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.

LAV Marine

Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) marines operate and maintain the LAVs and their weapon systems. These vehicles can carry communications equipment, as well as Mobile Electronic Warfare Support Systems, providing a self-contained and highly mobile combined arms force.

Initial Training

After recruit training, LAV marines will complete the Infantry Training Battalion Course, followed by the LAV Marine Course at Camp Pendleton, CA.

Within the MEU

An LAV detachment conducts security, reconnaissance and screening operations for a larger force, as well as limited independent operations on its own. The unit can include: LAV-25s with 25mm Bushmaster cannons, LAV-ATs with TOW anti-tank missiles, LAV-Ms with 81mm mortars, LAV-L logistical vehicles and LAV-R recovery vehicles.

LAV Marines include:
  • LAV Driver: Maintains the LAV engine and hull components, drives and operates the vehicle, maintains the vehicle as a stable platform from which the gunner can engage targets.
  • LAV Gunner: Maintains the turret and components of the LAV weaponry, employs weapons.
  • LAV Commander: Supervises all maintenance and operation of the LAV, assumes leadership and responsibility for the vehicle and crew as a whole.


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.