Naval Infantry Corps

The Naval Infantry Corps (Spanish: Cuerpo de Infantería de Marina) are the naval infantry and amphibious infantry force of the Mexican Navy. The main task of the Infantería de Marina is to guarantee the maritime security of the country's ports and external and internal defense of the country. To accomplish these responsibilities, the corps is trained and equipped to take on any type of operations from Sea, Air and Land.[1]

Mexican Marines
Mexican Naval Infantry Corps
Cuerpo de Infantería de Marina
Escudo Infantería de Marina de México.svg
Naval Infantry emblem
Country Mexico
BranchLOGO Marina Armada de Mexico NEGRO.svg Mexican Navy
TypeNaval Infantry
RoleAmphibious Warfare
Garrison/HQMexico City
Motto(s)En la tierra, en el aire y en el mar (English: On land, air and sea)
Todo por la Patria (English: All for the Fatherland)
AnniversariesJune 1, Marine Day
Admiral José Rafael Ojeda Durán
FlagEstandarte Infantería de Marina de México.svg

The Naval Infantry Corps was reorganized in 2007–2009 into 30 Naval Infantry Battalions (Batallones de Infantería de Marina—BIM), a paratroop battalion, a battalion attached to the Presidential Guard Brigade, two Fast Reaction Forces with six battalions each, and three Special Forces groups.[2] The Naval Infantry are responsible for port security, protection of the ten-kilometer coastal fringe, and patrolling major waterways.


To accomplish the necessary services and tasks, the Naval Infantry's overall responsibilities are to develop amphibious naval capabilities in the areas of operations of the navy in order to mobilize naval troops immediately and decisively.

The Naval Infantry execute the following tasks:

  • Command and Control: Planning, preparation and conduct of operations.
  • Amphibious assault: To execute amphibious operations as part of a Naval Force.
  • Air assault: To run infiltration operations in areas of difficult access.
  • Amphibious command: To execute special operations such as: reconnaissance, incursions, urban combat and to support other regular operations.
  • Combat Support: To execute operations in support of artillery in the development of amphibious and other regular forces operations
  • Reconnaissance: Operations to obtain information to support operational units.
  • Immediate Response: To run operations in emergency situations, to help the civilian population.[3]


The roots of the Naval Infantry Corps can trace its roots to the independence of Mexico in 1821. Between 1821 & 1822, independent Mexico created the Secretariat of the Admiralty headed by Don Agustín de Iturbide, who assigned the first units of the Mexican Army, which consisted of four battalions, two of them classified as "Marina" stationed in San Blas and Veracruz.[4]

Mexican Drug WarEdit

Mexican Marines and U.S. Navy sailors from amphibious assault ship USS Bataan cleaning up debris following the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in D'Iberville, Mississippi in 2005
U.S. President George W. Bush conveys his gratitude to a Mexican Marine, on their clean up efforts in Gulfport, Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina in 2005
Mexican Marines in Mexico's 2009 independence day parade displaying three different camouflage patterns used by the Mexican Marine Corps.
A Mexican Marine fast-ropes onto the flight deck of the German support ship Frankfurt Am Main during a simulated multi-national maritime interdiction operation in 2009
Mexican Marine explosive ordnance disposal technicians formulate a plan to defeat a simulated improvised explosive device during a subject matter expert exchange with U.S. sailors in San Diego, California in 2012
Mexican Marines on a training patrol at Officer Candidate School, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Quantico, Virginia in 2009
Mexican Marines wait to board the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans for exercises in Manzanillo, Mexico in 2010
Mexican Marines board the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans for exercises in Manzanillo, Mexico in 2010
A Mexican Marine naval infantryman carrying an FN FAL 50.61 Rifle holds a security position beside a Peruvian Army troop transport Pegaso truck in support of noncombatant evacuation training during the Partnership of the Americas in Ancón, Peru in 2010
Mexican Marines manning a Russian 9K38 Igla surface-to-air missile (SAM) dual missile launch platform mounted on a Mercedes-Benz Unimog truck of the Mexican Navy in 2009
Mexican Marines transport their gear to a Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion aboard the USS Kearsarge during Bold Alligator exercises in 2014

Since the start of President Felipe Calderón's war on the drug cartels, the Infantería de Marina's role has grown from maritime and port security to land based operations in combating organized crime, drug trafficking, extermination of marijuana fields, drug interdictions at sea, and also participating in arrest of cartel suspects.[5]

The Navy has carried out permanent intense anti-narcotic operations. Such tasks as the extermination of marijuana fields which mostly takes place in the north-western part of the country is done by first locating the fields by satellite or simply by air reconnaissance, then sending a team of Marines to eradicate the cannabis plants.[6] One of its big seizures was in late October 2007, when Navy personnel in a joint operation with other agencies seized 23 tons of cocaine in the port city of Manzanillo, Colima.[7][8] Due to its actions, the Navy and in kind the Naval Infantry Force has risen in stature in the United States.[9]

Narco submarine interceptionEdit

Drug interdiction at sea is also part of the Navy's strategy to combat drug trafficking, this came to light when, on July 16, 2008, the Navy intercepted a 10-metre-long (33 ft) narco submarine travelling about 200 kilometres (120 mi) off the southwest of the state of Oaxaca; in a raid, Navy Special Forces rappelled from a helicopter on to the deck of the narco submarine and arrested four smugglers before they could scuttle their vessel. The vessel was found to be loaded with 5.8 tons of cocaine and was towed to Huatulco, Oaxaca, by a Navy patrol boat.[10][11][12][13][14]

Hurricane Katrina reliefEdit

Mexico sent marines to the U.S. in 2005 for disaster relief after Hurricane Katrina.



The shield anchor, crossed with the carbine, has been part of the Naval Infantry since 1823. The shield of the Naval Infantry, as today, is the essence of their integration into the meaning of heraldry. Examples are the gold trim, which gives nobility, seriousness and elegance; the Admiralty anchor, which symbolizes belonging to the Navy; and finally crossed muskets, symbolizing the weapons used by the first generation personnel of the Naval Infantry strengthening the country as a nation-state, free and sovereign. Together they represent the dedication to serve Mexico by air, land and sea. The color red has always characterized the Marines around the world.


The Iconography of the Marines of Mexico has developed a description of the standard as follows: at the center, the Marine Shield with its original colors, scarlet red cloth with gold-colored robes. In addition to being waved at official ceremonies, the Corps Standard (Estandarte) is present in all parades wherein the Corps takes part as a constituent branch of the navy proper. The corps standard is also present in the Corps Headquarters, all unit bases and in the Secretariat of the Navy.

Organization and roleEdit

The overall head of the Naval Infantry is the president of Mexico Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in his role as commander-in-chief of the Mexican Armed Forces. Operational control of the NIF falls under the responsibility of the Secretary of the Navy.

The navy is defined in its strategic review by the status of Mexico as a coastal state, highlighting the importance of its borders with the United States of America, Belize and Guatemala, and identifying areas of strategic importance such as the Caribbean and the Yucatán Channel, for their transit of maritime trade is of great importance for the country, without forgetting that it is also an area crowded by tourist cruises that visit Mexican ports and their use as a runner and high rate of drug trafficking activities. The Bay of Campeche, which is distinguished by its deposits of oil and marine resources and the enormous network of oil and gas pipelines between the production platforms and destinations on the coast, the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and the Gulf area by sea and land are considered as a future strategic development of the country, industrial corridor and gateway between the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico; the Grijalva Hydroelectric Complex is considered an important center of power generation in the country; and the Gulf of California has ecological importance and tourist influence, as well as activities of a drug trafficking corridor.

To meet the operational requirements of the navy, it was necessary to create the structure of a reaction force with organizational skills focusing on: flexibility, multi-tactical use of rapid response, firepower, mobility and economy of forces, in addition to the efforts of support for transport by air, sea and land, to the missions and tasks assigned by the navy to fulfill its mission.

Therefore, the Amphibious Marine Reaction Force is defined as an organized force, equipped and trained as a component part of a Naval Force to develop operations in the immediate response missions that are assigned. It falls into an operational concept which states that given the need to respond as a projection of naval power, it requires that their actions be limited by an autonomous period of time. According to the task, units are integrated to meet requirements identified in a variety of operational environments; their capacity to be transported by air, sea and land are organic to the unit. Therefore, the flexibility of its organizational units can integrate in different areas of operations such as amphibious combat, urban operations in the jungle, night airborne assault, and vertical river of interdiction raids, in addition to other civic action operations and support to other units when ordered.


After reorganization, the Marine forces were deployed under a new strategic operational concept with specific functions, including in the navy to the following Marine Corps units:[15]

  • Two Amphibious Reaction Forces—deployed along the country's coastline, each comprising two Amphibious Infantry Battalions, Artillery Battalions, Amphibious Commando Battalions, Boat and Vehicle Battalions and Amphibious and Services Battalions.
  • Thirty Naval Infantry Battalions are organized as follows:
    • 28 are organized into eight regional Brigades deployed as follows:
      • three on the Gulf coast: 1st, 3rd, and 5th each with four battalions,
      • four on the Pacific coast: 2nd with one battalion, 4th with five battalions, 6th and 8th with four battalions each, and
      • one (the 7th) in Mexico City with two battalions,
    • one Presidential Guard Battalion (24th Batallón de Infantería de Marina de Guardias Presidenciales),
    • one Paratrooper Battalions (BIMFUSPAR: Batallón de Infantería de Marina de Fusileros Paracaidistas),
  • two small Commando Battalions: Batallón De Comandos Del Golfo (BATCOGO) and Batallón de Comandos Del Pacífico (BATCOPA),
  • Three Special Forces Groups: FESGO (Fuerzas Especiales del Golfo), FESPA (Fuerzas Especiales del Pacifico), FESCEN (Fuerzas Especiales del Centro)
  • one Naval Police Battalion,
  • 24 Marine (National Service) Battalions for National Service personnel, raised recently, plus 1 Marine Regiment (National Service)

There are two Marine Amphibious Groups (the Gulf and Pacific), which have replaced the two Reaction Amphibious Forces, whose mission is the defense of national coastlines against any conventional aggression. Each has a total manpower of 3,000 men. Both are composed of two Amphibious Battalions of Marines, a Battalion of Marines Commandos, a Marine Artillery Battalion, an Amphibious Vehicles and Vessels Battalion, which includes 12 armored APC-70, and a Service Battalion.

The 24th Marine Battalion "Presidential Guards", created in 1983, is responsible for providing security to the president. It is quartered in the Mexico City, like the BIMFUSPAR (Marine Parachute Fusilier Battalion).

Finally there are 3 Marine Special Forces Groups (Strength, Spirit and Wisdom is their motto). The FESGO (Special Forces Gulf) and the FESPA (Special Forces Pacific), both destined for missions in support of the then new Amphibious Forces Reaction In 2008, formed the FESCEN (Special Forces Center), based in Mexico City, whose purpose is to provide the High Command Headquarters a grouping of special forces mission critical. While FESGO and FESPA have an effective of 220 marines each, the FESCEN has less than 160 personnel.

The Marine Parachute Battalion is an elite force, which is the strategic reserve of the High Command of the Mexican Navy for high impact operations and emergency. The organizational and operational needs motivated the creation of BIMFUSPAR in 1992. The new unit was championed by then-President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, on June 1, 1994. The Battalion is divided into three Marine Paratrooper Rifle Companies, a Weapon Support Company and a Command Group. The Company Headquarters and Services is integrated into the grouping of services 7th Marine Brigade, which belongs since 2010.

Each Marine Battalion has three Marine Infantry Companies, a Company of Support Weapons (mortars, rocket launchers and machine guns) and Services. Each Company has three Sections, each of three Platoons, which are themselves composed of thirteen elements in three Squads of four men under the command of a Third or Second Master. The Squads are formed by a Corporal Squad Leader, a rifleman grenadier armed with M16A2 and M203 40mm grenade launcher, a submachine gunner with a Colt RO 750 LSW 5.56 mm. and a rifleman with a standard M16A2. The organization of a Platoon at three Squads, a Section in three Platoons and a Company into three Sections responds to the need in any case with the three decisive factors in combat: assault element, the support and security.

Special Forces UnitsEdit

Fuerzas Especiales (FES), Special Forces), is a Special Operations Unit of the Navy officially established in late 2001.


Naval Infantry Inventory
Vehicle/System Status Origin
Land Vehicles
APC-70 Modified BTR-60, has diesel engine and it does not have the turret with the 14.5 mm machine gun. Used with a 40 mm Mk 19 grenade launcher or Machine Gun   Russia
Ural-4320 Off-road 6x6 truck   Russia
Sherpa Light Light Armored Vehicle armed with M2 Browning 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun   France
Carat Wolverine Armored Car Armoured Vehicle based on the Ford F-Series chassis, In Mexico these vehicles are known as Scorpions. It's armed with single M2 Browning 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun.[16][17]   Mexico
UNIMOG U-4000[18]   Germany
Freightliner M2[19] 4x2 truck   Mexico
MiniComando Ford[20] 4x4 F-250 series pick up   Mexico
MiniComando Dodge[21] 4x4 Pick up   Mexico
Mercedes-Benz G-Class[22][23] 4x4 cross-country vehicle   Germany
Land Rover 4x4   United Kingdom
Dodge Ram Crew cab pick up installed with handle bars and turret to install M2 Browning MG   Mexico/  United States
Ford F-150 Crew cab pick up installed with handle bars   Mexico/  United States
Chevrolet Cheyenne Crew cab pick up installed with handle bars   Mexico/  United States
Assault Rifles
Colt IAR[24] In service   United States
SIG Sauer SIG516 In service   United States
M4 Carbine In service   United States
Submachine gun
Heckler & Koch MP5 In service   Mexico
Heckler & Koch UMP In service   Germany
FN P90 In service   Belgium
Mendoza HM-3 In Service   Mexico
Machine guns
M2 Browning machine gun In service   United States
HK21 In service   Mexico
CETME Ameli In service   Spain
FN Minimi In service   Belgium
GAU-19 In service. Used on board of MD902 Helicopter.   United States
Grenade launcher
CIS 40 AGL 40mm grenade launcher In service   Singapore
Milkor MGL In service   South Africa
M203 grenade launcher In service   United States
Remington 1100 In service   United States
Sniper rifle
Heckler & Koch MSG90 In service   Germany
Barrett M82 In service   United States
Remington 700 In service   United States
Glock pistol In service   Austria
Heckler & Koch USP In service   Germany
FN Five-seveN In service. Special Forces   Belgium
Colt 1911 In service   United States
OTO Melara Mod 56 105 mm In service   Italy
Bofors 40 mm In Service   Sweden
51 mm FIROS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) In Service   Italy
60 mm and 81 mm mortars In Service   Mexico


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  3. ^ [1] Archived July 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Mexico - Infantería de Marina / Marine Corps".
  5. ^ "Secretaría de Marina-Armada de México". SEMAR. Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  6. ^ "Secretaría de Marina-Armada de México". SEMAR. Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  7. ^ "Secretaría de Marina-Armada de México". SEMAR. Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  8. ^ "Secretaría de Marina-Armada de México". SEMAR. Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  9. ^ Grayson, George W. (31 August 2012). "Navy Outshines Army in Mexico's Drug War". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  10. ^ "En Un Hecho Sin Precedentes La Armada De México Intercepta Un Minisubmarino Con Droga En Costas De Oaxaca". Archived from the original on March 18, 2009. Retrieved December 24, 2009.
  11. ^ July, Reuters (2008-07-17). "Mexico captures submarine loaded with drugs". Archived from the original on 2012-11-07. Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  12. ^ "The Narco Submarine". Archived from the original on 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  13. ^ "Americas | Mexican navy seizes cocaine sub". BBC News. 2008-07-18. Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  14. ^ "Drug cartels using submarines to smuggle cocaine | CTV News". 2008-07-19. Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  15. ^ [2] Archived July 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Carat Security Group - Tactical APC and Command vehicles". Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  17. ^ Catseyeonspace. "Vehiculo". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  18. ^ "Secretaria de Marina - Armada de México". Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  19. ^ "Secretaria de Marina - Armada de México". Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  20. ^ "Secretaria de Marina - Armada de México". Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  21. ^ "Secretaria de Marina - Armada de México". Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  22. ^ "Recibe Semar vehículos para incrementar capacidad operativa :: El Informador". Retrieved 2012-10-03.
  23. ^ [3] Archived July 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "Mexican Marines adopt Colt IAR -". The Firearm Blog. 29 October 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2022.

External linksEdit