Army Infantry or Marines Infantry? Please Help!?

This is a lot to read, I know but I would really appreciate it if someone answered all the questions because it will have a great deal in my decision and my future. I am 16 years old, almost 17, and I know I want to join the military. I also know that I definitely want to do infantry. I know a lot about the army because I know many veterans and active duty soldiers. My dad also went through marine basic training. I am extremely athletic, in very good shape, have lean muscle, am very mentally strong, know all about fitness(my dad is a fitness junkie), and have a good chance at either playing division 1 college lacrosse or hockey. I want to play one of those in college so I know I am going to join the military after college. I am just torn between enlisting in the USMC or the Army.

I am positive I want to do infantry. I know that the army has better equipment and more firepower but I know that the marines are the identity of the military. They are some of the bravest men on the planet and they just use m16s and hand grenades. Can someone please fill me in a little bit more in terms of warfare style, equipment, and differences on the battlefield.

I also know that the army generally gets around by helicopter and the marines are amphibious. What are the pros and cons of both?

It's obvious that the USMC basic training is harder. Everyone knows that and my dad went through it. The army BT is still excellent for training it's soldiers but it doesn't compare to the USMC at Paris island. Also, if you enter the army basic training with a four year college degree, you allowed to enter as a specialist... Is that also true for the marines? And after army basic training, you have to go to advanced individual training... Is there anything like that for the marines? What are the main differences?. Any other details?

I want to join the army because of their technology and firepower and to have the opportunity to become an Army Ranger (I know I have what it takes) but I want to the join the marines because of their heritage and to say "I am a marine" along with being able to fight side by side with my fellow marines, protecting my country.

Also, I heard you cannot be over 28 years old to serve in the marines infantry while in the army you can be 35. I am joining after college because of sports and that will be when I'm around 23 or 24 yrs old... If I join the marines by the time I finish with basic I will only be able to serve for a couple of years. Is that true?

Also, I heard that the marines are far more dangerous in terms of casualties. Is that true?

Id I forgot to cover any other differences, could you please point them out. Thanks! Your input will be greatly appreciated! :)

5 Answers

  • Wraeth
    Lv 7
    8 years ago
    Best Answer

    1) If you are going to college, you have at least 6 more years to make up your mind, and it will change often. It is also fairly idiotic to get a degree and just enlist as you could be an officer.

    2) How exactly are Marines the identity of the military? The USMC has very similar equipment to the Army. If you think all they have is M16s and hand grenades you are very much mistaken. When it comes down to it, Marine infantry and Army infantry training is very similar. The biggest difference is Marines have specific MOS's for nearly every job, whereas the Army only has two and generalize (meaning more diverse training and units in the Army).

    3) The Army primarily gets around by land vehicles as do the Marines in today's wars. Again, there is little difference here. The only difference is in the TYPE of vehicles being used.

    4) Basic training is an extremely small part of any branches training. 95% of your training comes after you get out of BCT/AIT at your permanent duty station. Just because the USMC boot is 3 weeks longer than the Army's that does not make it harder, just longer.

    5) The Army allows degree holders to enter as an E-4 Specialist. The USMC allows them to enter as an E-2 PFC, which is the highest anyone can enlist as in the Marines.

    6) Marine infantryman go to SOI (School of Infantry) to learn their jobs after boot. The Army infantryman go to 16 weeks of OSUT, OSUT is combined BCT/AIT where you start learning your job on day one. The biggest difference is the USMC Infantryman is trained as an amphibious soldier, the Army is not (although you can be later in your career).

    7) Many many people join the Marines for the title and little else. This is the reason that the USMC has the lowest retention rate of all the branches at just 34%. The other 4 are all around 70%.

    8) Those ages are for initial enlistment only. As long as you are enlisted before those ages, you can stay in as long as the military wants you. Half the Generals out there have been serving for 40 years or more, all in the 50's/60's and are infantrymen.

    9) The USMC makes up 7% of ground forces. The Army makes up 90%. As such the Army has FAR more casualties than the USMC currently. Go to for more information of casualty numbers by branch.

    Edit: I don't know what Ben has been smoking but he is wrong on basically everything other than the casualty numbers.

    A) Marine Recon has nowhere near the training of an Army Ranger. They do not have similar missions and you can not compare them. Marine Recon is a conventional force whose mission is near identical to that of the Army Cavalry Scout (ie ME) albeit they do have longer training than we do. The Rangers are Special Operations and support JSOC missions.

    B) The USMC does not put the EGA on their vehicles. Even if they did (which they don't), the Army would never put the EGA on ours. I can just see an Army Command Sergeant Major having an aneurysm over it. I don't know where he "heard" this crap but it is just plain false. Just sounds like another Marine urban legend to me (and there are dozens, mostly dealing with how their traditions are all made up).

    C) The highest the USMC will promote you with a degree is E-2, like I said. They will NOT allow you to enter as an E-4 Corporal (they do not have the E-4 SPC rank).

    @ Tobi. The USMC has never once been the first sent to war. The whole "First to Fight" is just a motto. It is not based in reality.

    Source(s): US Army Scout
  • 8 years ago

    First: The technology doesn't matter. Just because the Army has M4's doesn't mean they are better. Every Marine can shoot better than most Army folk because their training requirements just to pass ware higher than the Army's expert (highest) score. The Marines have a lot more weapons than just the M16A4 and hand grenades.

    Second: Yes the USMC training is harder, and yes you do get promoted for having a college degree. After Marine boot camp all boots need to go to combat training. I don't know a lot about "advanced individual training" but I know that that sounds bad. There is no individual in the Marine Corps.

    Third: The Marines do have a lot of the stuff that the army has, but not all of it. What they don't have, they can just hitch a ride for. There is a thing called Marine Recon, I suppose it is the equivalent of Army Rangers, except much harder and more rewarding.

    Fourth: You cannot be over 28 to serve in the Marine Infantry, but you probably won't want to. War is nasty. Not to mention that every day in "the ****" as some call it is like basic training all over again as I have been told. You can still serve in the Marines after 28 as long as you have enlisted before then.

    Fifth:Actually, that is not true at all. here is an excerpt from a

    Wounded in Action

    30,490 U.S. service members have been wounded due to combat actions in Iraq and 2,309 in Afghanistan (32,799 total). The Army experienced 22,948 (70.0%) of those casualties, the Marine Corps 8,721 (26.6%), the Navy 656 (2%), and the Air Force 474 (1.4%).

    The Army had 1,515 officers and 19,664 enlisted Soldiers wounded in action. The Marine Corps had 420 officers and 8,178 enlisted Marines WIA. The Navy experienced 35 officers who were WIA, and 621 Sailors. The Air Force statistics include 44 officers WIA and 430 enlisted Airmen WIA.

    Active duty personnel comprised 26,056 (79.4%) of the WIA, with 6,743 (20.5%) Guard/Reserve personnel WIA.

    The Army had 533 female WIA, the Marine Corps had 41, the Navy had 5, and the Air Force had 27 females WIA in the two combat areas.

    Whites made up 25,254 (77.0%) of the WIAs, blacks comprised 2,688 (8.0%), and hispanics made up 2,061 (6.3%) of those wounded in action.

    (The source is in the source box)

    That is mostly because Iraqis and Afganis learned not to fire on vehicles with the USMC EGA(Eagle Globe and Anchor) logo on them, because if they did they knew that they WOULD get killed. Funny story, the Army actually started painting EGA's on their trucks so that the enemies would not fire on them as much.

    That's all I have. All in all, I would definitely recommend the USMC. Thanks, I put a lot of time into this.

  • 8 years ago

    Everyone thinks that the marines are big and bad and that they **** on the which is not true at all. Wraeth stated that out completely and don't listen to all that the few the proud stuff and first to fight because yes you can obviously be proud as you should be. But first to fight that is not true it is ALWAYS the army the marines just have a great advertisement and that's why everyone thinks they are so great.

    My friends older brother was planning on going in to the marines because he was sucked in to all the advertisement and one thing many people do not know is that in the army if you have the ASVAB score you get to pick the MOS you want that does not apply in the marines they assign you to your job and you don't get to pick how does that sound so if you wanted to do infantry that would be hard if you don't get to pick. If you want to go in to the military I would highly recommend you go into the army. I plan on going into the Navy because I want to attend the Naval academy but the army highly takes the edge over the marines.

  • 8 years ago

    I think you got most of the basic differences. I am not yet in the Marines, but I have relatives in different forces, and what you already said is the info. I have gathered. The Marines do have choppers, though. There isn't a pro or con to either, though. I wouldn't be surprised if the Marines had more casualties. They seem to get sent first a lot!

    Source(s): Marine poolee..:D Gotta graduate first!
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Didn't read it, but Army. Why better unless your goal is to get out and act like an @ss.

    Source(s): 17yrs Navy
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.