MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
There are many different paths that lead to the Marine Corps. There is the post-high school path, which many enlisted Marines follow. Some join later in life, after test-driving the college road. Others still go to college and participate in the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps while in school, in the hopes of commissioning.
Those that choose to participate in NROTC while in college take part in Career Orientation and Training for Midshipmen after they complete their freshmen year.
CORTRAMID East takes place at various locations throughout the summer months. There are four weeks in CORTRAMID: Surface Warfare Week, Submarine Week, Marine Week and Aviation Week, with Marine Week taking place aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
“CORTRAMID lets us get first-hand experience with the four main paths the Navy has to offer by spending a week in each [specialized] course,” said Midshipman Rodriguez Manuel, an Atlanta native currently attending Southern University. “The training so far has been outstanding.”
NROTC students from all over the country attend either CORTRAMID West or East depending on their home state. The four week cycle of training takes place all summer long, with different groups of midshipmen picking up every week.
“Midshipmen from all over the country come for their Marine Week of training for CORTRAMID to give them a glance of what Marines do,” said Capt. Steven Pederson, officer of operations for CORTRAMID.
Marine Week involves fighting with pugil sticks, running through an obstacle course, receiving instruction on different demolitions, riding in an Amphibious Assault Vehicle through water, climbing a repel tower, practicing Military Operations on Urban Terrain, and shooting different weapons on some of the rifle ranges aboard MCB Camp Lejeune.
Marine instructors gave the midshipmen in-depth instruction on each section of the training. They received classes on weapon safety and how to properly clear rooms before going out to the MOUT town and applying the principles they were taught.
“The purpose of the training is so we can decide what service, between Navy and Marine Corps, we’d like to eventually commission into,” said Manuel.
All of the midshipmen go through the same training, whether they are interested in the Navy or the Marine Corps, so they can decide what branch interests them the most.
“It’s hard to switch options after the NROTC students’ sophomore year,” said Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Claunch, an assistant Marine officer instructor with Duke University. “It requires more paperwork after two years, but technically they can switch options up until their junior year.”