Marines vs Army: Which is Better?

Mon, Nov 19, 2018

Read in 5 minutes

Discover the real difference between the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army. Compare requirements, salary, uniforms, mission and more.

This is the ultimate Marines vs Army guide available online.

The best part?

I’m going to show you the real difference between U.S. Army soliders and Marines without all the fluff.

In short: if you want to discover which branch of the armed services is the best, you’re in the right place.

Let’s get started.

What's the difference between the Marines and Army?

The main difference between the United States Marine Corps and the United States Army is their overall mission. Marines are responsible for air-ground operations with the assistance of the U.S. Navy. The Army is responsible for land-based military operations.

Size Comparison

The United States Army employs 476,179 active duty service members worldwide, making it the largest U.S. armed services division. There are an additional 335,204 Army National Guard members and 188,811 reserve soliders (as of September 2018).

The United States Marine Corps has a population of 185,415 active duty service members and 38,333 reserve Marines. The Marines Corps is the smallest U.S. armed services division, not counting the Coast Guard, which has only 42,000 members (as of Septmeber 2018).

Salary Comparison

Salaries in the military are standardized across all armed services divisions. That means someone with the same rank and experience will earn an identical salary whether they are in the Army or Marines. Military pay charts are available to the public and are updated annually.

One way to earn more money in the military is through increased housing allowances based on your location. For example, military members located in San Diego, CA earn more than those in Idaho due to the increased cost of living in Southern California. Service members can also earn more by taking advantage of special singing bonuses.

The United States Army and Marine Corps offer a wide range of signing bonuses to fill jobs that are in high-demand. Re-enlistment bonuses are also used to encourage experienced officers to extend their careers with the U.S. military.

Examples of Army enlistment bonuses:

Examples of Marine enlistment bonuses:

Note: Please contact a recruiter to learn more about bonus availability and requirements.

Requirements and Training

To enlist in the Unites States Army or Marine Corps you must meet a long list of requirements. These include age, citizenship, high school education and physical fitness requirements. You must also be within acceptable height, weight and body fat standards.

Currently, you must be at least 17 years old and younger than 35 to enlist in the United States Army. Marine recruits must be between 17 and 28 years old to elist. All branches of the military require you to have parental consent to enlist if you are under the age of 18.

Each recruit must complete the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), a test designed to evaluate your math, science, and reading comprehension skills.

The minimum ASVAB score required to enlist in the Army is 31. Marine recurits must score 32 or higher on the ASVAB test to qualify.

Uniform Comparison

Each branch of the service can be easily identified by their uniforms. Army and Marine Corps combat uniforms are carefully designed to provide protection in the field and have received numerous upgrades throughout the years. Service uniforms are designed to be worn in civilian situations such as parades, public ceremonies and social events.

Service Uniforms

The Army Service Uniform was recently modified to resemble the iconic “pink and greens” uniform which was worn during WWII. Soldiers will begin wearing the uniform in 2019 and will be mandatory for all soldiers in 2028.

Army Service Uniform (ASU) requirements:

The Marine Corps service uniform is one of the most iconic and traditional uniforms worn by service members. It has remained unchanged for many years.

Marine Corps Service Uniform (MCSU) requirements:

Combat Uniforms

The Army Combat Uniform (ACU) features the Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) and is worn on military bases and in combat zones. Prior to October 2019, the Army used the Universal Camouflage Pattern which is currently being phased out.

ACU uniform requirements:

The Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform (MCCUU) uses the MARPAT digital camouflage pattern. There are two versions of the MCCUU which include woodland (green/brown/black) and desert (tan/brown/grey) patterns. The woodland pattern is to worn year-round. The MCCUU is a working uniform and should not be worn in a civilian environment.

MCCUU uniform requirements:


As you can see there are many differences between the Army and Marines.

The most obvious difference being their mission and methods of defending our country.

Each division operates independently from each other and sets their own regulations including uniform requirements.

Although the Army and Marines are vastly different, you can expect to receive the same salary based on your rank and experience in both divisions.

Which branch do you think is better: Army or Marines? Let us know in the comments below.