air force unit structure size

All right, today we’re going to look at the air force and the Marine in terms of their organizational structure. So we’re going to start with the air force and the basic chain of command, or how it’s structured. So the smallest unit in the air force is a section, and a section consists of two or more airmen that can form a section, and generally it’s the place where the airmen work. So, like the life support section or administrative section, that kind of thing. The next level is a flight, and two or more airmen can form a flight, and two or more sections can also form a flight.

So you have three different kinds of flights. You have numbered flights, which incorporate small mission elements into an organized unit. So, like, you can have flights in basic training, you can have flights in life support. So a numbered flight is one that has small mission elements that are doing something organized in whatever capacity. An alpha flight is where you have components of a squadron that consist of elements with identical missions.

So you could have flights a, B, and c of the fighter squadron, and we’ll talk about what a squadron is in just a little bit. So you can have a, B, and C flights, alpha, Bravo, Charlie flights kind of thing, but they all are coming from the fighter squadron. So it’s a way to divide up or make into smaller units, your bigger elements, your bigger sections structure. And then finally, you can have functional flights. And these are elements with specific missions, like a military personnel flight, like someone, when you’re transferring the higher ups from one place to another.

So it’s a military personnel kind of thing. Or the air force sometimes transfers army people from one place to another. The third level is a squadron. Like I said, we’re going to talk about it. But a squadron is two or more flights.

It’s the lowest level of command that has its own headquarters. It’s usually identified both numerically and by function. So you could have, like, the 49th Security Forces Squadron. So that makes sense that they’re numbered, and they also have a specific function as to what they do. The next level is a group, and two or more squadrons form a group, and this is based on their assignment to the squadron with similar functions.

So you could have, like, a supply squadron, you could have a transportation squadron. You could have an aircraft maintenance squadron. And these groups are commanded by a colonel. So you have multiple squadrons within the group that have similar functions, and they all are commanded by a colonel. The next level is a wing, and you have two or more groups will compose a wing, and there’s only one wing on an air force base.

There’s two different types of wings. You have a composite wing, which can operate more than one kind of aircraft, and you have an objective air force wing, which streamlines and consolidates the responsibilities and clarifies the chains of commands. But basically they have an operational mission, like it’s an air combat wing or a flying training wing or an airlift wing, or like what we have in Sioux City, a refueling wing. And so they have a specific mission of what they are supposed to do. And every wing conforms to the idea of one base, one wing, one boss.

So the wing has its own base. And basically, whoever’s top dog there is the guy in charge. That’s who they listen to. Then you have your numbered air force, and this is assigned for geographical purposes in terms of whose airspace is who or who’s in charge of what area. And this is primarily only used during wartime.

It’s not something that is important during peacetime. It becomes important during wartime in terms of who’s controlling what airspace. The next level is the major command or the Magcom. MAJCOM and wings report directly to the major command, and it’s organized by mission in the US. So you have like your air combat command or your refueling command or your maintenance command.

So they each have their own area overseas. It’s organized by regional area. So you could have, like the Pacific air forces command. So when you get out of the US, that’s when it’s more regionally. And then finally, you have the Air Force and Magcoms report directly to the headquarters at the Air force.

There’s no set size assigned to any specific element of the air force. It kind of depends on budget for the most part of what the US is able to fund. The size depends primarily upon the type of the unit it is and the mission. So, like, a flying training squadron or wing is not going to need maybe as many planes as, like, refueling or a fighter squadron. It just depends on what they do.

So, for example, a maintenance squadron is going to have a different number of planes available to them than a medical squadron because they have different missions, they have different equipment, they have different requirements. So they’re not going to have the same thing. Just like the refueling wing in Sioux City is not going to have the same as a fighter wing because they have different things that they do. They have different kind of planes that they need. So that’s the air force.

The next is the Marine Corps chain of command. And the Marine Corps makes it really easy because it’s like a rule of three kind of thing. So you start out with your team, and the team has three individual marines that are assigned to a specific team. So your team is made up of three members. A squad is three teams that are assigned to a specific squad.

So nine people. A platoon is three squads assigned to a specific platoon. A company or a battery is three platoons that are assigned to a company. And it’s the lowest level of command that has a headquarters. And then you have the battalion, which is three companies.

A regiment is three battalions, a division is three regiments. And then you have the Marine Corps, which is three or more divisions that make up the Marine Corps. So they make it super easy for as long as you remember the levels the team, squad, platoon, company, battalion, regiment, division. It’s always three. Three of these make these.

Three of these make these. Three of these make this. So they make it super easy to remember that. Whereas, like, the army was all kinds of different numbers to remember. So that’s kind of the nice thing about the Marine Corps.

Beyond the Marine Corps, you have the MEU, which is the Marine expeditionary unit, and it has roughly 2200 personnel. And typically it’s built around a reinforced battalion. And a battalion is made up of three companies, a composite aircraft squadron. So usually they get help from either the navy and their air force or their air elements or the air force and a service support group. So you have somebody that comes in to give them support.

Usually it’s the navy that provides, like, medics and that kind of stuff. And an MEU is commanded by a colonel, and they can be deployed on up to four naval amphibious ships. So you have a GCE, which is a ground combat element. And this includes a landing team that is reinforced with artillery. It has amphibious assault vehicles.

It has light armored reconnaissance assets in order to contact everybody and get in touch with them. And then you have the ace, which is the aviation combat element, which is typically a helicopter squadron. And the Marines use about four different types of helicopters, but it could also include fixed wing aircraft as well. So it may include some fighter jets. It may not just be helicopters.

Then you have the MSSG, which is the Marine service support group, which is like your logistics specialists that are in charge of supplies and that kind of stuff, medical, dental, maintenance, engineering, in order to keep the equipment running and in good repair. And then you have your CE, which is the command element, and they command and control the other three. It includes things like reconnaissance of getting information about what’s going on, surveillance, specialized communications and electronics warfare capabilities. So there’s a lot of things that are going on in an MEU that it kind of combines a lot of different elements from the Marine corps self close.

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