Starfleet Marine Corps

From The Ninth Fleet

Starfleet Marine Corps Emblem

The Starfleet Marine Corps, or SFMC, is a department of Starfleet founded in 2320, charged with being the dedicated peacekeeping, ground assault and special forces arm of the United Federation of Planets. They are a relatively small department, and routinely train their officers for dual roles within the fleet for peacetime operations, and routinely detach groups of Marines to starships on an as-needed basis, depending on the mission and the commanding officer's desires.

Starfleet Marine Corps members can be distinguished by the forest green colored undershirt to the traditional Starfleet uniform and their unique rank pips.

History

MACOs

The Starfleet Marine Corps is not a department that was present at the founding of the Federation in 2161. United Earth Starfleet, the forerunner organization to the Federation's Starfleet, borrowed personnel from Military Assault Command Operations, also known as MACOs, to fulfill the ground assault role for starships and act as an extra protective force. Once folded into the Federation, the United Earth Space Probe Agency Starfleet became the United Federation of Planets Starfleet, but Military Assault Command Operations stayed separate.

For nearly a century and a half, the MACO office at West Point, New York, was an independent body, comprised of trained military personnel and Starfleet officers in brevet positions within the structure, lending tactical expertise and advanced training facilities for Starfleet Security. Officer and enlisted exchange was common between the two organizations; Starfleet Security saw that the training was valuable for keeping their personnel sharp, and the MACOs benefited from the mobility of the Starfleet organization.

Merging with Starfleet

Starfleet had been eyeing the MACO structure for quite some time, envious of the special operations structure that the MACOs had developed. In turn, the MACOs relied very heavily on Starfleet to ferry them around, and their harmonious relationship often brought up talks about their merging. Several times, there was unsuccessful efforts to have the MACO structure join Starfleet. The most worthwhile movements for this were put on hold in 2293, after the Klingon Empire and the Federation entered into the Khitomer Accords, and several MACO bases of operations were no longer needed along the Klingon border. Also, an embarrassment occurred when Colonel West, tactical advisor to the President, was discovered to be in the Cartwright conspiracy, and was killed during a botched assassination attempt of both the President and the Klingon Chancellor.

Colonel West was mentioned in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, as part of the Director's Cut. The original theatrical release did not contain this material.

Other parts of Starfleet, the people who wanted Starfleet to continue on the science and exploration and to be less viewed as a military force, kept pushing the MACO structure away. Several Starfleet captains denied their own personnel training at West Point due to this conflict; some even were very prejudiced towards the people that had received the training, a feeling that still runs through Starfleet to this day. Considerable conventional resistance was encountered at every step of the way, with Starfleet's peaceful exploration pushing the MACO structure away. From 2295 to well into the 2310s, this was the situation.

MACO merged with Starfleet on 10 November 2320, after tensions with the Klingon Empire and the start of a Cardassian-Federation conflict stretched Starfleet Security too thin to guarantee the safety and security of the Federation. An Executive Order issued by the Federation President at the time and ratified by the Federation Council amended the charter of Starfleet to form the department known as the Starfleet Marine Corps.

2320 to the Dominion War

Almost immediately, there were challenges for the newly-minted department. Members of the Joint Chiefs of Starfleet were unhappy about having to devote resources to the new department, and the exploration arms, particularly Science, did not like the Marines in Starfleet, and wanted them removed. The President mandating their merger and creation created a lot of resentment overnight.

Regardless, the Starfleet Marine Corps was pressed into service right away, setting up bases of operations along the Cardassian border, as well as the Gorn and Tholian border regions. The Marines were also always the first ones to react to Talarian invasions during the Talarian Wars of the early to mid 24th centuries. With a technological advantage, the Marines had the upper hand in most of the conflicts, but suffered from a shortage of manpower in the beginning as the troops were deployed at first very sparsely along all the border regions, then increased as time progressed and the new department's training numbers increased exponentially.

Battle wasn't the only thing the Marines were used for. When a Federation member asked for a peacekeeping force to enter their planet, the Marine Corps was asked in to represent the Federation. Marines were first used as the first line of defense for all Federation embassies scattered around the galaxy in 2339, and, in a joint operation with Starfleet Security, still make up Federation Embassy Security to this day.

Starfleet Security has always eyed the Marines with scrutiny. Several attempts during this time were made to convince the sitting Federation President to dissolve the Marine Corps into Starfleet Security's numbers, as they felt Security's usage in these situations was more optimal. This has caused a rivalry in between the Marine Corps and the rest of Starfleet, most of the time friendly but sometimes heated. However, Marine usefulness was about to be put to the ultimate test. Already a few skirmishes with the Klingons in the corridor in between the Cardassian and Klingon empires had been fought in 2372 and 2373, and when formal war broke out between the Federation and the Dominion in late 2373, the Marine Corps was ready.

Dominion War

The Dominion War started in late 2373, and the Marines were there to answer the call of battle. Being a mobile infantry corps armed with advanced weaponry, Marine bases were the only places to at least hold their lines during the first assault of Cardassian and Dominion troops on the ground along the Cardassian border.

The ground operations during the First Battle of Chin'toka was fought mainly with Marines and Klingons working side by side, representing a joint operations in mind that quelled some of the distrust of the former combatants in the brief Federation-Klingon conflicts of 2372. Further operations include three failed operations to retake Betazed in 2374 and the fourth successful push in a joint operation with Reman commandos in 2375.

Post Dominion War

After the Dominion War, the state of the Federation was quite different than before. Most of the commanders in Starfleet and politicians in the Federation were more cautious, and the usefulness of the Starfleet Marine Corps once and for all was sealed after their list of ground assault victories. They were pressed again into service, but the abundance of numbers of a Marine unit in a peacetime Federation meant that many could either retire or get trained into different departments, keeping their Marine rank while going into starship operation command. Starting in 2376, Marines were allowed to wear different colored collars instead of their traditional Marine colors when permanently assigned to a different department in Starfleet, such as Command. However, no Marine has been permitted to join Starfleet Medical or Starfleet Sciences department per mandate, but medical and science personnel can join the Marine Corps, though this practice is rare.

Marine ships were also commissioned. Commanded solely by Marines, these were pure combat vessels assigned to peacekeeping and trouble spots around the Federation, or as troop transports for larger forces. These Marine ships had a reputation for going where Starfleet captains dare not tread. Generally, these vessels also did not have any science facilities onboard, as per the new mindsets from the Dominion War.

Marines were still used in battle, though. Marines were used to defend against an expeditionary force of rogue Remans found in 2379 to be assaulting several places along the Romulan Neutral Zone, as well as being instrumental in the Gorn War of 2382. Today, there are many Marines assigned to the Raeyan Sector, Theta Antares Sector and along the Romulan and Klingon borders.

Organization

Starfleet Marine Corps is one of the only departments in Starfleet to not have a base of operations in San Francisco. Because of the merging of Starfleet and the MACO organization, the command office and officer academy facilities were located in West Point, New York, and it was elected to continue operations at this facility for the Marines instead of building a new facility altogether in San Francisco, as the expenses to relocate were considered too costly at the time.

The Starfleet Marine Corps Officer Academy is also located at West Point, with basic training facilities in several locations throughout the Federation. This way, basic recruits do not have to travel to Earth from the edges of the Federation.

Personnel

Leadership

The Commandant of the Marine Corps is the highest-ranking officer of the Starfleet Marine Corps; though he may not be the senior officer by time in grade. He is both the symbolic and functional head of the Corps, and holds a position of very high esteem among Marines. The Commandant has the responsibility to man, train, and equip the Marine Corps. He or she does not serve as a direct battlefield commander. The Commandant is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and reports to the Secretary of Starfleet.

The Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps acts as a deputy to the Commandant. The Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps is the senior enlisted Marine, and acts as an advisor to the Commandant. Headquarters Marine Corps comprises the rest of the Commandant's counsel and staff, with deputy commandants that oversee various aspects of the Corps assets and capabilities.

Rank Structure

Unlike the rest of Starfleet, the Starfleet Marine Corps has a separate rank structure, which is a nod back to the days of the MACOs. Since a Marine is never an ex-Marine (without a dishonorable discharge), he/she may keep their Marine rank as their primary rank, even if they move on to other departments and responsibilities within Starfleet which are not serviced by the SFMC.

Officers

Commissioned Officers are distinguished from other officers by their commission, which is the formal written authority, issued in the name of the Federation President, that confers the rank and authority of a Marine Officer. Commissioned officers carry the "special trust and confidence" of the Federation President.

Officer Grade Insignia Title Abbreviation
O-1
gold vertical bar
Second Lieutenant 2ndLt
O-2
silver vertical bar
First Lieutenant 1stLt
O-3
two silver vertical bars
Captain Capt
O-4
gold oak leaf
Major Maj
O-5
silver oak leaf
Lieutenant Colonel LtCol
O-6
Starfleet delta with wings
Colonel Col
A-1
single silver star
Brigadier General BGen
A-2
two silver stars
Major General MajGen
A-3
three silver stars
Lieutenant General LtGen
A-4
four silver stars
General Gen
A-5
five silver stars
Marshal Marsh
Warrant Officers

Warrant Officers are primarily former enlisted experts in a specific specialized field, and provide leadership generally only within that speciality.

Warrant Grade Insignia Title Abbreviation
W-1
silver ellipse with single bar
Warrant Officer WO
W-2
gold ellipse with single vertical bar
Staff Warrant Officer SWO
W-3
gold ellipse with two vertical bars
Master Warrant Officer MWO
W-4
gold ellipse with three vertical bars
Chief Warrant Officer CWO
Enlisted

Enlisted Marines in the pay grades E-1 to E-3 make up the bulk of the Corps' ranks, usually referred to simply as "Marines" or "junior Marines". Although they do not technically hold leadership ranks, the Corps' ethos stresses leadership among all Marines, and junior Marines are often assigned responsibility normally reserved for superiors. Those in the pay grades of E-4 and E-5 are non-commissioned officers (NCOs). They primarily supervise junior Marines and act as a vital link with the higher command structure, ensuring that orders are carried out correctly. Marines E-6 and higher are Staff Non-Commissioned Officers (SNCOs), charged with supervising NCOs and acting as enlisted advisors to the command.

The Sergeant Major of the Task Force is a unique rank and billet conferred on the senior enlisted Marine of a particular task force or battle group within Starfleet, recommended by its commanding officer and approved by the Commandant of the Starfleet Marine Corps.

The Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps is a unique rank and billet conferred on the senior enlisted Marine of the entire Marine Corps, personally selected by the Commandant.

Enlisted Grade Insignia Title Abbreviation
E-1
single gold chevron up
Private Pvt
E-2
single silver chevron up
Private First Class PFC
E-3
single silver chevron up with red field
Lance Corporal LCpl
E-4
two silver chevrons up with red field
Corporal Cpl
E-5
three silver chevrons up with red field
Sergeant Sgt
E-6
three silver chevrons up and one down with red field
Staff Sergeant SSgt
E-7
three silver chevrons up and two down with red field
Gunnery Sergeant GySgt
E-8
three silver chevrons up and three down with red field
Master Sergeant MSgt
E-9
three silver chevrons up and four down with red field and a four-point white star in the center
Sergeant Major SgtMaj
three silver chevrons up and four down with red field and a five-point white star in the center
Sergeant Major of the Task Force
SgtMajTF
three gold chevrons up and four down with red field and a five-point white star in the center
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
SgtMajMarCor

Occupational Specialty

Unlike other departments of Starfleet, the Marine Corps shares its personnel with several other groups, which leads to Marines having several different, diverse duties. Marines can generally be found in every department except Science and Medical, which are not trained by Marines for logistical reasons.

The Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) is a system of job classification. Using a four digit code, it designates what field and specific occupation a Marine performs. Segregated between officer and enlisted, the MOS determines the staffing of a unit. Some MOSs change with rank to reflect supervisory positions, others are secondary and represent a temporary assignment outside of a Marine's normal duties or special skill.

This also determines what color of shirt the Marine can wear. Assignment to any of the codes that have responsibilities where the Marine directly reports to another Starfleet department, the Marine can use the shirt color of that department. For example, a Marine whom commands a starship that is deployed as part of a fleet can elect to wear the red uniform shirt with their Marine rank.

Deployment

Marines can be deployed in three different ways: as a detachment aboard a starship, as a fast-attack ground attack deployment force from a sector marine base, or as logistical support for both Marines and other departments of Starfleet.

Organizationally, the Starfleet Marine Corps is divided into groups, each having a different level of organization. This would be optimal for a battlefield deployment structure, but is not necessary for Marines assigned in other departments. The Marine organization is as follows:

  • A fire team consists of four Marine infantry - the team leader/rifleman (Type-IVb), a rifleman (Type-IVb), a grenadier (Type-IIb/MPAR) and a heavy gunner (AGL and Phaser Carbine/Phaser Sniper). The team leader is either a Lance Corporal or a Corporal.
  • A squad is comprised of two to four fire teams, plus a Corporal or Sergeant to command it.
  • A platoon is comprised of three to four squads, plus a Starfleet Medical Corpsman, Platoon Sergeant (usually a Staff Sergeant or Gunnery Sergeant) and a junior officer (Second Lieutenant or First Lieutenant). The Platoon Sergeant advises the CO, as the junior officer is generally fresh out of the Academy with no experience.
  • A company is comprised of three to five platoons, plus a senior Starfleet Medical Corpsman, a clerk, a police sergeant (either a Corporal or Sergeant), a training NCO, the company Gunnery Sergeant, First Sergeant, Executive Officer and Commanding Officer, usually led by a Captain or a Major.
    • All groups larger than a company have a company of support staff attached along with it with the equivalent of four platoons, for clerical work for the group.
  • A battalion is comprised of three to four companies, plus the command company. The Commanding Officer of a battalion is usually either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel, and has a Sergeant Major.
  • A regiment is comprised of three to four battalions, usually led by a Colonel.
  • A brigade is comprised of three to five regiments of Marines, usually led by a Brigadier General.
  • A division is comprised of four brigades of Marines, usually led by a Major General.
  • An expeditionary unit is comprised of three divisions, usually led by a Lieutenant General.
  • An expeditionary force is comprised of three expeditionary units, usually led by a General.

Currently in Starfleet, there are six expeditionary forces that comprise the Starfleet Marine Corps:

  • 1st Marine Expeditionary Force
  • 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force
  • 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force
  • 4th Marine Expeditionary Force
  • 5th Marine Expeditionary Force
  • 6th Marine Expeditionary Force

There was previously a 7th Marine Expeditionary Force, which is one utilized during major wartime. It was last used during the Dominion War, when the numbers had to be swelled to defend the borders of the Federation.

Starship Detachment

For a listing of the primary Marine positions in a starship detachment, see the Marine Corps Detachment article.

When a detachment is used on a Starfleet ship or base, the following table is the Marine deployment available for the size of ship, and recommended maximum ranks for the Marine detachment on board. This is not set in stone, however, as many Marine Detachment Commanding Officers (MARDETCO) on Starfleet ships and bases hold more than one job, including Strategic Operations, Intelligence, Security and Tactical.

Enlisted Marines Officers Maximum Enlisted Rank Minimum MCO Rank Maximum MCO rank
9-19 0 Sergeant Lance Corporal Sergeant
20-54 1-2 Gunnery Sergeant Second Lieutenant First Lieutenant
55-100 3-5 Gunnery Sergeant Second Lieutenant Captain
101-200 6-12 Gunnery Sergeant First Lieutenant Major
201-400 13-25 First Sergeant Captain Lieutenant Colonel
401-1000 26-50 Sergeant Major Captain Colonel
1001-3000 51-200 Sergeant Major Major Colonel

Detachment sizes above 3000 enlisted Marines or more are at the discretion of the Expeditionary Force Commanding Officer.

Missions

The Starfleet Marine Corps are utilized in many different ways during missions both on starships and on their own. Specialty training exists for some of the missions that a Starfleet Marine is expected to undertake, but the majority of the missions, any Marine can participate in.

This is not a comprehensive list. Each Marine can also be assigned to different departments on a temporary basis, depending on any specialized training

Military Assault

Every Marine in the Starfleet Marine Corps is qualified as an infantryman; as such, they are the ideal ground troops out of all Starfleet departments, surpassing Starfleet Security in effectiveness on the ground. Marine forces are the first boots on the ground during many of the major operations over the last few decades, including the First Battle of Chin'toka and the retaking of Betazed during the Dominion War, and the retaking of Cestus 3 during the Federation-Gorn War of 2383.

Military assault troops also participate in peacekeeping actions, protection of indigenous peoples during humanitarian missions, when the threat assessment is high. The Starfleet Marine Corps is used during various missions within the Federation and outside the Federation when requested.

Embassy Protection and Presidential Security Detail

The Starfleet Marine Corps has the prestigious honor of being the department selected for all Federation foreign embassies as the main protection force and security, as well as responsible for all Federation presidential security details for the President and cabinet at the capital in Paris, France.

This particular function has been disputed with Starfleet Security. A Federation Presidential mandate as of 2380 extends this arrangement for another ten years, when this duty will be studied and reviewed further.

Special Forces

Special Forces is a small branch of the Starfleet Marine Corps, but important. Unlike main military assault operations, which are often large-scale and public, Special Forces missions are generally classified and small, using subtle moves and surgical strikes to complete objectives for the Federation which the public is usually unaware of until after the operation is complete, if at all.

Out of the roughly five million Marines in Starfleet, only about 100,000 of them are involved with Marine Special Forces.

Planetary Search and Rescue

Not all Marine Corps jobs involve fighting. The Marice Corps are involved in many Search and Rescue operations in hostile terrain. Marine training is such that they must be able to survive in many hostile environments; many of these people are perfect for searching planets where traditional scanning technology is inhibited, or the area is physically hard to reach to extract people. Marine groups are perfect for these types of operations.

In addition to the standard basic training, Marines must pass advanced first aid courses and a three month survival course.

Starfighter Piloting

Working jointly with Starfleet Starfighter Corps, the Marines operate wings of Peregrine Class starfighters and Warhammer Class runabouts to assist Marine operations in space and on the ground, when starships are not around to support ground operations. Marine flight officers also drive landing craft for the Starfleet Marine Corps.

In order to qualify, in addition to the basic Marine training, starfighter pilots must complete flight training, survival, and advanced starfighter combat classes. Marines in this role use the white Starfighter Corps undershirt, but still report to the Marine Corps in an operational capacity.

Starship Operations

Starfleet has continued to support the Starfleet Marine Corps by assigning several line starships to the Marine Corps. These generally are retrofitted regular starships, with most of the science and family facilities eliminated to accommodate a Marine crew. These ships are generally not tasked with science or exploration duties, but are usually the first to be called on for defense, peacekeeping or humanitarian missions.

In addition, groups of Marines have been recruited by Starfleet Operations whom have shown leadership skills that are well suited to be in different departments serving on Starfleet ships. Retaining their Marine rank, they generally wear the collar of the department they are assigned to and have specialized training and a MOS number to reflect their position.

It is not unheard of for Marines to become commanding officers of starships and starbases, task forces or even fleets, though the general number of Marines in command is far outweighed by regular naval officers. These officers may elect to wear either command red or Marine green, as they have been seen to earn that right through many years of service.

Equipment

Main article: List of Starfleet Marine Corps equipment

The Starfleet Marine Corps uses similar technology to the rest of Starfleet, but the Marine Corps uses some equipment specially customized for Marines.

The Type-IVb Pulse Phaser Rifle is the standard phaser rifle of the Starfleet Marine Corps, and is used by many members of the Marine Corps. It is a more durable rifle than the standard Type-III rifle Starfleet Security is issued, featuring a larger energy reserve, better stabilizers and an option to attach a graviton-propelled 40mm projectile launcher. The Marine Phaser Assault Rifle or MPAR is a pulse phaser rifle based on the venerable Type-III design, modified to allow the attachment of a similar, less advanced version of the 40mm projectile launcher, which is a lighter rifle overall and still in use when weight of carry is an issue.

The Squad Support Phaser Weapon is a larger, heavier phaser weapon used in situations where larger fields of fire need to be covered, more than can be covered with regular phaser rifles. The Type-IV Phaser Sniper Weapon is used when the range to target is expected to be higher than the range of the phaser rifle, or when precision targeting at long range is needed for surgical strikes. The Auto-Grenade Launcher is the support weapon version of the projectile launcher attachment on the MPAR and the Type-IVb.