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.


Engineers build, repair and maintain buildings, roads and power supplies. They are responsible for employing explosives for construction and demolition projects, and operating the Assault Breacher Vehicle for clearing minefields.

Initial Training

After recruit training, Marines in the engineering occupational field will complete a specialty course dependent on their MOS. Such courses include the Basic Combat Engineer Course, the Engineer Equipment Operator Course and the Basic Metal Workers Course.  A new engineering Marine may be assigned to a combat engineer battalion, an engineer support battalion or a Marine wing support squadron.

Within the MEU

A Combat Engineer Platoon supports ground forces by getting through obstacles, building causeways and bunkers, and by performing civil engineering roles. These platoons are equipped with a bulldozer and an assortment of engineering tools.

Specialties in Engineering include:
  • Combat Engineer: Performs demolitions, construction, mine clearing, maintenance and repair.
  • Engineer Equipment Operator: Operates engineer construction equipment used in earthmoving, grading, excavation, logging, clearing and landing operations.
  • Engineer Assistant: Supports construction design, planning, estimating and management through various duties, including preparation of architectural or mechanical CAD drawings.


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.