Military Units

  • army seal
  • MARINE CORPS

  • army seal

The U.S. Marine Corps falls under the Department of the Navy; however its command structure is similar to the Army’s, except it follows the “rule of three” and includes Marine expeditionary forces and aircraft wings. The Marines are divided into four groups: the operating forces that do the actual fighting, the headquarters for leadership, the supporting establishment that provides logistical support, and the Marine Corps Reserve.

Fire Team
Squad
Platoon
Company
Battalion
Regiment
Marine Division
Marine Corps
  • FIRE TEAM

    Commanded By:

    marine corporal insignia

    Corporal

    3 Marines

    Includes three Marines and a team leader, usually a corporal.

    rappelling techniques
    sniper system
    okinawa rappel
    titin exercise
  • SQUAD

    Commanded By:

    marine sergeant insignia

    Sergeant

    Also referredto as aSECTION


    9 Marines

    Three teams are assigned here.

    jungle patrol
    jungle crossing
    funeral escort
    super sprint
    live-fire line
  • PLATOON

    Commanded By:

    marine lieutenant insignia

    Lieutenant

    3squads


    27 Marines

    Consists of three squads. Commanded by a lieutenant.

    mountain blues
    parris island pushups
    golden grace
    halftime performance
    marine formation
    platoon pose
  • COMPANY

    Commanded By:

    captain insignia

    Captain

    3platoons


    243 Marines

    Includes three or more platoons. Commanded by a captain. Companies are the lowest command level to have a headquarters element.

    marine brief
    marine debrief
    camp kinser
    marine march
  • BATTALION

    Commanded By:

    lieutenant colonel insignia

    Lieutenant Colonel

    3 COMPANIES


    729 Marines

    Three or more companies. Commanded by a lieutenant colonel.

    marine discussion
    lejeune hike
    award ceremony
    change of command
  • REGIMENT

    Commanded By:

    colonel insignia

    Colonel

    3battalions


    2,187 Marines

    Three battalions form a regiment or brigade.

    drill command
    drill command
  • MARINE DIVISION

    Commanded By:

    major general insignia

    Major General

    3regiments


    6,561 Marines

    Three regiments or brigades make up a division.

    band performance
    achievement award
  • MARINE CORPS

    Commanded By:

    commandant insignia

    Commandant

    4marine divisions


    26,244 Marines

    Three or more divisions make up the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps' leader, the commandant, reports directly to the secretary of the Navy.

    standing out

Basic Units

Select A Unit From the Menu to Learn More:

FIRE TEAM

Commanded By:

marine corporal insignia

Corporal


3 Marines

Includes three Marines and a team leader, usually a corporal.

SQUAD

Commanded By:

marine sergeant insignia

Sergeant


9 Marines

Three teams are assigned here.

PLATOON

Commanded By:

marine lieutenant insignia

Lieutenant


3squads


27 Marines

Consists of three squads. Commanded by a lieutenant.

COMPANY

Commanded By:

captain insignia

Captain


3platoons


243 Marines

Includes three or more platoons. Commanded by a captain. Companies are the lowest command level to have a headquarters element.

BATTALION

Commanded By:

lieutenant colonel insignia

Lieutenant Colonel


3 COMPANIES


729 Marines

Three or more companies. Commanded by a lieutenant colonel.

Regiment

Commanded By:

colonel insignia

Colonel


3battalions


2,187 Marines

Three battalions form a regiment or brigade.

MARINE DIVISION

Commanded By:

major general insignia

Major General


3regiments


6,561 Marines

Three regiments or brigades make up a division.

MARINE CORPS

Commanded By:

commandant insignia

Commandant


4marine divisions


26,244 Marines

Three or more Divisions make up the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps' leader, the commandant, reports directly to the secretary of the Navy.

Expeditionary Forces

I MEF is based primarily at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and provides forces for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and U.S. Central Command, as directed. It’s made up of the 1st Marine Division, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, 1st Marine Logistics Group and I MEF Information Group. I MEF participated in Desert Storm, Operation Restore Hope (Somalia), Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

I Marine Expeditionary Force

II MEF is based primarily in North Carolina. It’s made of up the 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, 2nd Marine Logistics Group and the II MEF Information Group, which focuses on planning and execution of operations. II MEF is primarily focused on operations in the North Atlantic, including in Europe and Africa.

II Marine Expeditionary Force

Based in Okinawa, Japan, III MEF covers the Pacific and is the only MEF that’s forward deployed. It’s made up of the 3rd Marine Division, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, 3rd Marine Logistics Group and the III MEF Information Group.

III Marine Expeditionary Force

squadronsAircraft Units

squadrons
marine squadron

Equivalent to a battalion

Made up of

24aircraft


Marine aviation squadrons are about the size equivalent of a battalion and are organized by aircraft type – fixed-wing aircraft, tiltrotor aircraft and helicopters - although there are nonflying squadrons, too, such as those for logistics. Squadrons are expected to execute a list of specified mission-essential tasks. For example, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 is based at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, as the first forward-deployed permanent F-35B Lightning II squadron.

GroupsAircraft Units

groups
marine squadron

Equivalent to a regiment

Made up of

3squadrons


Three or more squadrons form a group, which is equivalent in size to a regiment. There are several kinds of groups: aircraft, air control, training support and wing support. Aircraft groups are made up of the aircraft themselves and the people who support them to fly; air control groups coordinate all aspects of air command and air defense. Support groups provide administrative duties, ceremonial support and special-detail advisors.

WingsAircraft Units

wings
marine squadron

Equivalent to a division

Made up of

3groups


There are currently four active Marine aircraft wings. The 1st MAW is part of III MEF and has been a key player in providing humanitarian aid to disaster areas in the Indo-Pacific. The 2nd MAW has deployed in support of noncombat operations in Iraq in the 1990s, as well as combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan throughout this century. The 3rd MAW is deployed in support of operations in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. The 4th MAW is a subordinate command of the Marine Corps Reserve.

Aircraft Wings

squadrons
marine squadron

Equivalent to a battalion

Made up of

24aircraft


Marine aviation squadrons are about the size equivalent of a battalion and are organized by aircraft type – fixed-wing aircraft, tiltrotor aircraft and helicopters - although there are nonflying squadrons, too, such as those for logistics. Squadrons are expected to execute a list of specified mission-essential tasks. For example, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 is based at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, as the first forward-deployed permanent F-35B Lightning II squadron.

groups
marine squadron

Equivalent to a regiment

Made up of

3squadrons


Three or more squadrons form a group, which is equivalent in size to a regiment. There are several kinds of groups: aircraft, air control, training support and wing support. Aircraft groups are made up of the aircraft themselves and the people who support them to fly; air control groups coordinate all aspects of air command and air defense. Support groups provide administrative duties, ceremonial support and special-detail advisors.

wings
marine squadron

Equivalent to a division

Made up of

3groups


There are currently four active Marine aircraft wings. The 1st MAW is part of III MEF and has been a key player in providing humanitarian aid to disaster areas in the Indo-Pacific. The 2nd MAW has deployed in support of noncombat operations in Iraq in the 1990s, as well as combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan throughout this century. The 3rd MAW is deployed in support of operations in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. The 4th MAW is a subordinate command of the Marine Corps Reserve.

Other Military Services

There are a few distinct exceptions in the structure of each military service.

Select a service to learn more.

air force seal

Air Force