What is the Difference between U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps?
Photo Credit: We are the Mighty

This article explains the difference between the U.S. Army and the United States Marine Corps, including their requirements and training. Let’s explore these two important branches of the U.S. military and understand how they differ in their roles and preparation.

What is the United States Army?

What is the Difference between U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps?

Soldiers in the Army typically serve on land, though they may also be deployed in the air or at sea. Recruits are prepared to protect the United States from outside threats rather than to invade and conquer other countries. In the Army, the motto is “This We’ll Defend.”

What are the Marines?

What is the Difference between U.S. Army and the United States Marine Corps?
SENOOR BEACH, Oman (Feb. 15, 2017) U.S. Marine Cpl. Johnathan Riethmann, a mortarman with Company A, Battalion Landing Team 1st Bn., 4th Marines, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, walks to a staging area at Senoor Beach, Oman, in preparation for Exercise Sea Soldier, Feb. 15. Sea Soldier 2017 is an annual, bilateral exercise conducted with the Royal Army of Oman designed to demonstrate the cooperative skill and will of U.S. and partner nations to work together in maintaining regional stability and security. USS Somerset, with the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations designed to reassure allies and partners, preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce and enhance regional stability. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Gunnery Sgt. Robert B. Brown Jr.)

The Marines, officially known as the United States Marine Corps, constitute a distinct military branch responsible for addressing land and sea crises. As an integral part of the U.S. Navy, its primary mission is safeguarding the nation and its interests. The Marine Corps cherished motto, “Semper Fidelis,” or simply “Semper Fi,” embodies their unwavering commitment to being “Always Faithful.”

U.S. Army vs. USMC

What is the Difference between U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps?

Both parts of the government are important and help keep the United States safe. Taking the required aptitude test and learning about the main differences between these fields can help you decide which is best for your skills and job goals. For example, the Army and the Marines have different ways to move up in a job, different ways to train, and different levels of security clearance. Here are some other ways in which these branches of the military are different:


The Army and Marines’ main job is to keep their country, its people, and the Constitution safe. Both parts of the military use their strengths to keep the U.S. and its partners safe and secure.

Even though they all have the same goal, they all do different things to get there. The Army’s job is to keep the peace, keep people safe, and defend the country. The Army also protects national policies and deals with any possible threats to the United States.

The goal of the Marines is more clear. The Marines help with naval battles and have become the country’s fast-response group. They get ready to help and protect U.S. interests when there are natural disasters or armed battles.


The relative sizes of the two groups are yet another metric to examine. About half a million soldiers serve in the Army, while the Marine Corps has fewer than 200 thousand. There are several different branches within the Army, such as the Infantry, the Special Forces, and the Army Rangers. In contrast, Marines operate as a unified force with distinct ranks.

In order to keep and occupy territory, the Army has a huge number of personnel, while the Marine Corp’s small size is more suited to worldwide rapid response. Thousands of reserve Marines and soldiers participate in monthly drills but are not currently on active duty.

Platoons and equipment

The Army and Marine Corps have small units subdivided into platoons, squads, and fire teams. In both categories of platoons, a radio operator and a medic are also present. Each platoon uniquely executes a task or mission.

The Army is predominantly land-based, so its primary modes of transportation are trucks, tanks, and all-terrain vehicles. Additionally to Humvees and tanks, the Marines may also employ ships, submarines, and amphibious vehicles when conducting Navy-related operations. Both branches may receive air support from their own branch or the United States Air Force.

During combat, the Army employs a variety of artillery and armaments, including automated rifles, grenades, and land missiles. The Marines typically receive enhancements or the newest models a while after the Army.


Use is one of the biggest differences between the Army and the Marine Corps. Most of the time, the Army is used to deal with long-term battles. The Army also keeps a presence abroad for many years until a conflict is over.

Most of the time, the Marines can get ready faster than the Army. Because of this, the government uses them to handle emergencies, deal with crises, and protect military sites. 

The Marines also move around in smaller groups and may help with relief work. Also, they use weapons and tactics that involve air, land, and sea, so they can quickly find different ways to solve conflicts that come up out of the blue.


The Army and the Marines are two separate branches of the armed forces. The Marine Corps operates independently but is a branch of the Navy’s Department. The Marines are tasked with safeguarding naval assets while receiving vital support from the Navy through naval transportation, medical personnel, and small infantry groups.

The Army alone is in charge of its own soldiers. Its employees have access to quality medical treatment, other essentials, and independent medical care. Although it is part of the Department of Defense, the Army answers to the Department of the Army.

Leadership and Headquarters

The Army is accountable to the Secretary of the Army, who is subordinate to the Secretary of Defense. The headquarters of the United States Army is located at the Pentagon site in Arlington County, Virginia. 

In the organizational structure of the United States military, the Marines are accountable to the Secretary of Defense, while the Secretary of the Navy oversees their day-to-day management. The military installation associated with the United States Marine Corps is known as the Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC), encompassing multiple sites located in Arlington County, Virginia.

Enlistment requirements

In order to join either the Army or the Marines, you must meet a number of strict criteria. To join the Army, you must be at least 17 years old (or 18 if you don’t have your parent’s permission) and no older than 35. You need to prove that you are either a citizen or a permanent resident of the United States. Enlisting if you are a single parent with a child is forbidden.

You must be a lawful U.S. resident to enlist in the Marines. You must be at least 17 years old and no older than 28. There is a one-year waiting period for single parents who haven’t filed a waiver. Those who join the Army or the Marines must undergo rigorous training when they enlist.


The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a test that potential Army and Marine Corps recruits must take and score well on. They need to show they’re healthy enough to continue training. Recruit training lasts 12 weeks and varies between the two branches.

Before beginning Military Occupational Specialty training, Marines must complete either the School of Infantry or Marine Combat Training. In order to choose their career path, new recruits in the Army undergo Advanced Individualized Training.