Longer and More Difficult: United States Marine Corps Recruit Training vs the Army

U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bolanos, drill master, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, demonstrates a drill movement to recruits aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island.

In This Article

The United States Marine Corps is one of the world’s most elite combat forces. It has a long and distinguished history, having participated in conflicts all over the world since its inception. Marines have always been known for their hard work, discipline, and patriotism. But among these qualities, few people know about how tough Marine training can be. In fact, it might just be tougher than Army Basic Training!

What is Marine Corps Training Like?

Marine Corps training can be difficult but it is necessary for survival. Marines learn how to live in the field, which includes learning how to operate weapons systems without giving away their position. Basic Marine Combat Training (BMCT) lasts thirteen weeks and it is during this time that many recruits will develop life-long bonds with fellow Marines. Marines are taught squad tactics, fireteam organization, patrolling techniques, communications skills, battle drills, and more. They also conduct marksmanship training where basic rifle marksmanship skills are taught by qualified Marine Corps instructors. This includes qualification on the M16A4 service rifle or a newer weapon system such as the M4 or a 9mm pistol. The Marines are also taught how to conduct offensive and defensive operations, including the use of grenades to clear out bunkers. They are additionally taught what it means to be a Marine.

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How Does it Compare to Army Basic Training?

Marine Corps Recruit Training is more physically demanding than the Army. While US Army basic training takes about 10 weeks, Marine Corps basic training is 13 weeks and centers a lot around formal drill, discipline, and embracing the term “every Marine a rifleman.”

This includes not only marching but also running, which Marines are required to do while carrying their full combat gear. Marines are taught discipline and self-control throughout their training, and they share a fierce identity as they’ve earned the title U.S. Marine.

The Benefits of Joining the Marines

There are many benefits to signing up with the United States Marine Corps. For one, it teaches you life skills that can help you in any career field. Those who complete Basic Training and go on to receive advanced training become more marketable as they learn professional skills and gain leadership experience. It also teaches you discipline and important life skills such as how to work as a team. This is why Marine Corps recruits frequently outperform their peers in the workplace, both during and after their military service.

Why You Might Consider a Military Career

Military service has many benefits to offer Americans. Those who serve in the armed forces receive healthcare and other benefits, along with access to world-class training that will prepare them for almost any task at hand. They even get the opportunity to travel the world while making lifelong friends. For those interested in joining, US Military Recruiting can help you choose which branch offers you what you want most so that you can sign up for the one that’s best suited for your skills and interests.

The ultimate guide to preparing for Marine Corps Recruit Training.

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“Surviving Marine Corps Boot Camp” is the definitive guide to preparing for Marine Corps Recruit Training. In this book you’ll learn:

  • The complete recruit training schedule 
  • Games Drill Instructors play
  • A complete 12-week strength training & running guide
  • How to deal with injuries & setbacks

Get the Recruit Training Schedule

Before you leave, download the Recruit Training Matrix for future reference!

The recruit training matrix is a simple guide to Marine Corps Boot Camp events week by week. Enter your email and we’ll send it to you for free. 

marine corps recruit training matrix