War in Iraq
Military Unit Terms Used with War in Iraq
Army and General Unit Terms
Marine Corps Terms:
- 1. A flexible administrative and tactical unit composed of either two or more battalions or two
or more squadrons. The term also applies to combat support and combat service support units.
- 2. A number of ships and/or aircraft, normally a subdivision of a force, assigned for a specific
purpose. Also called GP.
- Administrative and tactical organization composed of a headquarters, certain organic Army troops,
service support troops, a variable number of corps, and a variable number of divisions. See also Army corps.
- A tactical unit larger than a division and smaller than a field army. A corps usually consists of
two or more divisions together with auxiliary arms and services. See also field army.
- In the Army and Marine Corps, a tactical unit of ground combat forces organizationally placed
between a division and an army. It is typically commanded by a lieutenant general and is
comprised of two or more divisions.
- A major administrative and tactical unit/formation which combines in itself the necessary arms and
services required for sustained combat, larger than a regiment/brigade and smaller than a corps
- A unit usually smaller than a division to which are attached groups and/or battalions and smaller
units tailored to meet anticipated requirements. Also called BDE. In the U.S. Army, three or more
battalions plus a headquarters section under the command of a colonel. Capable of independent
military operations, a brigade has between 4,000 and 5,000 personnel.
- A military unit that consists of two or more battalions of ground troops (e.g. infantry,
artillery, nonarmored cavalry). The term has been used since before the American Revolution,
but it was officially dropped by the U.S. Army in the 1960s as part of its division reorganization
effort. Today, both the Army and the Marine Corps use the term Brigade instead. However,
unofficially, traditional regiments continue to use their regimental identification. (e.g.,
16th Infantry Regiment instead of 2d/16th Infantry). Marine regiments add 'Marines' a unit's
designation for identification purposes (e.g., 3/3 Marines for the 3d Reconnaissance Battalion/2d
Marine Regiment). This way Army and Marine units are not confused with one another.
- In the U.S. Army, four or more companies plus a headquarters section under the command of lieutenant colonel.
- In the Army and Marine Corps, a unit under a captain's charge that is made up of a headquarters
section and two or more platoons (i.e., 140+ personnel). Note: A platoon is four infantry squads
under a lieutenant's control; an infantry squad is comprised of ten men under a staff sergeant.)
A company is the basic element of the battalion. In the artillery, a company is known as a
battery; in the cavalry it's know as a troop. A tank company is comprised of 17 tanks, divided
into three platoons. Independent companies are usually assigned numerical names (e.g. 5th
Transportation Co.); companies permanently assigned to a battalion, an alphabetic name (e.g.
Charlie Company, Company B.)
- The second smallest military organization in the U.S. Army. In the infantry, a platoon is
comprised of four squads under the command of a lieutenant, with a sergeant as second in command.
A squad usually has ten men assigned to it. Four platoons and a headquarters section form a company.
- In the Army, the smallest organization unit. In the infantry, a squad usually consists of 10 men
under the command of a staff sergeant. A squad is divided into two fire teams. Four squads make
up a platoon. An Army armored squad consists of a tank and its piece (e.g. 155mm). And its gun
crew. In the Marine Corps, a squad is comprised of three fire teams (i.e. approximately 13 marines) under the control of a sergeant or staff sergeant.
- Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF):
- A combined armed military force that consists of a command element, ground combat element,
aviation combat element and combat service element (i.e., support groups). MAGTFs are established
to accomplish a specific military/peacetime mission and are then disestablished afterwards.
Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF):
- The largest organizational unit of the USMC Fleet Marine Force. Under the command of a lieutenant
general, a MEF is comprised of 30,000 ? 60,000 personnel (one or more divisions and an aircraft
wing). Major equipment assigned to a MEF include 70 tanks, 108 155mm howitzers, 12 203mm
howitzers, 150 helicopters, 208 amphibious assault vehicles, 24 HAWK SAM launchers, 81 60mm
mortars, 75 Stinger SAM teams, 150 fixed-wing aircraft, etc. A MEF is able to sustain itself
for 60 days of combat before resupply is required. The U.S. Marine Corps has three MEFs: MEF
I stationed at Camp Pendleton, CA; MEF II stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC; and MEF III stationed
Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU):
- The basic building block of all MAGTFs, the MEU is comprised of 1,000 to 4,000 Marines (an
infantry battalion and a composite aircraft squadron the very likely consists of helicopters and
VSTOL aircraft) that are under the command of a colonel. The equipment assigned to a MEU
include: 5 tanks, 8 155mm howitzers, 32 Dragon anti-tank missile launchers, 8 TOW II anti-tank
missile launchers, 8 81mm mortars 9 60mm mortars, 5 Stinger surface-to air missile teams, 6
fixed-wing aircraft, 12 AAVs, and about 20 helicopters A MEU is able to sustain itself for
15 days of combat before resupply is required.
Special Purpose Force (SPF):
- The smallest of MAGTFs, the SPF is comprised of only 100-1,000 Marines and/or Navy SEALS
(typically a rifle company and an aviation detachment that may consists of CH-53D Sea Stallions
and UH1N Huey helicopters).
- Dictionary of Military Terms
- From this page you can browse the DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. The DOD
Dictionary and the Joint Acronyms and Abbreviations master data base are managed by the Joint
Doctrine Division, J-7, Joint Staff. All approved joint definitions are contained in Joint
Publication 1-02, "DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. As amended through 09
- Dictionary of the Modern United State Military
- Over 15,000 Weapons, Agencies, Acronyms,
Slang, Installations, Medical Terms and Other Lexical Units of Warfare by S.F. Tomajczyk,
McFarland Press, 1996.