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chelle21689's avatar

What makes many people think Marines are tougher than the Army?

Asked by chelle21689 (6831points) January 9th, 2011

With all due respect, I keep hearing that Marines are tougher than the Army but I really do believe it’s the person that makes the uniform…not the uniform that makes them. I hear that the Marines are tougher and better because they have three weeks longer basic training, better combat moves and shooting, and more discipline.

I don’t get it really because why does three weeks make a huge difference in whether or not you’re a better soldier? In the Army there is Airborne school (which is tough 3 weeks), Air Assault, SERE training (which is something I can’t imagine lol), and a lot of other things. Also, when it comes to the shooting and fighting, what’s the difference between a Marine expert shooter and an Army expert shooter if you’re shooting with the same rifle?

Please no bashing on either branch, be respectful. I am just here to discuss this like civilized adults…not children. Haha, I know how ugly things like this topic can get.

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16 Answers

anartist's avatar

A combination of USMC’s marketing and USMC’s stiffer acceptance standards.
I’d find it hard to say an Army Ranger is less capable than the Marine equivalent.

jerv's avatar

First off, they really do have more discipline in the Marines. That made relations between the Marines and the sailors on my first ship a little tense as the Navy is not used to respect for the chain of command, proper procedure, or other “by the book” stuff like getting haircuts or not calling your superior an asshat. The Marines are all about respect and procedure. Very professional.

Also, unlike the Army, the USMC has standards on who they will accept. The Army will take just about anyone who doesn’t have too bad of a criminal record, brain damage, or physical deformity whereas Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children go for the smart, physically fit people of good moral character.

The Army does what it does competently enough (usually) but their job is generally easier anyways; to hold territory that the Marines already conquered. The Marines are often called upon to do things that the Army can’t or won’t, and often have to do so with less technology and fewer toys, thus putting more of a burden on the man. Doing that and doing it well requires precision that makes a Swiss watch look like a kludge.

As for the difference between the the shooters, the big differences are where you shoot from and what you do between shots.

crazyivan's avatar

More people drop out of BT in the marines than in the army. It takes more toughness to become a Marine than a soldier. While an individual in the army might be tougher than an individual in the marines, on the average, the Marines are whipping army ass.

CaptainHarley's avatar


I do not agree.

KatawaGrey's avatar

Members of the army can be very tough, intelligent, physically fit and everything @jerv described but the difference is that you have to prove that you are all that and more before you even enter basic training for the Marines. When my cousin decided to join the Marines, they wouldn’t even take him until he became a good student. He was passing all of his classes but he was told that he had to get a minimum of a B average in order to even apply for basic training.

I can believe that individual branches of the army that require special training such as the rangers, as @anartist mentioned are as tough or tougher than the Marines but as far as the basic requirements go, the Marines are more discriminating.

@CaptainHarley: Why do you not agree? I’m honestly interested since I am not in the military and have never gone through the training.

jerv's avatar

@KatawaGrey I believe that @CaptainHarley disagrees as he was in the Army. In fact, he was in nearly as long as I’ve been alive. And I concede that at one point, the Army was better than it is now, in part because of men like @CaptainHarley, but the place seems to have gone downhill since he left.

Consider this though; at one point, the Army was drafting and taking nearly anybody whether they wanted to join or not, and currently they are undermanned to the point where they really can’t afford to be picky. By contrast., the Marines have not lowered their standards at any point in my recollection; they’ve always been taking only the best, and only those that want to be a Marine.

You are correct in that special forces such as the Rangers have higher requirements, but the USMC has Force Recon who go through Ranger training on top of their other training and the Navy has SEALS who also do everything the Rangers do and more.

Don’t get me wrong; the Army is a fine branch and I am glad to have them around. It’s just that “fine” doesn’t quite compare to “kick ass”; In other words, getting an A on a test isn’t bad, but getting an A+ is better.

mrrich724's avatar

From what I’ve been told, Marines are always the first to be dropped off in the shit. They are the grunts that have to handle the worst of any given situation. Once they deal with all that crap, then Army soldiers and the like go in to work.

Again, from what I’ve been told . . .

But I can see why Marines are considered tougher if that is truly what happens.

chelle21689's avatar

From what I’ve been told, SOCOM is the first to get in or Special Forces…which isn’t marines…right? And if you wanna talk “better” infantry as a whole, the marines don’t have airborne units, air assault units or anything like that. Honestly, I just wish I could do both and see the difference myself.

CaptainHarley's avatar

It depends upon the mission and the circumstances surounding it. For counter-terrorism missions, Delta Force is the weapon of choice. For indigenous training missions, nation-building, insurgency and counterinsurgency ops, Special Forces is the very best. For clandestine waterborne missions, Seals are the best choice. For vertical insertion missions, the 101st Air Assault Division, the 82 Airborne Division, or one of my old units The 173rd Airborne Brigade ( Separate ), are unmatched. If you want firepower, high mobility and shock effect, one of the armored divisions is best. If you want amphibious landings, gound shock troops Marines are your instrument.

BoltFan's avatar

General Colin Powell US Army said it best; “Lying offshore, ready to act, the presence of ships and Marines sometimes means much more than just having air power or ship’s fire, when it comes to deterring a crisis. And the ships and Marines may not have to do anything but lie offshore. It is hard to lie offshore with a C-141 or C-130 full of airborne troops.”
But yes CaptainHarley is correct in saying that the mission dictates who is utilized.

I submit that the idea is smaller units are more capable of faster, more covert operations than that of an entire Division, Regiment, Battalion or Company or other service equivalent. Small is fast, large units take too much time, energy, and $ to deploy. Accross the board though service member to service member, I tend to think that the training one recieves is what makes the service. Every Marine is a trained and capable basic rifleman, first and foremost, then they are subsequently trained in an occupational specialty. I personally believe that is the force multiplier. Whereas one in another branch who goes through BCT and AIT, have limited if any emphasis on combat if they are not in a combat related MOS. You need to know how to handle yourself in any situation even if your odds of seeing combat are slim to none. Marines take care of that aspect very well. As far as training goes to me its the diference between driving a Ferrari and a Mustang Shelby Cobra. Sure I would love to have a Shelby, but once you drive a Ferrari, well, I’m sure you know the rest.

Tomcat's avatar

I think due to the fact that the Army fought the majority of battles in:
The Revolutionary War
The war of 1812
The Mexican American War
The Civil War
The American Indian Wars
The Spanish American War
Respect should be given to the Army for its service in the very beginings of this great country, and for its service now.

Tomcat's avatar

USAMU and SSG Green Dominate 2010 Interservice Match
The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s Service Rifle team dominated the 49th Interservice Rifle Championships. USAMU shooters won the coveted 10-man Interservice Rifle team championship and swept every major award at the Interservice tournament, held last week at Quantico, Virginia. USAMU teams also won the the 1,000-yard team match in both the service rifle and match rifle categories, setting a new match record in the service rifle category. With its performance at Quantico, the USAMU completed a sweep of all interservice marksmanship championships in 2010 — soldiers and teams from the USAMU previously won the shotgun and pistol interservice competitions, as a team and individually.

Individually, Staff Sgt. Brandon Green was the big winner during the week. He won six championships, including the overall individual championship — his second time winning the prestigious title. He also won the Coast Guard match, the Marine Corps match, the 600-yard match rifle, the 1,000-yard match rifle, and the match rifle individual long-range championship.

Members of the winning 10-man Interservice Rifle team were: Sgt. 1st Class Lance Dement, Sgt. 1st Class Grant Singley, Staff Sgt. Tyrell Cooper, Staff Sgt. Brandon Green, Staff Sgt. Joel Micholick, Staff Sgt. Scott Grant, Sgt. Sherri Jo Gallagher, Spc. Kevin Trickett, Spc. Augustus Dunfey, and Pfc. Amanda Elsenboss. Coaches were Sgt. 1st Class Emil Praslick and Staff Sgt. Walter Craig. Cooper was the high individual shooter during the match with a score of 497–21x.

WestRiverrat's avatar

My uncle was drafted into the USMC. I think the biggest difference initially is that the Marine corps treats all of its recruits as combat riflemen first and specialists second. It trains all of its soldiers to a higher minimum standard than the US army Basic training.

US army soldier that is intended to actually fight are as well trained as the USMC grunt, but the guy that goes in to be a clerk or a mechanic is not trained to that level, at least initially.

When I enlisted, the USMC basic training was nearly twice as long as the US army basic training, and included more Marksmanship and Physical training.

blaze626's avatar

Note that all services attend SERE schools.

EmptyNest's avatar

There is definitely an order to the different branches. I believe the order is: National Air Guard, National Guard, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy and Army. It goes according to training and strictness and the time it takes to be promoted. For instance, it takes much less time for an Army soldier to move up in ranks than it does in the Air Force, but it takes less time for an airman to advance than it does for a Marine. I wouldn’t take it personally. Foot and ground soldiers are just as important to our National Security as any of the others and are very bit respected by civilians.

OneBadApple's avatar

Not exactly relevant to your question, but regarding your comment about “expert” riflemen in the different military branches:

When I was in basic training at Fort Dix, on the day that our company went to qualify in hand grenades, it happened that I’d developed a hemorrhoid and went on ‘Sick Call’ for just that day. It was the only day scheduled for us to qualify with this weapon, so they just gave me an “Expert” medal. So yes, that’s right…..even though I’ve never picked up a hand grenade in my life, somewhere in a box in our attic is evidence that I am a U.S. Army-trained hand grenade “expert”. The only thing I blew up on that day was my hemorrhoid.

My point is, there is just as much PR and BS in our military services as you will find anywhere else….

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