On this page, I’ll do my best to answer an age-old question. What is the best military branch?
Obviously, I was in the Marines, but I’ll do my best to stay unbiased as I make a case for each military branch.
A lot of you reading this are probably thinking about joining the military.
Trust me, if you choose the wrong branch or MOS (Military Occupational Specialty), you will likely hate your life for the next 4 years or so.
On this page we will be focusing on why each branch could be the “best” but I have an entire page on which military branch to join here if you’re interested.
If you’re thinking about joining the military, instead of asking which branch the best is, you need to think about which branch will offer you the experience YOU are looking for. The best branch for one person might be the worst for another.
The truth is every branch is important. Every branch has their “studs” and badass jobs. Each branch shines in different areas. While there is technically no one best branch, there is a best branch FOR YOU. I have a lot of respect for all the branches!
Alright, let’s get into the review.
Marines – Motto – Semper Fidelis “Always Faithful”
Before I make a case for why the Marine Corps could be the best military branch, here is a video on the Marines. You don’t need to watch the entire video. The first couple minutes of the video cover why the Marines are different than the other military branches.
1. The Warrior Culture
A lot of civilians think Marines are crazy. Heck, even the other military branches think the Marines are crazy.
Personally, I don’t think Marines are crazy or war junkies. I think they just realize a lot of people in this world need their asses kicked.
If you’re someone who wants to grab a rifle and head overseas when you see terrorists beheading civilians or governments oppressing their people, then you’d probably fit in well in the Corps.
In the Marines, you are a gun-fighter above all else. That means no matter what MOS you choose, you will still be trained to fight.
2. The Most Gung-ho
I remember standing in formation one morning. Our company First Sergeant said that another unit needed some additional infantry guys to volunteer for a deployment to Iraq.
I got chills when I saw literally every hand go up simultaneously. When you walk into a Marine Corps recruiting office, they don’t offer you anything but a challenge and the opportunity to serve in the world’s finest fighting force.
In the Corps, you won’t find too many people who are just looking to take the easy way out.
3. The Toughest Branch Overall
As I said earlier, every branch has some badass jobs and personnel.
I remember when my buddy was getting ready to join the Air Force. I suggested he look into the Marines more and his response was something along the lines of “oh God no, I could be killed!”
If you’re someone who doesn’t want to go to war or is afraid to die, I wouldn’t recommend joining the Marines.
There really are no easy days in the Marine Corps. Marines train hard because they need to be prepared for whatever mission the country asks them to complete.
Marines would rather die than let the country down.
4. Just Ask America’s Enemies
Here are some things said about Marines by their enemies
“The British were chickens. But these men… the American Marines… they fight like animals. Like they weren’t even human.” – Intercepted radio transmission from a Taliban commander after they lost Karamanda to 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines.
“Devil Dogs” or “Hells Dogs” – Name given to Marines by German soldiers fighting U.S. Marines in the Battle of Belleau Wood in 1918 (World War 1).
“The Walking Dead” – A name given by North Vietnam leader Ho Chi Minh to describe Marines of the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines. A unit of 800 Marines that suffered over 750 causalities refused to give up and kept fighting even after they should have been dead.
Roosevelt’s SS – During World War 2 the 30th infantry division fought against German’s elite 1st SS division, winning every time. The German high command gave them the nickname of Roosevelt’s SS troops.
5. Camaraderie (Most Proud)
The Marine Crops is kind of like brotherhood through misery. In the Marines, you will have to work together to accomplish goals. You learn quickly as an individual you’re nothing.
Once you earn the Title of Marine you have it for life.
If you look around at cars while your driving you’ll see the most US Marine stickers, even though the Marine Corps is the smallest military branch.
Uniforms (Whoops that was 6)
A picture is worth a 1000 words. The Marines have so many cool looking uniforms. Far more than any other branch.
Navy – Motto – “Forged by the Sea”
1. Legendary Spec War Program
The US Navy has some of the most respected Special Forces personnel in the world.
If you’re someone who doesn’t mind the water and is looking for a physical challenge, I recommend looking into the Navy’s Special Warfare program. There are a TON of cool jobs, and they’re always looking to attract talent by offering HUGE signing bonuses.
You probably already know about Navy SEALS, but there are other important jobs like Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Combat Diver, and Special Warfare Combat-craft Crewman. You can learn more about the program on their website here.
2. Live by a Port (AKA the Beach!)
In the Navy, you won’t have to worry about being stationed somewhere in the middle of nowhere or in a desert like I was in the Marines. Almost all jobs in the Navy require you to live on a Navy base near a port, which are located in strategic locations all around the world. There are also a ton of great duty stations in the United States like Jacksonville, Miami, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and many more! While there is no guarantee you will love somewhere nice, there is a very high probability of it in the Navy.
3. Most Travel Opportunities
I have a friend in the Navy and he’s always bragging about all the cool places he’s going like China, Australia, Europe, Hawaii, Guam, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Africa. A lot of jobs in the Navy require you to go on deployments in ships. Usually, ships will stop at many countries and perform different tasks and humanitarian tasks there. That means you get to explore a lot of different areas.
4. Corpsman (And Medical Fields)
As a Marine, I had to add this to the list. There is no job more respected by Marines than the Navy Corpsman. And no, this job is not only for men! The Navy has a ton of medical type jobs because they are responsible for taking care of Navy and Marine Corps personnel.
5. A Lot of Jobs
The Air Force and Army have a lot of jobs too, but I would say the Navy has the most. At the very least they offer the widest range of jobs. They of jobs in fields including construction, aviation, medical, ship specific jobs, Special Forces, and many more.
Air Force – Motto – Aim High, Fly-Fight-Win
1. Best Housing Arrangements
The Air Force’s living conditions are unmatched. If you’re not married and are planning on living on base, the Air Force has by far the nicest bases and housing.
Some other branches have nice barracks too, but it’s way more hit or miss than the Air Force. In the Marines, some of the buildings were living in should have been condemned. You won’t find that in the Air Force, as they are well funded and care about their people.
Now if you’re married and planning on living off base this won’t be as much of a factor for you.
2. Fast Promoting
In the military, you get paid based off your rank. All the branches get paid the same, kind of. Certain branches and jobs promote faster than others. So, while in theory all branches should get paid the same, that’s not really the case. It’s very likely you’ll end up making more if you pick a branch and/or job that promotes quickly. Should this difference in pay really be the main reason you pick one branch over another? No, but it is something I wanted to let you know about.
3. They Care About Their People
This kind of calls into fast promotions and good housing arrangements, but the Air Force genuinely seems to care about their people. So much so that the other branches are bitter about it. There is an old saying that when Airmen get off the bus for basic training they are told “welcome to basic training, promotions are to your left, the ice cream is to your right.
If you join the chair force, I mean the Air Force, you will take some flak from the other military branches for being soft, but trust me, you’ll sleep just fine at night.
4. Educational Opportunities
When you join any branch you automatically get the GI Bill. This is a HUGE benefit of joining the military. If you want to read more about it, I recommend checking out this link here.
The thing about the Air Force is they try to give their people a head start. It’s much easier to get out of the Air Force with a couple years of college complete than any other branch. Basically, you can earn college credits as part of your training. My friend just got out of the Air Force and he only needs a few more classes to complete his bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science.
5. Most Females (and best looking)
There Air Force is still dominated by men, but it does have more women than any of the other branches. I’m not really sure why this is the case, maybe because they have more jobs that are appareling to women.
It’s no secret that the US Air Force plays a huge role in our global defense. You can make an argument that in modern times that the Air Force is actually the most important branch. As a Marine, I know the importance of air superiority. The Air Force has state of the art technology and some of the best pilots in the world.
Army – Motto – This We’ll Defend
1. Largest and Well Equipped
The Army is actually the largest of all the Armed Forces Branches. Currently, there are almost half a million soldiers in the Army. To give you a comparison in size, the Marines have around 180,000, the Navy has around 325,000, the Air Force has around 323,000, and the Coast Guard has around 42,000. The Army is well funded and they supplier their people with the best gear possible.
2. Oldest Branch
The Army is the oldest military branch and has a proud history. The US Army was established by the Continental Congress on Jun 14, 1775. The Marines and Navy were formed later in 1775, followed by the Air Force in 1947.
3. Lots of Jobs (Including Combat Arms)
The Air Force and Navy have a lot of jobs too, but the Army has a large amount of both combat and and non-combat arms jobs. In the Army, you can pick from hundreds of jobs that transfer into the civilian world.
4. Enlisting Bonuses
When I went and talked to an Army Recruiter, they offered me $40,000 signing bonus. How much they will offer you depends on MOS (military occupational specialty) you decide on. During times of war or when the Army is hurting for numbers, they will usually offer some pretty hefty incentives.
5. Well Respected – For the Most Part
Sure, the Marines are known for being the toughest branch, but the Army has plenty of tough soldiers. They have the second hardest basic training. On top of that, they have some of the finest infantry units and Special Forces operators in the world.
Alright, that’s 5 reasons why any branch could be considered the best military branch. This list literally only scratched the surface and it was hard for me to narrow it down to only 5 for each branch.
Let me know what military branch you think is the best and why in the comments! I find it interesting and others may find it useful!
Corporal Wabo is a former Infantry Squad Leader with 3rd Bn 4th Marines. As an outdoor enthusiast, he has been testing outdoor and tactical style gear for over 20 years. He started this website while transitioning out of the Marines, and since has recruited several other Marines to help him work on the Marine Approved website. On this website, we only write about things within our range of expertise like tactical gear, survival gear, hiking supplies, etc. Check out the “About Us” tab to meet the team.