USMC vs Army Officer (infantry)
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  1. #1

    USMC vs Army Officer (infantry)


    I am prior service Army and served 4 1/2 years in the infantry (enlisted) with one of the Ranger battalions. I've been separated about 5 years and am in the process of finishing school so I can apply to OCS.

    Always heard a lot of rumors and trash talk thrown around about the Marines but never really believed it. I'm sure it goes both ways. Anyways, I was interested in looking into becoming a Marine officer. I'm leaning towards Army because that's where I come from and I still know a lot of people in the Army. I just want to serve and be a leader, and didn't want to neglect looking into the Marines. I have met a couple of great Marines while I was in the Army that left me with a good impression.

    My goal is to become an infantry officer. In the Army, this assignment is done competitively as I am assuming it is in the Marines. I was hoping to be enlightened on a few things:

    1. Do Marine officers rotate often like Army officers do? In the Army it is generally a new assignment every 2-3 years.

    2. What would be the main differences between being an Army or Marine infantry officer? Are Marines deployed more frequently (training or combat deployments)?

    3. An old PL of mine was lucky to serve essentially in "light infantry units" all the way to company commander. In the Army it is the "way" for an infantry officer to switch between light and heavy(mechanized) units. Can someone explain the "track" for Marine infantry officers, and what types of assignments are usually on that track? How is staff time factored in?

    4. This is somewhat of a crystal ball question, but can someone enlighten me on family life as a Marine officer? In the Army there's a lot of time away obviously, but are Marine officer gone more than their Army counterparts?

    Apologies for the lack of brevity but I am very ignorant when it comes to the Marine Corps. Any information is greatly appreciated.

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  2. #2
    I can only really speak to deployments, but Marine infantry typically deploys for 7 months. Obviously special units do their own thing. Optempo varies by need, but they try to keep it reasonable. Obviously as I'm sure was your experience, that can vary with what's going on in the world.

    I've only ever had good infantry officers when I was enlisted for what it's worth. The one thing that does seem to be a constant I see with Marine vs Army officers is Marine Officers seem to be on average, much more of "athletes" than Army officers. Also, given it's a smaller branch, the Marine Corps can afford to be more selective. I've met a handful of army officers that simply put would not have been competitive for Marine OCS given what I know about my friends who have and have not pursued being Marine officers.

    There are some cultural differences that you'll have to learn, but I'm sure that'll be no big deal. I'm now Army and there are lots of little things I'm trying to re-learn the army way. It's all little stuff, but there is/was still a bit of culture shock. I also went infantry to aviation, so also opposite sides of the coin.

    If you thought you had a reasonable avenue back into regiment as an officer, I'd probably suggest sticking with the evil you know. Certainly can't knock the Marine Corps infantry though, or the Marine Officer Corps.

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