Paras or Marines

Antrek99

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I'm just about to finish higher education in May, then looking at joining either the Paras of the Royal Marines.

I'm not asking which is the harder or tougher training, which is more respected thna the other one. But I'd like to try and find a comparison or advice as to which one makes for better career progression, which one am I most likely to find a lengthy career.

I've tried to find out how long the average Royal Marine serves, versus how long the average Para serves. I'm just struggling to see any public information on it. I was on the RM forum and I was a bit concerned about how many marines get stuck in trades they never wanted. They seemed honest about it. Can I ask does that happen in the Para's, does it happen as much?

I'm hoping to join around June / July time, so it is coming close to decision time.

Thank you in advance
 

Collieryboy

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Ill give you my personal view as that's all it can be. There's no right answer for everyone. I have a few friends in the RM including one in RT now,and was fully pro-corps when I was in a position to join full time. The more I read into the reg the more the history attracted me. In my opinion the FCF is marketing to swerve cuts/differentiate themselves and I know a good proportion of RM think similar. The ping is getting worse it's a negative feedback loop. Manning is low so people get forced into jobs they don't want, they get fed up and leave and manning gets lower. There's ~6000 marines with only 2 normal fighting units. 42 now do maritime stuff. It's just numbers, because the marines want to be self sufficient, most marines aren't in a fighting role or even in a fighting unit. Morale is the lowest ever recorded. Lads go from training into driver roles or guarding the nukes. I just think going straight into a rifle company is what people want to do when they join. Marines are fighting for small numbers of places in SFSG, whereas the DSF asked for 1PARA. With a little bit of experience in paras you have more options imo. I'm not putting the RM down though. It may be the right option for you. On their forum they will be pro corps, on here pro reg. Look into it for yourself. Don't buy into marketing. Think in ink and write your thoughts down, pros and cons.
 

Antrek99

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On their forum they will be pro corps, on here pro reg.
That's the worrying thing. When I read their forum, it seemed that the trained ranks were saying much the same thing as you as you and that you almost have to be lucky now to get sent to the right sections. I'm really glad they were being honest.

They don't seem to have regrets, but if my career is almost dependent on a random ping and being sent somewhere I have zero input into then it's a little worrying. I assume it may happen in the Paras, but it does seem to be to a lesser extent. I have to admit, it is a worry. I'd try my best at the job given, but I wouldn't want to really be around 15 other people who are also pee'd off at getting pinged.

Thank you for the advice, I'll do some more research. I'm hoping to apply within the next 2 weeks.
 

Dot

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It’s something I struggled with too and personally I feel that the Paras are much more upfront than the Marines are about the dreaded “Pings”. You can complete 32 weeks RM training only to be pinged as a driver for 2 years. That would be like passing out of Para Depot and going to an RLC regiment. I understand the Paras aren’t always jumping out of planes or deploying these days but at least you do the job you joined for. Airborne infantry
 

Mad Frank

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This really is something YOU need to decide for yourself as you'll be asked to potentially lay your life down for the capbadge you choose. At the end of the day the only proper difference is method of entry, and even then you’ll probably be dropped by helo
 

Collieryboy

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It’s something I struggled with too and personally I feel that the Paras are much more upfront than the Marines are about the dreaded “Pings”. You can complete 32 weeks RM training only to be pinged as a driver for 2 years. That would be like passing out of Para Depot and going to an RLC regiment. I understand the Paras aren’t always jumping out of planes or deploying these days but at least you do the job you joined for. Airborne infantry
That's the worrying thing. When I read their forum, it seemed that the trained ranks were saying much the same thing as you as you and that you almost have to be lucky now to get sent to the right sections. I'm really glad they were being honest.

They don't seem to have regrets, but if my career is almost dependent on a random ping and being sent somewhere I have zero input into then it's a little worrying. I assume it may happen in the Paras, but it does seem to be to a lesser extent. I have to admit, it is a worry. I'd try my best at the job given, but I wouldn't want to really be around 15 other people who are also pee'd off at getting pinged.

Thank you for the advice, I'll do some more research. I'm hoping to apply within the next 2 weeks.
Well the ping is a very real thing. It's the risk you take joining the RM. As @Dot said,with the paras you get to do the job you signed up to do. Unless there's a specific part of the role you have your heart set on I don't see what you would get from the RM that you wouldn't get from the reg. It's the army's high readiness force so you will be at the very top of anything happening. You will be in a fighting role after training. I'm reluctant to say what changed my mind when I really thought about it, as it would naturally omit all the pros of the RM and I don't want to influence you, this is your choice. The RM may be for you, and the intention wasn't to big up the reg and put down RM. This comes down to you. What do you want from your career. The RM may be the better choice for you personally and only you can decide that.
 

Scott R

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The allure of falling for promotional recruitment advertising is strong. Scrolling through social media feeds only to hover a fraction of a second longer over the masked up, C8 wielding, SF looking Commando or Para is inevitable. Therein lies both thrill and pitfall.
I think we all, as the target market, need to accept that recruitment is a form of advertising. My instinctive inclination is to drill deeper into the role and not fall over the airbrushed recruitment posts.

Call of duty looking posts have replaced the posters of squaddies windsurfing. That is why I enjoy mediums such as this, as you can actually have a discussion with a human and not just look at a carefully designed and staged photograph with a snappy caption. Talking with those that have done or are doing the job is key. I’m under no illusion that as a platoon commander (should I make it) I won’t be diving out of planes, kicking down doors and engaging with an enemy on a regular basis. I appreciate that I will inevitably be behind a desk dealing with administrative tasks. That confident conclusion notwithstanding I remain committed to attempting to join the Paras. For me, in all honesty, I’d much rather read battle honours than glossy recruitment posts.

My advice is to look past the advertising and continue to research the two units by talking with those in them. There absolutely are striking similarities but separated by role. You’ll know which one is the best fit once you drill deeper into them and talk with them on a one to one.
 

Crispy

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Good question regarding how long the average Royal Marine or Para stays in! Keen to know this too and why
 

TheSaint

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I think with any role, be it Para Reg or RM there are going to be good and bad points. But for me the Paras just offers that reassurance that post training you will serve in an infantry role.
 

Redders

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I served for 15 years and I only left as a result of medical board following a lower limb injury. It was the right time for me to go and pursue something else but I was quite prepared to do my 22 years. You’ll find that the likes of me, Sooty, Tony etc are Reg through and through and that says a lot I think. There are plenty of times I got pissed off, especially as a Sgt, with work but I can genuinely say I never fell out of love with it.
 

Dot

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If you want a "career" whilst you may get pinged out the gate as a RM, there is a HUUUUGE diversity in roles and specialisms to consider...
That’s it, the Royal Marines are really diverse from fighting units to mountain leaders, from RM Police to Drivers. It comes down to what you want and for me the Paras will offer me what I actually want to do
 

Antrek99

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Thank you for all of the advice, it's very much appreciated. I've decided that I would be joining to do infantry, so I want the best chance as possible to do that for a few years. From reading both forums, everyone seems to agree that the Paras is the one is going to offer me that best chance.

I'm going the get the next week out of the way and then start my application the following week. Hopefully I can get most of it passed without any issues, pass PRAC first time and start training before the summer.
 

ApexTT

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On average how long does someone stay in the Marines Vs Paras?
I understand the minimum service is around 4 years but I’m trying to gauge if one retains more?
 

Collieryboy

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On average how long does someone stay in the Marines Vs Paras?
I understand the minimum service is around 4 years but I’m trying to gauge if one retains more?
It's outdated so doesn't really help but a few years ago RM was under 8 years,it was something like 7.8 years. No idea for para reg.
 

Lev

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What is the culture like in the paras compared to other regiments ?
 

Collieryboy

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If I only had one adjective to choose it would be tribal.
Ill probably go against the grain here as I know many see the culture as undesirable. I love the unashamed elitism of the parachute regiment. There will always be young men born who do not fit into the general everyday world or a normal job but can shine in a soldiering role. It can act as a channel for the aggression and hubris which was common in young men decades ago but is increasingly seen as unsuitable for modern society. In a world increasing filled with a lack of self responsibility it's a change to see an organisation not scrambling to be seen as modern. They expect the very best from their members and make no bones about it. They work hard to be "the best" and make it well-known to other regiments/corps they see as having lower standards. If you live up to that objective standard then you can be a member, there's no quotas to fill or concessions for anything. Your background doesn't matter and there's a range of backgrounds in the parachute regiment, what matters is that you buy into and embody the culture. I know I haven't mentioned any negatives or things which the trained paratroopers will know of but I'm answering from the outsider who knows of the reputation of the parachute regiments culture.
 
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