3rd Marine Expeditionary Force

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3rd Marine Expeditionary Force

The 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force (3MEF) is a forward-deployed marine asset, capable of deploying rapidly conducted operations across the spectrum from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to airborne assault and high-intensity combat.

Typically commanded by a lieutenant general with its headquarters at Camp Patton - Xonnel Colony. 3MEF's mission is to provide forward based and deployed forces to the commander, Fifth Fleet, to conduct theater security, support contingencies and requirements, and prepare to rapidly execute existing operations plans in support of the fleet.

3 MEF is organized as a Marine Air/Space/Ground Task Force (MASGTF) to provide a rapidly deployable, flexible self-contained fighting force. The Marines combine air, space, ground, and logistics forces to operate as a coherent, self-sufficient force. Each mission dictates the MASGTF's scale and structure, giving the Marine Corps the flexibility to respond to any crisis and making a "force in readiness." A MEF is the largest of all MASGTFs.


The 3rd MEF is laid out along the typical framework for a force of this size, similar to the 1st and 2nd MEFs. The structure provides for a strong chain of command for quasi-independent units to operate as a cohesive force should the need arise. The Commander, 3rd MEF, is the senior most marine commander in the Quadrant the MEF is assigned to - and provides advise and support to the operational theater commander.


  • Command Element
    • 3rd MEF Headquarters Group
      • 3rd MEF Command Staff
      • 3rd Intelligence Battalion
      • 93rd Communications Battalion
      • Fleet Liaison Officer
  • Combat Element
    • 3rd Marine Division "Fighting Tigers"
    • 33rd Marine Armoured Division "Iron Sides"
  • Aviation Element
    • 1st Marine Aviation Air Group
    • 8th Marine Air Transport Air Group
  • Logistics Element
    • 9th Marine Logistics Element
      • 4th Law Enforcement Battalion
  • 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade