Roles in the Corps

There are hundreds of ways to serve, and every Marine trains in an area of expertise that contributes to the success of our missions.
Whatever their expertise or field of training, Marines are ready to transition from mission to mission at a moment's notice.

Air Support Control Officer

Air Support Officers direct and coordinate air support missions and advise commanders on matters pertaining to the employment and control of air support.

Specialized Training
  • Air Support Control Officers Course
    Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School
    29 Palms, CA
    12 weeks
Within the MAGTF

An Air Support Control Officer works as a crewmember in a Direct Air Support Center (DASC). The DASC is responsible for the assignment and control of aircraft in operations that directly support ground forces on the battlefield. As a second lieutenant, you talk directly to and control fixed wing, rotary wing, and Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

Beyond Your First Tour

As a senior lieutenant/captain you will work on your qualification as a Senior Air Director (SAD). Further schooling is available after that for Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI). If promoted, you will be redesignated as an Air Command and Control Officer, and fulfill roles within the other communities of the Marine Air Control Group (MACG) regardless of primary MOS. These include the Marine Air Control Squadron, Marine Tactical Air Command Squadron, LAAD Battalion, and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Squadrons.



MAGTF refers to the unique four-part structure that organizes Marine Corps operating forces. This framework brings together Aviation, Ground and Logistics Combat elements under a central Command element. The result is a flexible, combined-arms unit with the capabilities to conduct the Marine Corps' full range of operations, from humanitarian aid and disaster relief to projection of power from the sea. 

Many Roles. One Mission.

The Marine Corps is only as capable as each and every Marine. That's why all Marines have a specific role for which they are optimally trained, in support of the overall mission.



A MEU, or Marine Expeditionary Unit, is the smallest type of MAGTF, often providing the most substantial response in the shortest amount of time. 2,200 Marines that are trained in hundreds of areas of expertise serve on a MEU. Here is the breakdown of a MEU's makeup:

Command Element – Approximately 200 Marines. Responsible for command and control of the entire MEU.

Ground Combat Element – Approximately 1,200 Marines. A Battalion Landing Team that includes three rifle companies, a weapons company, a battery of artillery and platoons of the following: combat engineers, light armored reconnaissance, tanks, Force Reconnaissance and amphibious assault vehicles.

Aviation Combat Element – Approximately 500 Marines. A MEU's ACE is built around a medium tilt-rotor squadron, reinforced by CH-53E heavy lift helicopters, light attack helicopters and Harrier attack jets. The result is a squadron of 25 to 30 aircraft.

Logistics Combat Element – Approximately 300 Marines. Provides supply, transportation, maintenance and additional support for the MEU.


MEUs deploy aboard an Amphibious Ready Group (ARG): Three naval ships specifically designed to provide the Marines with a mobile base of operations. See here what serving aboard a MEU entails.