The Colonial Marine Corps is a branch of the Colonial Forces tasked with ground combat operations and ship-board security.
Galactica initially had about thirty Marines left, although there are no snipers among them (TRS: "Bastille Day"). This number increased drastically with the addition of the battlestar Pegasus to the Fleet.
Between "Pegasus" and "Exodus Part II", it is estimated that Galactica had at least 100 marines considering the arrival of Pegasus. The crew transfers might suggest some Marines from Pegasus were integrated into the crew of Galactica since there were Marines being trained aboard Pegasus (TRS: "Razor").
After Pegasus's destruction, a number of Marines are integrated into Galactica's crew. During a briefing between Colonel Tigh and Admiral Adama, Tigh says "A hundred Marines too weak to work, two hundred more about to drop," which implies that at least three hundred Marines were aboard following the exodus from New Caprica (TRS: "The Passage").
A Marine's duties include guarding the CIC and the brig, as well as other critical areas on the ship, and assisting the Master-at-Arms (TRS: "Litmus") and are part of Raptor boarding parties (TRS: "Bastille Day", "Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II", "Resistance", "Pegasus"). Naturally, they are also responsible for repelling enemy boarding actions (TRS: "Valley of Darkness"). Admiral Adama's quarters are constantly under Marine guard, and the same is true for President Laura Roslin when she is aboard ship. A Marine, Sergeant Stewart Jaffee, is also tasked with serving Admiral Adama's food (TRS: "A Day in the Life").
Very few Marine officers appear to be stationed on Galactica, likely as the ship was meant to be decommissioned prior to the Fall; when they are shown on missions, usually Fleet officers command the Marine units. Lieutenant Alex Quartararo's actions on Kobol (TRS: "Fragged") suggest that Fleet officers are cross-trained in conducting ground operations. The only Marine officers shown so far are Lieutenant Terry Burrell (TRS: "Sacrifice") and an unnamed lieutenant in "Escape Velocity".
Marines are evidently untrained in crowd control, as the actions aboard both Scylla and Gideon demonstrate. In each of these situations Marines react with little discipline to enraged crowds (TRS: "Razor", "Final Cut"). Marines are also present enforcing an order restricting public congregation (TRS: "Escape Velocity").
Colonial Marines are also called "jarheads". Like the Colonial Fleet, the Corps has a reserve component (TRS: "Final Cut"). Active detachments aboard a battlestar, referred to as mardets (shorthand for "marine detachment"), are responsible for off-ship missions and military policing duties. Their role is expanded following the Fall, beginning with Roslin's request for Marines to quell an uprising aboard a ship following the water situation (TRS: "Water") and repeatedly to handle policing due to deficiencies in civilian law enforcement (TRS: "The Woman King", "Escape Velocity", "A Disquiet Follows My Soul").
The last act of the Colonial Marine Corps occurs during the Battle of The Colony. Unlike their normal patrol and guard duties, they seem to be very heavily armed and well equipped with machine guns, ammunition, grenades, and flight suits (TRS: "Daybreak, Part II").
Only the ranks of the enlisted crew have been established in detail, but it is known that the rank of lieutenant exists. See military ranks for details.
Status Unknown after the Mutiny
Status Unknown after New Caprica
Real life costuming notes
The Colonial Marine Corps battle uniforms appear to be based on those of the U.S. Army's Delta Force or the counter-terrorist branch of the British Army's Special Air Service Regiment. Besides their black combat uniforms, the weapons and personal combat equipment of the Marines are similar to what today's police SWAT teams and anti-terrorist special forces units utilize.
To date, the Marines have appeared in either an all-black BDU (aboard ship) or an olive-drab/green BDU (planetside, as in "Lay Down Your Burdens, Part I"). There is evidence that the Colonial Marine Corps do utilize digital camouflage uniforms like the real-life United States Marine Corps with their MARPAT digital camouflage uniforms, but it appears that the wearing of digital camouflage uniforms are restricted to regular Colonial Marine Corps forces while the Marines serving as security personnel on the warships of the Colonial Fleet are issued solid-color combat uniforms in black, khaki, and olive-drab. One piece of evidence that the Colonial Marine Corps do utilize digital camouflage uniforms can be seen the in the episodes "Lay Down Your Burdens, Part I" and "Part II" when the rescue team that is deployed to Caprica have "woodland" digital camouflage backpacks on their backs. Furthermore, in one of the Razor Flashback episodes, two Colonial Marine medics are wearing "woodland" digital camouflage uniforms on Galactica's hangar deck. Digital camouflage is also used by the landing party on Kobol in "Home, Part II" (by both William and Lee Adama), as well as the Shore Patrol personnel in "Scattered".
Colonial Marines are lightly armed and armored by modern warfare standards. When Lee Adama is rescued by a Marine fire, team when one of them fires an explosive round from his sidearm. He tells Adama that the Centurions can only be destroyed with explosive round and that was their last one. If the fire team had destroyed at least one Centurion that may imply that they carry only one explosive round. It is also seen that the Marines do not carry grenades other than the flash bang (TRS: "He That Believeth In Me"). Marine detachments aboard Galactica and Pegasus do not appear to have body armor or kevlar plating in their combat vests, or that such armor is insufficient against Cylon munitions.
To outfit the Marines, the show's costume department appears to use the following real-world items:
- Small Arms
- See the article Small arms
- Combat Vest
- PBBA SPIDER — Offered by a company called Point-Blank Body Armor, Inc., the vests appear to be one of these models, with a "modular grid attachment system" based around snaps (the telltale characteristic looking at a Colonial Marine's back) and velcro. This affords the costume department the option to attach whatever they want to the vests, regardless of compatibility, since all they need to do is stitch on some velcro. As to whether is the SPIDER specifically that is being used, or one of the following models, or a model offered from another manufacturer, has yet to be confirmed, but substantial research points towards this being the vest used in the series.
- PBBA MRV+ SWAT — "heavier" vest variant
- PBBA SWAT Cert+ — higher-collared variant
- Pinnacle Armor Tactical Vest — It more than likely is this one in the "modular grid base" unit. It makes the most sense, since it would be most cost effective to get the unlined, unarmored modular vest, with the velcro and snaps, and just attach whatever needed to it.
- M7 bayonets — Although they have never been drawn, bayonets carried by the Marines appear consistent with M7s' sheath and handle.