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.


Scout Snipers are infantrymen skilled in long-range marksmanship from concealed locations. Their primary mission is to conduct close reconnaissance and surveillance operations in order to gain intelligence on the enemy and the terrain. Scout Snipers must earn the rank of Lance Corporal, be selected by their battalion to join the scout-sniper platoon and complete an approved scout-sniper course in order to receive this designation.

Initial Training

Requirements vary by battalion, but infantrymen who qualify may be selected for training conducted at the battalion level after successfully completing a two-week indoctrination course. After serving for a time in the battalion scout-sniper platoon, a Marine may be sent to the formal Scout Sniper Basic Course to earn the official scout-sniper MOS.

Within the MEU

A Scout Sniper platoon works directly for the battalion commander. They may be tasked to provide support to maneuver units or may operate separately.

Scout Snipers include:
  • Spotter: Detects, observes and confirms sniper targets, calculates the range and wind conditions on a given target, conducts reconnaissance and surveillance.
  • Sniper: Delivers long-range precision fires on selected targets, conducts reconnaissance and surveillance.


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.