Enlisted aircrews are responsible for preparing the aircraft and overseeing its functions during assault missions and tactical in-flight refueling. They perform navigational duties, operate and maintain the various communications systems, and load equipment into transport aircraft.
After recruit training, Marines entering this field will either complete the appropriate training at Cherry Point, NC; Milton, FL; Fort Huachuca, AR; or Camp Pendleton, CA. These Marines may instead complete an equivalent OMA Contractors Maintenance, Aircrew or Air Vehicle Operators Course.
Within the MEU
Certain Marine aircraft (UH-1(N or Y), MV-22, CH-46E, CH-53E, KC-130J) have an enlisted crew chief responsible for readying the aircraft before the mission and assisting in its operation during the mission. Enlisted aircrew are charged with ensuring the safety of cargo and personnel while operating the aircraft.
Opportunities in Enlisted Aircrew include:
- Aerial Observer/Gunner: Provides visual assessment and operates machine gun during flight operations, performs additional aircraft maintenance duties.
- Helicopter Crew Chief: Maintains the aircraft to ensure it remains mission capable, performs onboard duties during all flight operations.
- Presidential Helicopter Crew Chief: Performs maintenance and operational crew chief duties for HMX-1 Executive Flight Detachment. Assignment requires security clearance and rank above Lance Corporal.
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.
MAKEUP OF A MEU
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.
READY AT SEA
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.