Marines Remove ‘Man’ From Most Job Titles

The Marine Corps has removed the word "man" from nineteen of its military occupation specialty titles, leaving only a handful of iconic instances intact.

Following an order from the Secretary of the Navy, the Marine Corps has removed the word “man” from nineteen of its military occupation specialty titles, leaving only a handful of iconic instances intact. Marine Corps Times:

In all, the Marine Corps plans to rename 19 of its military occupational specialties, or MOSs, as the result of a months-long review mandated by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. A service-wide message announcing the changes is expected to be published within the next few days.

The terms “rifleman” and “mortarman,” are among those that remain untouched, according to a list — obtained by Marine Corps Times on Monday — of 33 MOSs that were reviewed. And that was by careful design, said a Marine official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.


In most cases, the word “man” will be replaced by Marine. Those changes are as follows:

  • Basic infantry Marine.
  • Riverine assault craft Marine.
  • Light-armor vehicle Marine.
  • Reconnaissance Marine (to include three other recon-related jobs that include the word “man”).
  • Infantry assault Marine.
  • Basic field artillery Marine.
  • Field artillery fire control Marine.
  • Field artillery sensor support Marine.
  • Fire support Marine.
  • Basic engineer, construction and equipment Marine.
  • Basic tank and assault amphibious vehicle Marine.
  • Armor Marine.
  • Amphibious assault vehicle Marine.
  • Amphibious combat vehicle Marine.

The field artillery operations man MOS is expected to be changed to field artillery operations chief, since that position is typically held by a Marine in the rank of staff sergeant or above.

The anti-tank missileman MOS is the only position that will pick up the word “gunner” in place of “man.”

Others on the list — like manpower officer or vertical takeoff unmanned aerial vehicle specialist — will still include the word “man” because it’s part of a word that doesn’t describe the Marine doing the job.

The new titles are clunkier than the old ones, as well as redundant. After all, all those holding a Marine MOS are, by definition, Marines, so mentioning that they’re Marines is rather unnecessary. That said, none of the new titles are egregiously silly and the intent here is reasonable. Indeed, the Corps is about two decades behind the rest of society in making these sort of concessions to a gender-integrated workforce.

Not surprisingly, however, there are objections:

The move has proved unpopular with many Marines and sailors, with several branding it political correctness run amok.

“We have reached peak crazy,” one reader commented on an earlier story by Marine Corps Times about this topic.

“If a woman isn’t going to consider making the Navy her career because she is called a fireman or a corpsman, then I don’t think she was going to make the Navy a career period,” another reader commented on a Navy Times story. “We don’t need [people who are easily offended] like that clogging up the institutions that protect our country.”

Of course, the same could be the same of those whining about rather innocuous changes to job titles.

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. CSK says:

    Well, we went from policeman to police officer, and fireman to firefighter, and civilization didn’t collapse, so this too should work out sooner or later.

    Mostly sex distinctions for job titles are arbitrary, silly, inconsistent, and unnecessary. Do you go to the dentress for a toothache? The doctress for a check-up? The lawyeress for a house closing?

  2. KM says:

    Of course, the same could be the same of those whining about rather innocuous changes to job titles.

    Damnit, a Marine isn’t a man or a woman, they’re a Marine. A completely different classification of person, to the point where there is no such thing as an ex-Marine. They’re usually pretty proud to inform everybody of this fact so the whiners clearly have too much free time on their hands if they are becoming That Guy.

  3. @CSK:

    Since doctor ends with -tor, I believe the correct gendered term would be a doctrix.

  4. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I shall make a note of it.

  5. Lit3Bolt says:

    People offended by this are either hopelessly insecure, or using it for cheap political gain among their hopelessly insecure male constituents.

    At the University of Tennessee, the now defunct department of Diversity issued a memo regarding use of gender neutral pronouns IF people wished to use them. The Republican-led legislature immediately pounced and broke up the department, then used the allocated funds to enrich their own counties.

    My advice for all that find broken gender barriers confusing and threatening: Just please die already.

  6. MattT says:

    I thought the USMC would have had this sorted long ago. From Wiki:

    “Marine Corps Gen. Thomas Holcomb who authorized the mobilization of women into the Corps on February 13, 1943, was emphatic… ‘They are Marines. They don’t have a nickname and they don’t need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere at a Marine post. They inherit the traditions of Marines. They are Marines.’”

  7. Tyrell says:

    There was some university the other week that had some committee (“Bias Response Team” )that came up with terms that could not be used on the campus and encouraged reporting of violations. Words like: guys !
    “You guys good for some fishing ?” Come on, you have to be kidding me !
    I think the university tapped this down some and it sounds like they cancelled the “team”. A lot of universities are complaining about the speech police and their effect on legitimate debate and freedom of speech.
    I still wonder where this will wind up. A little here, a little there and before we know it things like “good morning”, “how you doing ?”, “nice hairdo !”, “Bless you ” will be outlawed every where.
    I fear to think what would happen if an innocent “Hello sweet heart” slipped out. I get called that all the time at restaurants and places.
    “Have we completely lost our senses ?”

    “I keep my eyes wide open all the time
    I walk the line” (Cash)