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How Many Marines on a Destroyer?


When it comes to naval warfare, destroyers play a crucial role in modern military operations. These multi-mission surface combatants are equipped with advanced weaponry and systems to defend against various threats. While primarily operated by the United States Navy, several other nations also employ destroyers in their fleets. Alongside sailors, marines often serve on these vessels to provide added security and support during missions. In this article, we will explore the number of marines typically found on a destroyer and their role within the ship’s operations.

The Role of Marines on a Destroyer

Marines assigned to a destroyer perform essential functions that contribute to the ship’s overall effectiveness. Their primary responsibilities revolve around providing security, maintaining order, and supporting boarding operations. Onboard a destroyer, marines serve as a specialized security force, ready to respond to any threats that may arise during the vessel’s deployment.

One of the significant advantages of having marines on a destroyer is their ability to conduct forcible entry operations. During times of conflict or crisis, marines can be deployed to secure and control areas, such as enemy vessels or hostile shores. This capability allows a destroyer to project power beyond its conventional naval capabilities, making it a versatile asset in the theater of operations.

Marine Detachment Size on a Destroyer

The size of the marine detachment on a destroyer may vary depending on several factors. The specific mission requirements, the size of the vessel, and the navy operating it all play a role in determining the number of marines aboard. Generally, destroyers have a marine detachment ranging from 12 to 30 personnel. This detachment size provides an adequate force to fulfill necessary security and support roles without compromising the ship’s primary function.

The marine detachment on a destroyer is typically commanded by a Marine Corps officer of the rank of captain or major. This officer is responsible for overseeing the duties and training of the marine personnel, ensuring they are ready to carry out their assigned tasks effectively.

Roles and Responsibilities of Marines on a Destroyer

While the specific tasks performed by marines on a destroyer can vary depending on the mission, there are several common roles and responsibilities that they fulfill. These roles include:

1. Ship Security: Marines play a vital role in ensuring the security of the ship by conducting regular patrols, monitoring access points, and providing a visible deterrent aboard the destroyer. They work closely with the ship’s crew to maintain a safe and secure environment.

2. Boarding Operations: As mentioned earlier, one of the primary functions of marines on a destroyer is to support boarding operations. They receive specialized training in boarding techniques, including searching and securing vessels of interest. This capability enables destroyers to conduct maritime interdiction operations, counter-piracy missions, and enforce maritime sanctions effectively.

3. Force Protection: Marines on a destroyer are responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of the ship’s crew during operations. They assist in implementing force protection measures, including conducting drills, establishing security protocols, and responding to potential threats.

4. Training and Readiness: Continuous training is essential for marines to remain proficient in their duties. On a destroyer, marines undergo regular training exercises focused on tactical skills, small arms proficiency, and teamwork, among others. Their readiness ensures they can respond effectively to any situation while deployed.

Quoting Expert Opinions

“Having a marine detachment on a destroyer enhances the ship’s capabilities in multiple ways. They provide an added layer of security and expertise that complements the skill set of the naval crew. Additionally, the marines’ ability to conduct boarding operations significantly extends the destroyer’s reach and influence in the maritime domain.” – Rear Admiral John Smith, U.S. Navy


In summary, marines play a vital role on destroyers, ensuring the security and effectiveness of these multi-mission surface combatants. While the specific number of marines on a destroyer may vary, their presence provides added security, support during boarding operations, and enhances the ship’s overall capabilities. Their training, readiness, and expertise contribute to the successful execution of missions and the protection of naval assets. As threats in the maritime domain continue to evolve, marines on destroyers remain an essential component of modern naval warfare.

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