Here’s Why the U.S. Marine Corps Is Getting Rid of Its ‘Assaultman’

    Task and Purpose

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    They are trying to do more with less.

    In the last year, the Marines have seen a lot of changes: the graduation of the Corps’ first female infantry officer; the addition of a fourth phase to boot camp; the service’s first supply of M320 grenade launchers; and news that the M27 will likely replace the M4 as the infantryman’s go-to rifle. Just three days into 2018, there’s more:

    So long, assaultmen.

    The Marine Corps plans to do away with the 0351 military occupational specialty — infantry assaultman — and phase out assault sections within rifle companies, Military.com’s Hope Hodge Seck reported today. The change is part of an effort to free up manpower for Marines to join other job fields.

    Beginning in October, the Marine Corps “will no longer be producing 0351s” at either of its Schools of Infantry, Capt. Joshua Pena, a spokesman for the Marine Corps Training and Education Command, told Task & Purpose.

    Assaultmen are tasked with tankbusting and breaching, which often means schlepping demolition charges, a 20-plus-pound Mk 153 Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon (SMAW), and its 16-pound rocket across the battlezone. But nowadays “There’s no armor in Iraq and Afghanistan, so our original purpose just isn’t there,” Rylan McCollum, a former Marine assaultman who served with 1st Battalion, 6th Marines — first in Garmsir, Afghanistan, in 2008 and then in Marjah in 2010 — told Task & Purpose.

    That dwindling niche role has made assaultmen something of a mystery to their fellow Marines. “I would say probably 99% of Marines don’t know what assaultmen are until they get to SOI,” McCollum said. “Nobody enlists as assaultmen. That’s not a thing you dream about as a kid.”

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