reading!
What is the Marine Corps?
Before diving into the gear that the soldiers receive upon entry, we first want to cover the basics on what the US Marine Corps is as well as what needs to be done in order to become a Marine soldier. Let’s dive into it…
Now the Marine Corps is at the top of the fighting forces within the world and is part of the Department of the Navy. This means that the marine teams help and operate alongside the naval forces while at sea.
In terms of their missions, the Marines are quite unique; they serve on Navy ships as a way to protect the naval bases, but they also help to guard the U.S. embassies and take down any force that seems to be posing as a threat to the U.S. or U.S. interests, no matter where in the world. Given that this branch responds to international crisis on the daily, they are known as the nation’s 911 force.
How Do You Qualify to Join the Marines?
Joining the marines is not easy! In fact, their training is known to be one of the toughest among all the services and is the longest, sitting at about 12 and a half weeks to complete. If you ask any former Marine, they’ll easily say that their training was the toughest thing that they had to complete in their lives.
So, what do you need to qualify? The standard qualifications include being between the ages of 17 – 28 and being a U.S. or a resident citizen. It is also necessary to have a high school diploma as well!
In terms of training, soldiers must meet physical, mental and moral standards, as well as pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test (known as the ASVAB test). This test measures your aptitudes and is made up of 10 short individual tests that cover everything from word knowledge to math and general science to mechanical comprehension. While it may seem odd to have to pass a test that is about aptitudes, the truth is, these basic and complex day to day skills is needed and often required in order to complete a mission.
The Marine Corps Individual Equipment
So, the 12 and a half weeks are up, and you have passed training! Incredible. Now it’s time to have your personal gear issued so you can begin working and completing missions as a Marine Corps soldier.
We’ll break down the gear into a few separate categories; defensive, load bearing and packs, clothing, and additional items. But before getting into the separate categories, it is important to note that in today’s combat environments, U.S. Marines are usually carrying more than 150 pounds of gear, with some soldiers having load outs at about 200 pounds, especially when using larger weapon systems.
With this fact in mind, it is easy to see why the Marine Corps training is so rigorous and intense, given that the teams have to be prepared to carry a great deal of weight, all while fulfilling their duties.
Defensive Personal Gear
The defensive personal gear is an important aspect of the issued gear for any soldier. This is compiled of the vests and battle equipment that is used to protect the soldier and keep them safe while completing a mission and especially while in combat. Let’s break down the few items here:
1. Ballistic Vests:
Modular Tactical Vests: this is the newest part of the Marine’s gear and provides better protection than previous vests along with a quick release. Not to mention this item is something that has come from the Marine inventories.
Scalable Plate Carrier: Given that soldiers are carrying upwards of 150 pounds, it became evident that the soldiers may struggle due to excessive weight, limiting their mobility. This is where the scalable plate carrier came into play, helping soldiers easily move around, especially in mountainous terrain (such as Afghanistan).
Outer Tactical Vest: Rather self-explanatory, this is used as an outer vest to keep Marines safe.
Personnel Armour System for Ground Troops
Full Spectrum Battle Equipment: this kit includes a quick-release ballistic vest along with a flotation device and load bearing equipment.
2. Combat Helmets
Lightweight Helmet: this helmet is used with the older sling suspension to fit the helmet to the head, keeping the soldiers safe during the trek or missions, however, not to be used in combat.
MICH TC- 2000: This is the combat helmet that is issued to some specialized units.
Pith Helmet: This helmet is worn not for ballistic purposes but more for weapon range coaches and other range personnel to keep them safe.
2. Additional Armour
Small Arms Protective Inserts: Used with the MTV to provide further protection compared to what the vests alone can provide, helping to protect the torso of the soldier.
Advanced Bomb Suit: Again, pretty self-explanatory here, and this is used by the explosive units to help protect them while dealing with explosives or bombs.
Load Bearing and Packs
1. Improved Load Bearing Equipment: this is the latest load bearing pack to be issued to the Marines as it has replaced what was formally used; The MOLLE. This pack allows for an increase in durability, comfort, and decreases complexity, allowing Marine soldiers to complete the missions in an easier fashion, as issue with the load packs are no longer present.
2. All Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment: This is in limited use, mostly for training purposes and not for deployable units.
3. Waterproofing Bag: This has been issued and used by the Marines for decades, as a way to protect all of the items within their packs from getting wet.
Given that the Marines can be sent just about anywhere, enduring any kind of climate or climates during the day, they are issued a few weather systems, helping them to move around easy as well as be comfortable. Here are some of the weather systems which they are issued:
- All Purposed Environmental Clothing Systems
- Lightweight Exposure Suit
- Combat Desert Jacket
- Extreme Cold Weather Parka and Trouser (to learn more about this check out our ECWS blog post here).
- Snow Camouflage Uniform
- Polypropylene Undershirt and Underwear
- The Grid Fleece Midweight Underwear
- Marines Cap
- Mountain Cold Weather Boots, Socks and Scarf
- Flame Resistant Organizational Gear
- Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform
Of course, clothing, combat gear and protective gear are not the only things that Marine Corps need in order to complete their tasks and missions. There are a few other items that are issued as well to each and every soldier. These items include:
- First Aid Kit
- Individual Water Purification System
- Eye protection
- Ballistic Hearing Protection
- Entrenching tool (E-tool) which is used to help prepare defensive fighting positions
- Sleeping Mat (known as the Modular Sleep System)
Overall, when it comes to being a Marine Soldier, there are quite a few items that are issued to help ensure that each solider is able to complete their tasks as easily and comfortably as possible. Of course, a few items weren’t touched on here that soldiers may choose to purchase or find themselves. These items include gloves, weaponry, and watches, as well as communication devices and tools that help a soldier do his or her job.
If you are looking for certain equipment or pieces of gear that are necessary for your missions, trekking journeys, or hunting adventures, be sure to check out our shop here. We have some of the best gear, from the best prices and brands available that will surely come in handy.