The Difference Between an Army PFC & a Marine Lance Corporal

Marines often support the Navy on expeditions.
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The U.S. Army and the U.S. Marines are the two oldest branches of the United States Armed Forces, and they have similar missions: to defend the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. To accomplish that mission, service members are structured as officers, non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel. Individuals serving the rank of Private First Class in the Army and Lance Corporal in the Marines are enlisted personnel.

Pay Grade

    Members of the U.S. Armed Forces are paid based on their pay grade and time in service. Both the Army Private First Class and Marine Lance Corporal hold the pay grade of E-3, which is the third lowest pay grade. The rate of pay is the same for both ranks. As of 2013, a service member with a pay grade of E-3 who has been in the service for less than two years received basic pay of $1,787.40 per month regardless of whether she served in the Army or Marines. Her monthly basic pay increases to $1,899.90 after two years of service, and to $2,014.80 after three years.

Enlisted Personnel

    Both Army PFCs and Marine LCpls are enlisted service members. It typically takes one year for a service member to be promoted to the rank of PFC or LCpl, although earlier promotion is possible at the discretion of the commander. Although neither PFCs or LCpls are non-commissioned officers, they typically have a greater level of experience, training and leadership skills than lower ranking soldiers and marines, and are expected to perform at a higher level.


    The primary duty of both PFCs and LCpls is to carry out the orders of the officers and non-commissioned officers appointed above them. Primary training for both soldiers and marines is as infantry soldiers. The Marines are sometimes referred to as the soldiers of the sea, and often support the U.S. Navy both shipboard and as its land operational force, while Army soldiers are the nation's primary ground forces. PFCs and LCpls might also be trained in a different specific military occupational specialty, which could range from administration and transportation to medic.

Insignia and Heraldry

    An Army PFC's rank insignia is made up of a chevron connected to an arc, sometimes referred to as a rocker. A Marine LCpl's rank insignia is a chevron above crossed rifles. You can refer to an Army PFC as either Private or Private First Class. Marine LCpls are always referred to as Lance Corporal. An Army PFC should not be confused with a Marine PFC, as the Marine PFC holds the lower pay grade of E-2.

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