The U.S. Marine Corps reputation for being enthusiastic about combat
is not a myth. Recently, the commandant of the Marine Corps got complaints (at
one of the "Town Hall" meetings he holds regularly) from marines who were not
able to get an assignment in Iraq or Afghanistan. The commandant checked and
discovered that 38 percent of marines had not yet been in Afghanistan or Iraq.
He ordered that any marine that requested assignment to a combat zone, be given
one. For those that could not be transferred to a similar job in a unit headed
over there, marines are directed to request an Individual Augment (IA)
assignment. This program is similar to the one used by the navy, where sailors
and marines are sent to do jobs the army needs done. The marines also allow
their reservists to volunteer for IA assignments.
training, and tradition, emphasizes that "every marine is a rifleman," and that
all marines want to be in combat. Most marines apparently agree.