Vernon David Sears Jr. Outlines What to Know Before Joining the Marine Corps.

Vernon David Sears Jr.
4 min readDec 3, 2020


Established originally in 1775, the United States Marine Corps is one the most elite fighting forces in the world. Of the U.S. military branches, it’s also one of the most diverse, spanning air, sea and land. With a stark focus on prestige and excellence, the Corps draws some of the United States’ most driven individuals to its ranks. To achieve success in the Corps requires persistence, skill and a strong mental standing. Though not for the faint at heart, a career in the Marines will prove incredibly rewarding for those who embrace challenges, work tirelessly and strive for the best.

As a former Corporal and passionate advocate for the United States Marine Corps., Vernon David Sears Jr. knows firsthand the challenges and rewards that come with a career in the Corps. Before receiving an honorable discharge in 1997, his career in the Corps sharpened him into his best possible self. Now, he is an active advocate for the Corps’ many benefits. For those considering enlisting in the U.S. Marine, he’s compiled the following information on how to qualify and what to expect.

Qualifying for the Marines

Before even attending basic training and graduating to become a marine, Vernon David Sears Jr. highlights that those wishing to enlist must meet a specific set of guidelines. In order to qualify for enlistment in the U.S. Marines, you must be either a U.S. citizen or a resident alien who is at least 18 or older-exceptions are made for 17-year-olds who have received parental consent.

Before even beginning the official enlistment process, new recruits are required to pass an Initial Strength Test (sometimes abbreviated as “IST”) which requires the execution of pull-ups, crunches and a 1.5-mile run. They must also be capable of consistently passing a semi-annual Physical Fitness Test (PFT) which is similar in nature to the IST, though recurring and slightly more rigorous.

Outside of meeting physical fitness requirements, incoming Marines are also required to meet mental and moral standards. More specifically, they must not have a pre-existing mental disorder that will prevent them from withstanding the pressures and difficulties of the branch’s rigorous training process and high-pressure requirements. At minimum, those wishing to join the Marines must also be able to score at least 32 on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), with certain occupations within the ranks requiring their own specified score for acceptance. In all cases, those wishing to enlist must have either a high school diploma or its equivalent.

While the branch’s moral standards are more subjective than mental and physical requirements, Vernon David Sears Jr. notes their implications are just as strict. Once enlisted, Marines are required to uphold the Corps’ exceptionally high ethical standards. This includes abiding by the Corps’ code of integrity and conducting oneself in a way that reflects the Marine’s key values: honor, courage, and commitment. Together, these core values must guide how each marine thinks, acts and fights for the duration of their military career. In all aspects, Vernon David Sears Jr. highlights that Marines are required to exhibit excellence.

What to Expect When Joining the Marines

Although it is a part of the Department of the Navy which operates alongside U.S. Naval forces at sea, the United States Marine Corps’ mission, responsibility and reach are unique in comparison to the other branches of military service. While other branches of the military are more concretely focused, the Marines are required to conduct both expeditionary and amphibious operations. It facilitates missions geared toward air and land as well as sea. The branch’s diverse operations demand that those wishing to enlist in its ranks possess a wide range of skills and specialties.

While exact responsibilities vary from position to position, the Marine Corps as a whole are responsible for protecting naval bases, guarding U.S. embassies and executing quick strike forces both at home and abroad. In many ways, Vernon David Sears Jr. explains that the Corps’ function within the broader military can be thought of as the nation’s 911 force; the Marines are the United States’ ready-reaction force, able to quickly mobilize whenever and wherever necessary.

After enlisting in branch and passing through basic training, Marines are expected to continually abide by the highest moral standards and keep sharp appearances while in uniform and out of uniform. As one of the most elite fighting forces in the world, Marines are always expected to act as esteemed ambassadors of the Corps, exuding the branch’s core values through their behavior and demeanor.

Outside of maintaining a respectful, put-together attitude and well-mannered appearance, Marines must also stay physically fit for the duration of their military career, according to Vernon David Sears Jr. Every six months, enlisted individuals must complete and pass a physical fitness test, which utilizes a sequence of events to test for strength as well as endurance. Required activities include pull-ups, push-ups, abdominal crunches and a three-mile run. Exact minimum requirements to pass vary depending on gender and age.

Originally published at on December 3, 2020.



Vernon David Sears Jr.

Former US Marine, here to share some of my stories and articles. Highlighting why I loved serving my country and the Brotherhood I stood proud with.