How to Join the Marine Recon

The Marine Recon is a special operations unit of the US military. There are two types of Marine Recons: the Battalion, led by the Battalion Commander, and the Force, led by the Task Force Commander. The steps for becoming either Marine Recon are very similar, so read on to find out what it takes.


  1. Image titled Join the Marine Recon Step 1
    Join the marines. Contact a recruiter via They will help you figure out the requirements, benefits, paperwork and responsibilities of becoming a marine. While this process goes on, work out everyday in a gym and a pool to keep yourself in the best physical shape possible.
  2. Image titled Join the Marine Recon Step 2
    Undergo Marine Recruit Training and lessons in the School of Infantry to become a rifleman.[1] These are required for all marines.
  3. Image titled Join the Marine Recon Step 3
    Express interest in the Recon Indoctrination Program (RIP) to your recruiter. Usually, people who want to be a Marine Recon have to have at least 3-4 years of experience in the field and score over 285 on the Physical Fitness Test. In some cases, you may be able to join RIP with little experience, so ask your recruiter for details if you are interested.[1]
  4. Image titled Join the Marine Recon Step 4
    Understand what it takes to be admitted into RIP. Eligibility for RIP is partially determined by the results from the Marine Physical Fitness Test (PFT). Marines who are physically above average and score at least 275-285 on the test will be admitted into the program.[1]
    • The requirements for scoring 300 are: completing a 3-mile run in 18 minutes, 20 dead-hang pull-ups, and 100 sit-ups in 2 minutes. Each accomplishment is worth 100 points.[1]
    • In addition, you will need to complete two obstacle courses in less than 2 minutes (per course), swim 500 meters (1,640.4 ft) in gear in 17 minutes, and run rucksack for 10 miles (16 km) while carrying 50 lbs in under 2 hours. Be prepared for additional tests from school to school.[1]
    • Potential recons must also pass a Level Test[1].
  5. Image titled Join the Marine Recon Step 5
    Train consistently for those tests. You will probably need to train for months in order to handle all of above requirements. At minimum, your workout should consist of:
    • Swimming for at least one hour 4-5 times per week, while donning camis or fins at least once per week.[1]
    • Intensive calisthenics workouts every other day (3-4 times per week) of the following exercises.[1] Your goal should be to increase the number that you can complete in the allotted time from week to week.
      • 2 minutes of push-ups
      • 2 minutes of sit-ups
      • 2 minutes of pull-ups
      • 2 minutes of flutter kicks
      • 2 minutes of 8-count push-ups
      • 2 minutes of scissors
    • Running at least 4-5 times per week and performing a rucksack at least once per week
    • Preparing for a 20-mile forced march (or "hump") at 4–5 mph (6.4–8.0 km/h) and a timed 4-mile rucksack run (50 lbs)[1]
  6. Image titled Join the Marine Recon Step 6
    Once you're ready, you can take the Marine Physical Fitness Test to see how you score. If you are eligible for RIP, you will interview with the Team Leader and Company CO/XO.[1] Note that it is still possible to be rejected at this point if your attitude and teamwork are perceived to be problematic.
  7. Image titled Join the Marine Recon Step 7
    If selected, congratulations! You will now be assigned to the Recon Indoctrination Platoon at the Amphibious Reconnaissance School (ARS) in Little Creek, VA or Coronado, CA.[1] Finishing ARS will officially promote you to becoming a Reconnaissance Marine.


  • Be careful when exercising. If you feel pain or are worried about hurting yourself do not attempt more than what you can do.


  • Being a member of force recon requires insertions behind enemy lines. It will be grueling work for you and your team, but well-worth it.

Article Info

Categories: Careers in the Military