Gallup started asking Americans about the importance of U.S. military branches in the 1940s, using a variety of questions over the years.
Gallup released a poll on Friday which shows that Americans feel the U.S. Army is the most important service branch to national defense, but the United States Marine Corps is still considered the most prestigious.
The annual poll, timed to mark the start of the long Memorial Day weekend, showed that 26 percent of Americans say the Army is the most important military branch. And yes, believe it or not, the Army was followed closely by the Air Force at 23 percent.
The Marine Corps was called the most important by 19 percent, the Navy by 17 percent and the Coast Guard by 3 percent, the poll found. Technically the Coast Guard works for the Department of Homeland Security, so I really don't know why they were in the poll because really they are not under the Department of Defense.
If we are to adhere to the laws written in the U.S. Constitution, then we are to understand that the U.S. Constitution states that only Congress can lawfully declare war. And yes, according to the Constitution, Congress must pass an act of war so that the United States can deploy the Army.
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts, and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.
While I have a great deal of admiration and respect for all of the branches of our military, and while I really believe that the U.S. Army is much more important than the Air Force, I do not believe that the Army and the Air Force are more important than the Marine Corps and the Navy.
My reasoning has nothing to do with my affection for the Marine Corps or the Navy, or some supposed dislike for either the Army or the Air Force.
I see the Air Forces as having bigger payload capabilities with their B-52s and such that the Marine Corps and Navy do not have. To me, America shouldn't need them unless it was such an engagement of such enormity that both Marine and Navy air power wasn't able to do the job alone.
The Air Force and its massive air power will always be a supportive role to commanders who want to disable industrial and military installations, or positions of importance. Can that sort of bombing win a war?
No, it never has. Fact is, no, like it or not, unless using nuclear weapons, you cannot win a war with just air power. Winning wars will always be left to troops on the ground.
As for the Army, I see the Army as America's giant fighting machine. Since the Army has over half a million soldiers on active duty (546,047) and over half a million soldiers on reserve status (559,244), the U.S. Army is over a Million soldiers strong. Yes, that's Army strong.
In contrast to the Marine Corps which is the smallest of the United States Armed Forces in the U.S. Department of Defense with 195,000 on active duty and 40,000 ready reserves, the Army's gigantic war machine takes much longer to deploy.
In most cases it takes months and there is a whole lot more logistics involved to get its massive numbers of troops from one place to another. It is a lumbering giant at best.
The Marine Corps and the Navy are more important if we just look at the practical application of American military power around the world.
Because both tactically and logistically, its all about getting the best into combat the fastest, the United States Marine Corps is the branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to rapidly deliver combined-arms task forces.
As for technically requiring a Declaration of War to deploy the Army, per the Constitution, that is not the case with the Marine Corps. No act of war is needed to deploy U.S. Marines.
The Marines can be used for "as the President may direct," according to the 1834 Marine Corps Law. Because of that, U.S Marines operate in a state of readiness for combat unmatched by units in other military branches.
A single Marine unit has everything it needs to leap right into combat, including logistical support and close air support both internally and from the Navy. And yes, Marines keep units stationed on Navy ships that are "on float" around the world. A force in readiness that puts Marines closer to potential trouble spots than troops stationed in the United States or Europe.
According to law, the "as the President may direct" portion of the Marine Corps' job description puts Marines in quite a few non-amphibious situations, including combat far from beaches, running security detail on some Navy ships -- which historically was originally the Corps’ primary function -- protecting U.S. Embassies as well as the White House, and transporting the president and vice president in Marine helicopters. By law, 10 U.S. Code 5063, the Marine Corps is responsible, in accordance with integrated joint mobilization plans, for the expansion of peacetime components of the Marine Corps to meet the needs of war.
For me, while I might be biased being a former-Marine, I see the Marine Corps as the most important branch. And yes, I also see the United States Navy as the second most important military branch of all.
For those who see the Navy as being less important than than the Army or the Air Force, it's obvious that those polled do not know what the United States Navy does. And no, I'm not talking about the importance of Navy SEALS.
Being real honest, while Navy SEALS do a great job for what they do, they are not representative of the much bigger overall mission of the United States Navy. The mission of the U.S. Navy is a lot more than merely deploying a handful of SEALS ashore at any given time. And yes, only about half of 1% of all Sailors in the United States Navy are SEALS or have anything to do with them.
The vast majority of sailors, the truly unsung heroes of the Navy, are those who fuel and repair and scrap and paint and do the heavy lifting to make sure our ships get from one side of the world to the other. These unsung heroes are deployed on about 300 ships and a multitude of bases around the world in every clime and place.
Fact is, from Boatswain Mates to Cooks, from Machinist Mates to Aviators, there are over 300,000 active duty and over 100,000 ready reserve sailors in the United States Navy. All ready to fulfill the mission of the Navy of maintaining, training and equipping combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression, and maintaining freedom of the seas.
Today, the U.S. Navy has the distinction of being the world's premier naval power. To really understand why there’s a need for a sea-based military in this day and age, just consider this:
- 70% of the earth is covered by water
- 80% of the planet’s population lives within close proximity to coastal areas
- 90% of global commerce is conducted by sea
To support the cause of liberty abroad and promoting peace for all humanity, and enabling the safe travel of people and goods to meet the expanding demands of Americans worldwide, America's Navy is unique in that it conducts missions on all fronts: in the air, on land, and at sea.
Sadly, since World War II, the importance of the Navy has not been publicized over the years. Consequently, it is not a surprise that Americans view the Air Force as the most important branch of the military for many years up to the mid-2000s.
Now, as for the Army, the Army has edged out other military branches in Gallup surveys conducted throughout the years especially the last decade.
Importance does not necessarily equal prestige.
The Air Force was a distant second, with 17 percent saying is was the most prestigious branch, said the poll.
And no, the Navy is not happy with the results as it is seen as the least prestigious military branch in the eyes of Americans -- with only a mere 12% of Americans saying the Navy is the most prestigious military branch.
As for the Marines being America's most prestigious military branch, that doesn't surprise me. After all, as a former-Marine, I really have to ask who's never heard of "The few, the proud, the Marines."
Marines are America's 911 when an enemy needs it's butt kicked.
And yes, that's the way I see it.
Now if you would like to do more reading about the Marine Corps' activities from 1865 to 1900 when it was in every clime and place where it could take a gun, please click: The Late 1800s - U.S. Military Action Abroad
Sgt. / USMC