The MEU is composed of four basic elements:
Command Element - The CE is comprised of the commanding officer and supporting staff – about 200 Marines and sailors. It provides the overall command and control essential for effective planning and execution of operations and synchronizes the actions of each element within the MEU. Skill sets falling under the command element include: administration, intelligence, operations, logistics and embarkation, communications, legal and public affairs.
Ground Combat Element- The GCE is built around an infantry battalion and provides the overland combat power for the MEU, approximately 1,200 Marines and sailors. Assets inherent within the standard infantry battalion include: medium and heavy machine guns, mortars, combined anti-armor teams and scout snipers. While assigned to the MEU, the unit, designated a Battalion Landing Team, is reinforced with light armored reconnaissance vehicles, tanks, artillery, combat engineers and assault amphibian vehicles.
Aviation Combat Element- The ACE is a composite squadron that provides the MEU medium to heavy lift capabilities, assault support and close air support (CAS). Although the aviation element carries the name of the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron, its assets come from a variety of squadrons to compose its arsenal of MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, CH-53E Super Stallion heavy lift helicopters, AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters, UH-1Y Venom utility helicopters, KC-130J Super Hercules extended range tankers and AV-8B Harrier vertical/short takeoff and landing ground-attack aircraft. With a force strength of approximately 500, the ACE includes air traffic control, aircraft maintenance/support and aviation logistics/supply capabilities.
Logistics Combat Element- The LCE consists of about 300 Marines and sailors, providing combat support such as supply, maintenance, transportation, explosive ordnance disposal, military police, water production and distribution, engineering, medical and dental services, fuel storage and distribution, and other services to the deployed MEU. The LCE gives the MEU the ability to support itself for 15 days in austere expeditionary environments.
The entire MEU consists of approximately 2,200 Marines and sailors embarked aboard three amphibious ships. Prior to deployment, the men and women of the MEU undergo a rigorous 26-week training program designed to prepare them for any contingency.