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  • Writer's pictureJavier Berrellez

Marine Raiders: There's a Marine Special Forces Team?

Heard of the Marine Raiders?

When people talk special forces (SF), the first thing that comes top of mind is: Navy Seals, Green Berets, Army Rangers, Air Force Paratroopers, and the oh-so secret Delta. There’s a bunch more, but these are the ones on the news and in pop culture.

But have you heard of the Marine Corps Raiders? Probably not! The Marine Corps has an elite SF organization that was recently formed in 2014 by the Marine Corps Special Operations Command or MARSOC.

But why would an elite military organization need special forces? Easy, like the famous lyricist Cardi-B says: money! If the Marine Corps wanted funding to keep-up with the other branches who are tooling-up and getting new advanced training, they needed a special forces team. More notably though, the Marines were losing a seat at the decision table when it came to fighting unconventional warfare, and they wanted to be in on the fight all the way.

Wait! What about Force Recon, aren’t they Special Forces? Ask anyone in the military and the answer is a simple FUCK YES! But in the eyes of the people holding the purse…nope, they were not. They were a special expeditionary force attached to Marine divisions.

The Marine Raiders are not a new thing though. They were founded 20 years before the Navy Seals in 1942. In a few short years though, they were disbanded because the government didn’t feel the need to keep such an elite organization on the payroll.

Who are the Raiders though and why don’t you hear about them? First of all, you don’t hear about the Raiders because they’ve been successful in keeping their activities quiet, primarily because they’re a small organization and they keep each other in check.

Up through 2019 there have been 841 Critical Skills Operators (enlisted), and 197 Special Operations Officers. Each team is made up of 14 team members: 1 officer, 4-6 staff non-commissioned officers, 4-6 sergeants, and 2 navy corpsman.

What you don’t see on a team are any PFCs, Lance Corporals or Corporals. Why? Because the unit requires all Marines to be a Corporal before they apply, with at least four years of experience. And, by the time they're done with selection and training, they're promoted to sergeant. The big thing is, the corps doesn’t want guys off the street trying to put on the uniform – they’re Marines first, then Raiders.

Like other SF units, their training is intense, but a little shorter than Navy Seal Training. A big reason is that candidate Marines are already proficient at shooting and basic infantry tactics before their first day of training. As a result, their training is only nine-months, unlike the 10-12 months in other SF units. Like other screening programs, the initial phase focuses on screening team mates. Once the initial assessment and screening out phase is done and they have the right group in place, they go on to specialized training for air, ground, and sea operations.

The Marine Raider Training Center is located in Camp Lejeune, NC. Once Marines complete the program they’re assigned to one of the three Marine Special Operations Battalions at Camp Pendleton, CA or Camp Lejeune, NC.

I could go on and on, but there's an awesome video that really describes who the Marine Raiders are and their lineage from the Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance. Check out this video for a great overview: You can also visit their website at .

Have fun and Semper Fi!

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