There is a rivalry that exists between all the branches that stretches throughout history. It is an ongoing understanding that the branch you serve with is the only branch that is needed and contributes the most towards national security and freedom. My personal experiences are no exception to this rule. I encountered friction and rivalries that even got violent. It is a high probability that anyone who serves will encounter this at some point. In my case, being a Security Forces member (Air Force version of Military Police), it was inevitable. It is an attitude you are expected to adopt when you join, but there is much more to it than you might think.
Most of the time, it is a rivalry that feels more like a sports thing. There is a lot of taunting and joking that takes place, but it is all in jest. Often, it is all fun and games and nothing too severe is meant by it, though it can get emotional and heated. You will see things about the other branches that you like and there will be plenty of things that will make you wonder what exactly their purpose is. It is an attitude that serves multiple functions and, I would argue that it is, to an extent, necessary for the advancement and betterment of the armed forces. It may seem childish, and sometimes, maybe even immature, but there is a method to the madness.
Like any decent organization, there is always a drive to be better. There is always room for improvement and there is always a better way to see and do things. Sometimes, these different paths can be difficult to see. It is easy to get set in your ways and discontinue the search for new opportunities. It is easy, once you find something that works, to embrace an environment of comfort and complacency. It is common to get stuck. Unfortunately, especially in the military’s case, this can lead to lapses in judgment or oversight. These kinds of mistakes can result in serious injuries, maybe even death. It is important to be confident, but it is more important to be smart. We had a saying in the military. Complacency kills.
The rivalry between the branches serves more of a purpose than the expert development of insults. It provides each branch with a constant opportunity for advancement and growth. There is a consistent drive to outperform each other, and it is in this drive that advancements in technologies and strategies are developed. New and innovative ways of doing things are frequently being discovered and often these are discoveries that make their way into the civilian world. It is a competition that provides constant opportunities for people to challenge what we know, discover what we don’t, and have a few innocent laughs in the process. Afterall, it is no one’s fault that the Air Force is the best and most innovative branch of America’s military.