The Marine Forces Reserve (MARFORRES or MFR) (also
known as the United States Marine Corps Reserve (USMCR)
and the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve) is the
reserve force of the United States Marine Corps. It
is the largest command in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Marine Forces Reserve is the headquarters command
for approximately 40,000 Reserve Marines and 184
Reserve Training Centers located throughout the
United States. The mission of Marine Forces Reserve
is to augment and reinforce active Marine forces in
time of war, national emergency or contingency
operations, provide personnel and operational tempo
relief for the active forces in peacetime, and
provide service to the community (for example,
through Toys for Tots).
The United States Marine Corps Reserve was
established when Congress passed the Naval
Appropriations Act of 29 August 1916 and is
responsible for providing trained units and
qualified individuals to be mobilized for active
duty in time of war, national emergency or
contingency operations. Marine forces Reserve also
provides personnel and operational tempo relief for
active component forces in peacetime.
MARFORRES comprises two groups of Marines and
Sailors. The first, known as the Selected Marine
Corps Reserve (SMCR), are Marines who belong to
reserve units and drill one weekend a month and two
weeks a year. The second group is known as the
Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). The IRR is composed
of Marines who have finished their active duty or
USMCR obligations, however their names remain on
record to be called up in case of a war or other
emergency – the Individual Ready Reserve is
administered by the Marine Corps Individual Reserve
Support Activity. IRR Marines participate in annual
musters to check in with the Corps. Reserve Marines
are equipped and trained to the same standards as
active Marine forces.
Enlistment in the Marine Forces Reserve occurs
through a process similar to that for enlistment in
the regular active Marine Corps. Recruits must take
the ASVAB, pass a comprehensive physical exam, and
be sworn in. They may enter through a billet in the
Delayed Entry Program (DEP). Reserve Recruits attend
recruit training along with active duty recruits,
earning the title United States Marine upon
successful completion of the training. They then
have a mandatory leave of 10 days (up to 24 if they
volunteer for and are assigned to recruiter's
assistance) before further training at the School of
Infantry (SOI) and their designated Military
Occupational Specialty (MOS). Only after completing
the training program(s) does a Reserve Marine's
enlistment begin to differ from that of an active
There is a program called the Select Reserve
Incentive Program (SRIP), which provides enlistment
bonuses for Reservists enlisting for needed MOSs.
Half is payable upon completion of training and the
other half is spread out over the term of
For those who have earned a college degree, the
Reserve Officer Commissioning Program (ROCP)
provides a path into the Marine Corps Reserve
leading to a commission as an Officer of Marines.
Upon selection from a regional Officer Selection
Office (OSO), applicants attend Officer Candidate
School (OCS). Upon successful completion of OCS (10
weeks OCC-R), candidates are commissioned Second
Lieutenant and subsequently attend The Basic School
(TBS). Following graduation of TBS and follow-on MOS
training, officers report to their reserve unit
where they will serve their Reserve drills and
Annual Training requirements.
Reserve Marines enlist for eight-year terms. There
are three options on how these terms may be served,
one of which is designated upon enlistment.
6x2 – Under this option the Reservist spends 6 years
in active drill and fulfills the remaining two in
Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). This is the only
option which makes Reservists eligible for the
benefits of the Montgomery GI Bill, and is also the
5x3 – Under this option the Reservist spends 5 years
in active drill and fulfills the remaining three in
Individual Ready Reserve (IRR).
4x4 – Under this option the Reservist spends 4 years
in active drill and fulfills the remaining four in
Individual Ready Reserve (IRR).
After serving several years in the Reserves and
attaining leadership rank it is possible for an
enlisted Reservist to receive a commission through
the Reserve Enlisted Commissioning Program (RECP).
Marines who have previously served on active duty,
whether officer or enlisted, can join the Select
Marine Corps Reserve directly. Veteran Marines
wishing to do this go through a Marine Corps Prior
Service Recruiter. The mission of the Prior Service
Recruiter is to join members from the Individual
Ready Reserve to SMCR units close to their home.
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