Posted on Sep 30, 2015
Sgt Tom Cunnally
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Has the Marine Corps eliminated Battlefield Commissions??
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Col David Couvillon
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I enlisted right out of high school in the buddy program with a childhood friend. I had planned on joining the fall after high school, but ran into a recruiter at the post office in June and signed up. I was one of the last people to enlist for a 2 year contract (no Reserve requirement!). While on active duty as a Personnel Clerk, I tried to get into the Naval Academy Prep School (NAPS) and then into the Academy. Got screwed around by some prick Major at HQ MCRD, so I dropped to the IRR and went to LSU. Working my way through school, and taking care of a younger brother and sister, I needed a few extra bucks (and I REALLY missed the Marine Corps), so I joined the local Reserve Unit in Baton Rouge as their Admin Chief. Shortly thereafter, I was promoted to SSgt, I really didn't join the Marines to work a typewriter, so I asked to move to one of the platoons. Became the Plt Sgt for the 81mm Plt and changed my MOS. During this time I decided to become an officer, but the only program in the Reserves was for Warrant as a Postal or NBCD Officer. Being hard-headed and a firm believer in the Marine Corps law that 'anything can be waived' I applied to be a Gunner (03xx) - 3 times! There were no Gunners at all in the Corps at the time; so, of course, my applications were denied. Moving to apply again, I went past the MCO (In the Old Corps we had paper!) in the file book and noticed MCO 1040.xx "Marine Corps Reserve Enlisted Commissioning Program".

There were a number of requirements. Most of which I had already accomplished/met. One of which was to have a panel of 7 officers interview and recommend me for commissioning. So, I put together my package; had the panel interview; and submitted the package up the chain of command to Battalion HQ. The XO calls me and tells me there is no such program in the Reserve to commission officers. I refer him to the MCO and I get an, "Oh, SxxT!" After an interview by the 3/23 BnCO, I get his recommendation and the package is forwarded to 23d Marines; then to 4th MARDIV; then HQMC (no MARFORRES at that time), at all stops I had the same the little dance about 'you can't do this'; "well, refer to MCO 1040.xx!" The Adjutant at HQMC had a little twist, "SSgt, that Order was for the Korean War and as you know all MCOs have a self-cancellation date - no such program exists any longer!" (Refer back to the top of this story and you'll notice that I had been a 'Remington Raider', so I knew my way around MCOs and PUBS). I recommended the G-1 relook at the order - there was no cancellation date on MCO 1040.xx. It was still in effect! He was a bit stunned and said he'd call me back.

About 3 weeks later I get a call from some Colonel at HQMC who says, "SSgt, I have a package for a Marine Corps Officer's Commission here on the Commandant's desk and he want's to know what the hell is going on?" I explain everything, much the same as written here. The Colonel acknowledges that's it's a hell of a story and asks if I could hang on a few minutes. About 15 minutes later he comes back on the line, "Well, I told the Commandant your story and he said, 'If he's got balls enough to apply, I've got balls enough to sign it!'" And that's how I got a direct commission in the Marine Corps! (Never went to OCS, PLC, or The Basic School!). It was, then, just a matter of hanging on long enough to pin on the ole chicken wings!
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Cpl Steve Eaton
Cpl Steve Eaton
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Congrats my brother. Glad someone got over on the Green Machine. I was a 53 CC @ the end of Nam72/73. Spent most of my time on 4 LPH,s west pac.Probably one of the last Marines to set foot in Danang,RVN before the POW's were released,2/73. Then went mine sweepin in Haiphong harbortil august73. Ever been to the PI ? Semper Fi. Cpl.SCE
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Sgt Kevin Coleman
Sgt Kevin Coleman
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That's a good ass story sir.
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LtCol Dennis Ivan
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Battlefield commissions are a product of losses. We havent absorbed the number of losses that would require them. If the USMC (and US Army) were to enter into another major war like WW2, there has been no change to policy prohibiting them. Remember that the WW2 battlefield commissions were almost always nullified at the end of the war.
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SSgt Signals Intelligence Analyst
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Yes, they have effectively been eliminated, as there is no requirement to continue the practice. This was used within wartime when there were officers dying left and right and required someone to take responsibility for the accomplishment of the assigned mission when there was no officer available to do so. Unless extreme circumstances arise requiring officers to be selected from the ranks due to attrition in war, this will likely not take place anytime in the near future.
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