What is the Hardest Branch of the Military? (Top 5)

Written by

John Cotton


Logan Miller

what is the hardest branch of the military

Whether you want to enlist in the military or are a curious military enthusiast, you indeed have asked yourself this question: “What is the hardest branch of the Military?”

For a fact, enlisting in the military is tough. There are different requirements, training, programs, and other protocols in each military branch that aspiring military men and women should withstand.

If you are brave enough and well-educated, you might want to consider getting into the toughest military branch, which is the Air Force. It takes brain and willpower to survive being in the Air Force.

Read along if you are interested to know more about the different military branches.

List of the Hardest Branch of the Military

1. Air Force


It is regarded as the hardest branch of the military to get into among the 5 main US military branches. It not only requires being physically fit but also mentally sharp.

Before getting into the most difficult branch of the military, you should pass and yield a passing rate in the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) prepared by the Department of Defense. This also applies to other branches.

This aptitude test is part of the educational requirements for someone to pass in order for them to determine what they are capable of doing, their weaknesses, and probable success in their respective training.

When it comes to basic and intense training, the Air Force takes around 8.5 weeks. Their Basic Military Training is lectured by a well-educated and reputable instructor.

All interested new Air Force recruits will expect to learn:

  • History of the Air Force
  • Military Structures
  • Roles of an Air and Space Force
  • Airmanship
  • Basic First Aid
  • Combat skills

Besides the BMT, the Air Force also held Special Tactics Training which lasts up to 35 weeks before completion.

In this training, aspiring airmen will have to learn advanced exercises that involve weapons, ATV operation, and core skills.

Lastly, after every training and schooling of any military branch, new recruits will have their graduation and it is also similar to the Army’s graduation.

But before clearing for graduation, trainees will experience an amount of intensive combat and exercise and evaluations of their airmanship. When they pass, they’ll be guaranteed to be recognized as having passed the hardest army branch in the world.

2. Marine Corps


When it comes to hard training and marksmanship, it is the Marine Corps the toughest branch you’ll encounter. It is also the hardest military branch for women because, most of the time, men dominate it.

Most Marine Corps battle stations are also all over the world as long as it is an ally of the United States. This branch of the military is the hardest boot camp.

Recruits of the Marine Corps shall overcome overall mental, ethical, and physical strength to pass their Recruit Training.

It takes 13 weeks to complete the 2nd hardest branch of the military. There are 4 phases that trainees will have to pass.

During the 1st phase, trainees will expect the following exercises to push their limits:

  • Introduction to The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP)
  • Marine Basic Training
  • Swimming
  • Intense Physical Training
  • Gas Chamber Exercises
  • Strength Test
  • Rifle Issue
  • Safety Weapon Handling
  • Close Order Drill

Once the 1st phase has been successfully completed, trainees will move forward to the 2nd phase. Expect more physical challenges, strength tests, and more difficult preparation will be done in this military branch. Trainees will undergo the following in the 2nd phase:

  • Improving Physical and Combat Skills
  • Academic Learning and Instruction
  • Learn Water Survival
  • Martial Arts Training

Proceeding to the 3rd phase, trainees will be challenged to the toughest training to be certified Marines. This phase is the hardest of all the phases and it will determine if the soldiers are right to be called a Marine.

  • The Marine Crucible (54-hour training test)
  • The Principles of Marksmanship
  • Ground Combat Skills

In phase 4, trainees will be recognized for their efforts in their 13-week training, especially The Crucible. In this last and final phase of the Marine Recruit Training, successful recruits will be given a warm Graduation Day and presented to everyone as the newest Marines.

Also, trainees will be given The Eagle, Globe, and Anchor emblem during this phase after completing the hardest test of all, which is The Crucible, and for other vigorous drills in the camp and expect to be in the war.

During Phase 4, trainees will become full-fledged Marine Corps once they pass the qualification course and shall receive the following after completing all of the training phases:

  • Uniform Distributions
  • Physical Assessment
  • Academic Examinations
  • Leadership Talks and Conferences
  • Training Demands
  • Graduation Day

3. Army


The US Army is one of the military branches that protect the country’s citizens. They protect and fight at ground level, sea, and air. In fact, they have the largest population in all military branches. They are known as the strongest branch of the military too.

Every citizen in the US must know that The Army is there to defend them and is probably one of the most recognizable and respected military branches. It is also dangerous to be part of this military branch.

Recruits will face Basic Training that has two parts, which are:

Part 1: Combat Training or Basic Training

In this Basic Training, recruits will undergo 10-week training. It is also called an Army Boot Camp, where qualified trainees will be tested mentally and physically to become elite soldiers. After the 10th week of training, it will be concluded with a Graduation Day for successful recruits.

At the beginning of the Bootcamp, trainees will learn:

  • History and Introduction To Being A Soldier
  • Basic Combat Training
  • Intermediate Fight Skills
  • Proper Addressing of Superiors and other High-ranking Officials
  • Vigorous Physical Exercises
  • First Aid and Rescue Training
  • Intense Self-Discipline Training and Exercises

Part 2: Advanced Individual Training (AIT)

After completing the Basic Training, trainees must choose which field of the Army they want to belong to. Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) determines the location and time needed to accomplish AIT courses. Most of the time, it takes 6-52 weeks.

There are 190 MOS categories to choose from depending on your scores and evaluation in your previous training. Once you are done with your respective courses, you will be assigned to different areas and other special operations tasks. You will also be rewarded for your hard work in the Army.

4. Coast Guard


The US Coast Guard is part of the main military branch that is in charge of maritime, military, and law enforcement services. It is easy to get into The United States Coast Guard because it does not demand recruits to get into physically. You can enlist in the Coast Guard only with a high school diploma.

The new Coast Guards recruits will face their Recruit Training for around 8 weeks. They will train under strict instructions from the commander and will train physically.

Men and women have different physical fitness requirements. This will help new recruits physically fit for search and rescue operations. The Coast Guard is one of the most reputable professions in the military.

  • Education: History of the Coast Guard
  • Seamanship
  • Swimming
  • Fire-fighting
  • Marksmanship Training
  • Line-handling
  • Musically inclined recruits can join their Ceremonial Band
  • Damage Control Drills
  • Helm Commands
  • Firing
  • First Aid and CPR
  • Other Additional Training

5. Navy

The Navy made its life mission to fight and defend the country in case their aggression and war in the seas. They also promote peace and lawful action around the country’s territory. Moreover, they will be assigned to board a ship to different areas of the military branch.

Aspiring Navy recruits shall train in the Navy’s Boot Camp. Contrary to the Army’s lengthy training weeks, their exercises only last for eight weeks.

The Navy’s Boot Camp training includes:

  • Team-building
  • Basic Mind and Body Conditioning
  • Swimming Qualifications
  • Marching
  • Physical Training
  • Basic Combat Drills
  • Learn the History of the Ship and Its Parts
  • First-AidLife Saving Tactics
  • Rope Tying
  • Academic test
  • Graduation Day

Furthermore, recruits must pass the BattleStation Test with 12 different levels of difficult situations. Once a recruit has succeeded in battle station exercises, they will graduate, receive an honorary ball cap, and shall be called a Sailor.


What is the most powerful branch of the U.S. military?

The most powerful and among the toughest branches of the military is the Army. It is also known to be the best U.S. military branch in the world.

Which branch of the military is easiest?

The easiest branch of the military, if you are into physical challenges, is the Air Force. But it is the hardest branch of the military when it comes to mental challenges.

What is the most dangerous military branch?

The most dangerous military branch is the Navy SEALs. They have the hardest military training and not everyone passes their conditioning exercises.

What is the hardest to easiest military boot camp?

This branch of the military is the hardest boot camp. Followed by the US Army, Navy, and Air Force, and lastly, the easiest when it comes to training is the Coast Guard.


Overall, you would already know what military branch ranked from best to worst when it comes to the level of difficulty of their training. So, what is the hardest branch of the military?

Every military branch has its difficulty and it is up to the new recruits to handle tough situations. From basic exercises to expert-level drills, you will be pushed through your limits.

If you are still interested in entering the military, expect that you have the strength and determination to not just become one of them; but also, have the heart to serve the country and its people.

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