There’s a misnomer with what it takes to join the Armed Forces. After all, our nation’s military is comprised of an all-volunteer force, so many have this idea that anyone can walk into a recruiter’s office and commit themselves to being government property for the next 4 years.
Well, it’s really not that simple. Why? Recruiters. More specifically, Marine Corps Recruiters.
What many fail to understand is that Marine Corps Recruiters are driving their 1600+ hours a year, visiting their myriad of assigned (not-so-local) high schools and potential recruits, and they are not trying to fill a quota – get this – they are actually trying to disqualify individuals from joining.
I know, right!?
I first heard this when my husband was in Recruiters School. I had to shift my thinking from common perspective; that just about anyone who wanted to volunteer for the Armed Forces would be able to join. After hearing my husband repeat this many times to me throughout the course, I hadn’t actually accepted it as truth until he was on recruiting duty. It was then, I was exposed to some of the many reasons hopeful applicants were disqualified (or medially disqualified) to join the U.S. Marine Corps.
I reached out to several military families who were also on recruiting duty and asked their most common and craziest reasons they’ve seen that had disqualified an applicant from joining the U. S. Marine Corps.
Reasons You are Disqualified from Joining the Marine Corps
From common to crazy, here is the list:
- Tattoos. Depends on the size and location, and of course if they are gang related. If a tattoo is visible and can’t be covered with their hand, then recruits need a waiver. If it’s a full sleeve tattoo, they will most likely send you on your way.
- Criminal history. Felonies are automatic disqualifiers. If you have a misdemeanor, it all comes down to crime committed.
- Highest education level achieved is a GED (high school diplomas are ok). However, those with a GED and at least 15 college credits are eligible to join the Corps. While the Marine Corps realizes that the High School climate isn’t for everyone, those college credits show initiative for growth and that the Marine Corps should invest in their future.
- Asthma. If you have an implant (plate, screw, etc) you will need to provide supporting medical for review.
- ADHD Medications
Allergies (Though this includes the infamous peanut allergy, it even includes other allergies like allergies to rabbits. I suppose you never know when you’ll be downwind from a rabbit den during a field-op.)
- Eye Refraction (Issues with vision)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Chronic Blood Shot Eyes
- Bad Odor
- Missing Testicle(s)
- Acne/Back Acne
- Ingrown Toe Nail
- Excessive Sweaty Hands/Feet
- Cold Hands (and finally)
- Too Much Earwax
Surely, the Marine Corps has excellent reasons for not swearing-in an applicant with some of these unusual conditions, although it may not appear that way to the sweaty-palmed individual. And we’re not saying that those with only pristine skin may apply to the Marine Corps, because certainly those with acne are able to join. This is simply a working list of common disqualifiers that we’ve seen on the duty billet.
These listed reasons are not the only disqualifying factors in the way of becoming a United States Marine. Did you know applicants may also be disqualified if they demonstrate rude behavior during the initial process? Though Marines are hardly branded with graciousness, they do require reverence to become one of the few and the proud. So, applicants ought to mind their P’s and Q’s when meeting with their recruiters and other ranked colleague. Cue Col. Jessep, “We use words like honor, code, loyalty.”
Respect for our nation’s military personnel may be a given, but are you aware that risqué photos (classified as immoral) found on personal Facebook pages can also disqualify an applicant? Yep! Recruiters don’t mess around when enlisting the future face and character of the Marine Corps. It is a responsibility which is taken rigorously and impressively so – the U.S. Marine Corps is in fact, the most excellent assembly of men and women. That truth is a truth we can generalize.
If you know of any more unusual disqualifiers, let us know in the comments!