Battleland

Marines’ $22.2 Billion Mistake?

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Sikorsky

The Marines' CH-53K (in case you were wondering, the "CH" doesn't stand for "cheap").

It used to be the Marines were the most penurious of the military services:

– The Army replaced its AH-1 Cobras with AH-64 Apaches, but the Marines kept flying Cobras.

– The Army replaced its UH-1 Hueys with UH-60 Black Hawks, but the Marines kept flying Hueys (and buying them, as we noted last week).

– The Navy replaced its F-18C/D jets with F-18E/F models, while the Marines kept flying F-18C/Ds.

Heck, Battleland can recall writing a story – probably shortly after vulcanization was perfected — quoting Marines boasting that their service was the only one that used retreaded tires on their vehicles.

But things changed a generation or so back. Doing things cheaply no longer seemed a part of the Marine ethos:

– First came the V-22 Osprey, a tilt-rotor troop carrier that costs about $120 million a copy.

– Then came the F-35B, the costliest version of the costliest airplane in history, starting at $160 million a pop.

The Marines wanted both of these – capable of taking off and landing from their cramped amphibious ships – because without them they’d have to rely on the Navy, or, even worse, the Air Force, for air support (so much for the joint operations mandated under Goldplated-Plugged-Nickels).

But that “requirement” doesn’t explain the Defense Department inspector general’s report released Monday into the Marines’ CH-53K Super Stallion heavy-lift helicopter.

The report is labeled “For Official Use Only” – screw you, taxpayers – but the IG did generously provide the folks who pay for it a synopsis of what it believes is wrong with the program (Battleland took note of its cost last Friday).

The Marines, you see, recently boosted the number of CH-53Ks it wants to buy from 156 to 200.

In the IG’s first look at the Sikorsky CH-53K, it concluded:

The Marine Corps procurement quantity for CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopters in the DoD FY 2013 President’s Budget was overstated by up to 44 aircraft.

The Marine Corps could not support the need to procure a total of 200 aircraft because Headquarters Marine Corps Department of Aviation officials:

– did not follow the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System Instruction and obtain Joint Requirements Oversight Council approval for the increase;

– did not have requirement studies prepared to determine a procurement quantity in consideration of program affordability;

– incorrectly relied on a 2008 memorandum from the Deputy Commandant for Aviation directing the increase of the procurement quantity to 200 aircraft, without support;

– incorrectly used the 2010-2011 Force Structure Review’s war-gaming scenarios as justification for the quantity increase; and

– did not justify or appropriately consider the impact of the Marine Corps personnel reductions effect on Heavy Lift quantity requirements.

As a result, the Marine Corps risks spending $22.2 billion in procurement and operating and support funding for 44 additional aircraft that have not been justified and may not be needed to support future Marine Corps mission requirements.

The Pentagon‘s most recent price list for its weapons estimates the Marines will spend $28.5 billion on the 200 CH-53Ks, or about $140 million apiece; the IG’s total of $22.2 billion for 44 (not price-)choppers — about $500 million each– includes lifetime operating costs, as well.

Twenty-two billion dollars?

Can’t anybody here play this game?

75 comments
BrandonRossFontaine
BrandonRossFontaine

Air force spends billions of dollars on F-22s that have never and will never see combat, no one bats an eye. Marines get a little choosey everyone looses their minds!

geoff.keber
geoff.keber

I read an article in Airforces Monthly that said the AH-1Z is only marginally cheaper than the AH-64 and the UH-1Y is more expensive than the UH-60.  If that is true, then that would change the whole tone of this article...

DanielJ.Dulnikowski
DanielJ.Dulnikowski

I wonder how many people here who are critical of the this Marine Corps program support the Obama Phone Program, and the EBTF cards, and Expanded Medicaid, etc. etc. 

CarlosDecourcyLascoutx
CarlosDecourcyLascoutx

...well, they've always been spoiled, this just puts the icing on the cake. nice going at Tora Bora by the way.

OldDevilDog
OldDevilDog

The CH-53 concept is not new, these aircraft have been involved in nearly every major Marine action since the 1960's.  It is what it is WORK HORSE think 18 wheeler of the sky, these aircraft do wear out.  Someone mentioned using H-60's, let the Marines decide the needs,  Call Air Force pilot Scott Ogrady and ask him what he thinks of the mighty 53, if you had been one of the 60 fleeing civilians I stuffed in the back during an evacuation near Mount Pinatubo eruption  or off the sands of Somalia in the last days you would be thankful we can load it up like an 18 wheeler.  Marines don't want fancy but we owe it to the young Marines on the ground that if they need to be picked up anywhere anyplace, it can be done.

The motto You call we haul, Semper Fi

fastfood41
fastfood41

Maybe, in light of Benghazi, the Marine Corps could use some more helicopters? If our fearless leaders are going to spread my fellow Marines all over hell and breakfast, we could use some tools to keep ourselves safe.. Just sayin'

rademamj
rademamj

Don't pick on the Marines....at least they will provide some value by using these helicopters.  And think of all the Americans at work providing for these systems....happily they are not made in China.

terryclifton1
terryclifton1

I worked on CH-53's from 1986-1990. Great helicopter, and fast as anything built. That helicopter can lift anything. I see no problem updating the fleet of older birds. Our squadron had to resort to cannibalizing parts off of other helicopters in squadron due to part shortages all the time. 

BrutlStrudl
BrutlStrudl

After Viet Nam, Ana American Colonel told a Vietnamese counterpart, "You never beat us on the battlefield. The Vietnamese replied, " It doesn't matter".

HarveyEmbry
HarveyEmbry

screw those black hawks.  i take a huey over them.

arvay
arvay

Interesting. It loks a lot like a Russian helicopter. Industrial espionage??

MikadoCat
MikadoCat

Don't all those missing stinger missiles from Libya change the whole air transport paradigm?

Whats the point of buying a lot of air transport if it isn't safe to use in any existing combat area?

Zamnit
Zamnit

Nice. Really got these babies on the cheap!

enquiries
enquiries

This is not a mistake, nor is it a sign of extravagance.  The marines decided that they needed 200, but didn't bother with all of the paperwork.

Does the US Marines spend too much? Of course, as do all US services.  Other countries spend only 1/10th of what the USA does. Spending ridiculous amounts of borrowed money (the US budget deficit being almost the same as total defence spending) does not create security. What it does do is gradually bankrupt the US. 

There is also a problem with overly costly defence programmes. It was once calculated that soon the entire US defence budget would be required to buy just one aircraft.  That day is fast approaching.  Few countries have defence budgets big enough to buy a single F35!

Tyco200
Tyco200

F-18 can't even turn in a dogfight with most aircraft fielded by Russia or China. It's a failure in itself. Tomcat could out turn the F-18 at low, and high speeds... And was a dogfighter.

seanreisk
seanreisk

I was a combat engineer in the Army.  A Marine once told me, "The Army is good for people who want to serve their country.  The Marine Corps is good for people who think they might want to try the pure, extreme, undiluted military experience."  The more I think about it, the more I think that's true, and the more I think by itself that's a good justification for both military branches.  

There are key differences between the Army and the Marine Corps.  The Navy is in charge of controlling the seas and coast lines, and the Marine Corps is sort of their 'Army'.  It's more efficient for the Navy to have their own land combat units that travel within and are maintained within their own fleets, and military professionalism aside, if the Army had to supply those units there would always be a pissing match about who was in charge.  If you don't believe that ... I can't help you.  

Being part of the Navy has given the Marine Corps a different outlook on military operations.  The Army has heavy infantry, light infantry, airborne, air cavalry, armor, armored cavalry, artillery, combat engineers, air defense artillery, on and on and on, and each of these unit types may be tasked to fight independent of any other units.  In the Marine Corps every marine is a rifleman, and the artillery, armor and air are all in support of infantry operations.  That's a very key difference.  

To the person who questioned why the Marines don't use the UH-60 (the Blackhawk) that the Army uses, the reasons are simple and practical.  First, you have to understand why the Marine Corps still uses the Huey and the Cobra instead of the Blackhawk and the Apache.  When the Marine Corps deploys they have to be self-sufficient.  The Marine Corps has a much larger tooth-to-tail than the Army does; that is, they have a lot more combat troops supported by fewer support troops, and they have a smaller supply line.  The Marine Corps uses the Huey and the Cobra because they are, essentially, the same aircraft.  Same engine, same airframe, if you study the history of air operations in Vietnam you'll find out that the Cobra was a Huey that had the cabin stripped away.  For the Marine Corps, this means less parts.  The Army uses the Blackhawk as their medium transport helicopter; the Marine Corps uses the Huey as their medium helicopter.  The CH-53 is not a medium transport helicopter, it is a heavy transport helicopter.  It has more in common with the Army's Chinook, and both the Army and the Marine Corps have a real need for heavy lift helicopters.  Currently, the Marine Corps uses a mix of CH-53s and Chinooks, but they'd like to slim down to one standard heavy helicopter for support reasons.   They can't standardize on the Chinook because it takes up too much room on a ship's flight deck. 

As for why the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps still use Vietnam-era airframes like the B-52, the C-130, the Huey, Cobra, the Chinook, the CH-53, it's because they are PROVEN air frames.  Proven.  Understood.  Dependable.  Beloved.  Flying is scary, and everyone prefers to be in a craft that has a history of bringing the passengers home.  Boeing still sells 747s.   

Use_the_name
Use_the_name

It always amazes me how much money each branch of the American military machine spends on equipment. Our military very recently upgraded from our Huey's to the NH90's(?)...and that's quite a thing. For the Americans it would simply be just another day in military procurement lol.

JoeBoyum
JoeBoyum

no reason the marines could not simply use a navalized version of the H-60 for both gunship and cargo helo duties instead of wasting the cash on a seperate program.  The H-60 was a mature airframe with the Navy and their MH-60 S and R versions could have been EASILY modified to fit the marine mission.  Or they could have bought into the Army's H-60L and SOAR's H-60K Direct Action Penetrator.

I remember quite clearly back in 1999 when I worked with some maries, they derided our use of optics on our issue rifles.  Then after 2003 there was a crash program to get them to individual marines.

They just suffer from the worst NIH (not invented here) syndrome possible.

E_L_P
E_L_P

And I would suggest that $160M for an F-35B isn't even enough money to get it into squadron service.

DonVeto
DonVeto

Ok so some facts herre on this OUTRAGEOUS waste. The Marines are running out of ch-53's they have to be replaced. Addition of the 44 aircraft was made 3 years ago. The K series will (or can depending on how politics works out) replace not only the used up D and E models but the V-22 as well (that costs a heckuva lot more to operate than the 53).  The article makes it sound like the 53 and the f-35 are similar in that the Marines just want a new helo. Thats not the case they are replacing an aging fleet with an updated version of an existing airframe.

Vanishing4thEstate
Vanishing4thEstate

Everyone is getting caught-up re the details. The thesis of this story is the scandalous WASTE of $Billions (maybe $Trillions!) every year when it comes to DOD procurement and maintenance of equipment. This is not about who’s ‘first’ or the ‘bravest’ when it comes to the soldiers. Imagine what could be provided to injured soldiers (and the families of those deceased because of conflict) if this sickening waste was brought under control.

robertavila
robertavila

You may make light of Marines not wanting to depend on the Air Force. BUT, when I was part of advanced deployed troops, we had a very, very short window to run the mile and half to our unit, pack all the vehicles, and haul hummer to the airstrip. We made it every time. THEN, we typically waited 12 to 18 hours -on an Air Force Base- to wait for AF pilots to arrive. 

In today's global military environment, we don't have time for the chair force to finish their beauty sleep.

CharleyA
CharleyA

The sad truth is the heavy lift  -53s are critical to support Marines on the ground.  The V-22s less so - other helos can perform roughly the same tasks; and Marine fast jets are redundant to the Navy's tacair.

Serenity
Serenity

Both the Huey and Cobra have been replaced with newer models based on the same type. But these are not the same helicopters they were flying in Vietnam.

elbendertheoffender
elbendertheoffender

The Marines have ALWAYS received the hand me down of the other branches because they fall under the Dept of the Navy. So anything they buy the Navy is actually buying it and giving it to them.

eifg
eifg

Why do the Marines even exist? It seems to be a redundant branch of the service.

USMC
USMC

@CarlosDecourcyLascoutx Spoiled my **s! The Marines have historically done more with less. This piece of equipment is needed to support operations that both the army and chair force are afraid too. Before you open your c*m dumpster and thumb holder know the facts and history of the Marine Corps.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@arvay Seriously, dude, if it was industrial espionage from Russia, they'd have been able to churn out 220 of them for 22 billion dollars.  The Russians aren't into all the gimmickery Americans seem to love.  They build them tough and well.  Above all, they build them CHEAP.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@MikadoCat Shoulder-launched stingers aren't terribly accurate - especially when the target is dropping flares and doing other ECM at the same time.  Military aircraft do that routinely.  Stingers are more effective against soft targets like civil aircraft or unarmed transports.  Or a military aircraft out of flares.

dknuth84
dknuth84

@Tyco200 You don't know what you're talking about.  Any F-16 and F-15 pilot I've flown with has always said the most challenging dog fights are against F-18's b/c of its thrust to weight ratio, stability, and maneuverability.  But, no one wants to fight a Raptor they can't even see....

brenro12
brenro12

@Tyco200 Is that what you're getting from whatever video game you're playing? The Navy stopped sending F-14's to Red Flag years before their retirement due to being constantly embarrassed by the Air Force. Hell, a Korean War era A4 Skyhawk can outmaneuver an F14. It had an abysmal thrust to weight ratio. Dogfighter? No, stop watching Top Gun reruns. It was, however, an impressive platform with all the ordinance it could carry.

brenro12
brenro12

@seanreisk Since you weren't in the Corps I'll give you a pass, however, the Marine Corps is the only branch that is a self-contained fighting force. They keep supply ships fully outfitted to be ready to go wherever, whenever at a moments notice. Their traditional role in conflicts is to be the first one in. They are small, therefore their budget is traditionally smaller. If you want to serve your country by being one in a herd you join the Army. If you want to truly learn to have an impact you become a Marine. One more thing: the Chinook is a CH-47 helicopter operated by the Army. The Marine Corps has never used these. What they have is the CH-46 Sea Knight. Have a nice day.

dknuth84
dknuth84

@JoeBoyum Was calling them 'maries' consciously slighting them or accidental?  Either way, nice.

brenro12
brenro12

@JoeBoyum Why comment when you are clearly so clueless? The Blackhawk has a payload of 6600 lbs. The H53K the Marines are looking to buy has a payload of 35000 lbs. Think these two are even remotely similar?

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@E_L_P You're right, E_L_P.  It just buys the aircraft.  It doesn't include transportation, maintenance, parts, service, flying, arming or manning the aircraft.  All of those things are needed to get it into service.  The cost is $250-$325 million each, depending on how much it's used.

dknuth84
dknuth84

@DonVeto That's the same excuse we hear with the F-22 and F-35 in the AF.  Replacing outdated and aging fighters with something newer and more capable.

fastfood41
fastfood41

@robertavila I would add that Marines don't like air support from the Air Force because they have a much higher instance of "friendly Fire" incidents..

terryclifton1
terryclifton1

@eifg  

If I knew you, I would smack your face for such an insult. Why don't you walk up to one of us, and call us redundant. Then while you're recovering from having your face punched in, get on your laptop, and read about our rich tradition of being the first one on the beach, and the countless battles we have fought and died for through out history. We guard every embassy, and our president. We serve a vital purpose around the world, and ask just our enemies, who would you rather fight, a battalion of soldiers, or a platoon of Marines? You would be surprised by their answer.

LopezJayro
LopezJayro

@eifg they are the Nation's Expeditionary force in readiness. This is no longer limited to just Amphibious Warfare. No other branch can is as ready as the Marines for conflict. They can be anywhere in less than 96 hours. They can fight in any terrain or climate thrown at them, "by air, and land, and sea". They may seem redundant but you would need the use of the 3 other branches trying to correspond together to do what the Marines can do simply. Soldiers, Sea Men, and Air Men aren't asked to guard US Embassies and Consulates and American VIPs around the world, Marines are. Also no other branch is as disgruntled as the Marines, so they're just a bunch of pissed off Marines always ready to take it out on anyone who dares become an enemy.

The nation doesn't need Marines, they want Marines.

elbendertheoffender
elbendertheoffender

@eifg They exist because no one else is as brave as a United States Marine, there motto is First to Fight. 

ChristopherAlexander
ChristopherAlexander

@USMC @CarlosDecourcyLascoutx Actually, its so the Marine corp can catch up to the Army. We already have plenty of big helicopters and stuff. But that is cool, I just hope you guys don't break this stuff before you get to use it.

MikadoCat
MikadoCat

@DeweySayenoff @MikadoCat Seems like a perfect weapon to use in an ambush, either against air support or troop transport. Fairly short range, lots more accurate than a RPG and doing a lot more damage. Its a game changer if both air transport and support can even be marginalized.

While use against a civilian craft is possible, politically I don't see it as that likely because the blow back would be enormous, vs unlikely to make it into the news if used on a military craft. Do we even know at this point if a stinger was used to bring down the transport with the Seals?

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@dknuth84 @Tyco200 Yeah, but the Raptor's pilot can't breathe, so it's kind of moot.  Furthermore, although deployed for more than a decade, the Raptor has never seen combat.  It is completely untested.  

Finally, the EU's aircraft kick the Raptor's butt RELIABLY AND CONSISTANTLY in one-on-one dogfights in wargames because their aircraft are cheaper to make, cheaper to fly, their pilots get more hours at the stick and they know what their aircraft can do. 

A good pilot flying a DRONE can shoot down a bad pilot in the Raptor.  A plane (manned or remote) is no better than the pilot flying it.

fastfood41
fastfood41

@brenro12 @seanreisk Not true, the flying egg beater was used by the Marine Corps. The CH-47 was in use by the Marine Corps, and has been responsible for killing and injuring a number of Marines.

Source: Me. I was stationed at MCAS Camp Pendleton as a Weather Observer, and gave pilots briefings who were flying the damn things.

airbn51st
airbn51st

@fastfood41 @JoeBoyum  No, but the marines are. They are the ones with the complex. I mean at the way they are always trying to justify themselves on the faces of other branches. Bottom line is that the Marines are expendable and the military can function without them. The military can't function without the Army, Navy or Air Force. The Marines know that, and that is why they are always revising history in order to justify their existence. I mean, if you ask them, they won the Korean war by themselves, the Army had no role in the Pacific theater, and the Germans weren't that tough because the Army was able to defeat them without the Corps help. Bottom line is that the Marines have older equipment because they have a small budget. Hearing them talk about how great their Cobras and Hueys are, is like putting lipstick on a pig. The reason why the Corps still uses them and other branches don't, is because they cannot afford nicer things. End o story.

DonVeto
DonVeto

@dknuth84 @DonVeto except in the case of the ch-53 the airframes themselves are coming to the end of their usable life, the fleet is shrinking due to unserviceable aircraft with no replacements. Upgrading engines and avionics based on lessons learned over the last 10 years of fighting to maintain a heavy lift capability is a smart thing to do.  Valid arguments can and have been made for more than a decade that the 22 and 35 are not essential (i would agree mostly on the 35) upgrades to maintain air superiority as existing airframes can be upgraded to meet the challenges of the next couple of decades at a much lower cost than a whole new platform. 

airbn51st
airbn51st

@fastfood41 @robertavila  Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but if the Marines are going to participate in future conflicts, then they are going to have to reconcile with the fact that the Air Force will take part as well. I have a feeling that is has more to do with the notion of the Air Force supporting the Marines. Rather that incidents of fratricide. Or maybe it was a problem with the Marine calling in the CAS... you never know.

airbn51st
airbn51st

@terryclifton1 @eifg  A battalion of soldiers would wipe the floor with a platoon of Marines. I'll take that bet any day of the week.

airbn51st
airbn51st

@LopezJayro @eifg  Yaaawwwwnnn. Tell that to guys at Ft. Bragg on DRF1. The Army has units that can be anywhere around the world in less that 24 hrs. That is a capability the Marines don't have. each has their strengths and weaknesses, but don't act like the Marines are the culmination of everything; they aren't. Also, good luck with Marines trying to initiate a large ground invasion by themselves. They would run out of supplies first. The other branches of serves can survive for long periods of time independently. The Marines can't. You guys are disgruntled because you are the most expendable of the nations armed forces. They would drop the Marines long before the Army, Air Force or Navy.

eifg
eifg

@elbendertheoffender @eifg That is not a real justification for the existence of a separate branch of the military. I know the Marines have a long proud history but my question is what capability do they provide that the Army,Navy and Air Force do not? Would the brave people in the Marines become less brave if they were in the Army?

airbn51st
airbn51st

@VCV65 @JoeBoyum  Dude, the Army was fighting in Korea way before the Marines initiated the Incheon landings. Google the "pusan perimeter" and then tell me about these Marines that were "there first". The Army was on the ground and remained so long before and after the Marines. That's like saying the Army was in Guadacanal first.

airbn51st
airbn51st

@elbendertheoffender @rnwilis @eifg  Please, I think you have watched too many Marine Corp recruitment videos. I bet you think you are going to fight dragons with a big sword that is on fire too eh? The only time in recent military history when the AMrines traditionally stormed the beaches, was in WWII. That's it. Almost every other major conflict post WWII has involved the Army being there before or at the same as the Marines. How long was the Army fighting in Korea before the Marines initiated the longest retreat in US military history. Good thing the Army's 31INF regiment was there covering the Marines backs while they ran away.  An entire infantry regiment was wiped out covering their retreat. Something the Marines have swept under the rug.

airbn51st
airbn51st

@rnwilis @eifg @elbendertheoffender  Thats utter BS. There have been many conflicts post WWII in which the Army was there before or at the sam time as the Corps. Panama, Desert Storm, Korea, Grenada, Afghanistan, were all conflicts in which the Army was there first or at the same time. That whole "first to fight" notion is outdated, and had never really been applicable outside of the Pacific theater of WWII. Heck, even the, the Marines couldn't do it without the Army. The military can survive without the Marine Corp. but it can't without an Army. Do you really think it was the Marines who kept the Russians up at night during the cold war? Please...

VCV65
VCV65

@JoeBoyum @JoeBoyumActually, the Battle for Okinawa was the largest amphibious assault in WW2.  Operation Overlord landed over 160,000 combined international troops.  Over 100,000 soldiers, over 85,000 Marines, not including the Aussies and New Zealanders landed on Okinawa.  Tens of thousands of troops dropped from the air were in support of the landing or had other objectives for Overlord, that doesn't make them part of the amphibious landing in itself.  The Army did have larger objectives during the Pacific campaign, like the Phillipines, but the smaller island battles usually included Divisions of soldiers as well, but the bloodiest fighting was done by Marines (southern part of Okinawa excluded as the Army faced overwhelming resistance there).  Korea and Vietnam, Marines landed first. As a former active duty Marine, I can tell you that amphibious landings are only a small part of what we can do.  Marines were using the LAV (eventually the Army's version was the Stryker) while the Army was still using the Bradley back in the 80's. When I was in ordnance training in 1989, the Army provided facilities for Marines to learn support of LAVs but soldiers did not take part in training.  Like the Army, we use Chinooks although they have the newer 47's.  It's land, sea, and air.  Marines are a department of the Navy but I was trained with soldiers at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. In Okinawa back in 90, Navy Sea Stallions dropped our Company in the training area for some fun in the jungle with Navy Corpsman providing medical support (Thank God for "Doc").  I flew in an Army CH47 with Marine Recon and SEALS in 93 as they trained for fast insertion exercises in North Carolina.  So speaking from my limited 8 years experience in the military,  I did train in AAVs and LAV's, but your inference that Marines are a one trick pony is inaccurate.  Yes, there was some interservice rivalry, but war changes that in a heartbeat.  Marines have air, armor, and landing crafts.  The Army does too.  We get it.  Our missions are often different and our smaller size allows us to operate in areas that the Army doesn't, plus Marines also have to support Naval operations.  We finally start spending money after using the same old flying platforms for 40 years and it's like Oliver Twist asking for more gruel.  Dollar for dollar, Marines complete their mission better.  Period.  Having watched the Air Force spend trillions over the last few decades (no offence Wingnuts), I seriously wonder if some folks don't realize that if you don't protect the troops on the ground with adequate equipment, combat operation fail and men and women die.  This isn't about which service did what, or body count, this is money to help Marines survive in a combat environment.

damia.savon1
damia.savon1

@JoeBoyum You are clueless. There is a lot of coastline accessible to the Marines more than most people realized. During Gulf War 1, Marine assault forces sitting off the coast of Kuwait kept substantial Iraqi forces tied down because Saddam knew how capable the Marines are. 

Operation Overlord was a massive but very short range effort. There was massive support close-by since the Channel is not that large. The German land defenses were formidable but there was no naval or air threat at all. The U.S. Army also only assaulted 2 beaches where the British and Canadians assaulted 3. Overlord also benefited from the experience the Marines gain in the Pacific.

The same was true of Army operations in the Pacific. It took place in New Guinea area where all the islands are close and easily accessible. Army operations there had hard jungle fighting but no difficult assaults. The entire South Pacific drive existed because of MacArthur. It was not necessary and wasted resources that could have been employed elsewhere with much greater effect. There was a reason the Army did not undertake the really difficult amphibious assaults in the Pacific. They did not have the skill or training.

damia.savon1
damia.savon1

@eifg @elbendertheoffender   It is a matter of capability.  The Marines are more compact with a lot of flexibility in a small package. Being based on ships they can reach most trouble spots fairly quickly and with the ability to sustain operations. With heavy lift copters and the LCAC I think about 80% of the worlds coastline is accessible to the Marines. 

The Army relies more on combined arms and has a variety of units designed to do various tasks efficiently but are not well rounded individually. The Army is dependent on air lift to get where they need to go. It takes a lot of aircraft to get Army units to an area overseas with all their equipment. The size of the aircraft necessitate a large airfield or actual airport which is not always available. The air transport comes from the Air Force and air transport is not a favorite task of the air force.


The Navy is about controlling the seas. Most trade travels via sea so keeping sea lanes open is vital. The only two nations that currently can invade the United States are Canada and Mexico. Anyone else will have to come by sea. No one has the sea lift capability or naval combat capability to challenge the U.S. Navy. 

The Air Force is focused on air superiority, bombing and nuclear weapon delivery. They have to handle air transport but they do not like it. The Air Force is also supposed to handle tactical air support as well. That is a task the Air Force has traditionally hated more than transport. The Army has attack helicopters for close support is that the Air Force brass at the time did not want to be responsible for it. One of the most successful aircraft in the Air Force inventory is the A-10. It was forced upon the Air Force since it was designed for close air support. The Air Force has constantly tried to get rid of the A-10, in fact they just cut 5 squadrons. They want to replace them with the F-35 which is not even scheduled to be operational for another 3 years. 

If you want to get rid of a service the Air Force would be the one to go. That is a whole different debate.

brenro12
brenro12

@JoeBoyum Curious sense of history. The Army had 8.3 million bodies during WWII compared to 600,000 Marines. Do some research into all the individual battles and a blind man would see why the Marine Corps deserves it's reputation a thousand times over.

JoeBoyum
JoeBoyum

so all we need is an enemy stupid enough to either leave his beaches unguarded or put sufficent forces their to entice such an operation.

when was the last phib assault?

also this is pure drivel.  during WW2 the us army undertook operation overlord, the largest amphibious assault in history while the marines were busy fighting over a few islands in the pacific.  And to boot the US Army performed more amphibious assaults employing greater manpower, captured more territory, freed more POW's, and killed or captured more Japanese than the marines did in the Pacific theatre of war.

Dev_2
Dev_2

@elbendertheoffender @rnwilis @eifg Exaggerated statement. The marines haven't taken EVERY battlefield first. Although they are good at what they do. This isn't the 1940's anymore. Today's marines won't face anything like their predecessors in the pacific. 

elbendertheoffender
elbendertheoffender

@rnwilis @eifg @elbendertheoffender 

RNWILIS is exaclty right they are the ones that hit every beach head first. This is why the Marines have such a proud tradition every battlefield has first been taken by the Marines. This is why there is a big giant statue of "Marines" lifting the US Flag on Mt Sarabachi "Iwo Jima" and not a Army or Navy or Air Force Statue.

Think of it this way when you watched Black Hawk Down in the opening it says the Marines took over the Airport and other places and things calmed down. ONCE the ARMY took over that's when all hell broke loose.

When the Germans fought the Marines they called them Devil Dogs because of there relentless attack, because they never give up. They are Dogs of war.

rnwilis
rnwilis

@eifg @elbendertheoffender 

The Marines storm and secure an area, many times by amphibious landings.  The army keep the area secure once it has been secured.  The Marines are also the "Presidents Own", meaning that it does not take an act of congress to deploy a Marine division.