A Look at the Major Differences Between the US Military Branches

A Look at the Major Differences Between the US Military Branches

It’s important to note that there are five distinct branches of the armed forces of the United States: Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps. A typical military component has both active duty and reserve units, which are made up of the Reserves and the National Guard. The missions and specialties of each branch are described in the sections that adhere to this paragraph. Each of these military branches has its own traditions, honors, and procedures including things like challenge coins and uniforms.


The Army is the oldest branch of the military, followed by the Navy and the Marines in order of importance. The branch is also the largest in terms of volume. Aside from combat activities on the ground, the Army also deploys personnel for humanitarian missions (e.g., responding to Ebola in Africa and building schools in war-torn regions). The Army employs a wide range of armored and weaponized vehicles and several helicopters during operations.

The Air Force

When the Air Force was formed in 1947; it was a part of the Army, making it the military’s youngest branch. The Air Force performs air-based operations. Air Force personnel include parachutists, air traffic controllers, experts in surveillance, and pilots. It is also within the Air Force’s power to conduct intelligence and surveillance operations in outer space and cyberspace.

The Coast Guard

All other branches are more prominent than this one, but this one is the smallest. Among its many responsibilities is protecting the maritime environment and the prevention of illegal immigration and drug trafficking within the United States’ borders through water-based missions such as search and rescue and border patrol. The Navy assumes command of the Coast Guard during times of conflict.


Since the Marine Corps is closely tied to the Navy, most members serve aboard ships. On the other hand, Marines can help on land and water, depending on the situation. As a rapid-response military force, personnel can be deployed in a couple of days if necessary. In the aftermath of a natural disaster, missions may include providing humanitarian aid or removing American people from dangerous world areas. The Marine Corps also provides on-land support for Naval missions. ‘ Every Marine, regardless of specialty, is trained as a rifleman to ensure that every union member is competent during a mission.


A special operations force inside the Navy known as the Navy SEALs is responsible for various missions, including sea, land, and admissions. A global presence is provided by the Navy’s fleet of aircraft carriers and more than 250 combat ships and submarines, which act together with the Marines in response to imminent threats. In addition to fighter jets and logistical planes used to guard aircraft carriers and gather intelligence.

Each of the branches above has both active and reserve members. The military employs full-time staff. On the other hand, reserves work regular jobs but devote their weekends to military training. It’s important to understand how each of these military branches differs so you can appreciate what each branch specializes in.