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Prior to 1913, there were a number of temporary organizations in the Marine Corps created for specific purposes or tasks and designated as regiments. However, when a particular unit was no longer needed (its purpose or task completed) it was generally disbanded and the attached companies returned to their original stations. It was uncommon for the Marine Corps to have two or more regiments bearing the same designation.

The primary mission of the infantry regiment is to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver or to repel his assault by fire and close combat. The infantry regiment consists of a headquarters company and two or more infantry battalions (normally three infantry battalions). The infantry battalions are the basic tactical units with which the regiment accomplishes its mission.

Although a Marine infantry regiment does not possess a large amount of heavy organic equipment, such as tanks or armored personnel carriers, it does have 282 pieces of rolling stock, which includes trucks, high mobility multi-wheeled vehicles (HMMWV) and trailers, and several hundred radios of various types.

The headquarters company of the infantry regiment contains a regimental headquarters and a reconnaissance platoon. When combined with other combat support and CSS units, it will form a regimental landing team. Command and staff functions for the regiment are exercised through a compact operational command group that consists of the commander and an executive staff. The staff is capable of integrating the efforts of attached units with those of supporting units. The staff can support a tactical, main, and rear command echelon during displace-ment. The basic means of ground mobility of the regiment is by foot, supplemented by small, lightweight vehicles for transportation of electronic equipment, weapons, and limited amounts of ammunition and supplies. All elements are helicopter transportable and compatible with other means of transportation (e.g., assault amphibious vehicles (AAVs), motor transport, fixed-wing aircraft, and ships). The infantry regiment is the major element of close combat power of the Marine division. The regiment, with appropriate attachments, is capable of independent, sustained operations.

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