Are Marines really the most elite branch of the military?

We're all on the same team, but some of us just shine a little brighter

Are Marines really the most elite branch of the military?

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Brittney Vella/DVIDSHUB

By Jeff Edwards

The inter-service rivalry between the branches of the military might be a confusing affair for most outsiders. “But aren‘t you all on the same team?” says the neutral observer.

Yes, we are indeed on the same team and you should know that when we make fun of each other, we are just having a little brotherly fun. However, as a Marine myself I would like to shed a little honest light on the undertone that drives it. For while every branch most certainly respects each other, we have a few deep down truths that make us all grizzle.

Brothers gotta hug, but sometimes brothers gotta throw a real punch to keep it real. No worries; as a Marine you can trust me to be completely neutral with this article.

Of course the Marines are the best!

chester puller
"Chesty Puller would haunt my dreams." (source)

If you are a member of the other branches, you are likely sickened to your stomach right now over the idea of reading another article about how the Marines are the best. Don‘t worry, we won‘t spend the entire time on the Marines. However, if you are sick of the conversation it is because the conversation keeps coming up for a reason.

The truth is, the Marines are the best because they believe themselves to be the best and it permeates our culture. Plus, let us not even get into the dress-blues-versus-the-other-uniforms-conversation.

Now, I am done mentioning the Marines for the most part, but if I didn‘t at least recognize the Marines first, Chesty Puller would haunt my dreams tonight. And he is surly old ghost to say the least.

An Army of one

Hear me out Army. I am not going to make fun of you.

The Army is a pretty large branch, the largest by far. They have infantry, tanks, and helicopters coming out the wazoo. However, when it comes to rivalry, that is part of the problem. They are a little too generalized and I think they know it.

Again, they got some pretty top notch Special Forces guys, but the rank and file Army man is one of many. Unfortunately, this leaves them feeling a little like Emmit from The Lego Movie wanting to be “The Special.” Great movie, by the way. Honestly, check it out grown ups.

Remember Army brothers, we are informing the world about the hidden truths of inter-service rivalry. So I am not saying you are not special, I truly am not. But what kind of sore spot does it hit on you when you thought I said it?

The Army history is full of heroism and excellent warfighting. But when it comes to the conversation of who is the best, they get sick of constantly hearing about the Marines. They just have too much of a generalized large history to fight it off repeatedly.

Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard

Lastly, these guys are branches of the military as well. However, when they enter into the conversation of inter-service rivalry, they often get left behind and the conversation turns to how good their chow is or something.

“Yeah, Marines are tough, but Air Force chow halls are better,” says the Airman.

I honestly don‘t blame any of these branches. We have not had a good war with some hot ship-on-ship action since World War II. Our Navy needs a foe like the Japanese Imperial Navy to build up some modern street cred.

So many of the old War War II films I love involve the Navy in the Pacific: Blazing turrets, sinking ships, and all the bravado of ship-to-ship combat. The Navy misses it, and they could really use it to boost their modern bragging rights.

Our Air Force needs a modern Lutwaffe to fight. The modern wars have relegated any air-to-air combat to looking like another poorly made Iron Eagle sequel. It is kind of a backhanded compliment, but our Air Force has gotten so technologically superior to anyone they fight that they pretty much look like Achilles in search of a worthy opponent.

I think they are still a little bummed at missing out on World War II. That‘s right, it was the Army back then people. Look it up.


So in conclusion, I didn‘t write this article to take jabs at my fellow service members and if I did, it was for purely fun reasons. We can all take it. We have thick skin. Rather, it was to inform the general public of the dirty little truths we all sort of believe when we say it. To provide insight into the mind of each branch was my goal. And yes, Marines really do believe we are the best, but we have respect for all. Everything else is just having a little fun. Sort of.

P.S. Wait a minute, you forgot about the Coast Guard, you say! No, no I didn‘t. And now you have your final insight into our minds as well.