"These Colonial Marines are very tough hombres. They're packing state-of-the-art firepower, there's nothing they can't handle."
Burke to Ripley, regarding the USCM (from Aliens)

The United States Colonial Marine Corps (USCM), later known as the United Americas Colonial Marine Corps (UACM) after the 2187 Colonial Protection Act and commonly known as just the Colonial Marines, is the United Americas' primary "force-in-readiness", founded in 2101.[1] They specialize in force projection, being able to operate independently in environments far from home for extended periods thanks to their technological prowess and sizeable space fleet at their disposal. The Colonial Marines are the successor to the United States Marine Corps (and also the UAORD) and are at permanent readiness for immediate deployment across human-controlled space without any additional reinforcement, training or provisioning.

The Colonial Marines, along with the United States Army, are part of the United Americas Allied Command. The primary duties of the Colonial Marine Corps are to maintain security for all United Americas signatories and at all extraterrestrial colonies that fall under the United America's control, and serve as the vanguard of any major combat operation. They have fought on more than two dozen worlds, including Tientsin (8 Eta Bootis A III), Helene 215, Linna 349, BG-386, LV-1201, LV-742 and the infamous Acheron (LV-426). Enemies that the Colonial Marines have fought against included human rebels, local lifeforms found on other planets, Xenomorphs, Yautja, U.P.P personnel, and Weyland-Yutani PMCs.


The Colonial Marines are the major striking element of the United Americas Allied Command, and is the nation's only major means of forcibly entering a hostile area from space.[1] Its ability to project power on distant worlds makes it an essential element to the nation's security, and as such its versatility and responsiveness are key in any crisis.

While the Colonial Marines are not directly controlled by Weyland-Yutani, they are often called upon as a security force when the interests of the company are at risk, as the business generated by their ventures is considered a great asset by the UA administration.[citation needed]


"The marines train you like they want to kill you. And yeah, some don't make it. They quit get injured, or they do something stupid and check out early. So, surviving means something. Means you're a tough son of a bitch. Also means you're representing something larger than yourself. The ones who came before you, the ones who'll follow in your footsteps. And the ones you had to leave behind."
Alec Brand (from Aliens: Rescue)

The National Security Act of 2101 formally established the Colonial Marines and its structure. At its peak in 2165 during the Tientsin campaign, the USCM numbered over 240,000 Marines; by 2179 that number had dropped to 165,000, with a further 50,000 in reserve.[1]

Shortly after the passage of the Colonial Protection Act in 2187, the Colonial Marines were renamed to the United Americas Colonial Marines (UACM). Additional to the name change, recruitment for the Corps was expanded from just North America to all other regions of the United Americas. [2] Despite the name change, insignia and traditions from the previous organization carried over.

By the 27th century, control over the Colonial Marines had been taken by the once fallen Weyland-Yutani Corporation when it had once again risen to prominence, making Weyland-Yutani the most powerful company in human history, governments included.[3]


Four Marines-A2

Private First Classes Ricco Frost and Mark Drake, and Corporals Dwayne Hicks and Cynthia Dietrich.

The Corps is roughly split between the supporting establishment and operating forces. The former includes recruitment, training, research and development, administrative and logistical duties, while the latter performs combat operations. Approximately 58 percent of Marines are in the operating forces.[4]

The operating forces are divided into four combat divisions and four aerospace wings, along with their required support groups. A fifth combat division and aerospace wing also exist as reserves.[1]

Marine Space Force[]

Main article: Marine Space Force

All combat forces within the Corps are organized into three Marine Space Forces, which answer directly to US Space Command.[4] Each MSF is given the primary responsibility of security their designated areas, though the realities of space mean these areas frequently overlap, while the practicalities of frontier operations mean forces typical operate in autonomous task forces of regimental size or less.[4] Also, each MSF maintains a number of dedicated VBSS (Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure) teams to carry out potentially hazardous boarding operations of suspect ships and the like in their area of responsibility, not infrequently doing so in support of law enforcement agencies such as the Colonial Marshals and the United Americas Orbit Guard, or even the ICC. Standard equipment for these teams include armored hardsuits and weaponry such as the Mark 7 Mod 2 CQB Pistol, M10 Auto Pistol, 6A Jaipur Submachine Gun, and the EM41 Pulse Rifle.

Aerospace Wing[]

The Colonial Marine Aerospace Wing is responsible for providing aerospace support and airmobility to a Marine Space Force. The Wing itself is largely an administrative formation; in practice much of its elements are attached directly to a Division as an integral element.[5]

Each Wing is divided into a Drop Group, a Tactical Group, and a Support Group. The Drop Group is assigned to operate with Marine ground elements as dedicated support, and consists of approximately 200 dropships. The Tactical Group is assigned reconnaissance, ground-attack and air superiority missions, and averages six to eight squadrons of AD-19C/D Bearcat and AD-17A Cougar strikeships, along with UD-4 "Cheyenne" dropships and UD-22 "Navaho" gunships. The Support Group is assigned CasEvac, search and rescue, psyops and other miscellaneous operations, and consist of 100 dropships and 30 heavy-lift shuttles.[5]


Each Colonial Marine Division is a balanced force of combat, service and support elements allowing for orbital assault and sustained ground operations. The Division is organized around three infantry regiments.[4]

Marine Assault Unit[]

The Marine Assault Unit, or MAU, is the building block of Colonial Marine combat forces, a reinforced battalion designed for independent deep-space operations far from reinforcement or logistical support. At minimum each MAU has the logistical capacity for thirty days of combat operations.[6]

The MAU is commanded by a headquarters platoon, with a logistics platoon, maintenance company and medical unit attached for non-combat support. Additional combat-oriented support units include a reconnaissance platoon, scout-sniper squad, and a combat engineer platoon. A heavy ordinance company is also attached for heavy fire support and aerospace defense, and can include self-propelled artillery, anti-ballistic and anti-space systems.[6]

Two to four infantry companies provide the heart of the MAU, with each company incorporating support elements such as mortars, anti-tank and SAM missiles that can be distributed among their line platoons. If sufficient starlift capacity is available, an armored company of fourteen tanks may also be attached.[6]

An Aerospace Drop Group and some Attack Group elements are also attached to the MAU, while the number and type of United States AeroSpace Force Fleet units varies according to mission type and size.[6]

Rifle Platoon[]

The organization of the rifle platoons represents the Colonial Marines doctrine of small, autonomous infantry units capable of independent action on a non-linear battlefield.[7] The platoon commander, a lieutenant, is assisted by one or two Synthetics as technical and scientific advisers, medics and drivers. The platoon is divided into two sections, which are further divided into two squads of four Marines each. Each section is led by a sergeant and includes a driver for the M577 Armored Personnel Carrier. In addition, during Drop operations each section is assigned a UD-4 dropship from the aerospace company team. Including the platoon commander and crews for the dropships and APCs, a full-strength rifle platoon would number twenty-five Marines, though in practice the platoon often operates with fewer personnel.[7]

Organic support weaponry for the platoon includes eight M240 Incinerator Units, eight UA 571-C Automated Sentry Guns, two M78 PIGs or M5 RPGs, eighteen M83 SADAR rockets, and one M402 Multiple-Launch Mortar, along with sufficient sensor equipment to establish an overlapping detection matrix with a frontage of over one kilometer.[8]

Combat Synthetic Platoon[]

Sometime after bolstering their ranks with the artificial womb (A.W.) soldiers, the Colonial Marine Corps also started to experiment with bolstering their ranks with combat androids, specifically ones that followed the Three Laws of Robotics. Much more cost effective and lower maintenance then their human counterparts these models were seen in action early as 2192. Much more humanistic then previous models, some were known to experience even the most intense human emotions such as falling in love. Still self-aware of their origins, these models were precursors to later advanced models.


The rifle squad consists of four Marines: A Corporal, a Lance Corporal, and two Privates/Privates First Class. The squad is broken up into two fireteams, the Rifle Team and the Gun Team. The Rifle Team consists of two riflemen armed with M41A Pulse Rifles, while the Gun Team consists of a gunner armed with the M56 Smartgun and a rifleman armed with a M41.[8]


Hudson's equipment

Private First Class William L. Hudson in his combat gear.

The Multi-Cam Combat Fatigue Uniform, commonly referred to as Utilities or Cammies by the Marines who wear them, is a three-piece uniform consisting of (from head to toe):

  • Multi-Cam Cover, or hat with Eagle, Globe and Anchor affixed in the front above the bill
  • Multi-Cam Blouse with reflective nametapes above the left and right breast pockets
  • Multi-Cam trousers with six pockets

This uniform is one of two fatigues, or work uniforms worn by Colonial Marines. This uniform is worn during combat manoeuvres or field time, or on deployments where combat is supposed to be imminent. Several identifying patches and badges can be worn on this uniform depending on rank, location and Standard Operating Procedure of the Marines assigned command.

BDUs (Battledress Utilities)[]

Standard Colonial Marine battledress utilities (BDUs) are two-piece, lightweight polycotton coveralls with pockets secured by silent fasteners. BDUs are issued in several different patterns for deployments to temperate, desert and jungle zones. The disruptive pattern of the fabric is printed in at least three colors, dependent on the design, and the different high-temperature dyes used in the print process are each designed to absorb infrared radiation at different frequencies, effectively breaking up the wearers IR signature. The dyes' IR properties break down after time, especially after repeated washing, and so uniform utilities have to be replaced on a regular basis.[9]

Normal utility fatigues, shirts, caps etc. have no special thermal properties, although Colonial Marine issue body warmers, ponchos and arctic clothes are designed to a 'blackbody' standard that provides a complete thermal shield.[9]

"One of the most important pieces of protection I was issued were my shades. They were BiMex polarised filters with a non-reflective surface, designed to protect against lasers and nuke flash. I wore them damn things all the time, man. Never once saw a nuke, but I saw too many guys get blinded by sniping lasers."
―PFC Harry Harris, 2/2 Colonial Marine, 8 Eta Boötis III, Chinese Arm (from Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual, p. 27)


  • Commercial Industrial Boots (steel toe protection) - (Logistics Duties)
  • M3 Boots (leather upper)
  • M7 Jungle Boots (breathable nylon and leather upper)
  • M8A2 Thermal Line Arctic Boots

Eye protection[]

  • BiMex Polarised Filters w/non-reflective surface (sunglasses)

Weapons, Equipment and Ordnance[]

See: List of USCM weapons and equipment
See: USCM Corps Ordnance

Colonial Marine Bases and Stations[]

  • Orbital Fort Osney
  • Camp Lejeune
  • Camp Pendleton


  • The weekly salary of a Marine is $500-760 (as of 2183).[10]
  • While never officially stated, it seems likely that the Colonial Marines were inspired by the United States Marine Corps, which was formed in 1775 and has fought in dozens of conflicts, including World War II and the War on Terror. The US Marines specialize in force projection operations far from home bases, much like the Colonial Marines. However, while the US Marines rely on the United States Navy for their mobility, the Colonial Marines are apparently a combined force capable of self-contained mobility and combat operations.
  • In reality, only Great Britain has ever fielded a professional military force known as Colonial Marines (officially titled the Corps of Colonial Marines), which it did twice — the first Corps served in the Caribbean from 1808 to 1810, while the second, more substantial Corps operated in America from 1814 to 1816. During the American Revolutionary War, a group of militiamen also operated under the title of American Colonial Marines, although it was an irregular unit.
  • A Colonial Marine Corps appears in the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica television series, which also featured Predator actor Bill Duke in a guest role in its second season.
  • The actors playing the Colonial Marines in Aliens were required to read the Robert A. Heinlein novel Starship Troopers as part of their preparations prior to filming, and also took part in a training boot camp run by the SAS (Special Air Service), the UK's elite special forces regiment, to help them effectively portray military combat personnel on screen.[11]


Notable members[]

External Links[]