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Marine Corps Infantry Officer Course: What to Expect

Marines conducting a range at IOC
Marine Corps IOC

The Infantry Officer Course (IOC) is a rigorous and comprehensive training program that molds newly selected infantry and ground intelligence officers into capable leaders who will command infantry platoons within the Marine Corps. Located at Camp Barrett within the Marine Corps Base Quantico complex in Quantico, Virginia, IOC offers a conducive environment for training, equipped with the necessary facilities and resources. Let's delve into the purpose of IOC, the type of instruction provided, the duration, the location, and what happens after completing the course.

The primary mission of IOC is to train and educate infantry and ground intelligence officers, equipping them with the knowledge, skills, and leadership required to lead with proficiency in the dynamic and challenging environment of the rifle company. In addition to preparing officers for infantry platoon command roles, IOC also provides advanced training considerations for those assigned to weapons company platoons, as well as core infantry knowledge for those selected to serve in reconnaissance, sniper, and light armored reconnaissance units.

IOC's curriculum covers an extensive range of topics, utilizing various instructional methods to develop the necessary skills and expertise. The course includes critique sessions, case studies, demonstrations, field exercises, tactical decision games, written examinations, and more. Emphasizing practical application and hands-on training, officers have the opportunity to apply their knowledge of infantry tactics and leadership principles in simulated combat scenarios.

IOC now consists of three class cycles annually, which generally span from October to February, March to June, and June to October. The course takes place at Camp Barrett, co-located with The Basic School (TBS), within the Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Virginia. This location provides access to specialized training facilities and resources essential for the comprehensive instruction and development of infantry officers.

The Infantry Officer Course sets high standards for both military and academic performance. Military standards include successfully completing the IOC Combat Endurance Test, meeting MOS-specific physical standards, participating in tactical movements and exercises, and demonstrating proficiency in field firing exercises. Academic mastery involves achieving a solid understanding of tactical orders such as Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT), Patrolling Exercise (PEX), and Machinegun Field Exercise (FEX), along with quizzes and evaluations of leadership abilities. Specific aforementioned evaluations are shown below:

-Pass the IOC Combat Endurance Test (Training Day 1)

a. 13 hours, 11 stations, 16.2 miles

Complete MOS-specific Physical Standards:

- Conduct a 9.3 mile Approach March in <3 hours

- Cross a 56” wall unassisted

- Ground Casualty Evacuation in 54 seconds

- Lift a MK-19 Heavy Machine Gun overhead

- Rush 300 meters to an objective in 3 minutes 56 seconds

Complete five of six tactical movements

- Distances: 7.2 – 9.3 miles

- Load: 95 – 152 pounds

Participate in six tactical exercises

- Basic Skills: 2 days*

- Machinegun Field Exercise (FEX): 2.5 days*

- Patrolling Exercise (PEX): 6 days*

- Fires FEX: 2.5 days*

- Offense/Defense FEX: 6 days*

- PALMFEX: 14 days

* *Number of total days may vary somewhat

Life after IOC: Upon successful completion of the Infantry Officer Course, officers proceed to their assigned infantry battalions within the major Marine Infantry Divisions. These divisions are located at significant Marine Corps bases, including Camp Pendleton, California; 29 Palms, California; Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; or Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. Once integrated into their respective units, officers continue their training and development as infantry platoon commanders, applying the knowledge, skills, and leadership qualities acquired during IOC to effectively lead Marines in combat situations.

The Infantry Officer Course at Camp Barrett serves as the crucible for developing proficient and capable leaders within the Marine Corps infantry community. Through its demanding curriculum, practical exercises, and immersive training environment, IOC prepares officers to face the challenges of commanding infantry platoons. With a focus on tactical proficiency, sound decision-making, and effective leadership, graduates of IOC are poised to excel in their roles as Marine Corps infantry officers, leading with confidence and integrity on the frontlines of combat.


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