No More Infantry Assault Marines, Commandant Says

No More Infantry Assault Marines, Commandant Says

The Marine Corps is phasing out the assault section of rifle companies and abolishing the infantry assault Marine military occupational specialty altogether.

By doing so, the Corps expects to free up about 500 Marines for other jobs deemed essential to defeating future adversaries, such as cyber operations, electronic warfare and intelligence, reported on Wednesday.

Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller recently told Marines that future rifle companies will include combat engineers to breach barriers and destroy enemy fortifications with rockets — tasks which currently are assigned to infantry assault Marines.

Marine Corps officials did not immediately comment Wednesday on Gen. Neller’s remarks.

The Corps had planned to expand to at least 194,000 active-duty Marines, but Defense Secretary James Mattis has told the Marines to focus on improving readiness first.

Without an increase in end strength, the Corps “had to create some trades to buy Marines to do other things,” Neller told

Because training is so similar to what other infantry Marines receive, current infantry assault Marines should be able to easily transition to other MOSs, Neller said. Typically, the infantry assault Marine MOS is for Marines at the rank of sergeant and below.

Neller also told Marines that the Corps will begin using the Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle in lieu of the current MK-153 shoulder launched multipurpose assault weapon, or SMAW.

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  • VJ Zigmont

    I understand what the Commandant is trying to say, but some where down the road a Marine and his rifle, will be needed to do what Marines have been doing since the beginning of the Corps and that is to take your objective! Semper Fi, brothers!

  • David “Bubba” McClellan

    Hey, Once a 0351, always a 0351. An Hoa , 1969-1970. Carried the M-79 “Thumper” 106 Platoon, 3/5 1MarDiv. H&S Co. Semper Fi. Any Bunker One “Family” out there?

  • Nolan Nelson

    This reminds me of the post WW II effort to do away with conventional forces, including the Marine Corps. What saved the Navy, Marine Corps, and Army was the Korean War. The U.S. was forced to confront an invading army with the forces it had on hand. The Truman administration immediately decided not to use the nuclear arsenal, and sought to check North Korean aggression with conventional forces.

    As an initial response, Truman called for a naval blockade of North Korea, and was shocked to learn that such a blockade could only be imposed “on paper”, since the U.S. Navy no longer had the warships with which to carry out his request..

    In fact, due to the extensive defense cuts and the emphasis placed on building a nuclear bomber force (B-36), none of the services was in a position to make a robust response with conventional military strength. Then came Inchon and the Navy had to borrow Philippine and Japanese LST’s to get in there, and only the 1st Marine Division could get the job done..

    Revolt of the Admirals

  • Ron

    In Nam back in ’66-’67 I was a 2531 field radio operator on one of the FO teams for the 3/26. It would be very lonely out there without them with us. If this ‘New Experiment’ the Marine Corps plans to do doesn’t stop our future enemies, how long will it take to train the geeks to be ready again as a grunt? I also agree with Bill Goss…someday, and probably not too distant future, the Marine Corp will become obsolete because we will be doing the same jobs as the Army. We will be a redundant force.

  • Vic Eizenga

    I held only one MOS from 1964 -1968 0351 I went to the engineer to learn about disarming mines and booby traps and set explosives. My main job was to carry the ammo for the M20 3.5 inch rocket launcher or the rocket launcher it self. Later they added the 0352 longer after I was out. I loved that weapon I was good with it. I would not trade the training and brothers for any thing.

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