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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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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CPT Tim Homolak
CPT Tim Homolak
1 mo
Army or Corp you experience depends on the individuals you are serving with. I tip my hat to both and have served with great individuals in both!
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1stSgt Timothy Phillips
1stSgt Timothy Phillips
1 mo
I went to Army Ranger School in 1973 as a Sgt. in the USMC. When the training course ended I had more points than any enlisted man in the school. A 1stLt. from Force Recon had the most points for an officer in the school. Guess what, both of us somehow lost points and an Army Major and SFC came out as number one officer an enlisted. Ten Marines started the course and ten Marines finished the course. I believe over 400 Soldiers along with some Laotians, South Vietnamese, and two Turkish Soldiers started the course. I think one Laotian, five or so South Vietnamese, and all the two Turks graduated. 149 men graduated the course. You figure out the math on that. Personally I was treated great by the Cadre Captain and his two asst. SFC's while I was going through the school, but when I was doing the training in the field probably a third of the instructors did all they could to make me quit. During the Mountain Phase a Ranger Sergeant flunked me on navigation, because he said I only looked at my map one time as we came back to friendly lines. It did not matter to him that we came back to a point 50 meters from where we were supposed to reenter friendly lines. After he flunked me on that, he flunked me on how I had reorganized the patrol after I took it over. When he got done telling me why he flunked me, I asked him how long he had spent in Vietnam. He proudly said, "I was there six months and I was RECONDO!" I told him, "Well RECONDO sounds like Marine Force Recon to me. That meant you went out in small teams and hid from the enemy so you could call air strikes or arty on them. Sometimes you might do prisoner snatches and you got all the air support and other support you needed when the shit hit the fan. Me, I spent 18 months in Vietnam. As a squad leader I led most nine to ten men on patrols and night ambushes. These nine or ten men included a Corpsman and a MG team. Usually the Gun Team was one Machine Gunner and maybe an A-Gunner. The squad members carried the ammunition for the M-60. Also, as a squad leader I had to find my way around. I kept my map and compass hidden, because I did not want the enemy snipers to know I was in charge. I would sit down with my point man, figure out how we were going on the patrol or our night ambush, and off we would go. I never looked at my map again, because I memorized where the hell I had to go. That's how I got us off the damned mountain and back to where we were supposed to reenter friendly lines." The stupid Recondo Sgt. got smart with me. I walked away from him instead of doing what my natural instinct wanted to do, which was beat the living hell out of him. He followed me and kept running his stupid mouth. I turned around and told him, "Get your MF'ing ass away from me or I am going to beat the shit out of you!" Of course he told the Cadre Capt on me. When the Capt called me and asked me what happened, I gave him a full account of how stupid his Recondo Sgt was. His advice to me was to hold my temper in check. He could not change the grade I got. The next patrol I was the platoon sergeant and had three different patrol leaders over me. I kept the patrol going when they screwed up. The Ranger officer grading them flunked all three of them. The SFC grading me would not let the Ranger officer flunk me. His exact words to the officer were, "If it was not for Ranger Phillips this patrol and ambush would not have worked at all." Down in Florida I got a SSgt as my grader. He flunked me for the same reasons the stupid Recondo Sgt. did. I was a platoon sgt on this patrol too. All three of the patrol leaders failed. I got the platoon reorganized, loaded on rafts, and down the river. When we got to the site to get out of the rafts I put us in to shore with no problem. During the attack phase of the patrol the patrol leader was giving stupid orders and disorganizing everything. I made him shut up and get out of the way and I took over the patrol. The SSgt told me I got out of line on that. I was eating what little chow I had as he critiqued me. When he got done flunking me, I looked at him and said, "Go away. You are a SSgt and I am nothing but a Sgt, but if you don't get your stupid ass away from me, I will not finish this school." He left. Next patrol I was again a platoon sgt. with idiot patrol leaders. The older SFC grading me passed me with flying colors. Now, you may wonder how I ended up with so many points after flunking parts of two patrols? It was very simple. When an instructor asked for a volunteer to do something, I did it and did it well. I also could out run every ranger student, except for the Major. He ran 5 mins and 25 seconds in his mile run with boots on, I ran 5 mins and 40 seconds. When we did the O'Course at the end of the Darby Phase of training, I started out with my Ranger buddy in the fourth position. I left my Ranger buddy, who happened to be a little Marine Lt., and passed every other two man team ahead of me. I had to wait for the little Marine Lt. to come in before I could finish. I stood about 100 meters from the finish line and waited for his little ass to show up. Since I was forbidden to finish without him, I was got no points, because he managed to stay in the fourth spot. I also walked point in the mountains at night and kept us on track when the other point man was getting us lost. Finally, I maxed the test they gave us at the end of the Darby phase of training and I never went to sleep on watch or in class. Those 18 months I spent in Vietnam where I made meritorious Cpl. and Sgt. had more than prepared me for Ranger School. I was not Jump Qualified when I went through Ranger School. In 1974 I went to Jump School at Benning. That is another story on why I did not want to go into the Army. Got treated like dog shit there just like I did in Ranger School. One thing about me that really pissed off the instructors in both schools was that I always ended my push ups by saying "One for Chesty Puller and One for the Marine Corps!" They thought that I was supposed to end by saying "One for the Big Ranger and Airborne." Since I was not Army I did not think this applied to me. I did a lot of extra push-ups because of my attitude.
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SSG(P) D. Wright Downs
SSG(P) D. Wright Downs
12 d
SFC Howard Holmes - When they had the big scandal, they cut the top people and left Tony Odierno…the son of General Ray Odierno. I knew the General when he was a young Aide to the CG at 56th FA Bde Pershing in Germany. Tony had been injured and lost a leg. I would like to think he was above the scandal out of respect for his father who we all have held in high regard over the years.
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SFC Howard Holmes
SFC Howard Holmes
12 d
Thank you for the info SSG Downs, it is greatly appreciated. What confuses me is the symbol of the project is a warrior carrying another out of, probably, a hot zone - no man left behind. He is apparently not able to walk, which indicates that the man being carried is physically injured, yet the claim is they don't help with physical inflictions. I am glad that they did fix the scandal though, that garbage sickens me. Using the misfortunes of others, or taking advantage of horrible situations to put money in their own pocket. There are way too many organizations that do this.
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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
LTC (Join to see)
>1 y
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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MSG Todd B.
MSG Todd B.
7 mo
After I retired from SF I worked as contractor with MARSOC for a couple years. Those guys were anything but knuckle draggers! They were some of the sharpest, most competent warriors I've ever met!!
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CAPT Deputy Director Training
CAPT (Join to see)
3 mo
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
2 mo
I went from the Marine Corp to the Army and can attest to these facts.
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SN Greg Wright
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I'm curious, why aren't you considering the Raiders?
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Sgt Vernon Fulmer
Sgt Vernon Fulmer
>1 y
SSgt (Join to see) - I was told that I could start the process before I hit that my TIG, however, being so close to graduating, I would be risking my degree. Have you heard of Marines receiving waivers for a situation like this?
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SFC Observer   Controller/Trainer (Oc/T)
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1 y
Maybe because they are attempting to clone SF and even the USMC wants to offload MARSOC half the time?
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SPC Daniel Ebker
SPC Daniel Ebker
1 y
We had a Marine infantry E5 join my AIT for 19D (Cavalry Scout) when i was in OSUT. He too loved his Corps but opportunities abound in BIG Army (and small!) That are just plain RARE in the Corps.
Many in my family are or have been active USMC but I will say this: CAVALRY esprit d' corps is right up there with the USMC & we're NOT pogues/REMFs
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1SG Ernest Stull
1SG Ernest Stull
10 mo
I Trained with a force recon Marine in the late 70"s and he was as hard as woodpecker lips and very knowledgeable in winter warfare and survival as I was but he to said that the ARMY had it better. My nephew was in the Marines for eight years and spent most of his time on a ship going from place to place when he got out he joined the ARMY and stated that if he knew how easy the ARMY was he would have joined a lot sooner. LOL.
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