Ground combat element


Land force of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF).

- Ground combat element

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4th Marine Division (United States)

Reserve division in the United States Marine Corps.

4th Marine Division insignia
Structure 4th Marine Division
Across the litter on Iwo Jima's black sands, Marines of the 4th Division shell Japanese positions, 1945
LSM 206 with 23rd Marines Shore Party. LSM 206 was loaded with A Co 133 Naval Construction Battalion's Shore Party equipment & 3 D8s at approx. 0935
Post-1966 4th Marine Division Patch
Marines of the 4th Division prepare to move a simulated casualty to a helicopter at Camp Pendleton
One of the Iraqi rocket launchers destroyed by Battery H, 3rd Battalion, 14th Marines, at the al Burqan Oil Field, Kuwait, 25 February 1991.
A Marine with Battery M, 3/14 hammers a door during a cache search in Rutbah, Iraq.

It is currently the ground combat element of the Marine Forces Reserve and is headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana and has units throughout the United States.

I Marine Expeditionary Force

Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) of the United States Marine Corps primarily composed of the 1st Marine Division, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and 1st Marine Logistics Group.

I MEF insignia
Structure of I MEF 2018
Lt. Gen. Karsten S. Heckl, former commanding general, I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), passes the colors to Lt. Gen. George W. Smith Jr., signifying the change of command of I MEF during a formal ceremony on September 23, 2021.

Ground combat element: 1st Marine Division

United States Marine Corps Reconnaissance Battalions

Division Recon badge
USMC Combat Diver Badge.
Reconnaissance Training Company logo
Marines wearing the full combat gear
Recon Marines training with the Draeger MK 25 rebreather.

The United States Marine Corps Reconnaissance Battalions (or commonly called Marine Division Recon) are the Special Operations Capable reconnaissance assets of Marine Air-Ground Task Force that provide division-level ground and amphibious reconnaissance to the Ground Combat Element within the United States Marine Corps.

Marine Air-Ground Task Force

Since World War II in many crises the United States Marine Corps has deployed projection forces, with the ability to move ashore with sufficient sustainability for prolonged operations.


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 (including EOD), 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.

United States Marine Corps

Maritime land force service branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for conducting expeditionary and amphibious operations through combined arms, implementing its own infantry, artillery, aerial, and special operations forces.

Emblem of the United States Marine Corps
U.S. Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit training
Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit depart USS Tarawa (LHA-1), using both a Landing Craft Utility and CH-53E "Super Stallion" helicopters, during amphibious operations in Kuwait, 2003.
Maj. Samuel Nicholas, first Commandant of the Marine Corps, was nominated to lead the Continental Marines by John Adams in November 1775.
British and U.S. troops garrisoned aboard Hornet and Penguin exchanging small arms musket fire with Tristan da Cuna in the background during the final engagement between British and U.S. forces in the War of 1812
The Final Stand at Bladensburg, Maryland, 24 August 1814
Five USMC privates with fixed bayonets, and their NCO with his sword at the Washington Navy Yard, 1864
Georges Scott, American Marines in Belleau Wood, 1918
Former French Foreign Legion Lieutenant, and U.S. Marine Corps officer Peter J. Ortiz, who served in the European theater, often behind enemy lines
Photograph of the Marine Corps War Memorial, which depicts the second U.S. flag-raising atop Mount Suribachi, on Iwo Jima. The memorial is modeled on Joe Rosenthal's famous Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima.
F4U Corsairs providing close air support to Marines of the 1st Marine Division fighting Chinese forces in North Korea, December 1950
U.S. Marines of "G" Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines in action during Operation Allen Brook in South Vietnam, 1968
Beirut Memorial at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune
U.S. Marines from 1st Battalion, 7th Marines entering a palace in Baghdad in 2003
U.S. Marines dismounting from an Assault Amphibious Vehicle in Djibouti
Organization of the United States Marine Corps
Marine Raiders conducting CQB training
Opha Johnson (far right) in 1946, with Katherine Towle (far left). They are looking at Opha Johnson's uniform being worn by PFC Muriel Albert.
Two of the first female graduates of the School of Infantry-East's Infantry Training Battalion course, 2013
Marine recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego
U.S. Marines in training
An illustration of U.S. Marines in various uniform setups. From left to right: A U.S. Marine in a Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform with full combat load circa 2003, a U.S. Marine in a (full) blue dress uniform, a U.S. Marine officer in a service uniform, and a U.S. Marine general in an evening dress uniform.
The Eagle, Globe and Anchor along with the U.S. flag, the Marine Corps flag and the Commandant's flag
A recruiting poster making use of the "Teufel Hunden" [sic] nickname
Marines training in martial arts
Marines firing MEU(SOC) pistols while garrisoned aboard a ship
Marine Amphibious Assault Vehicles emerge from the surf onto the sand of Freshwater Beach, Australia
Marine parachutists jumping from an MV-22 Osprey at 10,000 feet
A Marine Corps F-35B, the vertical-landing version of the F-35 Lightning II multirole fighter landing aboard USS Wasp (LHD-1)
Assault Amphibious Vehicles approaching the well deck of USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6)
A Marine and sailor training with rifles in Iraq
A soldier from the 1st Infantry Regiment provides security for a joint Army-Marine patrol in Rawa in 2006. The shoulder sleeve insignia has the logo of the 2nd Marine Division.
Marines unloading CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters from an Air Force C-5 Galaxy

The basic structure for all deployed units is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) that integrates a ground combat element, an aviation combat element and a logistics combat element under a common command element.

II Marine Expeditionary Force

Marine Air-Ground Task Force consisting of ground, air and logistics forces capable of projecting offensive combat power ashore while sustaining itself in combat without external assistance for a period of 60 days.

II MEF insignia
Structure of II MEF 2018

2nd Marine Division: Ground combat element

Marine expeditionary force

Largest type of a Marine air-ground task force.


Each MEF consists of a MEF Information Group (MIG) as the command element, a Marine division (MARDIV) as the ground combat element, a Marine aircraft wing (MAW) as the aviation combat element, and a Marine logistics group (MLG) as the logistics combat element.

2nd Marine Division

2nd Marine Division insignia
Staff Sergeant Timerlate Kirven (left) and Corporal Samuel J. Love, Sr., the first African-American Marines to be decorated with Purple Hearts by the 2nd Marine Division for the battle of Saipan.
Two Marines from the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment in Fallujah, Iraq, during July 2005
Structure of 2nd Marine Division
A 2nd Marine Division insignia adorns a memorial at Camp Lejeune

The 2nd Marine Division (2nd MARDIV) is a division of the United States Marine Corps, which forms the ground combat element of the II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF).

1st Marine Division

Marine division of the United States Marine Corps headquartered at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.

Structure of 1st Marine Division
A Marine of the 1st Marine Regiment on Guadalcanal.
Marines of 1st Marine Division fighting on Okinawa, 1945.
Marines of 1st Marine Division at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir.
3/3 Marines observe an airstrike during Operation Harvest Moon
A wounded 2/5 Marine receives treatment during the Battle of Huế
1/5 Marines await a helicopter during Operation Imperial Lake
Letter by Gen Mattis distributed throughout division before the 2003 invasion of Iraq
19th Naval Construction Battalion Plaque as the third Battalion 17th Marines with the 1st Marine Division Seabee Museum Archives

It is the ground combat element of the I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF).

III Marine Expeditionary Force

Formation of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force of the United States Marine Corps.

III Marine Expeditionary Force insignia
Camp Horn, III MAF Headquarters, Da Nang
Structure of the III MEF

Ground combat element: 3rd Marine Division