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.

Armor Marine

Armor Marines prepare the tanks, ammunition, personnel and equipment for movement and combat. Their jobs include operating, maintaining, firing and maneuvering the 70-ton M1A1 Abrams Tank.

Initial Training

After recruit training, Armor Marines will complete the M1A1 Armor Marines Course at Fort Knox, KY.

Within the MEU

A Tank Platoon is capable of providing armor-protected firepower in support of the ground forces. The Marine Corps operates the M1A1 Abrams Tank, a heavily armored, well-armed tank with a 1,500-horsepower engine.  Each platoon includes four M1A1 Abrams battle tanks.

Armor Marines include:
  • Tank Gunner: Prepares tanks, personnel and equipment for movement and combat, locates targets and employs weapons systems.
  • Tank Driver: Operates and drives the tank during movement, positions the tank to fire on target, performs additional maintenance and operational duties.
  • Tank Commander: Supervises all maintenance and operation of the M1A1 Tank, 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.