How we doing hard-chargers!
So we got a few words from a former Army Soldier, who was blessed to see both sides of the playing field. I give you a few good words from retired Sergeant Micheal Thorin. (I thank you for your sacrifice to this great country my good sir.)
I believe that “balanced” rivalry is good.
If I had to say one branch actually believed themselves superior, it would be the Marines. Sadly, having come from the Army, I would have to bow down and give credit where credit is due.I’ve seen more fit Marines than soldiers, which is pretty amazing considering the Army has and enlistment size of 541,291 compared to the Marines who have only 195,338.
Hence the few the proud…
From the outside looking in, it appears the Marines go more “by the book” when it comes to physical fitness standards, also Marines have an individual drive to maintain fitness and uniform standards.
Here is one exception that I may add, infantry units and combat arms units in the Army, have soldiers are mostly fit and ready.
I attribute this to self preservation. When I was a medic assigned to a medical company, we did PT, but it was not the “get your but up and drive on!!!!” kind of PT.
We were never really driven to excel…
Now let me add that Infantry units and combat arms all “live and die by the sword”. Meaning that their ability to constantly push themselves in order to ensure that they are not only fit enough to ensure their survival, but also fit enough for their brothers, and now sisters in arms, and their equipment as well.
Meaning if a soldier goes down during an engagement, you may have to pull that soldier out. If your 70 pounds overweight and your last meal was a Coke and a bag of barbecue pork rinds, you are going to have a less than stellar performance.
Now, all of this is dependent on whether or not you have a strong chain of command with a great desire for integrity; i.e. Instead of pencil whipping PT scores and “pencil/pen” weapons qualifications to keep the numbers up, a chain of command that doesn’t want to guarantee troop strengths by the power of the pen.
Rather instead keeps troop strengths up by assuring PT, weapons qualifications, height/weight, and uniform are enforced daily so that when all of these are done for record, thereby maintaining troop strength by ensuring compliance daily. This is so soldiers do not have a chance to not simply go with the motion, but to be the force that drives the motion.
Another thing I had noticed was the difference in services. In basic training we were told everyone’s primary MOS was 11B. I did not see many of our support companies live by this belief.
However, you look at the Marines, and they say that every Marine’s primary MOS is 0311 Rifleman, and the majority of all MOS’s in the Marines life is this belief.
Again, I am not intending to offend anyone, but 11B and combat arms (19D, etc), more closely matches to the Marines.
I know there are officers who not only require that the standards be met, but also led by example, and lived out the standards.
Just my take, and I may be completely off. I pray that my fellow Army Soldiers, Airforce Airmen, Coast Guardsmen and Navy Sailors do not get offended, because when it all comes down to it and rivalry becomes an issue, everyone better remember that the military is like human physiology, where if one system of the body shuts down or doesn’t function properly, THE OTHER SYSTEMS WILL SUFFER.
It is the same way for the sum total of our military; when one suffers, we all suffer.
Always remember this and realize that rivalry can be fun and bring forth a sense of esprit de corps, however, if taken to an extreme, the body can suffer.
God bless, and may we continue to keep each and every branch of our military strong with a desire to make each branch strong and compliment each-other, as this was the original concept.
Your words are greatly appreciated here sir. I think even with the rivalry among branches, everyone has to remember that we’re all brothers and sisters fighting for our gorgeous illustrious country.
Thank you to all who have made the sacrifice to serve America.
Isaac J. Hall II