Marines vs Navy SEALs: 3 Key Differences

marines vs navy seals

The total number of military service members is approximately 1,348,040 soldiers. 178,500 of them serve in the Marine Corps.

These specially trained men and women are often confused with Navy SEALs because they both come from the same larger branch. Knowing the differences between them is essential to recognize what they do in combat and decide which you may want to enlist in.

Read our comparison guide to the Marines vs. Navy SEALS.

1. Recruitment and Training

There are certain requirements that both branches share. You must be a legal US citizen with a high school diploma.

The age ranges differ. Marines must be 17-28 years old, and SEALs must be 18-28.

The basic test for the Marines is the ASVAB or Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery Test. A Navy SEAL must pass it, complete the IST or Initial STrength Test, and pass a Physical Screening Test. They must also have:

Marine boot camp is one of the most strenuous in the armed forces. It’s also one of the longest at 13 weeks compared to the Army’s 10 weeks. The dropout rate is approximately 11-14% per year.

The training for Navy SEALS takes the difficulty another step up. It starts with a year of basic Navy training. Candidates then have to endure a 24-week BUD/S or Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL program and a 28-week SQT or SEAL Qualification Training program.  Dropout rates range from 75-80%.

2. What They Do

The Marines and Navy Seals are both part of the Navy, but they’ve separate military branches. Their service compliments each other but isn’t the same.

Marines are riflemen who work on ships to protect bases, guard embassies, and more. They have planes but primarily work as infantry. 

SEAL stands for sea, air, and land. Members are known as “special operators” who can go into almost any combat situation.

3. Insignia

There’s also a visual way to distinguish Marines vs. Navy SEALs. They each wear a special insignia. These symbols have been passed down through the ages since the branches were formed.

The US Marine Corps has an eagle, globe, and anchor. The globe represents their readiness to serve in any part of the world. The anchor represents their naval tradition. The ribbon in the eagle’s beak has the branch’s Latin motto written on it. It reads ‘Sic Semper Fidelis,” which translates to “always faithful.” 

Marine officers may have different insignia. It’s a larger, single piece of gold-colored metal with silver and gold add-ons.

The insignia of the Navy SEALs is known as the Budweiser or the SEAL Trident. It features an eagle, anchor, trident, and cocked flintlock pistol.

You can purchase custom military challenge coins with these symbols on them. It’s a permanent way to honor service members.

Marines vs. Navy SEALs

There are three major differences when comparing Marines vs. Navy SEALs. These include their eligibility requirements and training regiments, combat situations, and insignia.

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