Marine Corps

A Marine lieutenant undergoes training in the Corps' Infantry Officers Course. The course will enroll its first female students this year. Joey Chavez/U.S. Marine Corps

The Marine Corps serves as a versatile combat element, and is adapted to a wide variety of combat operations. The Marine Corps was initially composed of infantry combat forces serving aboard naval vessels, responsible for security of the ship, its captain and officers, offensive and defensive combat during boarding actions, by acting as sharpshooters, and carrying out amphibious assaults. The Marines fully developed and used the tactics of amphibious assault in World War II, most notably in the Pacific Island Campaign.

Since its creation in 1775, the Corps’ role has expanded significantly. The Marines have a unique mission statement, and, alone among the branches of the U.S. armed forces, “shall, at any time, be liable to do duty in the forts and garrisons of the United States, on the seacoast, or any other duty on shore, as the President, at his discretion, shall direct.” In this special capacity, charged with carrying out duties given to them directly by the President of the United States, the Marine Corps serves as an all-purpose, fast-response task force, capable of quick action in areas requiring emergency intervention.

The Marine Corps possesses organic ground and air combat elements, and relies upon the US Navy to provide sea combat elements to fulfill its mission as “America’s 9-1-1 Force”. Ground combat elements are largely contained in three Marine Expeditionary Forces, or “MEF’s”. The 1st MEF is based out of Camp Pendleton, California, the 2nd out of Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, while the third is based on Okinawa, Japan. Within the MEF’s are the individual Marine Divisions (MARDIVS) and Force Service Support Groups (FSSG’s).Force Reconnaissance companies are composed of Marines specially trained in covert insertion, reconnaissance, and surveillance tactics, and some have even received special operations training. The “Recon Marine’s” basic mission is to scout out the enemy and report what they find.

Air combat elements are similarly grouped in the first, second and third Marine Aircraft Wings (MAW’s).

Marine tactics and doctrine tends to emphasize aggressiveness and the offensive, compared to Army tactics for similar units. The Marines have been central in developing groundbreaking tactics for maneuver warfare; they can be credited with the development of helicopter insertion doctrine and modern amphibious assault.

The Marines also maintain an operational and training culture dedicated to emphasizing the infantry combat abilities of every Marine. All Marines receive training first and foremost as basic riflemen, and thus the Marine Corps at heart functions as an infantry corps. The Marine Corps is famous for the saying “Every Marine a rifleman.”

There are approximately 198,000 Marines currently serving across the globe.

The Marine Corps motto is “Semper Fidelis,” which means “always faithful.”

Pendleton Marines Train for Large-Scale Deployment

Marines in the combat operations center plan an attack on an enemy force occupying a partner nation during a training exercise at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Jennifer Hlad/Stars and Stripes

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- At the northwestern tip of this massive base, hundreds of Marines spent the last 10 days preparing for full-scale war. It's the first time in more than a decade they are training for this type of combat, all aligned with new guidance from the commandant. Gen. Joseph Dunford expects all Marine units to be "physically an... more

Former Marine Among Sterilization Victims Compensated by Virginia

Lewis Reynolds, 85, was involuntarily sterilized at age 13 under a state law intended to prevent "defective" people from reproducing. He went on to serve 30 years in the Marine Corps. AP Photo/The Virginian-Pilot, Bill Sizemore

RICHMOND, Va. -- Lewis Reynolds didn't understand what had been done to him when he was 13. Years later, after getting married, the Lynchburg man discovered he couldn't father children. The reason: He had been sterilized by the state. Reynolds was among more than 7,000 Virginians involuntarily sterilized between 1924 and 1979 under the Virgini... more

USMC MV-22 Osprey and KC-10 Aircraft Conduct First In-Flight Refueling

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The US Marine Corps' MV-22 Osprey has conducted a first in-flight refueling with a US Air Force KC-10 aircraft. Refueling was carried out as part of Cobra Gold 2015, which involved five MV-22 Ospreys. The aircraft flew more than 2,200nm, travelling from Clark Air Base, the Philippines to Utapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield in Thailand. During this... more

US Marine Who Vanished in Iraq Found Guilty of Desertion

Cpl. Wassef Hassoun is escorted to the courtroom on Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, N.C., Monday, Feb. 9, 2015, for the beginning of his court-martial. John Althouse/AP

RALEIGH, N.C. — A U.S. Marine who vanished a decade ago in Iraq was convicted Monday of desertion for leaving his post there and then fleeing to Lebanon after a brief return to the U.S. The judge at Camp Lejeune, Marine Maj. Nicholas Martz, ruled in a bench trial that Cpl. Wassef Hassoun was guilty of deserting for the 2004 and 2005 disappeara... more

Marine Corps Returns to Its Expeditionary Roots

The Office of Naval Research is trawling for developing technologies to make the sea service more rapid in its mobility. Thirteen years of sustained U.S. combat troop presence in war zones overseas compelled the U.S. Marine Corps to set aside its expeditionary nature and dig in alongside its U.S. Army counterpart for long deployments and occupy... more

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