Ground combat element

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In the United States Marine Corps, the ground combat element (GCE) is the land force of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). It provides power projection and force for the MAGTF.

Role within the MAGTF[edit]

The ground combat element (GCE), composed primarily of infantry units (infantry battalions organized into battalion landing teams, regimental combat teams, and Marine divisions). These organizations contain a headquarters unit that provides command and control (management and planning for manpower, intelligence, operations and training, and logistics functions) as well as scout/sniper, aviation liaison/forward air controller, NBC defense, communications, service (supply, motor transport, weapons maintenance, and dining facility), and Navy combat medical and chaplain's corps personnel. The GCE also contains combat support units, including artillery, armor (tank, assault amphibian, and light armored reconnaissance), combat engineer, and reconnaissance units. At the division level, the GCE also contains limited organic combat service support, including a truck company, a military police/law enforcement company, and the division band.

U.S. Marine Corps Infantry[edit]

Marine Infantry Battalions

As the largest component of the GCE, Marine infantry is essentially multi-purpose, heavily manned and equipped, light infantry (e.g., a Marine rifle squad having 13 Marines, vs. nine soldiers in an U.S. Army rifle squad). With three rifle companies that are over 40% larger, plus a weapons company, and an additional 100 members in its Headquarters and Service Company (as compared to the TO&E of an Army light infantry battalion), the Marine infantry battalion contains approximately 970 members as compared to approximately 560 in an Army light infantry battalion.

Marine infantry battalions that are reinforced to form a Battalion Landing Team (BLT) are also very heavily supported (as compared to Army light infantry) with additional organic assets. This combat support includes: a field artillery howitzer battery containing a firing platoon of six 155mm howitzers, plus three reinforced armored vehicle platoons (including one each of amphibious assault vehicles, main battle tanks, and light armored reconnaissance vehicles), and one platoon each of infantry reconnaissance and combat engineers.

While primarily trained, organized and equipped to be foot-mobile, Marine infantry is of course, prepared to execute amphibious operations, either by Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV-P7-A1), Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat (RHIB/RIB), Rigid buoyant boat (RBB), or conventional landing craft such as the Landing Craft Utility (LCU 1466/1610/1627) and Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM-8), etc. In addition, all Marine infantry units are prepared, and regularly train, to perform heliborne, or "vertical envelopment" (i.e., air assault) operations when supported by MV-22 medium tiltrotor and/or CH-53 heavy helicopters and mechanized operations (when supported by attached amphibious assault vehicle units). Additionally, some Marine infantrymen (usually only those assigned to reconnaissance or special operations units) attend U.S. Army Airborne or Ranger training. However, since the USMC does not maintain either airborne or Ranger infantry units, only a relatively small number of Marines ever attend these two schools.

Furthermore, while not designated as special operations forces, deployed Marine Expeditionary Units (containing a heavily reinforced Marine infantry battalion, consisting of approximately 1,200 Marines and Navy personnel, designated as a BLT) are certified as capable of performing some ""special operations"" type missions. In addition to significant differences between Marine infantry and their US Army counterparts in training and organization, there are some differences in individual weapons, equipment, and vehicles, as well.

The Marine Corps conducts infantry training at three locations:

Current Marine Infantry Organization


The size of the GCE varies in proportion to the size of the MAGTF. A Marine Expeditionary Force has a division (MARDIV). A Marine Expeditionary Brigade holds an infantry regiment, reinforced with equipment and personnel from various divisional combat support regiments (i.e., artillery) and battalions (e.g., armor). The various Marine Expeditionary Units command a reinforced infantry battalion, which includes various combat support unit attachments. Generally, MEF postings are permanent, while MEBs and MEUs rotate their GCE, ACE, and LCE twice annually.

Hierarchy of Marine ground units[edit]


US 1st Marine Division SSI.svg
Battalion Name Insignia Nickname
Headquarters Battalion 1st Marine Division(HQ Battalion 1st Marine Division)
HQBN 1st Marine Division.jpg
Standard Bearers

1st Marine Regiment[edit]

1st Marine Regiment Logo.png
Battalion Name Insignia Nickname
1st Battalion 1st Marines(1-1st Marines)
USMC - 1st Battalion 1st Marines.png
First of the First
2nd Battalion 1st Marines(2-1st Marines)
The Professionals
3rd Battalion 1st Marines(3-1st Marines)
USMC - 3RD BN-1ST MAR 3.png
Thundering Third
1st Battalion 4th Marines(4-1st Marines)
1Bn-4thMar logo.svg
The China Marines

5th Marine Regiment[edit]

5th Marine Regiment Logo.jpg
Battalion Name Insignia Nickname
1st Battalion 5th Marines(1-5th Marines)
1-5 battalion insignia.png
2nd Battalion 5th Marines(2-5th Marines)
2 5 battalion insignia.png
3rd Battalion 5th Marines(3-5th Marines)
3 5 battalion insignia.png
2nd Battalion 4th Marines(2-4th Marines)
2-4 battalion insignia.png
The Magnificent Bastards

7th Marine Regiment[edit]

USMC - 7th Marine Regiment New Logo.png
Battalion Name Insignia Nickname
1st Battalion 7th Marines(1-7th Marines)
First Team
2nd Battalion 7th Marines(2-7th Marines)
2-7 battalion insignia.png
War Dogs
3rd Battalion 7th Marines(3-7th Marines)
3rdBn7thMar logo.jpg
The Cutting Edge
3rd Battalion 4th Marines(3-4th Marines)
3 4 battalion insignia.png

11th Marine Regiment[edit]

Battalion Name Insignia Nickname
1st Battalion 11th Marines(1-11th Marines)
UnitedStatesMarineCorps insignia.jpg
The Avengers
2nd Battalion 11th Marines(2-11th Marines)
3rd Battalion 11th Marines(3-11th Marines)
3-11 battalion insignia.png
The XX Hatchlings L
5th Battalion 11th Marines(5-11th Marines)
5-11 battalion insignia.png


Other 1st Marine Division battalions[edit]

Battalion Name Insignia Nickname
1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion
1stLAR logo.jpg
3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion
USMC - 3rd LAR Battalion insignia.png
1st Reconnaissance Battalion
1st Recon Bn Color.jpg
True That
1st Combat Engineer Battalion
1ST CEB insignia.png
The Super Breed
3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion
3rd Tracks


2nd Mar Div;divlogo1.png
Battalion Name Insignia Nickname
Headquarters Battalion 2nd Marine Division(HQ Battalion 2nd Marine Division)
HQBN 2nd Mar Div Logo.jpg

2nd Marine Regiment[edit]

2nd Marine Regiment Logo.png
Battalion Name Insignia Nickname
1st Battalion 2nd Marines
BLT 1-2 Logo.jpg
2nd Battalion 2nd Marines
2nd battalion 2nd Marines Logo.png
3rd Battalion 2nd Marines
32logobetio bastards.jpg
Betio Bastards
2nd Battalion 8th Marines
America's Battalion

6th Marine Regiment[edit]

Battalion Name Insignia Nickname
1st Battalion 6th Marines
1-6 battalion insignia.png
2nd Battalion 6th Marines
The Ready Battalion
3rd Battalion 6th Marines
1st Battalion 8th Marines
1st battalion 8th marines insignia.gif
The Beirut Battalion

10th Marine Regiment[edit]

10th Marine Regiment Seal.jpg
Battalion Name Insignia Nickname
1st Battalion 10th Marines
2nd Battalion 10th Marines
2nd Battalion 10th Marines Logo.png
Pathfinder Battalion
3rd Battalion 10th Marines
3rd Battalion 10th Marines.png
Seven For One
5th Battalion 10th Marines
5-10 battalion insignia.png
The Five and Dime

Other 2nd Marine Division battalions[edit]

Battalion Name Insignia Nickname
3rd Battalion 8th Marines
3rdBn 8thMar insignia.jpg
2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion(2nd LAR)
2nd Reconnaissance Battalion(2nd Recon Battalion)
2nd Combat Engineer Battalion(2nd CEB)
2nd CEB insignia.jpg
2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion(2nd AAB)
2nd Tracks


US 3d Marine Division SSI.svg
Battalion Name Insignia Nickname
Headquarters Battalion 3rd Marine Division(HQ Battalion 3rd Marine Division)

3rd Marine Regiment[edit]

3rd Marine Regimental Crest.jpg
Battalion Name Insignia Nickname
1st Battalion 3rd Marines
USMC - 1st Battalion 3rd Marines.png
Lava Dogs
3rd Battalion 3rd Marines
3rd Battalion 3rd Marines 2012.jpg
America's Battalion
3rd Littoral Anti-Air Battalion
1st Battalion 12th Marines
USMC - 1ST BN-12TH MAR.png

4th Marine Regiment[edit]

4th Marines.jpg
Battalion Name Insignia Nickname
1st Battalion 4th Marines
1Bn-4thMar logo.svg
The China Marines
2nd Battalion 4th Marines
2-4 battalion insignia.png
The Magnificent Bastards
3rd Battalion 4th Marines
3 4 battalion insignia.png
Third Herd

12th Marine Regiment[edit]

12th Marines logo.jpg
Battalion Name Insignia Nickname
1st Battalion 12th Marines
USMC - 1ST BN-12TH MAR.png
3rd Battalion 12th Marines
USMC - 3RD BN-12th MAR.png
Warrior of the Pacific

Other 3rd Marine Division battalions[edit]

Battalion Name Insignia Nickname
3rd Reconnaissance Battalion(3rd Recon)
The Forward Shadow
Combat Assault Battalion(CAB)
The Iron Fist


Battalion Name Insignia Nickname
Headquarters Battalion 4th Marine Division(HQ Battalion 4th Marine Division)    

14th Marine Regiment[edit]

14th Marines logo.png
Battalion Name Insignia Nickname
1st Battalion 14th Marines(1-14th Marines)
At The Ready
2nd Battalion 14th Marines(2-14th Marines)
2nd Battalion 14th Marines insignia.jpg
3rd Battalion 14th Marines(3-14th Marines)
4th Battalion 14th Marines(4-14th Marines)
5th Battalion 14th Marines(5-14th Marines)

23rd Marine Regiment[edit]

USMC - 23rd Marine Regiment.png
Battalion Name Insignia Nickname
1st Battalion 23rd Marines(1-23rd Marines)
Fighting Texans
2nd Battalion 23rd Marines(2-23rd Marines)
2Bn 23rdMar Logo-1-.jpg
3rd Battalion 23rd Marines(3-23rd Marines)
USMC - 3rd Battalion 23rd Marines.png

25th Marine Regiment[edit]

USMC - 4th Division 25th Regiment.png
Battalion Name Insignia Nickname
1st Battalion 25th Marines(1-25th Marines)
USMC - 1ST BN-25TH MAR.png
New England's Own
2nd Battalion 25th Marines(2-25th Marines)
Empire Battalion
3rd Battalion 25th Marines(3-25th Marines)
USMC - 3rd Battalion 25th Marines.png
Cold Steel Warriors

Other 4th Marine Division battalions[edit]

Battalion Name Insignia Nickname
4th Tank Battalion(4th Tank)
4thTankBattalion insignia.png
Anti-Terrorism Battalion(ATB)    
4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion(4th LARB)
USMC - 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion.png
Iron Horse Marines
4th Reconnaissance Battalion(4th Recon)
4th Combat Engineer Battalion(4th CEB)
4th Assault Amphibian Battalion(4th AAB)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ AOAC79CFA508DOB9239ECF516C1968F5422DA56F
  • "Send in the Marines...the art of MAGTF Operations" (PDF). United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-02-03. Retrieved 2007-03-15.