Who Is Weaker, the Army of the Marine Corps

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Who Is Weaker, the Army of the Marine Corps

The following question was on Quora “Why is the Marine Corps in the U.S. the weakest military branch? Why not transfer them to the Army for further training and get rid of the Marine Corps?”

Here is my answer:

I really love these troll questions, and there is no doubt in my mind that this is exactly what this question is, but sure, I’ll bit, I’ll be you, Huckleberry.

The Marine Corps, is the smallest U.S. military Branch, after the Coast Guard and Space Force, and is often thought to be one of the toughest military services around the world. But your question isn’t about toughness, it is about weakest. I’m not exactly sure, what you were getting at, but let’s take a look.

For Physical Training (PT) standards, Marines have the hardest and most challenging Physical Fitness Test (PFT) in the U.S. Military.

Trying to compare Apples to Oranges the best I can. We will the age group of 17-20) and test for a biological male.

The Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test (PFT)

In 2023, Marines must execute dead hang pull-ups/chin-ups with a perfect score being 20. You MUST lock out your elbows at the bottom of the pull-up.

Marines can choose push-ups instead of pull-ups, however, Marines are encouraged to select pull-ups over push-ups, as it’s a better field test of upper body strength. The maximum amount of points a Marine can get with push-ups is 70, whereas a Marine has the possibility of getting the complete max of 100 points with pull-ups.

Marines replaced sit-ups with crunches and have now replaced crunches with the plank. A perfect plank score is 3 minutes and 45 seconds.

The Corps still has the 3-mile run, with a perfect score of 18 minutes.

The Army has the APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test)

In the Army for a biological male who is 27-21 years of age, you can get a perfect score by doing 71 push-ups.

You can get a perfect score of 100 by doing 80 sit-ups. And if you can run two miles in 13 minutes, you can get 100 points.

Now to compare them to each other:

For the run, you must run a 6-minute mile or less to get a perfect score in the Marines, and 6 and a half minutes miles in the Army to get that perfect run score. – That is one point for the Corps.

For pull-ups, we can not compare as the Army does not have that as an option. But for push-ups, in the Corps you need to do 65 push-ups, to max out at a score of 75, you can not get a higher score for push-ups (see the note above if you need additional details on this). In the Army, you can max out the score with 100 points for completing 71 push-ups. – This one isn’t straightforward as the Corps views push-ups as not the best method to test for upper body strength. – We will call this one a draw, but in reality, the Marine Corps edges out the Army on this one.

The Marine Corps no longer does sit-ups, but when I was in the Corps, if you did 80 sit-ups in 2 minutes you maxed out at 100 points. In the Army, you max out with 78 sit-ups. – That is another point for the Corps.

Applying these numbers to your question, the Marine Corps edges out the Army in the Physical Fitness Test.

Both services, however, offer other tests, both the Marine Corps and Army have Combat Fitness Tests. Again we will compare age groups of 17-21 and biological males:

The Marine Corps CFT (Combat Fitness Test) is three events:

  1. an 880-yard “Movement to Contact” run in boots and utility pants (2 minutes and 40 seconds or less is passing)
  2. two minutes of lifting a 30-pound ammo can over the head, earning 1–2 points for each number done in the time limit (a perfect score is 113 lifts of the ammo can)
  3. the “Maneuver Under Fire” drill is part obstacle course, part conditioning, and part combat test: (a perfect score is to complete under 3 minutes and one second)
    • 10-yard sprint
    • 15-yard crawl (low then high crawl)
    • hauling a simulated casualty using two different carries: drag and fireman’s carry over 75 yards zigzagging through cones
    • sprint while carrying two 30-pound ammo cans over 75 yards through the same cones
    • throwing a dummy hand grenade into a marked circle 22.5 yards away (adding 5 seconds to total time if missed, and subtracting 5 seconds if hit)
    • 5 pushups and a sprint with the ammo cans to the finish line.

The Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) is very different from the Marine Corps, who’s is designed around combat. The Army test is designed to measure “power”, “speed” and “Agility” and consists of six events:

  1. Three Repetition Maximum Deadlift: Soldiers choose a weight to lift using a hex-bar three times. If a soldier fails to properly perform three repetitions, they may choose a lighter weight. If a soldier succeeds on their first attempt, they may attempt a higher weight. Of both attempts, the higher weight that was correctly lifted was used. In order to receive 100 points, you must lift 340 pounds.
  2. Standing Power Throw: Soldiers throw a 10-pound (4.5kg) medicine ball, backward and overhead, as far as possible. Soldiers have two attempts and the higher of both distances are used for scoring. You must throw the ball 13 meters in order to get a perfect score.
  3. Hand Release Push-Up: Soldiers execute as many hand-release push-ups as possible within two minutes. One repetition of a hand release push-up is started at the prone, pushing the body up and lowering back down, fully extending the arms to the sides, and putting the arms back under the shoulder. Soldiers may be stopped early for breaking proper form. You must do 57 or more push-ups to get a perfect score
  4. Sprint-Drag-Carry: Soldiers begin in the prone and then sprint up and down a 25-meter (82ft) strip, drag a 90-pound (41kg) sled up and down the strip, perform laterals up and down the strip, carry 40-pound (18kg) kettlebells, and finally sprint. Soldiers aim for the lowest possible time. You must complete the test in 1 minute and 29 seconds or less to get a perfect score.
  5. Plank: Soldiers hold a proper plank position for as long as possible. You must hold the plank for 3 minutes and 40 seconds in order to obtain a perfect score.
  6. Two-Mile Run: On a generally flat route, soldiers run for two miles, aiming for the lowest time. You must complete the run in under 13 minutes and 22 seconds in order to obtain a perfect score.

Screw it, maybe the Air Force is the Toughest for PT standards, lol

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Average Joe

Welcome to the Average Joe Weekly blog. This is basically my place on the web where I can help spread some of the knowledge that I have accumulated over the years. I served 10+ years in the Marine Corps on Active Duty, but that was some 25 years ago.

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By Average Joe

Welcome to the Average Joe Weekly blog. This is basically my place on the web where I can help spread some of the knowledge that I have accumulated over the years. I served 10+ years in the Marine Corps on Active Duty, but that was some 25 years ago.

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