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.

Fixed-wing Pilot

Marine Fixed-wing Pilots fly some of the most advanced aircraft in the world. These officers perform essential functions of Marine Aviation—assault support, anti-air warfare, offensive air support, electronic warfare, control of aircraft and missiles, and aerial reconnaissance—to support missions around the world.

Specialized Training
  • Aviation Preflight Indoctrination
    Pensacola, FL
    6 weeks
  • Primary Flight Training
    FL, TX or OK
    22 weeks
  • Advanced Flight Training
    TX, MS or FL
    14 - 49 weeks

After completing Advanced Flight Training, pilots will be assigned a specialty and train in a specific aircraft.

Within the MAGTF

In addition to flying their aircraft, pilots are assigned positions of leadership such as Operations Officer or Maintenance Officer within the squadron. Because of the precise demands of the aircraft and their integral role, Marine Corps Pilots undergo the longest and most extensive training in the Marine Corps.

Beyond Your First Tour

After your first tour, you may be assigned to a billet available to all officers, such as recruiting duty, instructor duty at The Basic School or series commander at one of the Marine Corps Recruit Depots.

As a pilot, you may also do a tour with an infantry or tank battalion as a Forward Air Controller, coordinating with aircraft to accurately time and target munitions.



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.