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.

Rotary/Tilt Rotor Pilot

Marine Rotary-wing and Tilt-rotor Pilots fly aircraft in coordination with ground forces to execute the missions of the Marine Corps. These officers and the aircraft they command may be ship-based or shore-based. Tilt-rotor Pilots' missions mirror that of Rotary-wing Pilots, combining transport capability with speed capability similar to that of Fixed-wing Pilots.

In addition to flying their aircraft, pilots are assigned leadership positions within the squadron, such as Operations Officer or Maintenance Officer.

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.

Specialized Training
  • Aviation Preflight Indoctrination
    Pensacola, FL
    6 weeks
  • Primary Flight Training
    FL, TX
    22 weeks
  • Advanced Flight Training
    Whiting Field, FL
    27–44 weeks

After completing Advanced Flight Training, pilots will be assigned a specialty and train in a specific aircraft. Tilt-rotor Pilots' unique training path prepares them to pilot an aircraft with both rotary-wing and fixed-wing capabilities.

Within the MAGTF

Part of the Aviation Combat Element (ACE), Marine Rotary-wing Pilots are engaged on the front lines in highly critical roles, including transportation of Marines, lethal air-to-ground firepower and lifesaving casualty evacuation.

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. Later in your career, you may be assigned to Expeditionary Warfare School or seek an advanced degree. This pattern of assignment is designed to expand your knowledge of the Marine Corps and overall strategic operations before you take on increased responsibility within your MOS.

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.