Infantry is the central component of Marine ground forces. Infantry Marines are trained to locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver, or repel the enemy's assault by fire and close combat. Riflemen serve as the primary scouts, assault troops and close combat forces within each infantry unit.
After recruit training, infantry Marines will attend the Infantry Training Battalion course at either the School of Infantry East at Camp Geiger, NC, or the School of Infantry West at Camp Pendleton, CA.
Within the MEU
Marine ground forces are organized into a Battalion Landing Team with three rifle companies at the core. Each company is made up of three rifle platoons and one weapons platoon.
Specialties within Infantry include:
- Rifleman: Trained in close combat, operates M4, M203 grenade launcher and the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon.
- Machine Gunner: Employs medium and heavy machine guns in support of maneuver elements.
- Mortarman: Provides indirect fire in support of maneuver elements using light, medium or heavy mortars.
- Assault Marine: Assaults fortified targets with rockets, demolitions and breaching/infiltration techniques.
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.