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Air Force Gains in Public Perceptions: A 2008 Gallup poll that recently made its way onto the Internet via SlideShare.net shows that the American public views the Air Force and Marine Corps as the "most prestigious" of the services. However, according to the Gallup Panel Military Perceptions Study, the Air Force gained ground over the past year, rising to 30 percent in 2008 from 25 percent in 2007, while the Marine Corps slipped, dropping from 53 percent in 2007 to 49 percent this past year. In this category, the Army and Navy were not even close. Next question: Which branch is most important to national defense? The Army leads the way here, receiving 38 percent (a drop of one percentage point from 2007), followed by the Air Force (26 percent, down two points from 2007) and the Marine Corps (22 percent, up two points from 2007). Asked which service they would prefer to join if they were 18-years-old, the public chose the Air Force overwhelmingly. As to which branch a parent or grandparent would recommend, again the Air Force came up trumps.