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.

Air Traffic Control Officer

Air Traffic Control Officers command an Air Traffic Control (ATC)Detachment. They act as officers-in-charge of Air Traffic Control Facilities at Marine Corps Air Stations. They perform as Control Tower Operators and Radar Air Traffic Controllers. They coordinate and direct activities related to air traffic control and airspace management as staff officers at squadrons, Marine Air Control Groups (MACG)/Marine Aircraft Wings (MAW), and at other senior level units.

Specialized Training
  • Air Traffic Control School
    Pensacola, FL
    16 weeks
Within the MAGTF

Initially an ATC Officer will serve as a watch officer at an ATC Facility, until he or she achieves the prerequisite FAA qualifications. After receiving these qualifications, and sometimes during the process (depending on the needs of the Marine Corps), an ATC lieutenant will serve as a Marine ATC Mobile Team (MMT) Leader, ATC watch officer, or in another similar billet within the Marine Air Control Group (MACG). Regardless of billet, ATC officers are put in charge of Marines immediately upon arrival at their first command and frequently are in command throughout their first tour.

Beyond Your First Tour

There are numerous opportunities available to you in Air Traffic Control. After your first tour you may become an ATC Facility officer, or an ATC Detachment Commander. Often you will find yourself assigned to other squadrons within the Group regardless of your primary MOS. These other units include the Marine Air Support Squadron, Marine Tactical Air Command Squadron, Marine Wing Communications Squadron, Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Squadrons.



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.