How Well Do You Know the Differences Between the Army and the Marines?


By: John Miller

5 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Listen up, soldier, if you ever get into a debate with a war veteran and then make the mistake of saying that, "The Army is the same thing as the Marines,” you may wind up with a black eye. The U.S. military is a diverse, prideful place, and as you’ll see, the Army and the Marines are nothing alike.

But do you really have a grasp how different these forces really are? One is essentially a governmental institute meant to control geopolitical situations. The other is a powerful strike force that operates as the “tip of the sword” in situations where violence is inevitable.

It all starts, of course, with basic training. Yet the regimen of physical preparation for these units could hardly be any different. One will force you to be in fair condition; the other is so difficult that it might break you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Do you know which is which?

Both of these organizations bring force to bear in confrontations with hostiles. One is suited for large-scale wars on land. The other has skills meant to execute missions in watery environments. Can you name them?

The Army and the Marine Corps both have long, proud histories in America. Strap on your pack, grab your rifle and see if you know the difference between these United States heroes!

Which force is closely linked with the U.S. Navy?

The Marine Corps is intertwined with the U.S. Navy. The Marines are responsible for executing amphibious operations of all kinds.


In terms of size, how does the Army compare to the Marine Corps?

The U.S. Regular Army has roughly 480,000 troops, along with a lot more held back in the National Guard and Reserve. There are fewer than 190,000 active Marines.


How do the deployment times of the two units compare?

Geopolitical events change in a matter of hours. That's why the Marines are trained as a rapid response team -- they can deploy quickly almost anywhere in the world when necessary.


If you wanted very challenging physical training, you'd choose which branch?

The Marines are noted for their extremely tough physical training. Many people who set out to become Marines fail to grasp just how hard the training really is, and they often fail.


If you're referring to the "Devil Dogs," you're talking about _____.

As the legend goes, in World War I, German soldiers were so taken by the forcefulness of the Marines that they called them "Dogs from Hell." Later, that name changed to "Devil Dogs." Regardless of the story's accuracy, the Devil Dogs are not to be trifled with on a battlefield.


In terms of mission diversity, how do the Marines compare with the Army?

The Army has wildly diverse missions depending on the situation. The Marines, of course, have immense skill sets, but most of those skills are for one purpose -- to quickly and overwhelmingly destroy an enemy.


Which force was established first?

The Army was established in 1775, as George Washington rallied his troops against the British. The Marines were introduced in 1834.


Which organization has more aircraft?

The Army must be able to address a plethora of various missions, and as such, it needs aircraft -- it has nearly 5,000 of them. The Marines have around 1,200 planes for various purposes.


True or false, do the Marines use a maritime system to rank their officers?

Although the Marines are linked closely to the Navy, they ironically rely on the same rank system as the Army, so they have generals and colonels, and so forth, rather than admirals and ensigns.


"Semper Fidelis" is the motto of which organization?

"Semper Fidelis" means "always faithful" and it's the motto of the Marine Corps. Marines typically shorten it to, "Semper fi!"


A famous photograph named "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima" depicts members of which force?

During the Battle of Iwo Jima, a photographer captured six Marines raising a flag together. The iconic picture spread around the globe and buoyed American morale both on the battlefield and on the homefront.


Naval aviation is a particular specialty of the ______.

In addition to amphibious operations, the Marines are exceedingly capable in terms of naval aviation. You'll find their planes zooming from the decks of the aircraft carrier nearest you.


Which force would America be more likely to use in order to accomplish a "national objective"?

The Army is used for all sorts of political and defensive purposes. Need manpower? You need the Army, and with its troops and equipment, you can accomplish just about any national objective.


The Marines often receive fire support from offshore ships during land battles. True or false, does the Army to receive naval fire support, too?

Marines are often beneficiaries of Navy bombardment during onshore battles. The U.S. Army, however, rarely receives support from the Navy, relying instead on the Air Force.


How do Marines differ from average Army privates?

Marines are selected for their aggressiveness and intelligence. They are, on average, much deadlier and more capable than any Army private.


To which force does the phrase "the Few, the Proud," refer?

The Marines are often numerically outnumbered but take great pride in their insanely difficult training. They are "the Few, the Proud…the Marines."


Which force categorizes its infantry by weapons types?

In the Army, you may be assigned to certain types of warfare, such as mountain fighting or mechanized infantry. In the Marines, however, you'll start service in a weapons specialty, such as mortarman or machine gunner.


What's the motto of the U.S. Army?

OK, so it doesn't have quite the same ferocious ring as the Marines' motto. The Army motto is, "This We'll Defend."


True or false, is basic training for the Army and Marines the same duration?

True, both branches have basic training that lasts about 12 weeks. But Marine training is much, much more difficult and then extends far beyond basic training.


Which force stopped two major British invasions during the War of 1812?

In 1814 and 1815, the British army attempted two large-scale incursions into America. Thanks to the Army, both of the invasions were thwarted before they could gain momentum.


If you want to get your hands on the newest weapons first, you'd probably join _____.

The Marines are a cutting-edge force with cutting-edge weapons. They have access to many of the newest weapons before any old Army private.


Which force used a famous recruiting slogan that stated, "Be All You Can Be"?

From 1980 to 2001, the Army used an insanely catchy phrase -- "Be All You Can Be" -- to entice new recruits. The phrase also had a jingle that still bounces around in Americans' heads.


Which force would you use to land military personnel on a rocky beach?

The Army has a lot of capabilities. But the Marines have amphibious training that's far and above Army units, making them well-suited for any sort of shore landing in combat conditions.


Which force was first known as "Continental"?

Before the official birth of the United States, colonists took up arms against the British in a famous Revolution. They were the Continental Army, at first a ragged bunch of untrained political activists, and later, a deadly guerrilla fighting force.


How do Marines manage transportation for their rapid deployment capabilities?

The Marines have a symbiotic relationship with the Navy. With its huge, fast ships, the Navy fulfills a lot the important transportation requirements for battle-bound Marines.


"I Want YOU for U.S. _____."

During WWI, American officials used an iconic poster of Uncle Sam pointing at the viewer. The headline read: "I Want YOU for U.S. Army."


If you obtain a Pathfinder Badge, you've completed a special school within ______.

The Pathfinder Badge is awarded to those who graduate from the U.S. Army Pathfinder School. Pathfinders are highly proficient in scouting, navigation, tactical air traffic control and other elements that help them coordinate men and aircraft in conflict zones.


How do Army platoon sizes GENERALLY compare to those in the Marines?

The Army and Marines use similar systems for dividing up troops. Army platoons are often smaller, though, sometimes with fire teams of just four men.


The "Rangers" are an elite group of troops in which branch?

The Army has a number of special forces groups, including the Army Rangers, an elite group that's called in for some of the toughest (or seemingly impossible) missions. As with the Marines, Ranger training is insanely difficult.


True or false, is "Every Marine is a rifleman" a traditional slogan of the Marines?

It's true, for many years, "Every Marine is a rifleman" has been a favorite saying about the Marines, a way of informing people as to the level of training that these men and women receive.


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