The Basic School

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The Basic School
The Basic School Insignia
Country United States
Branch USMC
Type Training
Role Train and educate newly commissioned or appointed United States Marine Corps Officers
Part of Training Command (TECOM)
Garrison/HQ Camp Barrett, Virginia
Colonel Christian Wortman
General James T. Conway General John R. Allen

The Basic School (TBS) is where all newly commissioned and appointed (for warrant officers) United States Marine Corps officers are taught the basics of being an "Officer of Marines." The Basic School is at Camp Barrett, Quantico, Virginia, in the south-west of the Marine Corps Base Quantico complex. Each year over 1,700 new officers are trained, representing such diverse commissioning sources as the U.S. Naval Academy, Naval ROTC, the Platoon Leaders Class program (PLC-Air, PLC-Ground, PLC-Law) for non-NROTC college and university students, Officer Candidates School, and Marine Corps Limited Duty Officer (LDO) and Warrant Officer accession programs.

Philosophy of instruction at TBS

The School's "Five Horizontal Themes" define the expectations of every student officer at TBS.

File:The Basic School new student officer quarters 2013.jpg
Student officer quarters completed in 2012.

They are:

  • A Man or Woman of Exemplary Character
    • Has a clear understanding that a Marine commission brings with it "special trust and confidence" and the highest expectations of the American people.
    • Devoted to our Core Values of Honor, Courage and Commitment
    • Possesses a moral compass that unerringly points to "do the right thing" - an ethical warrior
Gen. James F. Amos speaks to graduating Marines with Charlie Company, The Basic School (TBS), at Quantico, Va., Aug. 27, 2014.
  • Devoted to Leading Marines 24/7
    • Embraces the "exceptional and unremitting" responsibility to one's Marines and their families
    • Inspires and instills confidence in his/her Marines during times of adversity
    • Adheres to and enforces standards regardless of time of day, location or duty status
    • Treats all Marines and Sailors with dignity and respect
    • Dedicated to a lifetime of study and learning about the profession of arms
The Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. John M. Paxton, Jr., speaks to students of Bravo Company at The Basic School in June 2014.
  • Able to Decide, Communicate, and Act in the fog of war
    • Can think critically and arrive at an acceptable decision based on sound tactical thinking within their commander's intent
    • Communicates clearly both orally and in writing in tactical and administrative situations with emphasis on issuing clear, meaningful orders and guidance
    • Has a bias for action - seizes the initiative and acts instead of waiting for the perfect sight picture or direction from higher
    • Once action is initiated, acts with boldness and determination
  • A Warfighter who embraces the Corps's warrior ethos
    • A competent combat leader, grounded in the basic infantry skills, and characterized by sound judgment and aggressiveness in execution
    • Educated in the fundamentals of maneuver warfare, tactics, combined arms, and the time-tested principles of battle
    • Maintains an offensive mindset throughout - proactive, not reactive
  • Mentally Strong and Physically Tough
    • Imbued with a warrior spirit and able to thrive in a complex and chaotic environment and persevere despite the obstacles to mission accomplishment
    • Possesses the self-discipline to push past preconceived limits[1]

Courses conducted at TBS

Basic Officer Course (BOC)

Introduction and background

After earning a commission, Unrestricted Line Officer Marine lieutenants complete the Officer Basic Course prior to beginning their Military Occupational Speciality (MOS) qualification training to prepare them for service in the Fleet Marine Force or other operating forces assignments (viz., Marine Corps Security Force Regiment or the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group). The majority of Marine Corps officers are commissioned through the USMC Officer Candidate School (OCS), most of the balance are commissioned through the Marine Corps option at either the U.S. Naval Academy or the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) at a civilian college or university. (Annually, there are a few officers who graduate from one of the other US federal service academies who are granted permission to receive USMC commissions.) Restricted Line/Limited Duty Officers are direct commissioned from the chief warrant officer ranks as either a first lieutenant or captain and do not attend BOC; however, as warrant officers they have already completed the WOBC at TBS prior to beginning their officer service in the operating forces.

Most officers attend BOC as a second lieutenant immediately after commissioning at OCS or within a few months of graduation and commissioning from either the USNA or an NROTC program. Some newly commissioned officers may serve a short period of time in an interim assignment (such as an assistant athletic coach at the USNA) before beginning TBS/BOC. A few officers attend BOC as a first lieutenant because they were commissioned through the Platoon Leaders Class (PLC Law) program, which permits them to attend law school as second lieutenants and then attend TBS/BOC after promotion to first lieutenant upon receiving their law degree. In very rare cases, an officer who receives an initial commission in another branch of the US armed forces, and who has already been promoted to first lieutenant, may receive an interservice transfer to the Marine Corps and attend TBS as a first lieutenant.

Course overview

The Officer Basic Course currently lasts 28 weeks, during which new officers receive classroom, field, and practical application training on weapons, tactics, leadership and protocol. Classroom events include platform instruction, tactical decision games (TDGs), sand table exercises (STEXs), decision-forcing cases, and small group discussions. There are various field events, beginning with fireteam and squad level, and progressing to platoon-reinforced and company-sized events. The field events consist of realistic blank-fire training and live fire ranges.

Phases of instruction
  • Phase I (7 Weeks): Individual Skills
    • Leadership
    • Rifle and Pistol Qualification
    • Land Navigation
    • Communications
    • Combat Lifesaving
    • MCMAP
  • Phase II (6 Weeks): Rifle Squad Leader Skills
    • Decision-making
    • Combined Arms
    • Rifle Squad Tactics/Weapons
    • Scouting and Patrolling
  • Phase III (6 Weeks): Rifle Platoon Commander Skills
  • Phase IV (7 Weeks): Basic MAGTF Officer Skills
    • MOUT
    • Rifle Platoon (REIN) Tactics
    • Force Protection
    • Expeditionary Operations (AMFEX)
    • Legal/Platoon Cmdr’s Admin

MOS selection and post BOC training and assignments

Nearing completion of BOC, lieutenants are selected for an MOS, including approximately 1/3 of the officers to Infantry (includes reconnaissance and light armored reconnaissance), another 1/3 to Marine Aviation (including Naval Aviators - aircraft pilots, Naval Flight Officers - aircraft weapons and sensor systems officers, and aviation support), and the remaining 1/3 to combat support, combat service support, or Command element (command and control - C4ISTAREW) positions.

These include:

Ground Combat Element (GCE) - (Combat Support): Assault Amphibian, Combat Engineer, Field Artillery, Tank

Aviation Combat Element (ACE) - (Aviation Support): Air Defense Control, Air Intelligence, Air Support Control, Air Traffic Control, Aircraft Maintenance, Aviation Supply, Low Altitude Air Defense

Logistics Combat Element (LGE) - (Combat Service Support): Financial Management, Ground Supply, Logistics, Manpower, Personnel and Administration, Personnel Retrieval and Processing, and Substance Abuse Control.

Command Element (CE) - (Command and control): Civil Affairs, Communications and MAGTF Communications Planner, Counterintelligence/Human Source Intelligence, Ground Intelligence, Intelligence, MAGTF Intelligence, Judge Advocate, MAGTF Plans, Military Police/Law Enforcement, Psychological Operations, Public Affairs, and Signals Intelligence/Ground Electronic Warfare.

Following BOC, the officer will attend one or more additional schools to be trained in their specialty, and then assigned to a unit in the Fleet Marine Force or other operating forces of the Marine Corps.

Warrant Officer Basic Course (WOBC)

Marine warrant officers attend a 16-week training regime similar in scope and instruction to the 28-week course required of second lieutenants, which is shortened due to the prior experience possessed by the newly appointed warrant officers. They are assigned to India Company at Camp Barrett.

An enlisted Marine can apply for the warrant officer program after serving at least eight years of enlisted service, and reaching the grade of E-5 (Sergeant) for the administrative warrant officer program or after serving at least sixteen years of enlisted service and reaching the grade of E-7 (Gunnery Sergeant) for the weapons warrant officer program. Sergeants or Staff NCOs who are selected are given additional leadership and management training during the Warrant Officer Basic Course.[2]

Infantry Officer Course (IOC)

Graduates of the OBC who are selected for an infantry MOS remain at TBS for the ten-week Infantry Officer Course. During this program lieutenants receive intensive classroom instruction, practical experience, and field training in crew-served weapons, patrolling, and reconnaissance to ensure that they are MOS qualified for all of the infantry platoon commander billets, in addition to the rifle platoon, within a Marine infantry battalion or reconnaissance battalion. The other infantry and reconnaissance platoon commander billets are: rifle company weapons platoon (i.e., crew-served weapons) commander, as well as commander of one of the three heavy-weapons platoons (viz., 81mm mortar, antiarmor, and heavy machine gun) of the infantry battalion weapons company and the reconnaissance platoons of the reconnaissance companies of the reconnaissance battalion.

Officers selected to serve in a Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) battalion complete an additional six-week LAR crewman course conducted at the School of Infantry.

See also


  1. "The Basic School". Headquarters Marine Corps. Retrieved 2007-09-17. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. General Emphasizes Leadership at Warrant Officer Commissioning 2nd Lt. Patrick Boyce, 8 February 2007. Retrieved 25 January 2011.


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.