Camp Lejeune, N.C. --
Since the divestment of tank battalions in the United States Marine Corps – part of the Commandant’s Force Design 2030 initiative, designed to modernize for the next era, focus more heavily on naval expeditionary warfare and better align the ‘Corps with the National Defense Strategy (NDS), hundreds of tank Marines have been displaced from their jobs as tank mechanics, drivers, and related Military Occupational Specialties (MOSs). As a result, in the Marine Corps’ effort to ‘keep the faith’ with these dedicated warriors, tank Marines have been given the option to either change careers within the Marine Corps, switch to a different branch of the military (typically, one with tanks), or separate from service altogether.
For one such Marine, U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. James Webb, a native of Hampton, Georgia, and former member of the tank community, taking up a new career within the Marine Corps seemed the obvious choice.
After leaving his original MOS as a tank mechanic with 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, in early 2020, he requested to become a Marine Corps Community Service specialist, an MOS that would see him managing the retail and administrative tasks somewhere within the Marine Corps Exchange system.
When he originally made the decision to serve his country, Webb recalls knowing that he wanted to be a Marine, first and foremost, and was thus happy to continue serving as a Marine, despite the unexpected job turn.
“I love Marines, and the Marine Corps,” Webb said. “The Marine Corps has taken care of me at my worst times and given me everything I needed to get through them.”
During Webb’s time at both 2nd Tank Battalion and Combat Logistics Battalion 24, Headquarters Regiment, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, he served as a main battle tank repairman/technician, ultimately holding billets as a driver, rigger, and vehicle commander. He also deployed to several countries, including Greece, Kuwait, and Jordan.
Webb says he enjoyed the friends he made as a tanker, and plans to keep in touch with them, but, he says, ultimately the career change will have a positive impact for him going forward.
“The Marine Corps (reveals the) more competitive side of me,” he said. “I chose this MOS because I know it will push me and will do more for my future.”
Since October, Webb has been completing on-the-job training at the Marine Mart in Lejeune’s Building H-1, the headquarters building for several activities. In the short time he has been there, he has taken quickly to his new duties, and even excelled at managing the busy outlet – one of just a handful of stores without resident supervision.
“Something just clicked with this MOS,” Webb said. “I like interacting with people and I want to learn more business management.”
He admits that while he found success as a tanker, the job also brought him to some low points, because he didn’t always feel he was being utilized to his fullest potential. In fact, prior to the divestment, he had already been considering other opportunities.
And since the switch, Webb says he has found new happiness in the ‘Corps, and has encouraged other Marines facing disappointment in their own careers to explore their options.
“Don’t base your whole Marine Corps experience on your MOS, on your one duty station, or on one enlistment,” Webb said. “Don’t give up. There are so many MOSs that people don’t know about. Do research and find the one that clicks for you.”