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North America Military News From United States, Canada & Mexico.

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  #1  
Old 09-01-2013, 07:46 AM
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Default US Marine Corps / US Army

[Accidental double posting--sorry!]

Last edited by David of Galilee; 09-01-2013 at 07:56 AM..
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  #2  
Old 09-01-2013, 07:53 AM
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I am curious about the large size of the US Marine Corps, and how it functions as distinct from the army. Are there any difficulties or rivalries or differences of opinion in senior command levels in having such a large Marine Corps?

200,000 - Marine Corps
450,000 - US Army


How might the division of use look in a large-scale war--Marine responsibility versus army?

One friend of mine who was 9 years in the Marines (and an immigrant to Israel), said in general Marines are shock troops, take beaches, and defeat the enemy up to a certain distance inland, stabilize and hand over to the army. He was in a long time ago, so I wonder if that is still true. Marines may be deployed far inland, is this not so?

What is the authority of the Navy over the Marine Corps today? Are the Marines a defacto seperate force?

I have know a few Royal Marines, and one SAS sergeant who was career RM before trying for the SAS. They have stayed a small very elite force of less than 10,000, very much part of the Royal Navy. And they do not function as big ground forces, so much as commandos and special ops, and other very specific functions requiring tough, well above average training. The Marines have some of this element, but are capable of fielding organised full combat brigades much as a regular army? Or am I wrong?

I used to provide music for Marine Balls at the US embassy here in Israel, but mostly the Marines said things like, "if its too tough for the army, they send Marines." Got to admire the Marine esprit de corps.

I would love to be educated by any US Marines here. Always been captivated by US Marines, but a little confused about Marines vs army in especially a big theatre shooting war.
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Old 09-01-2013, 01:00 PM
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As I understand, Marines are designed to be an amphibious expeditionary force, they cannot be deployed far inland without augmentation from the army, because a MEU doesn't have the logistical staying power of a long time, being designed to operate with logistics from their ships, unlike the Army which is supposed to have reinforcements in form of its own organic assets.
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Old 09-01-2013, 01:46 PM
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Yet the Marine air arm is not too shabby--support-oriented but quite powerful. Many armies would love to have such a well-equipped force of 200,000 for any large theatre operation.

Is it my imagination or has the Marine Corps size been an issue? Several presidents have tried to reduce its size and transfer air assets to naval aviation. How does the army see all this?
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Old 09-02-2013, 12:00 PM
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As I see it, USMC Aviation is geared towards tactical air support, with limited capability to airlift, which would require a far longer logistics tail. The aerial, armoured, artillery and other assets the Corps possess are to provide them with sufficient teeth as a rapid entry force (with MEU's based globally) with sufficient holding power for a limited period of time.
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Old 09-02-2013, 06:59 PM
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The marines lack logistics. They can stay somewhere that some other branch provides their support. Without focusing on supply lines they can mobilize quickly, but without support they fatigue quickly.

The Army is slow moving, and never moves without first preparing logistics. Anywhere the Army goes, they can stay forever. Once the Army gets moving, it is hard to stop. But half of them are logistics: manufacturer liaison, trucking, warehousing, tracking, trucking, supply clerks, plus intermediary bases in-route [each with guards].



If you needed to throw 40,000 troops into a hot-zone, the marines can be ready in a day [after Seal teams have cleared the path for them].

Then in a couple weeks someone needs to provide relief for those troops.

Inside of 4-weeks the Army will be on-scene. After that the Army can provide 40,000 fresh troops into that hot-zone, every month, month-after-month, year-after-year.



From the Marine's perspective the Navy provides: transportation, food, hot showers, and medical treatment. [all the things that the Marines do not provide for themselves].
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Old 09-02-2013, 07:22 PM
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Arrow Rapid Reaction Forces

Hmmm, while I have been around a lot of Marines I am not that knowledgeable about the Marine Corps force structure. I know they are one of America's rapid force projections just as the Army Airborne, Ranger, Special Forces along with Delta and the Navy Seals are. It depends on the nature of the threat and location of forces who is called upon. Today the face of warfare has changed greatly since I was on active duty so I will leave it to those more current to speak to it.
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Old 09-03-2013, 06:01 AM
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Very helpful clarifications. The MC is so huge, and I really wondered how such a large force is used. Maybe someday the MC and the Army will be close in numbers. I can certainly see them being half the numbers in soldiers.

I have a better idea now of the MC role. The traditional role of taking and preparing, as opposed to holding and populating enemy territory--seems to be in tact still. I could imagine the MC inside of the Army, in some organisational schemes. Maybe as brigades with regular army support battalions and companies attached according to need.

Fascinating. Any suggestions for a good general account of the recent past and current MC? Older histories I know. But so much must have changed since 20-30 years ago.

What would be the nearest similar force in any other military? Army-sized but almost "special forces?"

Do China or India have anything even close (in structure at least) to the MC?
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Old 09-03-2013, 01:08 PM
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ET1(ss), excellently explained like always.

Quote:
Anywhere the Army goes, they can stay forever.
IMHO, for certain duties like Embassy Guards and in both troubled spots as well as nations with a colonial baggage, this has political implications as well, as the deployment of the Army as opposed to USMC would be viewed with suspicion of a permanent commitment.

Also, one of USMC's objectives as I understand is to develop specialised techniques for expeditionary warfare, and maintain the tools for the same. Both the Navy and Army, while capable of doing so, are unlikely to devote much too resources for the same due to other commitments.
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Old 09-03-2013, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paparock View Post
Hmmm, while I have been around a lot of Marines I am not that knowledgeable about the Marine Corps force structure. I know they are one of America's rapid force projections just as the Army Airborne, Ranger, Special Forces along with Delta and the Navy Seals are. It depends on the nature of the threat and location of forces who is called upon. Today the face of warfare has changed greatly since I was on active duty so I will leave it to those more current to speak to it.
Paparock,

With my limited understanding, I do believe that what you state has only become more pronounced with the passage of time. Since a more network centric approach was adopted in the US Army, Sustainment Brigades have become an integral part of Army ship to shore operations, thus shifting rapid power projection capability even more on MEU's.
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Old 09-03-2013, 01:29 PM
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David,

Russian Naval Infantry may perhaps be considered a closer analogue. PRC has PLA Marine Corps, but it cannot be compared to USMC. India has MARCOS, which is an SF unit, again small and quite incomparable to USMC.
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Old 09-03-2013, 04:05 PM
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So perhaps versions of the Royal Marines, if less talented, are more emulated around the world.

Interesting about colonial baggage--the US Marines were the force majeure in US colonial and interventionist policy, from the days of the Barbary Pirates and shores of Tripoli. In Hawaii it was the power of US Marines behind the stripping of Hawaiian sovereignty and forced abdication of the monarchy. So Over there the Marines were very much the colonial symbol. Also in Latin America and the Caribbean. Regular Army, not so much. Maybe the comparatively larger Cuban campaigns of the Spanish-American War.

The Marines really were one the floating soldiers of the Navy!

Do Marines receive Navy decorations and awards, or are there special Marine honours?

I would really love to get a few suggestions for Marine Corps recent history, something written in the past 10 or so years. I suppose one book written by an enlisted man, preferably a long-timer, and one written by an officer.

I know the IDF and the MC are very different in many ways, but the IDF uses rapid deployment, shock-force, total theatre control, and as much destruction of enemy ability in as short a time as possible philosophy. So even if we deploy large forces only in our region, we have a bit more in common with the MC than the hold and control and administer of the US Army. No direct comparisons, but overlaps here and there in practice and aims.

Last edited by David of Galilee; 09-03-2013 at 04:08 PM..
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  #13  
Old 09-06-2013, 11:48 AM
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Great Thread! My Marine Corps is one of my favorite subjects!

Okay, I'm an 80's era Marine. Back then Congress limited the total number of active duty Marines to not exceed 186,000. Right now, the Marine Corps has been ordered to reduce its ranks back to the 186,000 number from the 200,000 that has been mentioned.

During the 1980's the Marine Corps primary mission was to be ready to float or fly in to any part of the world within 24 hours. We are known as the, "Presidents Own." In other words, he could order us in to anywhere at any time. This always caused a lot of disconsternation amongst congress. Reagan, President type, one each, was able to push through a bill allowing him to commit us to a mission for no more than 90 days without congress's approval (in our Constitution some where). Pres. Clinton fought congress on this issue to. I think it was Pres. Bush Jr. that finally was able to make it permanent. [Understand I am writing this from memory. I haven't researched this yet. There could be errors]

Our job once deployed was to go in to an area, secure the area, then turn it over to the Army, or if possible to the local government if they were capable of maintaining peace. Then we would leave, go to our next port-of-call and drink a lot of beer, and convert the local virgins. Sounds great, right? Enter Beirut, 1981 - 1984. For the first time, to my knowledge, we were used as an occupying army, with unloaded weapons. no beer, and no women to chase. It didn't work out so well. Anyway, all that is another story. So, to answer your question, Knaur, and ET1 have it pretty much right.

Oh, David of Galilee, please don't mention the Disbanding of My Marine Corps thing too loudly. We have non military politicians that have wanted to do that for the past 50 years.

Semper Fi!!!
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Old 09-06-2013, 12:04 PM
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Do Marines receive Navy decorations and awards, or are there special Marine honours?


David, yes, we do receive both Navy and Marine Corps Medals, ribbons, and awards. I have both Navy and Marine Corps ribbons and medals. This is because the Marine Corps is a Department of the Navy.
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Old 09-07-2013, 07:25 AM
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Nice to hear an insider's explanation, BV'83.
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Old 09-07-2013, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knaur View Post
Nice to hear an insider's explanation, BV'83.
US forces personnel are also eligible to receive awards and decorations occasionally from services other than their own on a case-by-case basis.

For example: I knew Marines who had been awarded the Army Commendation Medal.
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Old 09-07-2013, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beirutvet1983 View Post
Oh, David of Galilee, please don't mention the Disbanding of My Marine Corps thing too loudly. We have non military politicians that have wanted to do that for the past 50 years.

Semper Fi!!!
Former President Harry Truman was also supposedly no fan of the Marine Corps and it was as a direct result of his attempts at interfering with the unique mission of the Corps that the classic 1949 John Wayne movie Sands of Iwo Jima was made.
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