Armed Forces Overviews
United States Navy & Marine Corps

United States Navy & Marine Corps


Other Forces

By Melchior Timmers


United States Navy 

The first interest of the US Navy in aviation already dated back to 1908. Navy officers at Fort Meyers (VA) looked to the usefulness of the Wright Flyer in navy service, however, it never came that far. Two years later, in 1910, civilian Eugene Ely made the first take-off in a fixed-wing aircraft, as a sales demonstration, from the battleship USS Birmingham.

Naval Aviation started its long and proud history at 8 May 1911 with the acquisition of two Curtiss aircraft. Those early aircraft were based in 1914 at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba where they were used in an evaluation program with the Fleet. Submarine hunting and artillery spotting where the first tasks of Naval Aviation. In 1916 the Naval Flying Corps was established and by 1914, the start of World War I, the navy aircraft inventory grew to over 50 aircraft.

After the war development continued and the first flying boats entered service. The aircraft carrier fleet started in 1927 with the USS Lexington and the USS Saratoga. By 1941 the aircraft inventory grew to some 5200 aircraft and the Navy accomplished an important task during World War II. Several battles were since then fought, Coral Sea, Midway, Guadalcanal, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War and the Persian Gulf war. The US Navy was also involved in several political conflicts like Libanon and Libya. Of course we can't forget all the human relief- and natural disaster missions like Somalia and Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines.

Modernization of the Naval Aviation still continues, older aircraft get replaced by modern advanced types and upgrades are in process. The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), designated as F-35, is in full swing and this aircraft will replace the oldest F/A-18A/Bs. The EA-6B Prowlers are being replaced by EA-18 Growlers of which the first squadrons already are operational. The T-6 Texan II is the replacement for the T-34 Turbo Mentor, while the logistic fleet received the C-40A Clippers (Boeing 737) to replace the C-9B/DC-9 Skytrains II's.


Of course we can't forget the aircraft carriers of the US Navy. The twelve supercarriers, divided among the Pacific and Atlantic fleets, could be found all over the world. The large warships are carrying some 90 aircraft and helicopters

This third-largest and interesting air arm is constantly under "construction". Squadrons are being transferred, redesignated, established and disestablished or being equipped with new aircrafts and helicopters. Carriers are performing Mediterranean and West-Pacific cruises. They are part of large international operations as Operation Southern Watch and Enduring Freedom and maybe they are one of the most interesting and spectacular places to be on in the world of aviation. The Scramble homepage informs you about their

Scramble presents you on this page the complete and current Order of Battle of the United States Navy including the current status of the carriers, the Carrier Air Wings and their squadrons on board and, as far as information goes, future deployments. When we have information about future plans about bases and squadrons we try to publish this within the framework. Of course we like to know every detail, so if you know something about the squadrons, bases and carriers which isn't mentioned in our Order of Battle, please don't hesitate to inform us, please send your information to:


United States Marine Corps

The institutional founding of what was to become the United States Marine Corps took place on10 November 1775. This was even before the birth of the United States themselves (4 July 1776!) and nobody even thought of flying aircraft. Since 1775 the Marines serve a proud tradition with a lot of historic fights and battles. The first battle fought was the Revolutionary War with a succesfull assault on Nassau in the Bahamas. From then on the Marines could be found anywhere in the world. The first battle overseas was a fight against pirates and the barbary pirates in the Mediterranean kept them exceptionally busy. After World War One the Marines carried out their first major ground action against Japan on the island of Guadalcanal. When World War Two was over, the Marines went to battle in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf an recently the Balcan and Gulf of Aiden.

The Marine Corps exists of three major air components: Amphibious Assault (the USMC "business card"), Close Air Support (to supports its ground troops) and Airmobile (Helicopter) Assault (to deliver groundtroops into enemy territory). Especially the latter is one of the world's most mobile and well-armed forces. Where the President of the USA would call the US Navy and ask "Where are the carriers?" the US Marines are waiting for a "Rescue 911"-call from this president for expeditionary operations or even armed interventions.

The inventory of the USMC consists of attack and fighter aircraft as well as observation, transport and early warning aircraft. The flying units are all mainly dedicated to supporting the USMC ground forces and occasionally to augment US Navy units if necessary. They are, like the US Navy, part of the Naval Aviation and have their own command. The first aircraft in USMC service was a B1 which came on strength on 22 May 1912 and was based at Tampico, Vera Cruz.

At this moment "the Corps" has a big and strong aircraft inventory which is larger than most countries' complete outfit. Spread over three active wings and one Reserve Marine Air Wing the squadrons are normally shore-based. They often deploy aboard LHA- and LHD-Amphibious Assault Ships (as part of a Marine Expeditionary Unit-Special Operations Capable) and they also take part in regular six month land-based deployments all over the world or operate as part of a US Navy Carrier Air Wing.

The USMC inventory has seen some changes lately. Most important of those is the introduction of the MV-22B Osprey. These tiltrotors are replacing the CH-46E Sea Knights and already replaced the CH-53D Sea Stallions. The USMC acquired the F-35B as the succesor of the older F/A-18s and AV-8Bs. Furthermore, the Bell UH-1 Huey and AH-1 Cobra are being replaced/updated by new models which feature more powerfull engines, fourbladed rotors and"glass" cockpits.

The Ships

Nine Amphibious Assault Ships are on strength and on budget with the US Navy but manned by the USMC. These form their own Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and usually deploy together with a Carrier Battle Group (therefore not being part of the CBG) during regular six-month deployments. A few aircraft or helicopters from USMC squadrons may also be found aboard Landing Dock Ships (LSDs) as deployed detachment. These are not included in our presentation of the order of battle.

The Scramble homepage informs you about the current status of the assault ships, although this information is very hard to get compared to information on the US Navy carriers. We try to give an actual status of the Marine Expeditionary Units and the squadrons of the Aviation Combat Element aboard these big ships. We also try to give information about (future) deployments, depending on the amount of information we have.

On these web pages Scramble presents the complete and current order of battle of the United States Marine Corps. Wherever we have the information we mention future plans concerning bases and squadrons within the framework. Of course we like to know every detail, so if you know something about the squadrons or bases not mentioned in this extensive order of battle, please do not hesitate and inform us.

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