In the United States Marine Corps, the aviation combat element or air combat element (ACE) is the aviation component of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). The ACE is task organized to perform the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of MAGTF operations. The ACE is led by an aviation headquarters which employs rotary-wing, tiltrotor, and fixed-wing aircraft in conjunction with command and control, maintenance and engineering units. [1]

Role within the MAGTF

The majority of aircraft usage within the MAGTF is for close air support or transport for the ground combat element (GCE) or logistics combat element (LCE), however, other specialized missions are available. The six main functions include: assault support, anti-air warfare, offensive air support, electronic warfare, control of aircraft and missiles, and aerial reconnaissance.[2]

The aviation combat element (ACE), which contributes the air power to the MAGTF, includes all aircraft (fixed wing, helicopters, tiltrotor, and UAV) and aviation support units. The units are organized into detachments, squadrons, groups, and wings, except for low altitude air defense units, which are organized into platoons, detachments, batteries, and battalions. These units include pilots, flight officers, enlisted aircrewmen, aviation logistics (aircraft maintenance, aviation electronics, aviation ordnance, and aviation supply) and Navy aviation medical and chaplain's corps personnel, as well as ground-based air defense units, and those units necessary for command and control (management and planning for manpower, intelligence, operations and training, and logistics functions), aviation command and control (tactical air command, air defense control, air support control, and air traffic control), communications, and aviation ground support (e.g., airfield services, bulk fuels/aircraft refueling, crash rescue, engineer construction and utilities support, EOD, motor transport, ground equipment supply and maintenance, local security/law enforcement, and the wing band).

ACE Organization and size

The size of the ACE varies in proportion to the size of the MAGTF. A Marine Expeditionary Force has a Marine Aircraft Wing or MAW. A Marine Expeditionary Brigade holds a Marine Aircraft Group or MAG, reinforced with a variety of aircraft squadrons and support personnel. The various Marine Expeditionary Units command a reinforced squadron, with various types of aircraft mixed into a single unit (known as a composite squadron). Generally, MEF postings are permanent, while MEBs and MEUs rotate their ACE, GCE, and LCE twice annually. 1st and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wings are unique in that they are subordinate to III MEF and I MEF, respectively, while all other equivalent units numerical designators match the MEF to which attached.

Hierarchy of Marine Aviation units

1st Marine Aircraft Wing

ACE of III Marine Expeditionary Force
USMC - 1MAW.png
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname
Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 1
MWHS-1 insignia 2010 v2.png
America's Finest

Marine Aircraft Group 12

Mag12.gif
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname
Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12
Mals12 insig.jpg
Marauders
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121
VMFA(AW)-121 insignia.png
Green Knights
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 242
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 242 (United States Marine Corps) insignia, 2020.png
Bats
Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152
VMGR-152patchscan.jpg
Sumos
Marine Wing Support Squadron 171
Mwss171.jpg
The Sentinels

Marine Aircraft Group 24

MAG-24.jpg
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname
Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 24
MALS-24 insignia.png
Warriors
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 362
Hmm362logo.gif
Ugly Angels
Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 3
VMU-3 logo.png
Phantoms
Marine Wing Support Squadron 174
MWSS-174 insignia.jpg
Gryphons

Marine Aircraft Group 36

MAG36.gif
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname
Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 36
Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 36 insignia.png
Bladerunner
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262
VMM-262.PNG
Flying Tigers
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265
VMM 265 Reinforced patches.jpg
Dragons
UDP squadrons from II and III MEFs
Marine Wing Support Squadron 172
Mwss172.jpg
Firebirds

Marine Air Control Group 18

MACG-18 (1).png
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname
1st LAAD Battalion Death from Below 1st LAAD Battalion reactivates at the end of 2022.
Marine Air Control Squadron 4
MACS-4 OFFICIAL Transparent.gif
Vice Squad
Marine Air Support Squadron 2
MASS-2 Insignia.jpg
Pacific Vagabonds
Marine Wing Communications Squadron 18
Mwcs18.jpg

2nd Marine Aircraft Wing

ACE of II Marine Expeditionary Force
USMC - 2MAW.png
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname
Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 2
MWHS2insignia.jpg
Snake Eyes
The Deuce

Marine Aircraft Group 14

MAG-14 insignia.jpg
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname
Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 14
Mals14 insig.jpg
Dragons
Marine Attack Training Squadron 203
Vmat203.jpg
Hawks
Marine Attack Squadron 223
Vma223a insig.jpg
Bulldogs
Marine Attack Squadron 231
Vma231-logo.gif
Ace of Spades
Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252
Vmgr252 insig.jpg
Otis
Marine Attack Squadron 542
Vma542.jpg
Tigers
Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 2
VMU-2 new insignia.png
Night Owls
Marine Wing Support Squadron 271
MWSS-271.png
Workhorse of the Wing

Marine Aircraft Group 26

New MAG-26 insignia.PNG
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname
Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 26
USN Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 26 insignia.png
Patriots
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162
VMM-162.jpg
Golden Eagles
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron 204
VMMT-204.jpg
Raptors
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261
Vmm-261 squadron insignia.jpg
Raging Bulls
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263
VMM263.jpg
Thunder Chickens
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 266
Hmm266-a.jpg
Fighting Griffins
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365
Vmm-365 squadron insignia.jpg
Blue Knights
Marine Wing Support Squadron 272
MWSS-272.png
Untouchables

Marine Aircraft Group 29

MAG29.jpg
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname
Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 29
MALS-29.jpg
Wolverines
Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 167
HMLA-167 squadron patch.png
Warriors
Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269
Hmla-269.jpg
Gunrunners
Marine Helicopter Training Squadron 302
HMT-302.png
Phoenix
Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 366
Hmh366.gif
Hammerheads
Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 461
Hmh461newpatch.jpg
Ironhorse
Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 464
Hmh464-a.jpg
Condors

Marine Aircraft Group 31

MAG31beaufort.jpg
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname
Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31
Mals-31.jpg
Stingers
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115
VMFA-115 insignia.jpg
Silver Eagles
Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224
VMFA-224.png
Bengals
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251
VMFA-251.png
Thunderbolts
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312
VMFA-312.png
Checkerboards
Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501
VMFAT-501.png
Warlords
Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 502
VMFAT-502 (2020).jpg
Flying Nightmares
Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533
VMFA-533.png
Hawks
Marine Wing Support Squadron 273
Mwss273 insig.jpg
Sweathogs

Marine Air Control Group 28

MACG-28 insignia.gif
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname
Marine Tactical Air Command Squadron 28
MTATCS-28 insignia.GIF
Olympians
Marine Air Control Squadron 2
Marine Air Control Squadron High Quality Insignia.png
Eyes of the MAGTF
Marine Air Support Squadron 1
MASS-1 squadron insignia.png
Atlantic Nomads
Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28
MWCS28.jpg
Spartans
2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion
2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion insignia.png
Death from Below

3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

ACE of I Marine Expeditionary Force
3MAW embossed.png
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname
Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 3
MWHS-3.gif

Marine Aircraft Group 11

MAG-11 insignia.png
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname
Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 11
MALS-11png insignia.png
Devilfish
Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101
VMFAT-101 insignia.png
Sharpshooters
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232
VMFA-232 embossed.png
Red Devils
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314
VMFA-314patch.png
Black Knights
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 323
VMFA-323 insignia.png
Death Rattlers
Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352
VMGR-352 squadron insignia.png
Raiders
Marine Wing Support Squadron 373
MWSS-373 insignia.png
Ace Support

Marine Aircraft Group 13

MAG-13 insignia.png
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname
Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 13
K01mq2-webinsigniablkwidows.jpg
Black Widows
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122
VMFA-122 insignia werewolve.png
Werewolves
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 insignia 2016.png
Wake Island Avengers
Marine Attack Squadron 214
VMA214-Blacksheep.svg
Black Sheep
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 225
VMFA-225 M-Th Chest Patch.png
Vikings
Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 1
VMU-1 squadron insignia.png
Watchdogs
Marine Wing Support Squadron 371
MWSS 371 new insignia.jpg
Sand Sharks

Marine Aircraft Group 16

MAG-16 insignia.jpg
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname
Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 16
MALS-16 Immortals.png
Forerunners
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161
VMM-161 insignia.jpg
Greyhawks
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 163
Hmm163-a.jpg
Ridge Runners
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 165
HMM-165 insignia.png
White Knights
Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361
HMH-361 insignia.png
Flying Tigers
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 363
HMH-363 insignia.jpg
Red Lions
Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462
HMH-462 insignia.png
Heavy Haulers
Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 465
HMH-465 insignia.png
Warhorse
Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 466
HMH-466 insignia.png
Wolfpack
Marine Wing Support Squadron 374
MWSS-374 insignia.png
Rhinos

Marine Aircraft Group 39

MAG-39 insignia.png
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname
Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 39
Mals39logo.jpg
Hellhounds
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 164
HMMT-164 Green.JPG
Knightriders
Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 169
HMLA-169 insignia.png
Vipers
Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267
HMLA-267.png
Stingers
Marine Light Attack Training Squadron 303
HMLAT-303 New Squadron Patch 2019.png
Atlas
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 364
VMM-364 (White).jpg
Purple Foxes
Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369
HMLA-369 insignia.PNG
Gunfighters
Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469
HMLA-469 Logo.jpg
Vengeance
Marine Wing Support Squadron 372
MWSS-372 unit insignia.jpg
Diamondbacks

Marine Air Control Group 38

MACG-38 (3).jpg
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname
Marine Air Control Squadron 1
MACS1.gif
Falconers
Marine Air Support Squadron 3
MASS-3 squadron insignia.png
Blacklist
Marine Wing Communications Squadron 38
MWCS38.jpg
Red Lightning
3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion
3rd LAAD BN Logo.png
Stingers

4th Marine Aircraft Wing

ACE of Marine Forces Reserve
USMC - 4MAW.png
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname
4th Marine Aircraft Wing Training Support Group
4thMAWTSG Logo.jpg

Marine Aircraft Group 41

MAG-41 Insignia.svg
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname
Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 41
MALS-41 insignia.PNG
Desperados
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 112
VMFA-112 squadron insignia.jpg
Cowboys
Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 234
VMGR-234.png
Rangers
Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401
VMFT-401.gif
Snipers
Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 764
Hmm764logo.gif
Moonlight
Marine Wing Support Squadron 471
MWSS-471 insignia.jpg
Marine Wing Support Squadron 473
MWSS-473 logo.PNG

Marine Aircraft Group 49

MAG-49.jpg
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname
Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 49
MALS-49.jpg
Magicians
Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452
Vmgr452 insig.jpg
Yankees
Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 772
Hmh7723.jpg
Hustler
Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 773
Hmla-773.gif
Red Dogs
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 774
HMM774WILDGOOSE.jpg
Wild Goose
Marine Wing Support Squadron 472
MWSS 472 Insignia.png
Dragons

Marine Air Control Group 48

MACG-48 insignia.jpg
Squadron Name Insignia Nickname
Marine Tactical Air Command Squadron 48
MTACS48.jpg
Marine Air Control Squadron 24
Macs24.jpg
Earthquake
Marine Air Support Squadron 6
MASS 6 unit logo.jpg
Lighthouse
Marine Wing Communications Squadron 48
MWCS-48.png
Roar

See also

References

  1. ^ "MAGTF Composition". www.candp.marines.mil. United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on December 3, 2020. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  2. ^ "MAWTS-1 hones warfighting edge". Naval Aviation News. Archived from the original on 2007-08-21. Retrieved 2007-04-01.