Poll: The Marine Corps Is The Most Prestigious Branch, But The Army’s Most Important

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Photo by Cpl. Tatum Vayavananda
“You can keep your Army khaki, you can keep your Navy blue. I’ve got the world’s best fighting man to introduce to you.”

The opening lines of a classic Marine Corps running cadence were validated today in a new Gallup poll, which found that by a wide margin, Americans consider the Marine Corps to be the most prestigious branch of the U.S. military:


The Marines have long enjoyed a positive reputation. The image of the flag-raising on Mount Suribachi during World War II ingrained the Marine Corps in America’s national consciousness. Sure enough, then-Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal said at the time that "the raising of that flag means a Marine Corps for another 500 years."

A few years later, President Harry Truman would write in a letter to a congressman of the Marine Corps saying, “They have a propaganda machine that is almost equal to Stalin's.”

Indeed, the military’s smallest branch seems to have the biggest reputation in America’s consciousness. But the Gallup poll further found that the American public views the Army as the most important branch of the military -- representing a shift in perception from 2001 and 2002, when the Air Force was perceived to be more important -- and is likely a result of 12 consecutive years of land warfare:

This statistical representation of America’s perceptions of its modern military is interesting and fodder for friendly trash talk between the branches, but its also fundamental to understanding the civilian-military divide as those 12 years of intense combat operations draw to a close.

Share your reactions to these numbers in the comments.

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It wasn't until more than two weeks later authorities finally caught up to Michael Brown at his mom's home, which was the scene of the crime.

Brown stuffed himself into a tight spot in his camper during an hours-long search of the vehicle on Nov. 10, according to NBC affiliate WSLS in Virginia. A day earlier, cops said Brown fatally shot his mother's boyfriend, Rodney Brown. The AWOL Marine remained on the lam until Nov. 27, where he was finally apprehended without incident.

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Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.

"The investigation continues, but there is currently no known motive and no information to indicate the sailor knew any of the victims," Burton said.

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Since the Washington Post first published the "Afghanistan papers," I have been reminded of a scene from "Apocalypse Now Redux" in which Army Col. Walter Kurtz reads to the soldier assigned to kill him two Time magazine articles showing how the American people had been lied to about Vietnam by both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations.

In one of the articles, a British counterinsurgency expert tells Nixon that "things felt much better and smelled much better" during his visit to Vietnam.

"How do they smell to you, soldier?" Kurtz asks.

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