Sunday, March 14, 2004

Army and Marines - Define "Elite"

I received this question from a reader and meant to give him a great answer. Unfortunately, it kind of rambles. So uhh… deal with it I guess lol...I don't have time to make it as perfect as I want it to be.

Hopefully this answers the question clearly enough though.

We graduate this week, so I will be a little busy. I have a second, and even better, question to answer from the same email as soon as I get some time

Question: If the Marine Infantry and Army Infantry are basically
the same, why are the Marines considered (either by themselves or by
civilians) "elite"?

The comparison is usually between Army and Marines rather than Infantry to Infantry. The Army has a very different function than the Marines, and a wider mission during wartime.

The first difference is between the missions of the respective forces. The Marines are a relatively small branch of the Navy. Their mission as I understand it is primarily to conduct initial combat operations from a forward deployed platform (such as a big ass boat) and establish a beachhead from which they can operate until follow on forces arrive. I am not a Marine so if I make any mistakes here, someone let me know.

The Army’s mission is a little bigger. Along with establishing a foothold, they also expand the foothold into entire theaters of operations. The Marines fight battles. The Army fights the war.

The Marines are not really a self sustaining force. They take the beach (or whatever) and hold it until support arrives. It might sound like this is a bad thing, but in reality this is part of what makes them such a proud and ass-kicking force. There is a lot of pride in knowing that you are at the tip of the spear.

The Army has the same capability in its Light Infantry units. They do not specialize in amphibious operations, but rather in Airborne, Air Assault and Land based assaults. The Army’s Light Infantry units, such as the 101st ABN (AASLT), 82nd ABN Div, 173rd ABN BDE, 10th Mountain Div and 25th INF Div (L), are used as rapid deployment units capable of taking and holding ground until the rest of the Army can establish themselves. It goes without saying that one of the premier Light Infantry units in the world is the 75th Ranger Regiment, consisting of three Ranger Battalions that are ALWAYS on call for any contingency.

When you get right down to it, the Light Infantry and the Marines both take a lot of pride in a tough job. They both also have generally higher Discipline and Esprit de Corps than your average Combat Support or Combat Service Support unit.

Then we have the Mechanized Infantry. Units like the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Infantry Divisions are heavy, powerful and slow to deploy. They pack a lot of punch, but moving all those M2 Bradley IFVs and M1 Abrams tanks along with all their logistics and support, is a major undertaking in itself. The Mechanized units have plenty of pride in what they do, but usually aren’t considered “elite”. This could be because of the perception that they spend all their time inside huge armored vehicles and don’t face the same kind of danger as a grunt. There is some truth to this in a large scale, high intensity conflict. However, today’s mechanized Infantry soldiers are operating “boots on the ground” just like everyone else in Iraq.

One reason the entire Marine Corps is considered “elite” is because, as you said earlier, their entire organization is predominantly combat oriented. Even the support units they do have are inculcated with the idea that “every Marine is a rifleman first”. This has always been a necessity for the Marines, who often operated with limited support for extended periods of time.

By contrast, in the past, Army support units have mostly operated in relatively safe areas, setting up well behind friendly lines. This was a fairly viable option in the past, when “lines” actually existed. In today’s fluid combat environment however, there are no “lines”. Every soldier must be a soldier first, and a personnel clerk/mechanic/cook/technician second. When GEN Pete Schoomaker took over as the new Army Chief of Staff, he immediately made this a matter of Army Policy in his vision for the future.

This is already being implemented in BCT here at Fort Jackson, and presumably at the other training facilities throughout the Army. The training has changed a little already, but major changes are underway for the coming classes of soldiers. Anyway, before I get too far off topic…

A second reason that Marines are considered “elite” is because they consider themselves “elite”. This is a self fulfilling prophesy in a way. In many ways what makes you special is the way you picture yourself. If you think you belong to an elite organization, you will automatically train a little longer, fight a little harder, expect a little more from your comrades, etc. The Marines have a mystique that makes them irresistible to some of the best young recruits in our nation. The same ideals that make a good Marine make a good Paratrooper in the 82nd or good Air Assault soldier in the 101st.

On the other hand, it is a fact that many people join the Army as a way to improve themselves, get an education, have a stable career, and for many other reasons that don’t have anything to do with a desire to truly challenge themselves or push themselves to the limit. For these people, being a part of an elite organization is not really a high priority. Therefore the opposite of what I said earlier is true here. If you aren’t interested in being “elite”…you will most likely do your job adequately, go the extra inch rather than the extra mile, and generally put more effort into getting away from hard work and training than getting to it.

These people serve their country just as much as anybody else, but they usually don’t take the same pride in their organizations and want to do a good job, but don’t associate it as much with who they are.

The thing I admire most about Marines is the fierce pride they have in the entire corps. If the whole Army felt the same way, it could only make it a better force, and that’s one thing I do my best to instill in the CS/CSS soldiers I train here at Jackson.

Another reason for the elite image of the Corps is their history. A second thing I like about Marines is that every one of them can tell you in great detail about Chesty Puller, Carlos Hathcock and all the other heroes who fought their hearts out in past wars. The battles in the Pacific Theater of WW2 especially were some of the toughest fighting ever experienced by human beings, and the Marines kicked ass and took initials. It’s sad how many of the soldiers I train have no idea who Audie Murphy, Roy Benavidez, Randall Shughart and Gary Gordon were (until I get through with em anyway). The Infantry does the same thing though. Ask any soldier in the 101st , for example, about Bastogne, or Normandy, or the A Shau Valley, and you will often (not always though) see the same pride and connection with their past.

What makes a Warrior? If you ask me, the answer would be the willingness…eagerness even…to close with and destroy the enemy. Face to face, hand to hand, metal to meat…most people can’t understand this. Even in the Army, when you talk to a lot of people who are not in Combat Arms branches, you don’t find a lot who want to put themselves on the line like that. The Marines as an entire service have an image of being ass kickers. People who want to serve their country adequately, but not by spitting in the face of the enemy while they twist a bayonet in their guts, don’t usually join the Marines…or the Army Infantry.

So basically…

The Marines are an elite force because they are used as an assault force in tough situations with little support, they recruit people who already have a desire to be the best, they take a fierce pride in themselves and their history, and they are the least politically correct of the services.

The Light Infantry, even outside the Ranger and Airborne units, is roughly equivalent to the Marines, but they are not perceived as elite quite as much because their reputation is tied up with the rest of the Army. The only thing I would say they lack compared to the Marines is some of the pride and knowledge of history as an entire branch of service. For example, a paratrooper may take more pride in being part of the 82nd Airborne than in the Army as a whole…whereas Marines seem to take more pride in the simple fact that they are Marines.

The rest of the Army, on the other hand, have in the past not always been held to the same standards of discipline and combat skills as the Marines. I am not saying that this is true everywhere, just in my experience as I saw it. In general, the farther away from the bayonet your job was in the Army, the less was expected of you. This is and was a stupid way to look at things, but is especially unacceptable in today’s combat environment. This situation is being rectified as we speak and I’m the one rectifying it lol.

All in all, the idea of "elite" troops is fine...and important even...but never forget that all those Marines, Paratroopers, Rangers and Green Berets COULD NOT do their job if not for all the soldiers behind the scenes doing theirs. Marines can't go anywhere without the Navy. Paratroopers can't go anywhere without the Air Force. Gun Trucks can't go anywhere without mechanics and fuel. Helicopters don't fly wihtout maintenance. And nobody gets paid without Personnel and Finance clerks lol. Every team needs Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers...but they get killed without the Linemen.


Blogger Awioa said...

Just wanted to say thanks for posting this blog. I have been trying to find out the difference between the Army and Marines. It was very helpful.

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very good comparison and well written. I was Regular Army at Fort Jackson in 1970 for basic training, Company A, 8th Battalion, 2nd Basic Training Brigade. I later became a 73 Charlie 20, Finance Specialist. The biggest complaint my Seargents had with me was my hair was too long. Getting a hair cut was just not a priority with me.
Excellent Blog.

12:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a great comparison, I must say. I really couldn't have written it better myself.

However, mind those that are reading the blog and comments; if you plan on enlisting, don't just pick the branch that you think is "elite." I see a lot of young people that believe they could become Navy SEALS or Marine Force Recon. I would say it's a realistic goal; but when you see kids that can barely write a complete sentence, you wonder how they think they'll get that good when they aren't putting out any effort.

If you want to enlist; don't pick the branch that is the "best:" Pick that branch that "best suits you." - If you are a hard physical worker, are generally fierce and can handle yourself under stress - you should think about Marines or Army Infantry/Airborne/Etc. - If you are hands-on and smart, you should think about being a technician in the Army, Navy, USAF, etc. - Don't just pick the group of guys that are the most honorable. You'll be identified by your dress and your attitude; your honor for your country and branch will shine along those things. If you want to be a proud enlisted Marine; remember that you could also go the other way and be a proud enlisted Army Infantry or Airborne.

How do you make it shine? Be smart; put in 110$, and then some; but most of all; be proud.

How do you put in 110% and then some? Raise your right hand; the highest you can. C'mon, a little higher. Alright, good. - Now, raise it just a little bit more. Maybe an inch.

If it's easy enough to raise your hand a little bit higher than you thought you could, and you do this for anything you are told to do, and you keep this mind-set; you are bound to succeed in either the military, or everyday life.

Thanks again for this blog: It was a wonderful read, and I hope it helps others.

5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this was very helpful i am choosing wheather to go to annapolis or west point and didnt rilly kno which way i wanted to go but now everything seems so clear thnx

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Marine Corps trains even on how to train better.

The Military discipline is way higher than in the Army.

Precision and perfection to every last detail is the word of the day.
Google Silent Drill team to see perfection in precision.

Marines say "aye aye Sir" when they are given an order.

When in the field The lowest ranking Private eats first and Officers eat last if there is any chow left.

The army has some fn outstanding units But there is no fighting force on earth the packs the punch of the USMC. Their battle record proves this time and time again from Chapultipec, Bellue woods, Iwo, Fallujah if the enemy had it's druthers, being attacked by U.S. Marines would be their last choice.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm about to enlist in the Marine Corps in the next year, and personaly, weather you say ooah or OORAH, you outta take pride in both. I see from looking at your article, that Marines as a whole are more elite than the Army as a whole, but the Army Airborne divisions compared to Marines seems much closer of a comparison.

12:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was an infantryman with the 172nd Infantry Brigade at Fort Richardson, Alaska (76/78).
Our mission was to enter Russia if they entered Europe. To be fit we had war games with the Canadian Mountaineers and the US Marines. In each occasion we kicked the behind of this "Elite" forces. At the end of the training exercise we were always told to give up the fighting so the Canadians & marines could go back with their pride. I know there are a few marines & Canadians out there with broken bones and scars as a memento from the "Go Devils".
Regarding intelligence, fitness and valor non like an infantryman. An infantryman is as close you can get to a Spartan soldier.

11:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe there's a difference between a Marine and Army Infantry. One usually goes before the other. Hoorah

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great compare and contrast of both services. I commission as a Marine 2nd Lt. in a year and my father was a career Army Officer. He pretty much concurs and says the same thing when this discussion comes up.

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey the marines are elite for 2 reasons.
1. the bootcamp is harder!
2. Because they are alaways the first one's in!!!

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the contrast that u make as u said Marines fight battle but We Army the war. Their mission is to kill but Army have to kill and maintaint control of the situation. We fight for the harder causes our mission is much more complicated.

11:54 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks for this comparison it really gave me a better look at both branches, more so then any other source i have seen so far once again thank you

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was a great blog on the two.
Marines are very proud and so are the Army. I dont think its right that the army infantry has to have the rep as the whole army though....and marines only hold the ground till bigger people get their then they MOVE ON that is another difference between the marines and army infantry. either way you cant win with out either one so yea pik the one that best suits u or u wont make it

8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To sum it up for you much quicker, Marines are the invasion force, the Army is the occupying force. Basically the Marines clear a path, and the Army is tasked with defending and restoring that area.

It's not really that cut and dry but it should give you an idea

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an excellent post. I'm deciding between commissioning into either the Army or Marine Corps, and it helped clear things up for me. A lot of good info in here that you can't ask a recruiter. Thanks!

10:50 PM  
Anonymous Traverse Mitchell said...

Thank you very much for posting this...I'm not enlisted myself I was actually curious about the different and your helping me make my decision...I would like if I could talk to some of the people who commented or anyone else who could give me advice lol! I'm trying to figure out where I would be better suited, quick thinking, non judgmental, relaxed in bull-shit situations, and letting shit roll off my shoulder easily, decision-making, and better than all a damn good shot! but if anyone has advice or i guess experiences they would be will to share email me lol:email

3:21 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Sir, I respectfully disagree with a lot of your statements. Your being in the army puts you at an obvious bias, and I will definitely hold that against you. As far as Marines go, they are way better. They go through way tougher and longer training. This training hones their skills much like the Green Berets in the army. They go by land, air, and sea. They don't just depend upon the Navy like you previously stated. The Marines are their own fighting force. They are their own branch of the military. Sure they are proud, but they have earned it. You are right when you said that they are the "tip" of the spear, but they do SO much more. They are not only the spearhead, but the first to fight. They lead the rest. They don't NEED the army. A battalion of Marines are like the Spartans of ancient Greece. Even with a staggering disposition, they succeed. I must navigate away from this page before I am further infuriated. Adieu to you.

12:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just would like to so to the previous post, the spartans where a great fighting force but where defeated several times by those that they deemed to have lesser war fighting skills. Google sparta and athens 540BC. The people of athens defeated the "elite" spartans. The spartans where great fighters but where much like the german army of ww2, they lacked the ability of small unit leaders to make real time decisions. Just saying that maybe the spartans are not the greatest force to be using as an example.

11:39 PM  
Anonymous Nick said...

To the guy a couple above me... HA!!!!! Comparing the marines to the green berets. The only unit that can compare themselves is the navy seals. A ranger who served in the marines first said the only difference between a marine and an army infantryman is that the discipline is tougher in the corps. He said he would take an army airborne unit over the marines hands down. Force recon is another story. They are the equivalent of the rangers and perform the same kinds of missions. You are obviously one of the pricks that serves one enlistment in the marines and thinks that you can take on the world. You are the very reason that the only people who like the marines are the ones who either are marines or aspire to be another bigheaded warrior who has been brainwashed into thinking he is far better than he really is.

12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol.....Marines hone skills like the Green Berets? No way, no how. You should not even compare a Marine to an Army Special Forces. It is a known fact that the Army's Green Berets and the Navy Seals are who we call when the s*** hits the fan.

9:50 PM  
Blogger USMC_4_ME said...

I can relate with what you said;

"In many ways what makes you special is the way you picture yourself. If you think you belong to an elite organization, you will automatically train a little longer, fight a little harder, expect a little more from your comrades, etc."

In my case, I never finished high school, due to some unexpected circumstances (g/f getting pregnant,05'). I always wanted to join the military the concept of belonging and being something greater than myself/civilian.

Months ago, I decided that I was going to get my GED and join the Army. Due to this recession the Army being over strength by laid off, GED having ppl. The Army isnt accepting GEDs, only High School Diplomas. The Marines dont accept GEDs(.)

The Marines feel as though, If someone dropped out of school to obtain a GED, are more likely to drop out/fail,Basic trainning or have that giving up mentality. Which clearly the Marines arent known for. "Marines improvise adapt overcome."

Back to my case. Im currently back in school after 5yrs out (im 23), to gain a high school diploma, I figure if I have the drive, the motivation, the willingness to succeed, with a higher standard than a GED. Than im not going to lower my standards and join the Army, when they start accepting GEDs.

When I had my job(06-08) I did my job to the best of my ability, when I did landscaping, or any other job I did it best of my ability. Im doing school to the best of my ability to graduate summer of (10').

This is the relation with that you mentioned, I picture my self with a diploma (achievment), I believe Im the best, and belong to an elite organization, I am training harder, fighting harder, and expect more out of myself. I think about joining the USMC, (another BIG achievment) everyday, and think about the final day that I can be called a United States Marine.

*Thats another thing u mentioned: whereas Marines seem to take more pride in the simple fact that they are Marines."

I respect all branches and all service personels, Because we all do it for a greater purpose to "Protect our Country, our Families, Common Good."

Thank you, for you post! I thought I'd share my point of view with all, maybe they can relate as I did. Thanks again!


12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are an idiot, know your facts before you write something.

6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey im planning on joinig the marines when i get out of highschool and ive looked at a lot of sites to learn what the differences was between the army and marines. Your site seems to be the most unbiazed of all of them. But the marines dont just astablish a beach head and leave. They have taken entire island and iny thing they are told to take and hold they do. not just the beach head.

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jack u are one of the first people I heard make sense when talkin bout both branches. Most people just choose one side and say one is better than the other. But u gave both flaws and goods of the two. We need more marine and recruiters like u. The only people that talk like u are wise exsperience veterans. Any service is good service. Also battles win wars so does marines lol. By the way I'm fifteen

10:36 PM  
Anonymous breeze said...

i dont think people should post things like this online, spreading the wrong details, you sure know a lot about the army, but not too much about Marines, and i agree with the guy who said you an idiot, know your facts

5:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those who said the Marines are always first in never studied
the Aleutions or Normandy.

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marines are not close to what an US Army Green Beret is. It takes just a few weeks to become a Marine. It takes over two years to put on the Green Beret. The only close to US Army Special forces in the Marines, is the newly established MARSOC unit. Even then, it is still in its infancy and still establishing itself in the Spec Ops community. Don't insult your MARSOC brothers by comparing yourself to the Green Berets. Makes it look like you simply don't know how to do research before you pick your own battles.

The Marine Corps does not clear areas for the Army to just sit and gaurd. Whoever came up with this one, is really crazy. It's simply not true, historically or currently. The Army and Marine Corps lately have been working together, not against each other. Each service has strengths and areas that could use some improvement.

You know, usually the people who are really deadly, don't go around talking about it. They don't need to wear their heart on their sleeve. They don't care about their reputation, or what the kid down the block thinks about them. They don't need to tell every girl they meet who they are. They know what they have been through, what they are capable of, and the only ones who will ever find out, usually don't have time to react.

Marines have a proud history, it's part of their strength. Every strength can be a weakness though.. remember that.

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jack you are completely right for years i was focusing on being a marine dont get me wrong im still semper fi for life but marines vs army is nothing we are just full of our selves because i know plenty of marines that have gotten their ass saved by some army infantry or navy seals and the other way around. but how you said that marines cant go anywhere without the navy and paratroopers cant make the jump without the airforce is 100% right we need every bit of our military to be the of the best.. we are all one just like as u said a football team or even a baseball team we need each and every person doing their job and doing it to the best of their abilites we need to put away all our differences and pride we are all about brotherhood its about the guy next to you we should remember that next time we try to get in a arguement on how much better each branch we are nothing without eachother its as simple as that...(retired usmc GySgt 0317 scout sniper 2nd marine sniper battalion David Myers HOOrah...)

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent blog. Found this through google search on the differences, and it gave some good insight. Thanks for posting it.

6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You cant compare a "regular" Marine to the Army Special Forces due to the level of training, comparing Marines Boot Camp of 13 weeks to Green Beret's Q-Course Training of 18 months.It is obvious the Marine boot camp is far tougher than Army's boot camp of 8 weeks. But let us compare fairly, Marine Force Recon's training is a 2 year cycled loop training to where to even be considered for a tryout, it would require a recommendation from your CO to even consider you in rather than volunteering.Force RECON accepts the best of the Marine RECON with the MOS 0321 which also has its rough training course of 13 weeks at BRC.

Trust me, Marines wouldnt be embarrassed but offended to even compare to Army Special Forces. Think about it, here is a force who is heavily underfunded in the first place so what would you expect?, Shorter personnel with a stringent and very high regard for discipline and training. They have to outsource their training and that is why you have Marine Recon(Force or Division) going into Ranger school, Airborne or even some courses in the Navy). If the USMC were given equivalent funding with the likes of Navy, AF, Army, they wouldnt need any of the other branches in that aspect.

In 1986 when USSOCOM was in production, NAVY handed over their SEALS, Army gave in their Rangers, Green Berets, 160TH SOARs, ISA, Delta, and AF gave in their Combat Controllers, Weathermen, PJs. The Marines commandant refused to hand over their best of the best(Marine Force Recon) due to the fact that Marines missions are designated for their own, let alone be commanded under an Army General.(Serious Pride!!!) The punishment for that were sitting on the sidelines for most of the important operations or never were called in at all. What I admired so much about the change in 2006, The superiors of the Marine Corp were considerate of the Marines elite unit's morale for wanting more participation in these high profile mission so they created MARSOC as a "component" of USSOCOM instead of a subordinace so their boys can get in on more of the action. (smart)

Just recently, Marine commandos(Force recon from Fleet Marine Force) overtook a ship vessel controlled by Somali pirates without even firing a single shot. The Somalis instantly pissed their pants by the time they were hit with the element of surprise. That is CLASS A!!! work, my friend.

I tell my brothers who are both in the Marine Corps, well one switched over to the Army Reserve and been there for the last 17 years, that we are all on the same team. One hand washes the other. At some point in time, one has saved the other on many occasions.

6:54 AM  
Anonymous Gen. William Thornson, U.S. Army said...

There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion.

12:17 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The Marines come under the Dept. of the Navy, they do not come under the navy. No Admaral cna give the Commandant an order.

12:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was really helpful. My dad was a Marine at Hue City in the Vietnam War. My oldest brother was a Marine in Iraq at the start of that war. I'm the youngest male, just turned 20 and I want to join too, but I always wanted to join the Army and go Airborne, because that's some hardcore stuff and I can die with a smile on my face knowing I was a part of that kind of unit. I got a lot of flack for not wanting to be a Marine too but this makes me feel better about my resolutions.

10:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

every branch has their special forces team. ARMY - Green Berets. Navy - Navy Seals. Air force - Parajumpers. Marines - Force Recon. It is unfair to compare an ARMY special forces group to the USMC as a whole compare special forces group to special forces groups. Green Berets to Force Recon. which both takes an outstanding amount of dedication and time to achieve, as for infantry vs. infantry then marines are more disciplined because of the longer combat training in bootcamp. Every marine is a rifleman so every marine is ready to fight. I tried to stay neutral on this topic but i am alittle bias...OoRah!!!

10:29 AM  
Blogger dscottyoung said...

Marines are elite due to all the things mentioned in this article. However, other than MARSOC and Force Recon, the strength of the Marine Corps as a whole that it is a "General Purpose" force rather than a "Special Purpose" force. Marines hate the term "special forces" because it denotes that people think they are "special". As a general purspose force, Marines can be employed anywhere, anytime, for anything. They don't need tons of intel data or specialized gadgets. They are ready for multiple scenarios. Marne infantry can take down a ship, rescue hostages, snipe, etc... This is why NATO and other countries usually request Marines to train their forces. This is also why when you google the militaries of other countries, the various Marines around the globe are considered elite. Many of them are modeled after the USMC and are advised by them.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, i always hate these pissing contest but i can't resist getting involved. The army has fought more battles than the marines any day of the week. I bet the marines fought less than 10% of the ground combat in WW2. In fact the army actually made more amphibious landings in the south pacific than the marines. All of the big islands were army amphibious ops like new guinea, the phillipines, etc. Even the alleutian islands just off the coast of alaska where the japanese managed to get a foot hold were taken back by army units. All of the islands taken by the marines were no more than a few square miles. Despite all the hallowed tales of Iwo Jima it was a mere border skirmish compared to islands taken by the army. Never mind the army taking on a defeating what was at that time the world's most sophisticated army- the german army. The germans had better tanks, better rifles, better artillery, better everything yet the army slugged it out. Of course I could mention the most massive amphibious ops in history - the normandy invasion- which was actually the invasion of a continent not an island. Of course the army didn't go build themselves a big statute in washington dc to proclaim to the world how great they are like another branch of the military did. The idea that amphib ops can only done by the marines is ludicrous. Of course it make sense to let them handle amphib ops because they are part of the navy.
Yes the marines put a little more emphasis on spit and polish and being able to march in straight line but that's just part of their marketing.
During the cold war it was an army unit sitting on the fuda gap in germany ready to repel an attack by soviet mechanized forces. An army unit also mans the dmz in korea ready to repel an attack from north korea. What do marines guard--embassies and guatanamo bay cuba. Oh boy we all know how ferocious the cuba army is.
I hardly think that the extra month in boot camp makes you somehow "elite". Yes i know you guys think that screaming in some recruit's ear for 12 weeks somehow makes him tough. Go ahead and toot your own horn about how special you are but reality doesn't bear that out. In fact you guys try so hard to be different that I think you actually have an inferiority complex. Oh by the way, the way you guys role up your sleeves on your camies looks shitty. We army people are the quiet professionals.

1:06 PM  
Blogger unbreakable said...

Soviet mechanized force? You do realize that you lose any validity in your arguments.
Let me address a number of issues I have with your post.
1) A soldier commenting on the Marine Corps uniform standards is laughable at best- your fat out of standard soldiers look like garbage. I really think that trumps any "sleeve rolling", which has a tendency to look crisp. I also point out that long hair and discombobulated uniforms that look like they were slept in the night prior look pretty ridiculous. I don't think I need to say anything else about uniforms- the army's lack of pride says enough.
2. Customs and courtesies- the Army enlisted look at me weird when I, as an officer, saluted them and said "good morning Soldiers". They stopped for a second and looked bewildered, then I said "oh, that's supposed to be the other way around". I finally got tired of having fun with it and addressed a drill sergeant at the post I'm at school on, and inquired as to whether or not they're teaching their young soldiers that customs and courtesies go to all branches of the military- I had earlier saluted an Army captain. I didn't really get a satisfactory answer. Army sergeants walking and talking in uniform, soldiers not rendering honors as the colors are retired for the day, NCO's looking right at not just a boot lieutenant but Captains and not even acknowledging them- is this the quiet professionalism of which you speak?
3. The United States Army really doesn't strike fear in the hearts of the enemy. Remember that whole desert storm thing? Saddam placed an overwhelming majority of his assets at the coast because he suspected one of our MEU's would make an amphibious landing, allowing you to sneak around the side. I don't really recall that kind of reverence from the enemy towards the army. Also, there was a letter passed around between Al Qaeda Leadership showing pictures of both Marine and Soldier uniform, saying specifically "Do Not Attack the army with the tan uniform- when attacked, they will respond as conventional infantry, whether they are trained infantry or not". I think that says enough. They went out of their way to attack the army.
4. You bring up Normandy, however, you seem to recall that we had a few more fights than simply Iwo Jima- say perhaps Guadalcanal, Saipan, Tarawa, Okinawa, and preparation for an invasion of a far more vicious and demented enemy than the Germans. On the note of Iwo Jima, are you familiar at all with that battle? Do you realize how difficult it is to fight on an Island that was built specifically as a suicide mission with tunnels interlocking pillboxes? The small island was fortified with over 40,000 imperial soldiers that were more than willing to die than surrender. Air and ship bombardments for 2 months prior to landing day didn't soften it up enough. I'm not discounting Normandy by any long shot, but you were at least fighting a civilized enemy. So don't you DARE bring up our history which speaks for itself. I can even go further than that and note that historically, some of the greatest statements about us come from your generals- MacArthur "the safest place in Korea is behind a Marine Platoon- lord, how they could fight" or Pershing "the deadliest weapon on earth is a Marine and his rifle" or the army chief of staff during Grenada "we have two Army infantry divisions pinned in the corner of the country and 3 Marine Companies running rampant killing everything- what the hell is going on?" or MacArthur yet again "If I had one more division like this 1st Marine Division, I could win this war"

I'm not one to get into pissing contests on blogs, but your comment irritated me about us having an inferiority complex. Even my grandfather, an Army Captain during WWII who was highly decorated has stated to me "If I had to do it all over again, I would have been a Marine".

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact is, the Army and the Marines both fight for the same country,I spent 10yrs proudly in the Army and dont' believe there any better or less effective than the Marines. I have seen soldiers that are better than the Marines, and Marines better than Army soldiers. We cannot say who is better or be bias. I love and respect everyone in the military no-matter what branch their in. Coast gaurd or National Guard, it does't matter. This is our military not a contest.So if your in any branch of the military, do your best. I don't care if your a private or a general in either branch, you should not talk crap about any of our forces. If you have the pride, loyalty, and honor then support everyone, that is what a true military person does.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Overall I think the article was well written, fair, and very informative. There are significant differences in the two military organizations and at the most basic level the Marines may have an edge in the stress of thier training and development of a combat mindset. The Army however has a number of elite units available for those individuals who aspire to train to higher levels of proficiency. In example, Marines often use the excellent Army Ranger school or Navy diver training programs. I personally consider the Marines to be roughly equivilent in terms of "eliteness" to Army airborne units. Both are rapid deployment forces that stress physical fitness, unit pride, professionalism, and self determination. They are also both conventional troops forming relatively large assault forces. Army Rangers and Special Forces soldiers, Navy SEALS, and Air Force PJs receive much more extensive training than regular Marine infantrymen because they work in smaller teams and train for different missions. The Marine equivilent to these units would be Force Recon, FAST, or the newly- formed MARSOC. These units are more specialized and less general purpose than regular "leg" Army or Marine troops.

1:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think the marines are elite ....but were the airborne part of the marines or not?

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anyone who wants to anwser back please do

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Common mistake people make. The Marine Corps can only travel by Navy. The Marine Corps has their own Air Force (Air Wing Group). Marines also have airborne troops. Marines are the only ones trusted to guard US embassys across the globe. Marines also guard the nations nuclear weapons. Inside the MArine ranks you have even more elite groups like force recon, scout snipers (best in the world), etc. Marines also have gender seperated boot camps. The Army trains men and women side by side. Once while at Ft. Lee, I saluted and Army officer and thought he was going to pass out at the sign of respect I gave him.

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where Marines go they hold. Again and again is been prove there is no argument, discussion or doubts. If The Army or The Navy ever look on heaven scenes you will find the street are guarded by United States Marines. My respect to the Army.
PS: We will always hold the ground till you guys show up.

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greg, youre biased. The army packs a hell of lot more punch than the marines. They have way bigger and more heavily armed units. The marines are elite because they are light, fast shock troops. They kick ass to be sure, but they arent betterthan the army. They just have a different mission. Its like comparing the german ss to a panzergrenadier division. The panzergrenadiers packed hell of a lot more punch, and they were damn good soldiers, but the ss was faster and could operate more independently

1:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or Iraq, or that they got pinned in Nasariyah and the Brits had to come bail them out before resuming their mission, and for the author of this article 11m have 11b that come out of the bradley, nothing like having a M242 25mm bushmaster as backup. Also we have bradleys and abrams all over the world so we just fly to them. I was in 3 ID and OIF was our war read all the history books P.U.C. and spearhead....thanks George Bush

7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yah, Army Rangers "Lead the way"

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They still hitch a ride on the NAVY boats, besides the Spartans relied on the Athenian Navy, because they didn't have one

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correction, US Army rangers have boots on the ground before marine infantry. Rangers lead the way Hooah

4:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correction, US Army rangers are the tip of the spear, and your comparison of marines to special forces is simply ridiculous. Also, the US needs the Army, the do not however need the marine corp. The Army rangers para-jump in and drive an enemy to the beach. If the navy were to transport the army the same way they do the marines now congress would disband the corp.

4:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quite often it is the Army that has already been in the area long before ANY loud mouthed arrogant Marine has set foot in the area. Who do you think controls the Marines "needing" to even be there? Hahaha to all the indignant "Corp" mentality people reading this. The truth is....any honest Marine will tell you that all the danger and intelligence comes from the ARMY guys whom have all the answers and gameplan before Marines even deploy. Yes the Marines are tasked with "fighting hard" and possibly first but the military as a whole (Army) does not send "MARINES" into battles that cannot be expected to be won. GO So please use common sense when thinking of the differences between the two Branches of Service. Marine are basically a small spoke in the wheel. That's why they are called a "CORPS". Because there are fewer and when activated that's all you friggin hear about. All the elite ARMY units get zero press because who wants to inform normal people through newcasts that blah blah blah unit from such and such highly skilled area of military expertise was mobilized today to MUCH EASIER JUST TO SAY UHHHHH ERRRRR UMMMMM DUHHHH go marines...yayeeeee

11:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Usually battles win wars... Or they did.. The American forces were never beaten in a single battle in Vietnam but we still lost the war. More and more conflicts are becoming like this. We do not meet our adversary face to face anymore.

1:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very well put.

1:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to shake my head at the chest thumping on this blog. you type "Marines are the best" and "Rangers lead the way" from the comfort of your computers when people from all branches gave it all. I have more respect for a female National Guard supply clerk who lost a leg in Iraq than all you chest thumpers.
Tell me, do they award the purple heart to marines who break their arm patting themselves on the back?

12:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incorrect you are, force recon training is 18 months, SFASCQ take between 24-36 months depending on the MOS not including the Q course prior to entering and all the test and approvals you have to get before you apply and hope yo get accepted. As a former bat boy with 3/75th I can tell you that for anyone who thinks in order to become a Ranger all you have to do is get pass RIP/RASP or Ranger school are incorrect. It is easier to get into the regiment than it is to stay in it, any lack of discipline, morale or motivation and you are gone! Training never stops, we have so many guys trained in advance warfare that compares to DEVGRU With a lot of Rangers attending Special Forces schools from other countries, special operations combat diver course, special operations sniper schools and so on, school that are strictly allow to be attended by members of SOCOM & JSOC. We also have are tier 1 operators known as RRC, there is a reason why CAG recruits from Rangers more than anyone else! And as far as 1st to fight all I know is when we jumped into A valley in 01 the only ones there with us were Army CAG and CIA SAD, didn't see a single spearhead 1st to fight marine till November, only after we ran into 101st and 10th mountain soldiers.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, my brother was in the USMC before he joined the AF. He spent 13 weeks there, 1 week in reception and more than half of that in history and appearance, 1 week of rifle, 1 week of hip throws and how to punch for those that have never been in a fight before, and you are a marine. 3miles 28:00 minutes, 50 crunches and 3 pull ups to become a marine. They do shoot at a 500 yd target, problem is the target is almost the size of an SUV and they do it with a 20 inch heavy barrel m16a4. Somehow that is consider elite. Never saw a marine before me in Afghanistan or during the invasion of Iraq!!

3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was waiting for an elite battle hardened marine to bring up fictional quotes and magical letters. Ive been in since 2001 and all I heard during 03 in Nov when I went back home for R&R was how somebody's marine brother talked about the radio interception where it stated "don't attack the U.S marine, they will return fire" funny you say that cause during that time both our uniforms were tan, so that's a failure on your behalf. On that same note if the enemy is so fear by the enemy why is it that a lot of U.S Army casualties are by IED or mortar fire while as a marine they are always getting shot? I mean if the enemy fears why attack? Another failure. Those quotes which you speakbhave been chopped down and rebuild by marines to make themselves feel superior, not a single one of those quotes exist in record. You know what exist in recorded history? Was that the marines were not called devil dogs by the Germans in the battle of belleau woods, in fact the marine recruitment poster was already out 2 weeks before that battle started. If I had to do it allnover again I wouldn't want to belong to a sorority group that prides itself on fiction!

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Army bypassed Nasiraya and said it was clear. The Marines were ambushed because of the Army saying there was no one in the city! How about Fallujah? The Marines lost a lot of lives taking that city only for the Army to lose it.The Marines had to come back for round two because the army lost total control of the city.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and marine recon is there, collected battle field intell and maybe a prisoner or two, before the first range parachute hooks up for the jump! Lesson? Everyone brings something important to the fight...

5:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The U.S. needs the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines!( and Coast Guard- they have been jn every war too- and will often see more gun fights than Navy on a daily basis!)

The Marines are considered elite because they are the best Light Infantry and highly mobile- 90% of the Army isnt. The basic fleet Marine IS ahead of his Army infantry counterpart in terms of deployment readiness, weapons proficiency, and physical aptitude.

You are being derisive in trying compare
Advanced Army units like 10th Mtn, 25th,173 rd , 82nd and 101st to a MEU deployed Marine- those units are equal to or in some areas superior to fleet Marines of MEU. They are roughly equals to division Marine Recon. Force Recon is closer to the elite Army 75 th ranger regiment. Currently the marines have components now in SOC(msot units) that often fight alongside Navy Seals(NSW), while div. Recon and Force recon are still deployed to gather intell and do some direct actuon fighting at the direction of their Navy and Marine commands .

Since you tout the Army elite units as being the tip of the spear, how often do you hear of Ranger units being sent to evacuate US citizens from trouble areas?75% of the worlds nations are accessible by water- guess which fighting force is going to be in landing ships??? Saying the Marines would ne disbanded if the Navy transported soldiers is just as ignorant as saying the 82nd airborne div. Could be disbanded if the 11,13,15 MEU parachuted into hostile enemy territory by using USAF transport planes...

5:59 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

You can compare all day long from behind a computer. While there is a lot of time for comparisons while in garrison or in a training position on who is better and who is elite and who has better uniforms. But when the shit hits the fan the idea is to fight , accomplish the mission you've been assigned and of course keep your ass from getting killed or injured and that of your buddies. Who goes first into an area depends on the mission and that is not decided by the marine corps or army . The guy writing in that he's a marine and has to leave this page because he is infuriated, has no idea what he's talking about and is probably a reservist or waiting to leave for boot camp. I like the friendly rivalry between the army and the corp, it keeps everyone on their toes. But when it is time to get to work, all this crap doesn't matter. Regardless of if you are an infantry soldier or a marine if you are not motivated and giving it your best (everything you got) then you have no honor , you haven't defended and surely are not faithful. A uniform or the accolades from civilians will never make you a warrior. We must never dishonor each other because when we do we dishonor those who didn't come home.the soldiers and the marine in the morgue are not going to be compared side by side. War is not a game.
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Blogger Unknown said...

No. 82nd Airborne is a far superior infantry fighting force then the Marines. Not even close.

1:05 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The Marines are like the Green Berets. Lol. What are you smoking? Not even in the same hemisphere?? I was in the 82nd Airborne from 1983 til 1990. We would have manuevers ie war games with the Marines from Camp Lejeune and NEVER LOST!! When I went to Basic in 1982 at Benning it was just as demanding as Marine Basic. I served in Operation Urgent Fury. Operation Just Cause and Desert Storm/Shield. The Marines played a very minor and I cant emphasis minor in all. Marines are great salesmen. Iwo Jima for example was shelled and bombed for weeks and had only 16000 Japs protecting it. It took them weeks to take it. Dday the Army assaulted the beach head guarded by nearly 300k troops that were within 5miles of the beachhead. The Aircorp and Navy started shelling and bombing only an Hour before the landing and the bombing missed all their targets due to the weather. The Army took the beaches and had pushed into Normady within 12 hours. 82nd Airborne isnt called Americas guard of Honor because they cant fight. Fullaj while under the 82nd Airborne had suppressed and controlled it. It was once they left and the Marines took over that the shit hit the fan. And who saved the Marines ass in Fulluja? The Eighty Duece !! Keep drinking yoyr Kool aid. You will make a great Marine bc u already have half a brain. All the way !!

1:19 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Marine Recon is a step below the Army Rangers !! What is it with all this fiction going on here. The Marines had nothing to offer when combined units were formed at Ft. Bragg. I was with the 82nd Airborne Division and was a pathfinder and we trained harder fought harder and were in better shape then so called force recon. I met the Marines at Airborne School and was amazed at their lack of intelligence. Plus their APFT scores at jump school were pathetic. Take a breath of reality and stay away from the kool aid. Lol. Marine Recon what a Joke LMAO

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Blogger Unknown said...

Fuck no. Marines are super legs.

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Blogger Unknown said...

I was in the 82nd we ate Marines for brunch. Way over rated. They have a great PR dept.

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Blogger Unknown said...

Well put. Eighty Duece vet here

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Blogger ParaLife said...

I respect your opinion but disagree. The USMC don't hold a FN'ing candle to my 82nd 508. We have bailed the USMC out so many times it's ridiculous in Afghanistan and Iraq! When shit really goes down the 82nd goes in not the USMC. They come in after we make the shit safe But you won't read about that in magazines and news papers. My paratroopers can drop in anywhere reak havoc and not leave our brothers dead like the USMC that's why they brought us in to help the USMC get through Iraq and that's a fact! I retired in 2015 with 21 years and 3 months under my belt had 14 heavy driven combat deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, Bosnia, Kuwait, Asia and assisted the South Koreans on spec ops against North Korea. I'm no badass but when it comes time to drop in and pull the trigger I want my panthers there not any cloud brained jar heads who can't do what we do!

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You are crazy as hell to believe that lie. A goofy pathfinder in a infantry unit saying they are more advanced and in better shape than force recon. Just say you are a jealous doggie wanting more ribbons and badges to put on your ACU’s. I know one thing, you are not scuba qualified or Halo qualified. Keep playing the x box and the mean Marines will go away.

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