Posted on Jul 6, 2017
Sgt Section Sergeant
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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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CPT Corporate Buyer
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Edited 2 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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SSG Joseph VanDyck
SSG Joseph VanDyck
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This is all true. I do believe that Infantry is the hardest with the most esprit de corps in the US Army (minus spec ops). Now Airborne Infantry, specifically 82nd, 173rd and 75th are that much harder (like woodpecker lips) than non airborne infantry. Choose wisely young padawan.
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Sgt Section Sergeant
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Thank you, Sir. I really appreciate the time you took to explain your experience. This has actually helped me out a lot. By the way, your description of the everyday life of a Marine in the infantry is spot on.
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PVT Skylar Samuelson
PVT Skylar Samuelson
9 mo
Hit the nail on the head.
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CSM Charles Hayden
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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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Sgt Section Sergeant
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Thank you for the response, Sir.
I've come to realize that I am not finished with the military, however, I want to be at a different tier of professionalism in the military. I've heard of Marines making the transition, but I've never been able to talk to any of them. Thank you for your service, and thanks again for the insight.
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LTC Delivery Driver
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You should be able to keep your rank and all your service schools count. I worked with a Marine who join 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 neatly 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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SN Greg Wright
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I'm curious, why aren't you considering the Raiders?
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SN Greg Wright
SN Greg Wright
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Sgt (Join to see) - Ah, gotcha. That sucks. Well, good luck in your future endeavors.
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SSgt Carpenter
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Sgt (Join to see) - Have you looked into getting a waiver?
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Sgt Section Sergeant
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Thanks, I appreciate it.
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Sgt Section Sergeant
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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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