Army or Marines

PennyPincher

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Our son is thinking of enlisting. His dad was Army and then National Guard. I was Guard. Neither of us ever deployed. We both were out by '98.

Our son is thinking Marines vs Army. He thinks he is more likely to deploy as a Marine than Army. He "wants" to deploy. Is one better than the other for guarantees and contract bonuses etc? I have heard horror stories about Air Force and promises but he isn't thinking about that. I know that anything NOT in your contract in Army isn't going to happen but generally speaking, from our experiences, they never reneged on promises IN the contract. Are the Marines the same or can your MOS just get changed "due to needs of the corp?" Anyway, he wants to be "infantry" as he always wants to be doing something and not inside at a desk or in a building. Are there other "combat arms" MOS's he should look at that are similar to infantry (11B)?

Thanks for your help.
 
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I'd say it depends on how long your son intends on serving for and how far he intends to take it.

I've known a few Marines, including one of the drills at Benning, who switched to Army just for promotion reasons alone. While they missed the MC they all made E-5 and above a lot faster than they would of had they stayed.
 

Picton

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Depending on his ASVAB and on whether he’s a quick, steady thinker, he should go Army, become a 13F and get an airborne school contract. Particularly if he’s an independent-minded sort. If he’s more of a team player, 11B works. Or 11C for some added combat-multiplication goodness.

Any way you slice it, the airborne slot is important.

As a 13F, he’ll be an important person on the tip of the spear in a highly deployable unit. There’s no way to “guarantee a deployment.”
 

NorthShore

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Neighbors son joined the Army and from what he said, Army Infantry all start at 11x and then based on your performance and the Army’s need you will go 11b, 11c, 11h etc. after basic. He went 11b and now in RASP (pre ranger school, it was formerly RIP) to see if he can make the cut. He only gets Airborne if he passes. Worse case he is assigned to Ft. Drum if things don’t work out.
 

440beeper

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All military branches have their pros & cons, but I might be just a "little" more biased towards the Marine Corps (see avatar). [smile] One of the best decisions I ever made was joining the Marine Corps and almost all of the Marines I served with feel the same way. I had the pleasure of serving with units from all branches during my time in and I have nothing but good to say for all of them. We are all brothers and sisters in arms, but for my take, it's USMC all the way. I had some great experiences and served with some great people. My MOS was exactly what I signed up for, so no surprises for me or any of my buddies (we all had the same experience). Good luck to your son on his decision.
 

jasonj84

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When I went in it was Marines vs. Air Force. Air Force had a great college program at the time. My father was Army in Vietnam. Ultimately I chose the Marines for the challenge. I will say, I wouldn’t change that experience for the world. Even though I was only active duty for 4 years, the friendships I made there are like no other, and last to this day. I went in in 1990 and at my MOS school got my first choice of duty station, even though I was told they would intentionally screw you at the time, that wasn’t my experience.
 

zboys

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My oldest son went Marines, my youngest is in the Army now, the past 20 days he's been "testing" to go Special Forces, we should find any day now if he's selected. He didn't like his job he was assigned and was able to change after being in 1-1/2 years.

Everybody has different experiences
 

Andy in NH

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Neighbors son joined the Army and from what he said, Army Infantry all start at 11x and then based on your performance and the Army’s need you will go 11b, 11c, 11h etc. after basic. He went 11b and now in RASP (pre ranger school, it was formerly RIP) to see if he can make the cut. He only gets Airborne if he passes. Worse case he is assigned to Ft. Drum if things don’t work out.
The Marines do something similar.
He can enlist and sign the contract for a particular Occupational Field (Infantry), but he will not be guaranteed a specific MOS (Rifleman, Machine Gunner, Mortarman, TOW Gunner, etc.) until he reaches the School of Infantry (SOI) after boot camp. At SOI, based on his ASVAB scores and the "needs of the Corps" he'll be selected for a specific MOS within the Infantry.

Be very wary of promises of direct enlistment into Recon, Snipers, MARSOC, EOD, etc. The last I was aware was that those "high speed" jobs were not offered as entry level MOSs.
If he is smart enough and doesn't need any drug or legal waivers, he might be able to score a Security Forces/FAST Co. option to his Infantry contract. That almost guarantees a Rifleman's MOS (0311).

Now that the Marines are getting back to their Sea Service roots, deploying on ships is a great opportunity to visit numerous countries on one deployment.
A typical deployment schedule consists of; a few days at sea, a few days in the field training, and then a few days in a liberty port. Then it's a few more days at sea traveling to the next country, a few days in the field training, and then a few days in a liberty port. Repeat...
Not sure if the Army has the same type of land based deployment routine?

(Paraphrased) The Infantry is the most strenuous, least envied, MOS of them all. Yet the Infantrymen's morale and pride is exceedingly high. The rigors and real dangers of their unusually severe training lead to a conception of themselves as men who can endure what other men cannot.
 
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I think it's great he wants to serve with that said I'd pass on both branches. As a military retiree I served four years Navy and sixteen years Air Force. I think there are far more opportunities and time to obtain one's goal in the Air Force, remember there is no need for tanks, snipers and infantry in civilian life. As a second choice I'd consider the Coast Guard, my daughter served meet her husband who retired and I have a grandson station at the Chatham station who's home almost everyday. In the end good luck to them.
 

n1oty

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The quickest promotions I ever saw was among the USMC counterintelligence personnel of the 02XX field. Many enlisted easily made CWO or LDO. Retention bonuses were among the largest. Guys that retired after 20 or 30 years were quickly recruited by federal three letter agencies. I suspect this MOS is the same in all branches.
 

76Too

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Career = Army, 4 years = Marines.

It really depends on goals, both can be great experiences if you are going for the right reason.

This is just an opinion based on father and son experiences.
best answer based on my experience.
 
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desertr8der

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I second what silverado said. Trigger pullers come out and land..... Security jobs and not any good ones. It's on him as far as his internal drive. If he lives. eats, breathes infantry. Go active, get every school you can. If after the 4 he doesn't like it? No harm no foul, can still pick a new path, or transfer jobs if he likes being in. If one contract and done, go do contract work and make big bucks. Do NOT sign anything unless everything is in the contract. It's comparison shopping at this point. I also joined to deploy as odd as it sounds to some. My grandfather was in Korea, uncles in VIetnam. I grew up playing combat games galore, looked up to the warriors of the past and had that drive to do something more. I don't regret it at all, I was just misled as far as opportunities when I came back. I sunk into a dark hole because I couldn't land a decent job worth a damn.
 

TrashcanDan

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Unsure of "contract bonuses", but promotions and opportunity for advancement did come quicker to combat arms.
12B is something he might like (combat eng) , can't remember what the demolition identifier was. 21E?

A lot of the 11 series guy I knew way back when are in pretty bad shape, save one or two. Bad joints, bad this, bad that.
A lot of the trade series guy I knew way back when are still in a trade, or some form of trade. And we all have bad knees, so take that for whatever its worth.

Good luck to him, which ever way he goes.
 

Rockrivr1

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It all comes down to his dedication to the military. If he plans to go career then infantry is a great MOS with room for advancement if he has the aptitude. If he's looking at 4-6 years and then out, it's time to rethink his MOS. He'll want to come out of the military with a skill that will translate easily into a civilian job. Electronics, Aviation, etc will translate well when getting out.
 

Andy in NH

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Whichever branch he chooses, I jope he wants to have an mos that will translate to a good job when his commitment has concluded.
I disagree with that line of thinking.
Here's why: A person should use their opportunity to join the service to do things they can't do otherwise in the civilian world.
There's always time later in life to train as an electrician, welder, IT pro, doctor, ad nauseam....
Saving some money while serving and then making good use of the benefits (G.I. Bill, VEAP, VR&E), etc. will go a long way towards funding a civilian job education.

Of course, as a career Infantryman I'm biased, but I'll leave these anecdotes as additional support for my opinion:

#1 - An associate of mine from the HS days joined a service and got the "smart" job he thought he wanted; aviation electronics.
He had to sign up for six years because the school was so long that they needed more time to get their money's worth out of him.
He hated the job and was stuck in it for six years.
I'm not saying aviation electronics is a bad job, it just wasn't for him.
He got out and started at the community college.
I lost touch with him, but I think he's working now in graphic arts designing, building, and installing large business signs.

#2 - During my OEF deployment I was tasked with running motorized patrols.
The Operations Officer (OpsO) basically told me, "Head out and see what you can find. See if there are any map corrections that need to be made. Don't come back unless you need fuel, food, or ammo."
So after several of these patrols I told the OPsO, "I've gone as far as we can go to the West (my sector), but I can't reach back with the radio any longer."
He told me to go to the comm shop and get a PRC-104 HF radio that has more range than the PRC-119 which was in my vehicles.
The 104 wasn't a radio I was familiar with, so I was getting the basics of it from a LCpl in the comm shop.
Because the radio was so new to me and was fairly complex, I finally asked the LCpl if he would just come on patrol with me and bring the radio.
He asked his Gunny and it was a done deal.
He patrolled with us for several days taking his turn at radio watch and security watch when needed.
My Machine Gunners taught him the basics of the MK19 and the .50cal.
My TOW Gunners taught him enough about their system that he could stand watch with it, using the optical and thermal sights for observation.
(Firing the TOW was beyond what they taught him.)
After our mission set changed, he went back to the comm shop.
I shook his hand and told him, "Thanks for all your help. I really appreciate it."
His reply was, "Thanks SSgt, for getting me out of the comm shop!"
Prying a little bit I asked, "What's up with that?"
He said basically, "All I do in the comm shop is switch out batteries and fix antennas. It's boring."
Maybe he's got a good civilian job today in a radio field, but some of his better stories involve patrolling with the Grunts.
 

Picton

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Got the call today, my son is now in Army Special Forces, he has not sounded happier.
Meaning he’s starting the Q Course? Good for him!

Time for him to start growing his hair out and opening up a new checking acct for all the TDY.
 

Andy in NH

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Last I knew, USAF was the only branch where you could go directly into a tip of the spear job. Look at TACP or Combat Control.
Would you say that Army and Marine Infantry isn't a "tip of the spear" job?
Who do you think the TACP and Combat Controllers get attached to at the "tip of the spear"?
 
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Picton

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Last I knew, USAF was the only branch where you could go directly into a tip of the spear job. Look at TACP or Combat Control.
Makes no sense.

ANGLICO in the Marines? 13F (forward observer) or 19D (Cav scout) in the Army? They're out front, by definition. There's hardly an eighteen-month "pipeline" for jobs like that, and an ANGLICO is the same as a TACP.
 

Matt-CZ

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The sad reality is that combat roles are the least valuable for service members exiting to civilian life. Unless you're trying to make a career out of military life, getting non-combat MOS is the best bet. The gov will pour tons of useful education and training into these support roles that equate to real opportunity elsewhere.

Our chemical pilot plant recently had a former navy nuke as an intern who is currently studying at northeastern for engineering on the GI bill. We've had no grunts intern at our facility. Interpret that as you wish.
 

Picton

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The sad reality is that combat roles are the least valuable for service members exiting to civilian life. Unless you're trying to make a career out of military life, getting non-combat MOS is the best bet. The gov will pour tons of useful education and training into these support roles that equate to real opportunity elsewhere.

Our chemical pilot plant recently had a former navy nuke as an intern who is currently studying at northeastern for engineering on the GI bill. We've had no grunts intern at our facility. Interpret that as you wish.
Yes. I see and hear this often, the argument that military service is somehow less useful if you don't become, say, a computer tech in the military. I do not believe it. I am a firm believer that service, no matter the MOS, gives you skills that make you better at every job. For a lifetime. I've seen it; for every example of an engineering firm that doesn't hire grunts because, surprise, they're not engineers, I could find an example of a grunt that got, say, a teaching job and did well at it, partly because his experiences in the service made him a better employee, better with teams, better with people... etc. So I don't buy it.

But even if I did? Read the OP. PennyPincher's son doesn't want to be a navy nuke. He wants to carry a rifle and go deploy. And thank god, for all of us, that our country still produces men like that. I was one; this forum is full of them. When we joined up we heard, too, that "combat arms are useless after you get out."

But if combat arms is what some people want, then why try to dissuade them?
 

Matt-CZ

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Yes. I see and hear this often, the argument that military service is somehow less useful if you don't become, say, a computer tech in the military. I do not believe it. I am a firm believer that service, no matter the MOS, gives you skills that make you better at every job. For a lifetime. I've seen it; for every example of an engineering firm that doesn't hire grunts because, surprise, they're not engineers, I could find an example of a grunt that got, say, a teaching job and did well at it, partly because his experiences in the service made him a better employee, better with teams, better with people... etc. So I don't buy it.

But even if I did? Read the OP. PennyPincher's son doesn't want to be a navy nuke. He wants to carry a rifle and go deploy. And thank god, for all of us, that our country still produces men like that. I was one; this forum is full of them. When we joined up we heard, too, that "combat arms are useless after you get out."

But if combat arms is what some people want, then why try to dissuade them?
Fighting MOS is the core of the military. There's no doubt about that.

Pointing out that support MOS training leads to better opportunities outside the service is a fact. If you are planning on exiting the service in 4 or 6 years, you should consider how valuable the training and education you receive from Uncle Sam will be in the civilian world.

Young people entering the military should be as well informed as possible about the decisions they are making. How they use that information is their decision.
 

SERE

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Last I knew, USAF was the only branch where you could go directly into a tip of the spear job. Look at TACP or Combat Control.
Would you say that Army and Marine Infantry isn't a "tip of the spear" job?
Who do you think the TACP and Combat Controllers get attached to at the "tip of the spear"?
In the AF you get the opportunity to apply and graduate these AFSC's. With a very high wash out rate, if you wash out, you end up in whatever job the AF needs. I don't remember anyone going to a 'promised' job after washing out. In the scenario posed here I think the OP is asking the right questions.

Best of luck to your son @PennyPincher.
 

pastera

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I work for the DON so my views are skewed.

NCO's were well sought-after as supervisors in production plants in private industry. Didn't matter the MOS just that you had a few years of leadership.

If your son wants an absolutely transferrable job when he transitions AND do something that actually has current need go into cyber - either defense or war fighting. It's not as sexy as carrying arms into battle but taking out a power grid or C&C net is pretty damn effective.
 
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