Marine Raiders (MARSOC) – Brief History, Training, and Mission

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“An elite force within an elite force. That, in a nutshell, is the perfect description of the Raiders.”

marine raiders history

History of the Marine Raiders:

During World War II, Britain’s elite special forces reaped victory after victory with their covert and unconventional tactics. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was inspired by the success of British Commandos and chose to commission the creation of an American counterpart – Marine Raiders.

The Marine Raiders were a special branch of the Marines that have their own special mission & objectives, separate from the rest of the marine. It was the first Special Force unit that America has ever formed. And boy oh boy, did it reaped success!

At the beginning, it met some resistance from various parties, even from the marines themselves. But the successes of the Raiders eventually earned everyone’s trust.

How could they not? They managed to launch a series of completely unpredictable guerilla attacks that eventually led to many conquered Japanese islands. They paved the way for the bigger teams to come in & completely annihilate enemy forces.

The best part of having a Raider unit is that they require very little manpower & resources.

Because it was their specialty to do light-infantry warfare. Focusing on strategy & tactics instead of an all-out muscle war.

Marine Raiders operates in unusually small units. They’re characterized by their quick & unpredictable attacks. Usually transporting via rubber boats and operating behind enemy lines, their attacks are like the ones of an Assassin’s.

During the war, the Raiders were essential to victory because they’re the ones tasked with critical attacks. Conquering key islands after islands with very little resources. They carried their missions with unquestionable valor.

Like a high-skilled assassin versus a battalion of army. They went inside the enemy territory guerilla-style, finds their objectives, and gets out as soon as possible. Usually within hours of arrival.

Nowadays, the spirit of Marine Raiders still burns bright among the US Military in the form of MARSOC (Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command).

Their mottos are: “Always faithful, always forward.”

Marine Raider training

Training Regiment of the Marine Raiders:

Individual Training Course

Individual Traning Course (ITC) is a nine-month course designed to bring out the best of somebody’s physical & mental capabilities under heavy pressure.

Mimicking the complexity & stress levels of a real combat, creating a reality that’s as close as possible to the level of real missions.

ITC is broken down into 4 phases:

  1. Phase 1: Focusing on Physical fitness, swimming and hand-to-hand combat capability. Students are drilled in a program designed around endurance, functional fitness and amphibious training.
  2. Phase 2: All about strategic planning & adaptable critical thinking, the next phase teaches mission planning, fire support training, small boat operations and scout swimming, demolitions, photography and information collection/reporting and crew served weapons. It basically focuses on testing & training the cadet’s mission thinking capability.
  3. Phase 3: Focuses on close quarters combat tactics, techniques, and urban combat skills It trains the student to high degrees of proficiency in rifle and pistol marksmanship. In practice, cadets will run countless simulation of attacks against urban targets in an exercise called “Operation Guile Strike”.
  4. Phase 4: The final phase, students will receive instruction on irregular warfare operations. As the name suggests, this final phase is designed to test all the knowledge that’s accumulated from the ITC. Forcing caders to apply all the new skills that they’ve attained during training to real-world situations. If they pass the final phase, they will be assigned to one of the three marine raider battalions.

Language Training Course

Intensive Language Training according to their assigned missions, all marine raiders learn all the conversational & local idioms of the language. As we discussed earlier, Language mastery plays a crucial role in bonding with the locals & communicating with the locals.

During such situations, skills such as persuasion & negotiation mean nothing if the team cannot communicate clearly. That is why the Language Training Course is very important.

On some rare case, marines are required to undergo an even deeper level course called Advanced Linguistics Course to really hone in on their communication ability.

Advanced Training Course

After the ITC, selected marines will then undergo another intensive 18-months training where they’re equipped with all sorts of courses that are guaranteed to help them in real-combat situations such as:

  1.  MARSOF Advanced Sniper Course (MASC)
  2.  MARSOF Close Quarters Battle Level II (MCQBL2)
  3.  Marine Technical Surveillance Course (MTSC)
  4.  MARSOF Dynamic Entry Level II Course (MDEL2)
  5.  Tactical Acquisition Exploitation (SR level II)
  6.  Hostile Forces Tagging Tracking Location (HFTTL)
  7.  Helicopter Rope Suspension Training (HRST)

Marine raiders mission

Missions conducted by the Marine Raiders:

Marine raiders specialize in light-infantry, guerilla warfare missions. Which basically means that they travel in small units of lightly armed man, operating deep behind enemy lines.

They will go into the enemy territory using rubber boats. They’ll carry their missions swiftly & efficiently. And they’ll strike directly into the heart of the enemy’s operational base.

Once they’re done with business… enemies are left dead on their feet.

Next thing you know, they’ve already collected on-the-ground intelligence, eliminated an influential figure in the enemy party, and secured a way for the rest of the Army to conquer the island in the midst of enemy’s confusion.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that their missions are a big part of why America have been so successful in the war against Japan, and the war against terrorism that we’re experiencing at the moment.

Because their legacy still lives in the form of MARSOC, and their unique way of fighting is proven extremely effective. Especially now, in the complex war against terrorism.

Marine Raiders missions usually consist of something like:

  1. Clandestine Operation – stealth operation that goes unnoticed by the general population or the enemy forces
  2. Maritime Interdiction Operation (Naval Operation) – are operations that aims to delay, disrupt, or destroy enemy forces while they’re still en route in the seas, so they can prevent any casualties and end the problem before it even happened
  3. Counter-terrorism Operation – acts of combat or prevention of terrorism in any way imaginable. It can even be in the form of counter financing terrorism groups such as blockades of transportation & supplies, etc.
  4. Special Reconnaissance Operation – small units of highly skilled soldiers operating behind enemy lines, avoiding direct combat, avoiding detection, and just focus on objectives. It can be gathering on-the-ground intelligence, monitoring sensors & possible dangers, or even sabotaging enemy supplies.

Aside from all the special missions, Marine Raiders are also tasked with training, advising and assisting local friendly forces – including naval and maritime military and paramilitary forces – to enable them to support their government’s security & strengthening the military presence of the US.

Marine Raider salute


We now know the Raiders have been reincarnated as the MARSOC. But their legacies has always been clear. They fought their way to maintain a safe America & create a better world to live in – for all of us.

“Always faithful, always forward.”