What is the Force Structure breakdown for the US Marine Corps’ ground forces?

Someone asked the following question:

What is the Force Structure breakdown for the USMC?
How are troops and weapons broken down into organized units in the US Marine Corps? i.e. squads, platoons, armies… Also, what rank officer would usually be in charge of these units?
Administratively,
3 Active Marine Air Wings.
3 Active Marine Divisions.Parenthesis indicates who is supposed to command such a unit on paper, but in reality they are often one or in the case of squads and fireteams, two, ranks below that. For specialized heavy weapons units, one rank above what I list is sometimes the norm (Weapons platoons are commanded by 1st Lieutenants, for example).

Divisions (2 star general) are composed of regiments.
Regiments (Colonel) are composed of battalions.
Battalions (Lt. Colonel) are composed of companies.
Companies (Captain) are composed of platoons.
Platoons (2nd Lieutenant) are composed of squads.
Squads (Sergeant) are composed of fire teams.
Fire teams (Corporal) are composed of Marines.

The generalization for how many of each form one higher unit is called the “Rule of Three” and can be approximated with the statement that “three line and one specialized form one higher”. Three line companies and one weapons company form a battalion, for example, and three Marines with one fire team leader form a fire team. The three fire teams that form a squad may have a machine gun team attached when deployed. And so on. There are caveats at every level though, so that generalization is very rough and should be considered a generalization and not an exact rule.When deployed, a provisional Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) is formed.

Most commonly, this is done by taking a battalion as the Ground Combat Element, augmenting it with perhaps a tank platoon, adding an Air Combat Element, a Command Element, a Logistics Element, training together for 6-18 months, and then deploying under the command of a Colonel as part of an Amphibious Ready Group commanded by a USN Captain and consisting of 2 or 3 amphibious assault ships of some variety and many more supporting ships.

For Iraq and Afghanistan rotations, the MAGTF is often built around a regiment instead of a battalion, has no ships (obviously), and may not have as much of an Air Combat Element. “Regimental Combat Team” is the term used here, very roughly equivalent to what the US Army calls a “Brigade Combat Team”.

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What is the Force Structure breakdown for the US Marine Corps’ ground forces?

2011: Best April Fools Pranks on the Web

My favorite internet holiday has ended, and I must now wait 364 days until the next.

I really shouldn’t say these are the “best”, but I already did. A more accurate statement would be that this is “a selection of ones that I found amusing”. Here we go:

US Army Moving to Stetsons

This one actually got both my roomate and his friend going for a while, both US Army veterans. In the case of my roomate, he recalled when the Army adopted the silly looking berets they currently wear, making the story credible.

Image of a soldier with the sun setting behind him, creating a silhouette effect. Soldier is facing the South, estimated by the sun setting in the West. He is equipped with a rifle, body armor, and a cowboy hat.
(Image Credit: US Army)

Linux to Adopt BSD License

If you aren’t a nerd, don’t bother looking at that one.

If you are a nerd: Includes quotes from Ballmer, Torvalds, rms, and Oracle.

I Am Going to Libya

A few people seemed to fall for that one. I made this picture to go with the article, but it would have introduced a plot hole so I didn’t post it at the time. It is completely over-the-top ridiculous.

Me, sitting on a bench. Baseball cap backwards, aviators on, smoking a cigarette. I have an M-14 rifle in my hands, and am wearing a bou-bou over camouflage and a rambo-style bandoleer. I look completely ridiculous.

Before any other Marines or Former Marines get all riled up over the distinctive pattern on my sleeves and collar: this was in my back yard and in the context of a joke. Settle down, jefe, you’ve got bigger fish to fry.

ThePirateBay Purchases eBay

Get it? PirateBay and eBay? Yeah.

Scientific American: “OK, We Give Up”

Worth reading the whole thing. It is satire, and mostly a criticism of pseudo-scientists, CNN and Fox news “experts”, creationists, etc. They talk about dinosaurs, global warming, and so on. You know, the important stuff.

And Finally, one that I hope is a prank: US Army to Issue Smartphones to All Soldiers

For Angry Birds and Words With Friends!? No! Google Maps and Text Messaging.

Unlike the Stetson article, the one was written by a named three-star General and was not updated today to include a giveaway that it was an April Fools joke.

If it is not a joke, I wonder how they came to the conclusion that American Troops carrying American Cellular Phones will have cell phone reception in foreign nations that we may someday be at war with, and I wonder what the rationale behind putting a GPS locater on every soldier was… to keep the enemy better informed of the whereabouts of American forces via radio triangulation?

That would especially be a concern in a theater were few locals have cellular phones. In such a theater, 40 people walking together and broadcasting radio transmissions over both cellular and GPS frequencies can pretty much mean only one of two things: either the 40 richest people in the nation are out for a walk together, or a platoon of US Army soldiers is on the move. We all know that telling a bunch of teenagers and people in their early 20s, “OK, everyone turn off your cell phones now” doesn’t always work out exactly as one would hope.

2011: Best April Fools Pranks on the Web