Photo Information

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.--The official emblem of the United States Marine Forces Special Operations Command.

Photo by Official U.S. Marine Corps photo

MARSOC activates, helps fight Global War on Terrorism

24 Feb 2006 | Cpl. Ken Melton

Since the founding of the United States of America, there has been a special operation’s unit. First, there were Rodger’s Rangers who fought against the British during the Colonial period. Next came Mosby’s Rangers who fought for the South during the Civil War. More than 50 years ago, the United States activated the Office of Strategic Services, which consisted of three of the military branches (Navy, Army, Air Force) to help defend the country.

Friday, in a ceremony here with high military and government officials present, America’s newest weapon will activate and give terrorists more reasons to fear as the United States Marine Corps establishes Marine Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) and joins the celebrated ranks of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).

USSOCOM’s mission is to plan, direct and execute special operations in the conduct of the War on Terrorism in order to disrupt, defeat, and destroy terrorist networks that threaten the United States, its citizens and interests worldwide.

It also organizes, trains and equips Special Operation Forces (SOF) provided to geographic combatant commanders, American ambassadors and their country teams.

Since USSOCOM’s creation in 1987, the Marine Corps has been an outside factor in helping it accomplish these missions.

Now having their own Special Forces component, Marines will directly support current SOF missions and begin new missions with different purposes.

The key tasks of MARSOC will be: direct action, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense, counterterrorism, information operations, and unconventional warfare.

According to the mission statement, MARSOC will train and provide a fully capable Marine Special Operation Force to USSOCOM for worldwide deployments to execute assigned missions. The MARSOC units will be capable of task organizing as scalable, tailorable and responsive special operations units from sea based platforms as well as from United States locations.

MARSOC Headquarters will be located at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., and consist of five subordinate elements:
The Foreign Military Training Unit (FMTU) will provide tailored military combat-skills training and advisor support for identified foreign forces as well as Marines and sailors and will assist friendly host-nation forces, including naval and maritime military and paramilitary forces, to enable them to support their governments’ internal security and stability, counter subversion, and reduce the risk of violence from internal and external threats.

The Marine Special Operations Support Group (MSOG) will provide combined arms planning and coordination, K-9 support, special operations communications support, comb at service support including logistics, and all-source intelligence fusion capability. 

Two Marine Special Operations Battalions (MSOB), one on each coast, will be organized, trained, and equipped to deploy for worldwide missions as directed by MARSOC. Each MSOB will consist of several Marine Special Operations Companies and be task-organized with personnel uniquely skilled in special equipment support, intelligence and fire-support.

As a major command, MARSOC will report directly to the Commandant of the Marine Corps for service matters and will be under the operational control of USSOCOM.

Elements of different units, including 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Anti-Terrorism), will transition into needed areas of MARSOC to give it a stronger foundation in its early years.
The leathernecks at MARSOC will continue the traditions of the  “The Few, The Proud” and  “America’s 911 force,” while interlocking into USSOCOM’s new paradigm of “Right Force, Right Place, Right Time, Right Adversary”, to help defeat the enemy anywhere, anytime.