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Marine Corps Operations Order (Op Order) Simplified

I frequently tell Marine Officer Candidates that if they had to choose one thing to learn prior to reporting to Marine OCS it would be the Operations Order (Op Order). The use of this mission planning tool is required in at least 2 graded events, if not more depending on your training cycle (PLC/OCC/NROTC). Likewise, it is somewhat lengthy and requires practice to not only memorize the headings and sub-headings but also recite it properly in front of your peers. Therefore, you will find below (and here) one of the best organizational outlines of this operations order. This format or “Op Order Skeleton” has been used many of the top ranked Marine OCS candidates that have stepped foot onto Brown Field.

At first, the skeleton might look quite confusing, however, no need to worry, I will cover in depth each section below and provide a complete sample order briefing at the bottom of the page. Further, I recommend that you take the following steps to understand this format:

  • Memorize the skeleton “ORIENTATION” section by writing it out repeatedly

  • Memorize the subsequent skeleton sections, one at a time, by writing them out repeatedly

  • Fill in the blanks for the “ORIENTATION” section and recite it until you’re comfortable speaking it

  • Fill in the blanks for the subsequent sections and recite them, one at a time, until you’re comfortable speaking each section

  • Recite the entire order, with all the blanks filled in, until your comfortable speaking the entire thing

  • Recite the entire order in front of a friend

Optional: Have friends brief you full length platoon level orders, filling in the entire order with the relevant information, and then recite the order back to them as if you were a squad leader.

Accountability and Orientation:

Accountability: Fill in the number of personnel for Fire Teams 1-3

Present Location: Indicate your current grid coordinate on the map

Direction of Attack: Indicate the cardinal direction your squad is heading (North, South, East, West)

Objective Location: Indicate the grid coordinate of your mission objective

At this point, ask if anyone has questions. If there are no questions, state, “Please hold all questions until the end.”

Example Briefing:

“Orientation---we are currently located at grid coordinate 1234 5678, our direction of attack is to the North and our objective location is at grid coordinate 8765 4321. Are there any questions at this time? No---very well. Please hold all questions until the end.”


Enemy Forces