Marine Corps Boot Camp: Marine Corps vs Army (Videos)

Marine Corps Letters From Boot Camp
Written by Kevin Webb

Receiving: The Intensity Levels Are Simply Unequaled

Boot Camp: Marine Corps vs Army

There are a lot of differences that set Marines apart from soldiers. When it comes to basic training, some of the most common differences are the length of the basic training, and the intensity of the training. Another major difference that puts a “basic” Marine above a “basic” soldier is that every Marine is a rifleman, and is trained for combat. It doesn’t matter if you’re a cook or a mechanic, you’re expected to be able to shoot a sand flea in the butt at 500 yards with iron sights on a rainy day with no sleep. Every Marine is sent to the Marine Corps School of Infantry after their 13 weeks of basic training. Infantry Marines go through the Infantry Training Battalion (ITB), and non-infantry Marines go through Marine Combat Training (MCT), which is a 30-day, non-stop combat training school. Marines, in general, train harder, are in better physical shape, have higher standards to meet, are more disciplined, and better prepared for the fog of war.

A few other crazy things that I have seen that are 100% unacceptable on Parris Island is clapping, cheering, and having “get-to-know-you” talk among other recruits in the presence of a drill sergeant. Try any of that at Marine Corps Boot Camp, and you’ll be eating sand fleas for 2 hours with your rifle, and a full ILBE pack. It seems like everyone speaks softly, uses their hands when they talk, etc. That kind of “minor” stuff just doesn’t fly with a Marine drill instructor.

At Marine Corps boot camp, for 12 weeks you won’t say a single word that isn’t a glass-shattering, lung-exploding, blood in your throat SCREAM! Talk “sweet” to a Marine DI and you’ll be screaming in the corner of your barracks for 6 hours, holding your rifle straight out in front of you, while simultaneously doing squats, tapping your foot, snapping your fingers, and blinking your eyes, while the rest of your platoon sweats it out in a front-leaning rest on your behalf. Those minor things don’t fly.

Soldiers get called by their rank (usually Private) on their first day of arrival. A Marine recruit’s rank includes names such as maggot, disgrace, nobody, faggot, freak, @#&%, *^&%, $%^&#!, and $%^& just to name a few. You’re actually lucky to get called recruit.

Marines also don’t train anywhere near females. The only females a Marine sees at boot camp are the dentist, the Corpsmen, and the American flag. In fact, get caught looking at a female civilian that might be walking by, and just stand-by for the pit, or the hazing of a lifetime.

This is not to degrade any other branch of the U.S. military. They all serve a very important role, and deserve the utmost honor for their service. This is simply to highlight what makes Marines “The Few and the Proud.”

Let’s take a look at some videos.

In 2009, more than 30,000 young Americans became United States Marines. They did it through the efforts of their drill instructors. These videos are probably the best professionally filmed portrayal of what Marine Corps Boot Camp is like. Unlike the Army, Navy, and Air Force… Marine Corps boot camp is no walk in the park. It is the real deal. Three months of screaming, hurt lungs, torn vocals, sore muscles, sweating, bleeding, being demoralized, and broken spirits. It is the process that leads to a hardened, tough-as-nails professional combat machine… otherwise known as a United States Marine.

Making Marines: A Drill Instructor Story | Part 1

Making Marines: A Drill Instructor Story | Part 2

Making Marines: A Drill Instructor Story | Part 3

Making Marines Part 1

Making Marines Part 2

Making Marines Part 3

Army Basic Training Video

More Army Basic Training

More Army Basic Training


About the author

Kevin Webb


  • Another great post Kevin! The only soldiers I’ve interacted with who have had discipline, respect and professionalism close to that of a Marine were a group of soldiers in civvies with long hair and beards and who handled their weapons like they were born with them. These guys were coming off a machine gun range as we were going onto a KD range, so we talked a little while about weapon systems, etc.

    • @Staff Sgt Greg Thomas – From your description, I am assuming they were Special Forces. Which would make sense, because they understand that a lack of discipline, professionalism in the field will get the wrong people killed.

  • The only reason im even looking at the army or have any respect for them… is for SF. that is my entire goal in life is to make it to special forces. those are the only people that i would trust in the army. I feel like im looking at scout camp when i see army BC. I was in USMC in 06, but had a medical discharge. I really like what the Army SF does, but ive always got a special place for marines in my soul.

    • I know quite a few Marines who have served their time in the Corps, and then moved over into the Army for either SF, or to become an officer, as their officer program appears to be a bit easier, but I do not know this for a fact.

      You can also join the Coast Guard, and become directly commissioned as an officer without having to go through too much.

      Good luck.

      Semper Fi!

      Kevin Webb

  • Ok so heres my plan thus far (open for change, but at least its a start). Im in college 2yrs. Im doing aircraft maintenance management major at school. Now this is what can change. Ive looked at army enlisted national guard (so i can finish school and ROTC) and in the guard, drill with the 19th SF group (im in Utah). Then commission and go to helo school in the Army. After i am able to rank to Capt. apply for Sf training. I figure with this route, I wont have to deal TOO much with a bunch of morons. If I could go, for example, USMC reserve and still be able to go to school, then commission with the army, i would be ecstatic haha. The kind of downside to the Helo pilot officer in the Army, is that I will probably get put behind a desk. But its all to get to SF. This probably isnt something you expected a random person to put up here, but there it is haha

  • One thing that give me solace, is that I have the attitude of a marine and would kick that pants off their training. I dont mean to sound like a cocky bugger, but self confident. Also I dont want to slam on the Army. I know that if Im doing something with SF or specialized, I will actually feel like Im unique and useful. Not jsut another soldier in the vast arm.

  • I’ve seen waaayyyyy to many fat people in the army. Like we have a recruiter that comes to our school like twice a month and i can figure out how he meets the fitness standards, and i guess he must have gotten his jump badge when he was younger cause i think his knees would give out if he did a jump right now. Then we had this guy from our JROTC last year who went national guard and he aint in much better shape either, actually i think he is even fatter

  • One of the biggest differences is that Marines train the same in boot camp. In the Army, rather than boot camps being divided based on geography, the Army sends recruits to different posts depending on their MOS. All Infantry recruits go to Fort Benning, and now so do Armor and Cavalry. MP and Engineer go to Fort Leonard Wood, Field and Air Defense Artillery to Fort Sill. Infantry, Armor, Cavalry, MP, and Engineer also don’t have separate MOS training…it’s essentially a job-specific, longer boot camp. I went to Fort Benning for Infantry, and it’s pretty much the same as Parris Island. Armor and Cavalry are the same. But, someone at Fort Jackson is going to be trained more along Air Force standards. Also noteworthy is that Army boot camp includes basic combat skills and weapons use (M249, M203, M240B, etc) instead of having a separate school like in the Corps. Fort Benning, Fort Knox (when they still had training there), Parris Island, and San Diego are all very similar in quality, while Fort Sill and Fort Leonard Wood are slightly lesser. Fort Jackson trains about half the Army and tends to give the rest a bad name, being that it is a cakewalk compared to anything else. I wish the Army would train its noncombatants with the same fire that the Marine Corps does.

  • U.S. Army recruitment videos are not evidence. THEY NEED RECRUITS, therefore show a nicer image. While the USMC being a small branch with 0 trouble with recruiting can show a tougher image.

    The last time Army showed this “tough image” the mothers of america lashed out and made a huge deal about it.

  • Marine Corps Boot Camp is by far the hardest and most challenging of all branches of our military! The other branches have specialized units within then that would compare, but only come at an advanced level of someones career. All Marines are harded and disciplined the same at either MCRD Parris Island or MCRD San Diego. That is what seperates the Marine Corps from all others and makes being a Marine so special. Every Marine knows what I’m talking about “Those who know will always know, Those who don’t will always wonder”! SEMPER FI

  • […] Exercising with a good coach makes for a tough and challenging workout.  I focus my clients’ workout on outdoor bodyweight exercises, which are the foundation to the Muddy Plimsolls approach to fitness training.  Our Training System is the perfect counterbalance to boot camp training, as it encourages an emphasis on individual attention and guidance. [photo credit: Marine Boot Camp] […]

  • Having served on a few army bases during my time in the Marine Corps, this is my observation. They have better equipment, better chow and better barracks but they have no tradition. Everything in the Marine Corps is done either for combat effectiveness or tradition, in the army everything is done because some 12 million page regulation says so somewhere in it but no one has actually seen it. Their NCO’s are not really NCO’s as they are known in the Marine Corps they are more like nonrates with a bigger paycheck, they get treated like shit have their hands tied, the army is run by officers, not NCOs. The army could be combat effective (they certainly have enough equipment) if they didn’t dumb down all of their requirements so that even the slowest among them could participate, the army actually promotes the stupid folks and passes over the smarter ones because they don’t blindly follow the stupid ones. The army is governed by the buddy system its who you know (or who’s ass you kiss) and not what you know or what you can do. Finally taking care of soldiers doesn’t happen in the army, ever, they get screwed by their own leadership more than a 2 dollar hooker on payday, so naturally most soldiers just don’t give a fuck anymore and are just waiting their time to get out.

    Unfortunately I see the Marine Corps becoming a lot more like the army, Thankfully I got out before it got too gay (no pun intended.)

  • Good job Kevin!! im a future Marine and this is all absolutely 100% true i have looked into every branch of the military and the marines are by far the toughest and yes alot of marines are cocky ***holes but they have every right to be after their 3 months of absolute hell!!! go marines!! OORAH!! oh and this is not to be disrespectful to any of the other branches of the military because i have had family in all of the branches of the military and we all fight for the same reason!!

  • While I understand what you’re getting at here, I do think that there’s a bit of exaggeration going on and the “easiness” of the Army training is by no means universal. A friend of mine in an Army infantry unit went through hell at OSUT; many of the drill sergeants for his class were bordering on abusive (probably even by Marine standards). Other classes received easier times than his, but from the stories his cycle got really unlucky. There were inquiries launched afterwards and the drill sergeants ended up being separated before the next class. I daresay that the studs who made it through, like my friend, were roughly on par with many “basic” Marine graduates in many (albeit perhaps not all) regards.

    My buddy also met several Marines at Airborne, including some infantry guys. Based on his extended conversations with them, he came to the conclusion that there really wasn’t much of a disparity in the quality of training they had each received. Indeed, he met one Marine infantry veteran of Fallujah and Ramadi who left the Corps to go into the Army. He said that the Army got him in better overall shape than the Corps ever did.

    I mean no disrespect to the Marines, nor am I a rabid Army fanboy. In fact, I’ve always been fascinated by the Marines and they’re my “favorite” branch. However, I just wanted to remind everyone that plenty of Soldiers receive perfectly respectable training, in many cases on par with that of the USMC. Everyone has a niche.

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