Recently, I came across an Associated Press article titled, ”Trial begins in killing over whether Army or Marines the better branch.” WHAT? The first paragraph read:
BILLINGS, Mont. — Trial is scheduled to begin Monday in the case of a 63-year-old man charged with slashing the throat of another man during a drunken argument over whether the Army or the Marines are the better military branch.
After reading the article, I kept wondering to myself, “What is it about, on a personal level, that would make two grown men try to kill each other over which branch of service is better.” Of course alcohol was involved, the 63 year old had a 0.217 BAC, but there must be other reasons for this behavior.
There are three main reasons for this feeling of animosity that may occur between members of different branches.
- The military attracts alpha-type personalities. It is this “gung-ho” type of personality that has made the U.S. military the greatest fighting force in history. It takes this type of mentality that you are stronger, tougher and more fearless than the next guy to storm a beach or go street to to clearing houses. But it also takes indoctrination.
- Additionally, from the time you enter basic training you are made to feel like you can accomplish anything and one of the ways they make you feel this is through the singing of cadences. Almost everywhere you go you are moving in a formation and in a formation you are always singing cadences. Many of these cadences are sung at the detriment of other services. As weeks, months and years pass the animosity becomes ingrained.
- Each branch has a different level of comfort. Even in many of the same bases the comfort level is different for the different branches. Soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines all see how the other side lives. Many times the “grass is greener” on the other side and the greener side usually likes to rub it in.
So from the beginning of a military career, animosity is conditioned. Yet, it is completely unacceptable to have this hostility rise to the level of murder.