Force Recon Marines
Force Recon does not belong to SOCOM Special Operations Command), but it is still providing commanders with a valuable resource as “special operations capable” forces attached to Marine Regiments. In many ways, they get the same training and equipment as SOCOM forces, but they are fully under the control of the Marine Corps.M
In 2001, there were roughly 500 RECON billets within the USMC. Today, there are more than 2,000 RECON Marines, which demonstrates the necessity for RECON units within the USMC in today’s warfare climate. When MARSOC was created it left a hole in the USMC Special Operations Capable forces as two Force RECON companies were changed into MARSOC. Force RECON have since rebuilt and are fully operational with the Marine Expeditionary Force. The major difference between MARSOC and Force RECON is that MARSOC is under the command of Special Operations Command (SOCOM), whereas Force RECON works directly for the USMC Marine Expeditionary Force Commander.
RECON MISSION: The mission of Force RECON is to conduct amphibious reconnaissance, deep ground reconnaissance, surveillance, battle space shaping, and limited scale raids in support of the Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), other Marine air-ground task forces, or a joint force.
Since the early years after September 11, 2001, the United States has ramped up its battle against terrorists worldwide and the special operations community has grown and changed to better prepare our special operators to do their mission. The Marine Corps has also changed the way they do business on the special ops side of the house. With the development of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command (MARSOC) in 2006, the Marine Corps joined forces with U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) to perform a variety of special operations missions around the world, including foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, direct action, and other missions.
- Marine Raider Regiment (MRR) is the headquarters of the three Raider Battalions – each capable of a full spectrum of special operations missions around the globe. 1st Marine Raider Battalion, 2nd Marine Raider Battalion and 3rd Marine Raider Battalion make up the MRR. The Battalions are broken into four companies and the companies have four Marine Special Operations Teams.
- Marine Raider Support Group is the headquarters of the three Raider Support Battalions – 1st Marine Raider Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Raider Support Battalion, and 3rd Marine Raider Support Battalion. Supporting the Raider Battalions with logistics, communications, dog handlers, intelligence, and fire control technicians is the mission of the Raider Support Group.
- Marine Special Operations School in Camp Lejeune NC screens, trains, assesses, and selects Marines to become MARSOC Raiders. The main component of the school is the Individual Training Course (ITC) which is nine months long and charged with the role of taking an experienced Marine of at least 3 years and making them Special Operations Marine Raiders.