EvangelicalOutpost’s Joe Carter received an e-mail inquiry from an aunt whose nephew was debating the choice between enlisting between the USMC and the USAF. A portion of Joe’s response:
Uniforms – Most everyone claims that the reason they join is to serve their country. This answer sounds more noble and honorable than admitting that the real reason most people (the men at least) sign up is because chicks dig guys in uniform. While it might seem hard to believe that anyone would make such a commitment based on clothing, many guys need all the advantages they can get. Particularly guys who still use words such as ‘chicks’and ‘dig.’
You can take a terribly homely guy and by simply putting him in the Marine dress uniform, women will find him attractive (or at least, as in my case, slightly less repulsive). Admittedly, the Air Force uniform is also appealing to women though it tends to be the same women who are attracted by the uniforms of Greyhound bus drivers.
History – While it might not seem like a deciding factor, there is a lot to be said for an organization with a proud history. The Corps has been around since 1775 and has distinguished itself in every war since the American Revolution. That is a fact of which every Marine is proud.
Airman on the other hand must feel rather slighted by their meager history. While I’m not sure the exact date, I believe the Air Force was established sometime around 1978. It would be hard to feel much pride for an organization that has been in fewer wars than the Salvation Army.
Physical Training – One of the more obvious differences between the two is the physical requirements expected of its members. A prime example is the physical fitness tests conducted by each service. In the Corps our test consists of chin-ups, sit-ups, and a timed three mile run. The Air Force – and I swear I’m not making this up – rides a stationary bike for thirty minutes. If an Airman can complete the test without having a heart attack then they receive a passing score.*
Maybe it’s just me but I find it rather disconcerting that a branch of the military has the exact same fitness test as my grandmother’s Geriatric Olympic team.