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Why Marines?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Cheetah, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. Cheetah

    Cheetah Deity

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    Reading through the Avatar thread, I came across this:
    My question isn't about why the different branches of the military is a bit (or more) competitive with each other and all those things, but it got me wondering about something:

    Why the Marines?

    I mean, historically, there were warriors/soldiers to wage wars. And as we got the ability to cross water in boats, fighting necessarily followed. And since armed and armored soldiers don't swim very well, and boats can't sail over land, we got a military divided into two branches: the Army and the Navy. Fair enough.

    Then later, we got airplanes. And after a bit back and forth (still hasn't been completely settled as far as I know), we got a third branch: the Airforce. Or/and the Army and Navy have their separate air forces in some organisations.

    And then several countries have the Marines. Historically, I understand that they were assigned to ships to make sure that no sailors mutinied or something. More like a "supporting" branch than a real one in itself (but then again, that was also how the airforces started - or still is).

    But now - at least by looking at the USMC - they seem, from a quick glance, to be a second Army branch. And I believe they have their own air force as well?

    (Not to mention that the US and other countries have yet another branch - the National Guard - which seems like yet another Army branch to me. But that can be explained more as being a state level military instead of the federal, right?)

    Why? Why is the military divided into these branches? Is it simply by tradition and historical evolution, or is there a logic to it?

    Edit: And for one additional question: Are there better ways to organise a military than the currently most common one of Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, National Guard?
     
  2. RedRalph

    RedRalph Deity

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    I've always wondered that too. They seem more or less the same as army to me.
     
  3. woody60707

    woody60707 Deity

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    Simply, America doesn't need a Marine corp, America wants a Marine corp (this is one of the 1st things taught to us in bootcamp). Our bootcamp is longer and harder then others. We are much smaller then the other branch, so we can be more selective. Finally, any job in the Marines is done in the Army or Airforce, people join the Marines simply because it's harder.

    And it's nice to have a small fast reaction, tip of the spear, expeditionary air/ground task force.
     
  4. capslock

    capslock Emperor

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    Now-a-days, we serve a different role than the Army, and our organization is much different and better suited to fulfill that role. Here is a quote that kind of sums it up:

    Lying offshore, ready to act, the presence of ships and Marines sometimes means much more than just having air power or ship's fire, when it comes to deterring a crisis. And the ships and Marines may not have to do anything but lie offshore. It is hard to lie offshore with a C-141 or C-130 full of airborne troops. -- Colin Powell, during Operation Desert Storm
     
  5. bigfatron

    bigfatron Emperor

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    Marines arose within the British navy as a means for an island country to project power.

    A naval ship, in and of itself, cannot control a coastline or port; while it can control shipping routes it is almost powerless against land forces and can readily be held off by a well-positioned and manned fortification. It became essential in the 18th century for a British naval presence to be able to tackle land-based fortifications and to hold bases once seized.

    The assignment of soldiers to naval ships - 'marine' soldiers - was a recognition of this need; they were not initially a separate arm of the forces but formed part of the army. Only over time did the marines evolve into a naval arm.

    There are other analogous groups that provide support for an arm in one of the other two spheres of deployment - for instance the RAF has the RAF regiment for ground deployment, the army has the paratroop corp, and the navy has the Fleet Air Arm and the Royal Marines.

    BFR
     
  6. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Tradition is the main answer. Marines in the US serve some functions that are separate from the Army. Bot not things that the Army could not do. They include security for Navy ships and bases. They have special training for attacking land targets from ships. Historically marines fought on ships, as ships were boarded and captured. That's not really an issue against a modern warship, but marines can still be used to capture merchant vessels or against pirates. There is a lot of overlap between the US Marines and the US Army. But they are not exactly the same. They are organized and equipped somewhat differently, and train for some different missions. Still there's no reason the Army couldn't fill all those roles. It's tradition, and what laws the government is persuaded to pass. The US Marines are a subdivision of the US Navy, and under Navy authority. Once upon a time, the US Air Force was a subdivision of the US Army. However the size, power, and area of responsibility of the Air Force grew so large that it was separated from the Army. National Guards, in the US sense, is just our particular way of having a trained reserve for the Army and Air Force. There are reserve forces for each of the services as well. Where NG units differ is that the state governors have control of the NG for emergency purposes. And as they are not Federal troops, can be used in domestic law enforcement. So in addition to being a trained reserve for the military, is a trained reserve for the states in emergency response roles.
     
  7. Merkinball

    Merkinball Deity

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    Marines take ground, the Army then babysits it.
     
  8. azzaman333

    azzaman333 meh

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    Because Marine sounds scarier than Army.
     
  9. Aegis

    Aegis Deity

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    Our Navy needed combat troops and the Army said "Hey, it's not our job, get your own combat troops." So they did.

    The Marine Corps exists as a expeditionary force specializing in amphibious assault.
     
  10. RedRalph

    RedRalph Deity

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    Well why aren't the soldiers who get transported by air their own special branch?
     
  11. Aegis

    Aegis Deity

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    Because they're only being transported. The Air Force does not have a need for troops, outside of calling in air strikes. The days of boarding enemy ships & lopping off heads with sabres may be over, but the Navy still needs ship guards and security forces.

    Present day, the Marines are designed to be mobilized & deployed ASAP. They are designed to be the tip of our spear because they can respond the quickest. The Army, not so much.

    [Edit:] I suppose that the USMC could be disbanded and it's role transferred to the Army, but I think that it's better to have an organization dedicated to the purpose of first-response and amphibious assault, without being bogged down by a massive chain of command like the Army's. If anything like that happened, they would likely be departmentalized like they are in the Navy now, so what would be the point in changing? Tradition is a good thing to uphold in the military because it builds camaraderie and morale. The Marines also have a reputation for being highly respected and feared. That reputation would likely disappear if they were assimilated into the Army.

    Also: If it isn't broken, don't try to fix it. :thumbsup:
     
  12. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    They have their own divisions within the Army. But there really aren't that many of them. And they don't have over 200 years of history of being their own branch.
     
  13. bhsup

    bhsup Deity

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    Because "The Few, The Proud, The Marines" sounds better than...

    Spoiler :


    ********************* I AM AN ARMY OF ONE ***********************
    I am the 18-24 year old being targeted by this new marketing
    concept, the very embodiment of "what's in it for ME." The legacy
    of the politically correct years. It's ok to be immoral and a
    pervert, and if anyone tries to mold me too vigorously into a
    something that resembles a warrior, I'll tell my congressperson!

    ********************* I AM AN ARMY OF ONE ***********************
    Teamwork? My chain of command consists of ME, MYSELF, and I.
    I'm destined to be a dot-com millionaire. Just give me all that
    college money, and take it easy on the discipline stuff. When
    divisions of Chinese are racing toward my outpost like rabid
    lemmings, I'll pack my Task-Force-Smith-smellin' ass back to
    Milwaukee.

    ********************* I AM AN ARMY OF ONE ***********************
    I have Carpal-Tunnel Syndrome, I'm great at Nintendo, and my
    androgynous, sensitive physique can't handle 10 properly-executed
    push-ups. I couldn't blast my way into an old folk's home, let
    alone stand my ground in an impromptu bar room brawl. I am a
    product of social engineering and hours of TV a day; my idea of a
    "Survivor" is not a Medal of Honor winner who killed three
    Vietnamese with his e-tool before being shot and left for dead,
    but a pudgy, manipulative gay guy on an island shared with other
    losers.

    ********************* I AM AN ARMY OF ONE ***********************
    Concepts like duty, honor, and country are passe'. If it
    Involves sacrifice of my individuality to become part of a team,
    I'll punch out and spend the rest of my life hanging out with my
    Microsoft employee slackerbuddies in Seattle, speaking in learned
    tones about an unfortunate period in my life where I endured the
    indignities of military service. Oh, the Patton movie? Haven't
    seen it.

    ********************* I AM AN ARMY OF ONE ***********************
    Gimme Gimme Gimme. What can I do for my country? Ha. Let me
    ask that after I've feathered my nest like so many of the
    non-veteran, draft-dodging, privileged Ivy Leaguers populating
    Capitol Hill. Cater to me first, pander to me as an individual,
    and after I don the uniform, continue to treat me with kid
    gloves, and let me punch out before things get really tough-where
    I might actually have to risk my life for my country, because...

    ********************* I AM AN ARMY OF ONE ***********************
    (I would add, I AM AN ARMY OF ONE
    Give me my damn black beret, its all about appearances!)


    ;) - No offense Mobby, just a bit of interservice ribbing :D
     
  14. Earthling

    Earthling Deity

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    I don't know why you think calling ethnic Chinese people "rabid lemmings" is offensive to MobBoss- you guys have a really warped worldview.
     
  15. Aegis

    Aegis Deity

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    The Chinese rely upon their overwhelming numbers in war. This is not news.

    It was an analogy used to describe the scenario in an image-building way. It was not referring to the Chinese as lemmings.

    Similar =\= same
     
  16. MobBoss

    MobBoss Off-Topic Overlord

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    Several replies, but not any serious ones.

    Marines exist because their methods and doctrine contain options and abilities that the Army doesnt have.

    Marines were meant to be shock troops to assault beachheads, survive and achieve the goal. As a whole, they are generally viewed as a higher trained force in comparison with your regular army infantry unit, on par (more or less) with the Army Rangers (another specialized unit).

    The tradition of having marines is most prevalent in nations with large maritime histories. Again, it takes a different skill set to defend a ship effectively, and/or be able to assault a defended beach from the sea.

    Now that is a very, very small synopsis on something you could probably write a whole dissertation to. So what you get out of that may vary.
     
  17. RedRalph

    RedRalph Deity

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    I understand they that are an elite, MB, and that they do different things, but so does the engineer corps, the paras, special forces etc, yet none of them are a completely seperate branch.
     
  18. MobBoss

    MobBoss Off-Topic Overlord

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    Just to clarify, it does take a state of emergency declaration from a governor to use the National Guard in that role. Likewise, they can be federalized and called up as well, but cant be used for domestic law enforcement in that status because of posse comitatus.

    There can be a lot of grey area issues come up with the guard as well, since all national guard training is paid for by federal money.
     
  19. MobBoss

    MobBoss Off-Topic Overlord

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    Well, to an extent, they are.

    Airborne units are indeed a special branch from within the Army.

    As are Special Forces units.

    As are the Corps of Engineers.

    What seperates them mostly is the terrian they primarily fight on/from. Earth, air, water. Army = Earth, Navy/Marines = Water, and the Air Force = Air, each being specialized in its respective environment.

    Now, you could glob all of it under one big branch (which technically we do = the Department of Defense), but its more effective to recognize each of them their own speciality and allow them to be experts at it. Is there some cross-over? Absolutely, but thats only breeds some friendly inter-service competition, not water the pool down.
     
  20. bhsup

    bhsup Deity

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    For what it is worth (and I am loath to bring this up), but the USMC is under the department of the Navy. The Commandant of the Marine Corps answers to the Secretary of the Navy and PROBABLY the Chief of Naval Operations as well. Please do not make a habit of bringing this up, though.
     

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