Week 9: Modern usmc mission

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Week 9: Modern USMC

  1. Mission (Defined by the National Security Act of 1947 (amended 1952)

      1. Provide Fleet Marine Forces to seize / defend Advanced Naval Bases and conduct land operations essential to a naval campaign

      2. Provide detachments for service on armed vessels or for protection of naval property

      3. Develop doctrine, tactics, techniques, and equipment of amphibious operations*

      4. Provide forces for airborne operations according to JCS doctrine*

      5. Develop doctrine, procedures and equipment for airborne operations*

      6. Expand peacetime components to meet wartime needs*

      7. Perform other duties at the President’s direction

*(in coordination with other branches of service)

  1. Basic Structure and Organization

    1. Peacetime Structure – 3 divisions, 3 air wings, 1 reserve of each (and any other “organic” [fundamental] services)

    2. 4th Marine Division, Wing, and FSSG (Force Service Support Group)

      1. Actively assigned to each of 3 MEFs (Marine Expeditionary Force)

        1. An MEF has 1 to 3 MEU (ME Unit) that go out on float

          • MEU (1 reinforced infantry battalion, 1+ reinforced helo squadrons, and 1 MEU Service Support Group)

            • Primary rapid response unit; may operate unsupported for 30 days

            • Commanded by USMC Colonel

            • MEU Locations

              • West Coast – Camp Pendleton, CA – 11th, 13th, 15th MEUs – deploys to Pacific, Persian Gulf

                • Occasionally one MEU deployed to P. Gulf

              • East Coast – Camp Lejeune, NC – 22nd, 24th, 26th – Mediterranean

                • Always one MEU deployed to Med

              • Overseas – Okinawa, Japan – 31st – Western Pacific

                • Always one MEU deployed to W. Pacific

            • East and West coast MEUs deployed on continual 6 month rotations

          • MEB (ME Brigade) can operate unsupported for 60 days

    3. Basic Deployed Structure: Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF)

      1. Comprised of four elements

        1. Ground Combat Element (GCE) – infantry w/tank, artillery, LAV, AAV, combat engineers, and recon assets

        2. Air Combat Element (ACE) – aircraft to support the situation; tactical helos with fixed wing assets for close-air-support

        3. Combat Service Support Element (CSSE) – logistical support inc. transportation, engineering, embarkation, med/den, and HQ & Service (H&S)

        4. Command Element (HQ)

      2. HQ is a standing command but GCE, ACE, and CSSE aren’t

      3. Can operate in a full spectrum of conflicts, inc. amphibious operations

      4. Can operate a single or multi-service command

      5. Can employ various sized units effectively

    4. Marine Forces Atlantic (MARFORLANT)

      1. Norfolk, VA

      2. Commanded by COMMARFORLANT; principle advisor to CinC USJFCOM on USMC

      3. Responsible for organizing, training, equipping the force

      4. Fighting arm is the 2nd MEF (II MEF) with 45,000 personnel

    5. Marine Forces Pacific (MARFORPAC)

      1. Camp Smith, HA

      2. Regularly deployed on amphibious ships and organized as MAGTF

      3. Deploy by air or fast sea transport and are Special Operations Capable MEUs (MEU SOC)

      4. Fighting arms: I and III MEFs

    6. Marine Corps Reserves (MARFORRES)

      1. New Orleans, LA

      2. Policy, guidance, direction, and support to 104,000 reserve marines

      3. Made up of the 4th Marine Division, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, 4th FSSG, and MC Reserve Support Command in Kansas City, MS

    7. Major Air/Ground Elements

      1. Camp Pendleton,CA: 1st MEF, 1st Division, 1st FSSG

      2. Camp Lejeune, NC: 2nd MEF, 2nd Division, 2nd FSSG

      3. Okinawa, Japan

        1. Camp Courtney: 3rd MEF, 3rd Division

        2. Camp Kinser: 3rd FSSG

      4. Marine Air Wings: (Marine Corps Air Station = MCAS) Iawkuni, Okinawa, Japan / Cherry Point, NC / Miramar, CA

  1. Mission Capabilities – MAGTF Operations are built on six core competencies which drive Marines develop specific skills for special roles and missions:

    1. Expeditionary Readiness – Marines can respond anywhere within 24hrs or within 72hrs for 30 days unsupported. Can work in adverse conditions in a foreign environment. Ready to defeat multiple enemies at once.

    2. Expeditionary Operations – Marines are prepared for immediate deployments overseas into rough conditions

    3. Combined-Arms Operations – MAGTF requires combined-arms capability. MAGTF have been trained, organized, and equipped to be commanded by 1 CDR.

    4. Sea-Based Operations – Gives USMC a large strategic reach and an enduring means to have Intl influence. Gives NCA access to trouble spots worldwide.

    5. Forcible Entry – Uninterrupted movement of forces from ships (used to be amphibious assaults)

    6. Reserve Integration – Reinforcing active units with reservists.

  1. Tactical Terms

    1. Organization of MAGTF – Marines formed into MAGTFs for training and actual operations. Three types are MEU, MEB, and MEF. All MEUs are SOC. Also Special Purpose MAGTF for any unit size, inc. the whole corps (ex. a ship of Marines from a MEU).











1.5 – 3k

2 - 4

30 days


Med Helo Squadron**




7 – 12k

Up to 25

60 days



Brigade SSG*



30 – 40k

90 days



FSSG on sea and shore

*(B/R)LT = Battalion / Regimental Landing Team … MAG = Marine Aircraft Group (multiple squadrons of helos) … MAW = M Aircraft Wing (all aircraft types)

**May be augmented to a composite helo squadron … ***Formed from FSSG

  1. USMC Personnel / Training

    1. Leadership (four-year duty by direction of President) … holders since 1999:

      1. 33rd Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC) – Gen Hagee, USMC

      2. 15th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps (SMMC) – SgtMaj Estrada, USMC

      3. Asst. Commandant of the Marine Corps – Gen Nyland, USMC

    2. Enlisted Training

      1. Begins at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) at San Diego, CA or Parris Island, SC … Three phases:

        1. Phase 1 (4 weeks) – introduction to USMC history, customs, courtesies, close combat, close order drill, and intense PT

        2. Phase 2 (3 weeks) – In garrison now … USMC history, 1st Aid, course application, swim qualifications

        3. Phase 3 (4 weeks) – Nuclear, biological, chemical (NBC) warfare training, combat shooting at known / unknown ranges, and an intro to field life

        4. Crucible (54 hours) – 70mi forced marching; 550 recruits moved into 12 to 20 man squads teach teamwork, adaptability

          • Eight major events: Daytime movement resupply, casualty evac, combat assault course, reaction course, enhanced confidence course, night infiltration course, and a night march … 30 team-building obstacles (“Warrior Stations”)

          • Drill Instructors accompany squads as safety personnel

    3. Combat Training (recruits go to School of Infantry [SOI])

      1. Male Grunts (infantry) go to the Infantry Training Battalion (ITB) – 4-weeks generic training, then 4 weeks skills training specific to their job

      2. All other Marines go to Marine Combat Training (MCT) – 17 days in a field environment and learn to use the M249 (SAW [Semi-Automatic Weapon]), M240G, M2, Mk19, and M203. Learn field sanitation, land navigation, security, and hand-to-hand training. After MCT, they go to specialty schools.

    4. Marine Corps Officer Training (Marine Corps Base [MCB] Quantico, VA) … depends on origin:

      1. Platoon Leaders Course graduates – attend one 6-week course before junior and senior year or one 10-week before senior year

      2. Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program or Naval ROTC – one 6-week session prior to senior year

      3. Service Academy Graduates – 2nd LTs go to The Basic School (TBS) for 6 months to teach them how to be Infantry Platoon CDRs. Finally, 6 weeks to 6 months of Officer Primary MOS School.

    5. Military Occupational Specialty (MOS)

      1. Each USMC job has a MOS number

      2. Recruits specify several MOS choices based on their Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test

      3. HQMC (HQ Marine Corps) selects MOS for marines during boot camp based on qualifications and enlistment options

      4. MOS schools throughout country. Some are Marine Only. Joint-Service Schools with Army / Air Force becoming more common.

      5. 35 Occupational Fields w/150 MOSs with 4-digit designations. 1st 2 digits are primary occupation field (OcField) and 2nd 2 digits are specific specialty


        03 – Infantry

        08 – Artillery

        21 – Ordnance

        60 / 61 – Aircraft Maintenance

        01 – Personnel / Admin

        04 – Logistics

        13 – Engineers

        30 – Supply

        72 – Air Control / Air Defense

        02 – Intelligence

        06 – Command, Control, Communications

        18 – Tanks

        35 – Motor Transport


    6. Career Development

      1. 1st Term Marines – Upon graduation from MOS, most go to the Fleet Marine Force (FMF) to either a Marine Div, FSSG, or Aircraft Wing. 30-35% of these are for combat arms, the remainder are support roles. All other go to USMC bases. Initial enlistment ranges from E1 to E5.

      2. 2nd / 3rd Term Marines – Adv. MOS school, supervise junior Marines of same MOS. May request lateral transfer (switch MOS). Ranks inc. E4 to E6.

      3. Career Marines – Next 5-6yrs at adv schools (1st is Staff NCO Academy). Duties shift from troop leadership to admin work. Ranks: E6 to E8 (MSgt).

      4. Senior Marines – Few. Attend 1stSgt/E-9 symposium. 1stSgt / SgtMjr have admin duties. Master Gunny Sgt. are long-term tech experts in their fields

      5. Other Career Options – May request to be: Marine Security Guard (MSG), Recruiting / Drill Instructors (DI) (drawn from exceptional marines in FMF with 6yr min service as instructor and be an E4 and eligible for promotion; seen as career enhancing), or warrant officer (10yr min experience).

  2. Etiquette: USMC Uniforms

    1. Introduction – All marines have similar uniform. Enlisted insignia on both sleeves. NCO+ rate a blood stripe. Officers rate cover Quatrefoil. White gloves for formal affairs.

    2. Evening Dress (A / B / Enlisted Evening Dress)

      1. A – For General officers at white tie occasions, official state affairs.

      2. B – For Officers; black bowtie and either scarlet waistcoat (generals) or scarlet cummerbund (others). Females where short or long black skirt. Worn to black tie events. May wear Blue Dress A instead.

      3. Enlisted Evening Dress – For Staff NCOs; either this or Blue Dress A to black or white tie events

    3. Dress (Blue A / B / C / D, Blue-White A, B)

      1. A – Formal / Semi-formal social functions; Blue dress coat and trousers; large medals on right breast

      2. B – Informal social functions and as uniform of the day (UoD); same as A except ribbons instead of medals

      3. C – (Winter) Parades, ceremonies, UoD. Like B except instead of a coat, a long-sleeved khaki shirt and necktie is worn (blue dress sweater optional)

      4. D – (Summer) Same as C, except short-sleeved khaki shirt

      5. Blue-White A: White trousers with Blue Dress A for summer parades and ceremonies (replaces White Dress A)

      6. Blue-White A: White trousers with Blue Dress B for summer parades and ceremonies (replaces White Dress B)

    4. Service and Utility Uniforms

      1. Service A/B/C – Service coat, trousers, ribbons and large decorations (both on coat), khaki long-sleeved shirt, and khaki tie. Without the coat, it is Service B. Service B is used during winter with a sweater (optional). May be worn with fram or garrison cap. Service C is Service B with short sleeves and an open collar. Shooting badges are optional, prescribable for parades, ceremonies, social events, and UoD.

      2. Utility – working uniform or if service uniforms impractical. Identical to midn utilities except the buckle. Officers don’t wear subdued collar devices.

  3. Platforms


LAV-25 (Piranha)



MV-22 (Osprey)


Light Armored Vehicle

Advanced Amphib Assault Vehicle

Amphibious Assault Vehicle

Joint Multi-Mission Vertical Lift Aircraft (JMVX)


General Motors (of Canada)

General Dynamics Amphibious Systems

FMC Corp

(Primary) Boeing


All-terrain, all-weather, day or night

Carries 18 combat-ready troops; set to replace AAVs by 2008

21 combat-ready troops

Vertical takeoff and landing; rotating engines


Provide mobile firepower against armored and soft targets in combat.

Ship-to-shore movement then carries troops to inland objects

Armored protection

Ship-to-shore movement and then carries troops to inland objects

Amphibious assault transport of troops, equipment and supplies from assault ships and land bases


3: Driver, Gunner, Commander

3: Driver, Gunner, Commander

3: Driver, Gunner, Commander

3: 2 pilots, 1 crew chief


6mph swim speed; 62mph max

23-29mph water; 20-30mph land

Cruise: 6mph water; 25mph land

Max: 8mph water, 45mph land

345mph max (115mph max in helo mode)



65mi water, 300mi land

42mi water, 300mi land

Lifting 10,000lb load: 50nm

Land Assault: 200nm with 24 troops

Long Range Special Operations Missions: 500nm

Max: 2100nm


(1 = Primary)

1: M242 25mm chain gun

2: 2 x 7.62mm machine guns

1: Buchmaster II 30mm Cannon

2: M240 7.62mm machine gun

1: HBM2 .50 caliber machine gun

2: Mk19 40mm machine gun

1: 2 Small caliber machine guns can be mounted on the doors

MV-22 modifications can be equipped with torpedoes and depth charges

Platform info largely from nas.org; some data not there found at nasog.net

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