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 4 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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SGM Sergeant Major
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When its occurring on that large of a scale, I'd argue that it's a culture issue. And it wouldn't surprise me to hear that Marines were treating their Army brothers as inferior. They are indoctrinated to believe they are superior to all others (just ask them, and they will tell you). It's what makes them, them and it drives them to do more with less. They are good that way. However, where that goes wrong is the case you see above.
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SGM Sergeant Major
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Cpl Charles Trump You don't switch to a CIB. You just wear your CAR. Different awards, awarded for different circumstances.
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SGM Sergeant Major
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CPT (Join to see) He was in in the 80s...but you gotta admit, when Infantry Enlisted Soldier can't get a Ranger slot, because the Chem O is going, something is off. In the late 90's Army non-combat Branch O's complained that the Combat Arms branches got a leg up on promotions, because they got to go to...you guessed it, Ranger school. So to level the playing field amongst O's, Ranger school (a small unit leadership school) became open to any O that wants to go, whether or not the Ordinance Officer really needed to know how to lead Ambush, Raid Recon in the Mountains and Swamps. Of course Ranger school didn't get hundreds of more slots a year to accommodate the influx of new non-combat arms Os coming through it. They just displaced the hundreds on Infantry Enlisted that were going. All in the name of leveling the playing field for Officer promotions. I didn't/still don't necessarily agree with this decision. Maybe someone should've just told those SIG Os and Log Os to go Infantry or go to Ranger Bn and "quit their bickering".

But to your point, if you are Enlisted and want to go to Airborne, Ranger, Sniper, and "elite" schools, then go be an elite soldier. Anyone can go to SFAS or SMU selection, almost anyone can go to RASP or volunteer for the 82nd. Your MOS is not providing you the opportunities you want, reenlist, reclass, go to selection. Choices SSG Richardson, we all have them.

Final note Sir, I would like to advise against the use of "the go get commissioned" argument. It is a bit sour. I would hope that Officers (who are in a position of influence) would see where change was needed and effect it themselves...not wait for Enlisted to go get commissions and do it for them.
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SGM Sergeant Major
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Well said Sir. This is what I know to be true. While never a Marine, I have been an Army GB for 20 years and have worked in numerous joint assignments and attended numerous joint schools. I have rated Marines. Your comments were spot on. If SOF is this young Sergeant's goal, I believe the Army would be a better place. And my former ODA Team Leader, Marine Infantry Officer that service and branch transferred into Army SF would agree. I would further advise the Sergeant that you can go to SF and both Army SMU's selection while a Marine! So if you want to see if you are the right fit for those units, give it a shot before making the leap. Best of luck brother.
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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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MSG Todd B.
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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
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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 S 2 Ncoic / Special Security Officer (Sso)
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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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PO2 Hubert Linker
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Ok I couldn’t read everyone’s comments so if I hit on something thats been covered, forgive me. I was Navy for 5 yrs 99-04, aviation F-14 Tomcats. I have been a contractor ever since and have worked for every branch of military and have spoken to soooo many service members over the years. Here’s my piece... my dad ... retired Army told me to pick Navy or Airforce because of how bad the Army has gotten but he went in in 72 so lets be honest. A lot has changed since then right! If you wanna go career the Army is great for advancement of a soldier who is motivated and keeps nose somewhat clean. I would shy away from their aviation program though, to me its a shit show. The USMC these days seems more focused on busting young Marines for the slightest infractions which pains me greatly because they don’t even know if they’ve got a good marine yet or not. This is forcing a lot of young highly qualified E-4 andE-5 Marines out at the end if their enlistment. These marines could find their place in the Army with so much more opportunity and duty locations and MOS’s than the other branches. A good friend of mine from the navy 16 yrs ago was busted from frocked E-4 to E-2 because he was young and dumb. He is now a Msgt in the Army and has loved his career. Navy wasn’t a good fit for him. Good luck to you bud hope this helped and lets be honest. The military iiiiis what you make of it. Semper fi
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SSG Security Officer
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The uniforms really annoyed me in many ways. First off they change uniforms almost every 3 years. Since 2006 there has been 2 or 3 variation/changes of PT uniform. 3 changes in duty uniform since 2005 while finally getting rid of the beret in 2010. Having to purchase new patches and unit crests with each change in duty station. The dress greens were dull and I am glad they no longer exist. Along with those weird grey/pink dress shirts.

It has been a total mess. The Army needs to pick a uniform, stick with it and stop having an identity crisis.
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SFC James Liedtka
SFC James Liedtka
5 mo
We never had those creeds when I joined the Army in 1986. We didn't need them to remember we were Soldiers or NCOs. I retired in 2017 without ever memorizing one of them. I can however recite the Army song.
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