Marine Special Operations (MARSOC)

A MARSOC raider trains.
A Marine Raider with Marine Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) conducts high-value target detainment and evacuation operations. (Angela Wilcox/U.S. Marine Corps)

In October 2005, the secretary of defense directed the formation of a Marine component of U.S. Special Operations Command (MARSOC). It was determined the Marine Corps would initially form a unit of approximately 2,500 to serve with USSOCOM.

On Feb. 24, 2006 MARSOC activated at Camp Lejeune, N.C. MARSOC initially consisted of a small staff and the Foreign Military Training Unit, which had been formed to conduct foreign internal defense. FMTU was then designated as the Marine Special Operations Advisor Group.

In the months after the activation of MARSOC, the structure and personnel of both 1st and 2d Force Reconnaissance Company transferred to MARSOC to form 1st and 2d Marine Special Operations Battalions.

In April of 2009, MSOAG was re-designated as the Marine Special Operations Regiment with the 1st, 2d, and 3d Marine Special Operations Battalions (MSOB)s as subordinate units. The newly designated 3d MSOB incorporated the structure and personnel from MSOAG's former companies.

MARSOC also formed the Marine Special Operations Support Group and the Marine Special Operations School. The MSOSG provides combat support and combat service support to MARSOC units, to include: logistics, communication and intelligence. There are three subordinate commands Marine Special Operations Support Battalions.

The MSOS screens, assesses, selects and trains Marine Special Operations Forces and is responsible for developing doctrine.

In 2014, the Marine Commandant (Gen Amos) announced at a MARSOC Chainge of Command that all units in MARSOC commands would undergo a name change. The Marine Raider moniker was brought back to give an identity to the Marines fighting as MARSOC. The term "Raider" is a fabled identity that honors and links World War Two Special Operations Marines to today's MARSOC Raider. As of 2015, the MARSOC Regiment and Battalions are now re-designated the Marine Raider Regiment, Marine Raider Support Group and Marine Raider Battalions and Marine Raider Support Battalions.

As a service component of USSOCOM, MARSOC is tasked by the commander of USSOCOM to train, organize, equip and when directed by commander of USSOCOM, deploy task organized, scalable and responsive U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations Forces worldwide in support of combatant commanders and other agencies. MARSOC has been directed to conduct foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, and direct action. Commander, USSOCOM assigns MARSOC missions based on USSOCOM priorities. MARSOC units then deploy under USSOCOM deployment orders.

MARSOC deployed its first units in August 2006, six months after initial activation. Since then, MARSOC has continuously deployed. MARSOC's current deployments include Marine Special Operations Teams conducting foreign internal defense and Marine Special Operations Companies from the Marine Special Operations Battalions conducting foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance and direct action.

Stew Smith works as a presenter / editorial board with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). There are also over 800 articles on Fitness Forum focusing on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

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