Marine Corps Reserves: A Path to Success

US Marine Corps | Oct. 20, 2022

By Sgt. Brennan Beauton

PHOENIX, ARIZONA: The Marine Corps Reserves, since its creation in 1916, has stood at the ready to strengthen active forces in peacetime and in time of war. It also serves to provide support during national emergencies or lead community service efforts.

The reserves has many benefits, including, being stationed near home or school, guaranteed military occupational specialty at the time of enlistment, advanced MOS training and leadership opportunities, the same recruit training and formal schools as active-duty Marines, and even educational financial assistance. It can be used as a stepping stone to propel an individual’s career path.

Donovan Smith, a U.S. Marine Corps poolee, joined the Delayed Entry Program as a reservist in July 2021. The Avondale, Arizona, native, joined the reserves to continue his education with bigger goals in mind.

“I wanted to go to school specifically, so I can eventually commission as a Marine officer and become a pilot,” said Smith, a senior at Agua Fria High School. “The reason why I want to become a pilot is because I want enough flight hours to essentially qualify for any requirements needed to become an astronaut.”

After Smith earns the title of U.S. Marine, he will work with the officer selection officer to take the necessary steps toward commissioning as a Marine Corps officer through the Platoon Leaders Course.

“Joining the reserves was a part of the plan to recreate myself into becoming a Marine Corps officer." Lance Cpl. Samantha Phipps, a bulk fuel specialist

Reservists do not have to commission as an officer, nor do they have to go active duty once serving. Though, it does make the transition, to either active duty or officer, much smoother.

Lance Cpl. Samantha Phipps, a bulk fuel specialist with Bulk Fuel Company Charlie, enlisted into the Marine Corps as a reservist with her sights set on becoming a Marine Officer.

“Joining the reserves was a part of the plan to recreate myself into becoming a Marine Corps officer,” said Phipps, a native of Surprise, Arizona. “Many mentors, both enlisted and commissioned, recommended becoming a Marine and being a part of the enlisted culture before leading. I wanted to go active duty but needed time to multitask in college, and the reserves was the middle ground.”

She explained why commissioning is important to her.

“Growing up, I’ve always wanted to fly aircraft, like my grandfather,” she said. “My father in 1987, while he was in ‘A’ school, bought a Naval Leadership book, by the Navy Press, and decades later gave it to me, when I was in middle school. The opportunity to commission will allow me to develop my skills of managing missions and assessing deficiencies with solutions. The goal is to do 20 years and take all my experiences and apply them to the civilian world as a CEO.”

Phipps is set to attend Officer Candidate School, and upon graduation, she will serve among a group of just 21,000 Marine Corps officers.

2nd Lt. John Bromley, an officer selection officer with the Officer Selection Team Phoenix, recently made the transition from enlisted reservist, to a Marine Corps officer.

“I wanted to join the reserves to gain some experience in the Marine Corps, first hand, not only through the initial active-duty training, but also through being surrounded by experienced Marines throughout my time in college and the reserves,” said Bromley, a native of Peoria, Arizona. “I knew the end goal was commissioning, but I knew through this way, I would gain experience being enlisted first.”

Bromley explains how the path is not easy, but it can be rewarding.

“The most difficult portion taking the route of enlisting in the reserves and then commissioning as an officer, is staying focused after the initial active-duty training,” he said. “Switching right back into school after the training can lead to distractions, but if you remember your end goal, it is not hard. Many who enlist in the reserves originally do so in order to eventually commission, but they end up not joining the Marine Officer Program. Some Marines change their goals, which is completely fine. However, for those Marines who still want to commission, after their initial training and upon starting college, contact the OSO right away. You can even contact the OSO as soon as you start Marine Combat Training.”

From the Delayed Entry Program, to a commissioned Marine officer, the reserves is a path that young men and women can use to pursue their dreams. Smith, Phipps and Bromley are prime examples of that journey toward success.

To find out more about the Marine Corps reserves and all it has to offer, contact your local Marine Corps recruiter to see if the Reserves is the fit for you!