The Army vs. The Marines

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Difference between The Army and The Marines

The Army and the Marines are both indispensable arms of the U.S. Armed Forces and each serves a different and equally important purpose. While both essentially perform much of their tasks on the ground, their functions and goals are quite different although complementary to each other. Let's take a look at some of the more important characteristics of these two remarkable fighting forces.

The Army
The Marines

Primary Roles

The primary differences between the Army and the Marines are their individual goals. The Marines essentially comprise a relatively small portion of the Navy, and its main goal focus is on initiating combat operations from a forward position. In the event of a coastal landing, the Marines are often tasked with maintaining a beachhead until the arrival of support forces.

The Army has a much bigger and broader scope and it is often tasked with establishing and expanding a military presence in the area. Generally speaking, Marines do the job of fighting individual battles, while the Army is more concerned with the war as a whole.

In Action

The Marines aren't expected to be a self-sustaining force and they are often merely responsible for maintaining control over a specific area until the rest of the troops arrive. This often puts them in critical area, right at the battle lines.

The Army for its part basically has the same function as the light Infantry and its main focus is on airborne, air assault and land assaults. In some cases, Army units are used to quickly take over and maintain control over a specific area until the arrival of the rest of the forces.


The Marines have built up a certain mystique around them, that some would say borders on the elitist and arrogant. This is largely due to their experience at being in the line of fire most of the time, although the Marines are endowed with a strong combat orientation as well. In fact, every single Marine considers himself a rifleman first and foremost. This mindset is particularly important in the field, where Marines are often required to operate with little or no support for long periods.

The Army has a similar focus on battle, although they often work in relatively safe zones well behind friendly lines. Nevertheless, the changing field of battle also means that combat is the main role of each and every Army personnel as the situation calls for it.



  • Has a broader scope than the Marines
  • Has a primary goal of establishing and expanding the foothold in the battlefield
  • Has a similar capability as Light Infantry units
  • Specializes in airborne, air assault and land assaults
  • Typically operates in relatively safe areas behind friendly lines


  • Is a relatively small branch of the Navy
  • Primary mission is initial combat and establishment of a beachhead
  • Isn't a self-sustaining force and often secures an area until the arrival of support
  • Many Marines pride themselves on being at the forefront of battle
  • Principally combat oriented
  • Trained to operate with limited support for long periods


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