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.”

Marine Corps Women Look Back on Historic Combat Experiment

Female Marine infantry students hike during patrol week near Camp Geiger, N.C., in October 2013. (TYLER L. MAIN/U.S. MARINE CORPS)

Will the Marine Corps fight to keep women out of the infantry? Female Marines who volunteered for research to help the commandant decide that question are eager to find out, along with many others tracking the contentious debate over women in combat. A landmark policy shift on the horizon could eliminate the last gender restrictions on military... more

Fatal Helo Crash Took Place During Marine Ropes Exercise

A Marine CH-53E sits in the sand where it made an emergency landing in Solana Beach, Calif., in April 2015. A Marine who died when his helo made a hard landing at Camp Lejeune, N.C., on Sept. 2, 2015, was taking part in a ropes exercise. AP photo

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A U.S. Marine who died and 11 comrades who sustained injuries were taking part in a helicopter ropes exercise that's described as "high-risk" in a training manual that underscores the dangers. The Marine Corps has scheduled a news conference Friday morning to offer more details about what happened when the helicopter had to lan... more

1 Marine Killed, 9 Hurt in Helicopter Hard Landing


CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — One Marine has been killed and 9 others were hurt when a helicopter made a hard landing at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Capt. Ryan Elizabeth Alvis said in a statement that the CH-53E helicopter came down hard during a training exercise around 9 p.m. Wednesday. Alvis said the name of the dead Marine will not be released ... more

US Marines, Coast Guardsmen Challenge Senegalese Swimming Skills

Cpl. Matt Sprankle, a Marine Corps Instructor of Water Survival with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa, evaluates a Compagnie Fusilier de Marin Commando’s technique, Aug. 27, 2015. Photo By: Cpl. Olivia McDonald

DAKAR, Senegal — U.S. Marines and Coast Guardsmen conducted swim assessments with 20 Compagnie Fusilier de Marin Commandos last week in Dakar, Senegal. The swim assessment was led by Marine Corps Instructor of Water Survival, Cpl. Matt Sprankle and Coast Guard Water Survival Master and Responder, Petty Officer 2nd Class Dustin Sliva, to dete... more

New Marine Corps Degree Programs

The Marine Corps announced a new program that allows enlisted Marines in some 20 intelligence-related military occupational specialty fields to compete for undergraduate or graduate degree programs at the National Intelligence University in Washington. Marines in the ranks of corporal through master sergeant within particular intelligence MOSs a... more

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