Whether training in the California desert or fighting in the mountains of Afghanistan, the operators of MARSOC are among the best trained and equipped warriors in the fight for freedom.
“In every clime and place” is more than a line in the Marine Corps hymn; it is the mantra of a new breed of warriors. An elite force in itself — because they are Marines, and special because of their missions — the trigger pullers of Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC) assure the tip of the SOCOM spear is honed and ready.
After September 11, 2001, the National Training Center (NTC), located thirty-plus miles north of Barstow, California, became the training ground for counter-insurgency missions. Subsequently, special operations forces came to practice the deadly art of unconventional warfare, special reconnaissance and direct action missions. MARSOC was activated on February 24, 2006 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where it is headquartered, as the Marine Corps component of the U.S. Special Operation Command (SOCOM). Though it began with a humble start, plans are for the unit to swell to 2,500 Marines, once it is fully operational. After its initial activation, members from both the 1st and 2nd Force Reconnaissance companies transferred to MARSOC, where they formed the 1st and 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalions (MSOB) located at Camp Pendleton, California, and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina respectively.
In addition to the two MSOBs, the other subordinate units based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, include: 3rd Marine Special Operation Battalion (MSB), Marine Special Operation Intelligence Battalion (MIB), Marine Special Operations Support Group (MSOSG) and the Marine Special Operations School (MSOS).
The M4A1 is designed for speed of action and light weight, while the M203 Grenade Launcher provides additional firepower to the operator.
As an active component of SOCOM, these spec op Marines conduct the following special operations force (SOF) missions: Direct Action (DA) — short-duration strikes and other small-scale offensive actions taken to seize, destroy capture, recover or inflict damage in denied areas. Special Reconnaissance (SR) — acquiring information concerning the capabilities, intentions and activities of an enemy. Foreign Internal Defense (FID) — providing training and other assistance to foreign governments and their militaries to enable the foreign government to provide for its country’s national security.