5 Differences Between Army and Marine Corps Infantry

Who would win in a fight?
By G.I. Jobs Staff
5 Differences Between Army and Marine Corps Infantry

Photo Credit: US Army Capt. Michael Thompson


The U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps infantrymen pride themselves on being some of the biggest badasses on every block they roll into.

They have more similarities than differences, but they’re unique forces.


Here are 5 ways you can tell Marine and Army infantry apart:

Note: For this comparison we are predominantly pulling from the Army’s Infantry and Rifle Platoon and Squad field manual and the Marine Corps’ Introduction to Rifle Platoon Operations and Marine Rifle Squad. Not every unit in each branch works as described in doctrine. Every infantry unit will have its own idiosyncrasies and units commonly change small details to deal with battlefield realities.

Differences between Army and Marine Corps infantry are a follows;


1.) Platoon Organization


DoD photo by Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz

What’s the difference between the Army and the Marine Corps?

Army and Marine Corps rifle platoons share many elements. They are both organized into larger companies, both contain subordinate squads organized into fire teams and both employ the rifleman as their primary asset. The Army platoon has a radiotelephone operator and a medic. The Marine platoon has a radio transmitter operator and a corpsman who fulfill the same functions.

The Marine Corps rifle platoon contains three rifle squads. Each squad is led by a sergeant who has three fire teams working for him, each led by a corporal. The fire team leader typically carries the M203 grenade launcher slung under his M16. Operating under him are the automatic rifleman, assistant automatic rifleman and rifleman.

The Army platoons contain smaller squads. An Army rifle squad leader is typically a sergeant or staff sergeant who leads two four-man fire teams. Each Army fire team consists of a team leader, an automatic rifleman, a grenadier and a rifleman. Note that the Army squad is using a dedicated grenadier in place of an assistant automatic rifleman. Typically, one rifleman in each squad will be a squad designated marksman, a specially trained shooter who engages targets at long range. Also, the Army has an additional squad in each platoon, the infantry weapons squad. This squad has teams dedicated to the M240B machine gun and the Javelin missile system.

Both Marine Corps and Army infantry platoons operate under company and battalion commanders who may add capabilities such as rockets or mortars when needed.



5 Differences Between Army and Marine Corps Infantry
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5 Differences Between Army and Marine Corps Infantry
Here are 5 ways you can tell Marine and Army infantry apart.
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G.I. Jobs
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  1. Jo August 5, 2016 at 16:43 - Reply

    This was not accurate and bias by a ton. Should fact check with a Marine Corps Gunner before you make such claims.

  2. Ryan September 30, 2016 at 10:50 - Reply

    What’s more worth it Army or Marines

  3. Dave "2dogs" Portillo December 9, 2016 at 16:49 - Reply

    Wrong about the Air Support. The Marines don’t need to call Army, Navy, or Air Force. Marine Air is organic in the Marine Air/Ground Task Force. Starting with the MEU – will have it’s own Air assets. Typically off the ship nearby or amphibiously set ashore, Marine have their own organic AV-8 Harriers attack jets, AH-1Z Cobra attack helicopters, UH-1Y Utility Helicopters, CH-53 Heavy lift helicopters, & MV-22 Osprey Medium lift/Long Range Tiltrotor aircraft. Above a MEU, the Marines will have their own F-18 and F-35 Fighter Jets, too. I hope this clarifies things better. Semper Fidelis! “2dogs”

  4. Buster Jaw December 15, 2016 at 05:04 - Reply

    Either USA or USMC, infantrymen are an elite fraternity.

    Semper Fi

  5. Colin Jernigan March 22, 2018 at 12:32 - Reply

    There is confusion on the Ranger Regiment in this article. Ranger school is not affiliated with the Ranger Regiment. The only way to get into the ranger Regiment is to go to Ranger Selection. Ranger school will not get you in to the Regiment. In order to make E-5 in the regiment you will need to complete Ranger School though.

  6. Bernard Bates November 8, 2018 at 17:28 - Reply

    what I thought was interesting was the fact that the Army Squad has one man designated as marksman to take on long range targets. The Marine Squad doesn’t, That tells me that the entire Squad are Marksman and can take on long range targets. When I qualified at bootcamp with the M1 We fired from the 200, 300 and 500 yrds in the prone position. that’s one thing that Makes the Marines different At 500 yds the Bullseye looked liked a pinhead. Semper Fi.

  7. NAC April 12, 2019 at 20:04 - Reply

    Difference! Back in 2002-2006 when I was in the difference was easy to see! I remember being told the Army was taking Baghdad! They did there best but were hit with a road block! It was the Marines who took Baghdad and there leaders home! Fact I was there and I did it! 1/5 make peace or die!

    My third tour in a four year enlistment I had a NCO who was a Gunny who worked with the Army and helped train there Airborne and other special ops! He did this for 4 years and his words! A Infantry Marine found Airborne school easy!

    I worked with Rangers and Airborne they where great to work with and I’d go to hell with them!!! Yet other then jumping out of an airplane they were a basic trained Marine Grunt!

    No flame on the Army at all! If you want to kill and be a grunt then it’s mother green! Yet I have seen how my Marine corps has allowed dope smoking jack a$$es to just make a joke our of MY Marines!

    Also not a big fan of the Marines! From personal experience! How can you like a place that will charge you for taking care of you family? Or that will take the word of an officer over several enlisted men? Talking like 10 Enlisted men vs one officer with documents!

    • Mark January 3, 2020 at 00:05 - Reply

      Nice revisionist history! 3rd ID Army along with 1st Marine Expeditionary. took Baghdad. Just so you know 3rd ID beat Marine 1st Div because of better planning. You guys thought you could “Hey diddle diddle straight up the middle” through towns you thought would be lightly defended and got held up time and time again. I know it is a hard pill to swallow Marine but you guys got your rears handed to you getting to Baghdad. Army got their first and that is now HISTORY! Whether you were there or not simple history is you got there after the Army got there on 3rd of March, 2003.

      • Jesse September 16, 2020 at 17:57 - Reply

        You are correct that the Army made it to Baghdad 1st as was the plan from the get go. RCT 1, RCT 5, and RCT 7 did cut through about every major city leading to Baghdad in order to keep the eye off of the 3rd ID. I’m glad we did as we saw combat all the way to Baghdad. However, the Army only cut through half of Baghdad to the South of the Tigris. On April 9th the 5th Marine Regiment, assisted by an Army Delta team, was tasked with punching through the other half of Baghdad to raid a presidential palace where we thought an Air Force gulf war pilot was being held captive. The Army got strained logisticaly when it reached the Tigris as the 3rd ID had thousands of soldiers and hundreds of armored troop carriers and tanks. Rather than stop the momentum, the Army asked General Dunford (Colonel at the time) to raid that palace on the Tigris. After we got there, we were tasked with raiding the Imam mosque in downtown. Meanwhile, another Marine regiment took Baghdad university where Saddam’s statue was tore down. It is documented that the heaviest fighting in Baghdad was when Alpha Company of RCT5 took the Imam Mosque. I had just saw my gunny killed prior to this. Several of my guys got wounded during the raid. Also, I was very impressed by the Delta team attached to our Marine Unit. They said they were glad to have been attached to Marines during the operation. This was on 10 April 2003. The Marine Corps and Army all made history and kicked ass in Iraq.

  8. Andrew May 27, 2019 at 22:31 - Reply

    BOTH !

  9. David (M/SGT, US Army) May 27, 2019 at 22:47 - Reply

    An Army Infantry Battalion also includes a Combat Support Company (CSC) which includes additional heavy weapons,
    both man-portable, and vehicular mounted if mechanized ,such as on a tracked vehicle or APC. Example of an Army
    Infantry Battalion would be:

    7th Infantry Division, 1st Brigade, 2nd Battalion 17th Infantry (Regt), HHC, A, B, C Companies and Combat Support
    Company (CSC). An Army Infantry Battalion normally is composed of five (5) companies. Three or battalions make a
    brigade. In WW I, WW II and in Vietnam, some Marine Corps infantry units were cross-attached to the US Army Infantry

    An Army Division is comprised (in war time) of at least 4 brigades with numerous augmentation, attached, and cross-
    attached units, and a separate Artillery Brigade, a Medical, Signal, Intelligence, S&T, QM and MP battalions which may
    form the “Garrison” units of the Division. All of these units are fully deployable and all are tactical in nature.

  10. Jason Hernandez May 29, 2019 at 19:55 - Reply

    They should put this on the Army recruiters window. So people know the difference and can then make the best choice. On the marines corp recruiter window too.

  11. bob rekmanis June 14, 2019 at 23:13 - Reply

    At the end they all are Great Wariors

  12. Hoff November 21, 2019 at 18:20 - Reply

    Are we forgetting the Marines have Force Recon……

  13. Jim Van Zandt January 2, 2020 at 13:53 - Reply

    I though the significant difference was that the Marines are effective in smaller detachments. If you’re sending dozens of troops to defend an embassy, they will be Marines. The Army can be much more effective, but you’ll be sending thousands, or tens of thousands, with a logistics tail to match.

  14. Richard Gocio January 2, 2020 at 22:59 - Reply

    The article started out by stating it drew information from manuals; then went on to state a mishmash of misinformation that is not in those manuals and involves more branches, corps, and services than those manuals. Maybe they should have taken a lesson from Joe Friday, “Just the facts Mam.”
    Platoon size? Don’t know about the Marines, but I know that TO&E for an infantry unit can vary from team size, number of teams in a squad, number of squads in a platoon. It has a lot to do with being versatile and mission assignment. Don’t confuse Army infantry with Airborne, Rangers, or Green Berets. Any and every soldier who passes the Airborne selection and course, regardless of MOS is Airborne. They can even be assigned to an Airborne unit, but that doesn’t make them an Airborne Infantryman. The same goes for Ranger school and tab. The Medic who gets both tabs Airborne Ranger is a bad mofo, but he’s not Infantry. Once a soldier (of any MOS) gets the esteemed privilege of doning that green beret, they are no longer Infantry or whatever Corp they came from, they now are in the SF or special operators realm and any and all comparison to the Infantry ends.
    Equipment, don’t know where the writer got their info, Army units don’t all get new stuff first. Any soldier remember qualifying with weapons so worn you could see between the parts? I could go on about this article, but I’ll close with this, Misinformation is a great tool for OPSEC and counter intelligence 😉

  15. richard newcomb January 26, 2020 at 17:23 - Reply

    Ive read the comments above interesting. I was in the Army in the mid 80s.We all do the same job and get it done. I TRAINED U.S. ARMY and the MARIANS. Rock on AMERICA.

  16. richard newcomb January 26, 2020 at 17:25 - Reply

    Sorry for typo MARINES

  17. Mike March 5, 2020 at 13:45 - Reply

    LOL—— some of these comments are idiotic and nothing but rumor.

    First of all, NO MARINES have trained Army Airborne or SF…. thats a complete fabrication.

    Secondly, from personal experience at Fort Shermans last rotation the Marines were the OP4. We went through them like butter. They were an absolute joke. Tactics to training. They were WAY behind.

  18. Jerald Fraley March 17, 2020 at 19:48 - Reply

    Something I never could understand was the bravado between forces. Time and time again all my life I heard Marines bragging about how bad they were. Then I would hear the Army saying all the same things. Every American who joins in whichever force bleeds red blood, and when they die for this country, it dont matter if your Army Green, or a Mean Marine. You bled red blood and the red stripes on the National flag are red for that reason. The blood spilt for freedom. Basic boot-camp for Army, or Marines is the same, sorry to say that to everyone but it is. You run, you shoot targets, you eat, then you run again, then you have instruction for a certain weapon. Marines have Recon, and Army has Airborne and Rangers. Marines can also become Seals, which is the Navy. Hmmm, wonder what color a Navy guys blood is? Army is also flown in by Air Force, which I might remind you that back in the day, the Air Force was part of ARMY Air Corp. Army also has Delta, which is trained exactly the same as Navy seals. How does this happen.. four different forces… trained the same way?? Oh, I know. Its cross training in the event that someone needs help, they got back up. I will say, I was Army, but I also had a lot of Marines who were my friends, and last I checked a bullet doesnt distinguish between Army or Marines. You get in its way, you die.

  19. Joe Blow April 10, 2020 at 01:20 - Reply

    And just like that, all the insecure marines with micro dicks come out of the woodwork. Jesus Christ…………………….

  20. Robert Burge September 19, 2020 at 21:28 - Reply

    The Army doesn’t only use the 240B. They can carry the alternate M249 SAW(Squad Automatic Weapon).

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