Posted on Jul 6, 2017
Sgt Vernon Fulmer
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I would like to advance my military career in special operations, but the gap is closing because of my TIS in the Marine Corps. I do love my Marine Corps, however, it might be time for me to take my desires and experience elsewhere. I'm using this time to finish my degree, and explore my options. I was hoping there was someone who could give me some insight.
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MAJ Corporate Buyer
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Edited >1 y ago
I was an E5 in the Marines and switched to the Army. I love the Marine Corps and it will always have a place in my heart but the Army has proven to be a better experience.

These are my opinions as I witnessed them first hand. Others may have different views.

Marine Pros: Best uniforms and highest esprit de corps hands down. All Marines, regardless of MOS, are held to the same standard and that standard is rigorously enforced. Marines stress the importance of history.

Army Pros: The Army has much better equipment and gear and much better training facilities. The Army has much more opportunity for schools. I've seen in the comments where people have asked you why you don't join Force Recon. I'm sure you would like to. I would have liked it too when I was in, but the fact of the matter is that in the Marines that kind of thing is much harder to come by. In the Army I got to go to Airborne school, Air Assault school, and Ranger school without even asking for it, it was just standard. Two were because I was an Infantry officer and one because of where I was stationed. I never saw those kinds of opportunities for anyone in the Marines. Where will you be stationed in the Marines? East coast, west coast, or Okinawa right? For the most part anyway. In the Army you've got everything from Korea to Italy. Germany to Kentucky. Alaska to Colorado. New York to Louisiana. The options are abundant. I mentioned training facilities earlier. In the Marines, MOUT training consisted of clearing conex trailers with windows and doors cut out of them. In the Army we had entire cities complete with streets, alleys, government buildings, burning cars and civilians acting as locals. And when I was deployed our unit was right next to a Marine unit and I can tell you that we did the same job day in and day out. Both with expert efficiency. Just with a little different lingo. If you're wanting to do Spec Ops, the Army would be a much more likely place for that to happen in my opinion.

Army Cons: The combat arms side of things (specifically the infantry since that's what I can speak to) is very similar to the Marines in standards and esprit de corps. But once you get out of the combat arms, standards drop. Not trying to offend those not in combat arms, but it's what I saw.

It was hard for me to switch from the Marines to the Army because the Marines do a great job of pounding it into your head that Marines are indestructible and everyone else sucks. Well, that's just not the case. There are numerous combat tested and battle-hardened units in the Army. The history of the Army, like the Marines, is nothing short of awe inspiring.

Good luck with your career. If you have any specific question let me know.
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Cpl Thomas Washington
Cpl Thomas Washington
2 mo
Well Marine you are not alone, We always had the worst equipment and lousy living condition's …but would never had known except we joined the Army. Life just got easy, except I found a number of nine to five Armu buddies and that was not good. I did my four years and called it a day. Complete your goal, keep the “mean Green fighting machine standards and you will do fine. I now find myself hanging around with more Airborne or straight up Rangers as company. We have unbelievable stories. If I had stayed in the ARMY, Life would have been a breeze, Momma said it was time to quit at ten years. I still regret that move. I had oil made in the shade. And the food OMG really? My medals for Vietnam Service meant a lot more from the Corps, a little prejudice I guess.
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SP5 Walter Luffman
SP5 Walter Luffman
17 d
Never was a Marine, but I enlisted in the Army at age 19 in 1968. The only soldiers I knew who had real esprit de corps were Vietnam veterans, primarily in combat arms. But our Class As and khakis looked better IMHO than the current equivalent uniforms. As for fatigues, utilities and other such working/combat uniforms, today's versions look better and may be more comfortable.

My AIT was a DoD journalism/broadcast school on a now-closed Army post; that was a bit of a rarity back then. I understand joint-service training, especially technical training, is much more common now. But I spent time on various training ranges, and the Army did things well back then. From what I've seen their ranges are still considerably more modern than those the Marines have; but what the Corps may lack in state-of-the-srt, it makes up for with the quality of training.

Having visited several military installations over the years since, I have to agree that the Army generally has better facilities and equipment than the Corps. I won't comment on the Air Force and Navy, since their situations and missions are far different.
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MSG Harvey Kane
MSG Harvey Kane
15 d
Marine combat units and Army combat units share the same dirt - and dirt is dirt is dirt!
Army is huge and the Corp is small. More opportunities in huge!
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PO1 John Hudson
PO1 John Hudson
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I wish you well. I started the Army, then went to the Coast Guard. I loved both, Coast Guard being small demanded more out of you and gave you greater responsibility right out the gate. All the services and those that serve in them are great.
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LTC Jeff Shearer
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SGT one of my best friends in SF was a former Marine. He was on an amtrak, hope the spelling is correct. After years he started jumping for the Golden Knights then helped establish the Black Daggers. I am not a Marine, I do have the upmost respect for them and worked with them a good bit over the years. I went to SF School with a Force Recon Marine Officer who was attached to the Special Warfare Center.

Sorry I got distracted.

If you feel like you would like to venture into Special Operations, you know that MARSOC is loaded with some knuckle dragging barbarians badasses. However, I spent 20+ in SF and I would not trade it for anything. I traveled the planet, sometimes with a unit sometimes not with a unit.

I lived in South America, worked for the Embassy but was rarely in the Embassy. I loved it. So the bottom line is no matter the service I love special operations.
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LTC Self Employed
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You should be able to keep your rank and all your service schools count. I worked with a Marine who joined the Army Reserve and came in as an e-4 just like he left. He was a specialist because there are no corporals in civil Affairs so he quickly was promoted to Sergeant E-5. Within two years he was E6 because he had finished his first phase of his intermediate NCO School. I had a chance to talk with and actually have lunch with Marine Special Forces in Western Afghanistan almost 10 years ago. Their base was adjacent to ours. Awesome group of guys. When they were ripping out going back stateside and they asked us to cover down on a project they had promised to locals and we did it.
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CAPT Deputy Director Training
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I'm a Navy Reserve officer and served in Uruzgan in 2010-2011. They sent me to Fort Bragg Civil Affairs school at the Special Operations school there and was trained by U.S. Army Reservists. They prepared us well and the training was excellent. Took is swabbies a bit to get used to the Army training methods, but we were able to pass the course. This includes the junior officer course and the senior officer civil affairs schools. It opened a whole new world to me of stability operations. Then they sent us to train with the 189th training brigade at Camp Atterbury Indiana. The Army knows how to train - respect. The folks I met in the Civil Affairs school were operating at the highest level of professionalism, I mean they really knew their stuff and they knew the social-political-military story in Iraq and AFG.
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Sgt Paul Martinis
Sgt Paul Martinis
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I went from the Marine Corp to the Army and can attest to these facts.
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MAJ Jpm Mcg
MAJ Jpm Mcg
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CAPT (Join to see) - You were one of my students!! You guys brought the right attitude to the training. It was an absolute pleasure working with you and your teammates!!
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SFC S2 Intelligence Ncoic
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For somebody who is thinking about switching from "The Marines" to the Army, be prepared to be surrounded by level-headed individuals who don't talk about how awesome they are all the time, haha. Just kidding, I have many, many, Marine friends so I'm pretty well informed on how the USMC differs from the Army.
Pros: - More opportunities to advance through more career programs (PSYOPS, SF, Ranger, 160th
SOAR, etc and etc)
- Faster promotions on average (bigger force, more room for advancement)
- Way more opportunities to travel with over 50 Army bases in the continental US alone
- Super cool uniforms
- More money for better equipment and schooling
- Depending on the unit, perhaps a little bit more laid back than what you may be used to
Cons: - Ton of bureaucracy
- Constant uniform changes
- Lots of Creeds that must be memorized just in case you forget how to be an NCO or a soldier
(not sure if this is the same in the USMC)
- Although the Army may be a bit more relaxed, it leaves room for soldiers to become
insubordinate and lack giving the proper military courtesy to their superiors.

Hope this gives you somewhat of an idea. I didn't wanna type forever and bore you with all the reading, haha.
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SSG AH-64D Armament/Electrical/Avionic Systems Repairer
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I totally agree with you SFC Liedtka. I retired in 2017 and I recall when in the early 2000's so many different creeds began to pop up. I know the NCO creed and the army song and I never tried to learn anything else.
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SP5 Ed Nolan
SP5 Ed Nolan
11 mo
SFC James Liedtka - Creeds??? Hell the only thing we had a creed about was where the closest place to buy beer was, got out in 1977, sounds like things have really changed. Oh, and I hate the tan boots and the sloppy "fatigues" or whatever they are called now. Starched fatigues and spit shined jump boots looked so much sharper.
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Sgt Sidney Lange
Sgt Sidney Lange
10 mo
I was a marine before college and worked with army officers who started out in the marines. They switched because of the family benefits which were inadequate in the marines. Something to think about if you get married in the service. Semper Fi.
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SFC S2 Intelligence Ncoic
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6 mo
PO2 Hubert Linker sorry for just now responding to your comment, Sir. I have to be honest, even though yes, our Aviation units are a soap opera, they are still cush assignments (served with 2nd and 3rd CAB) and enjoyed it.
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