Life in Force is has a similar structure to Recon Battalion in that your life is basically broken into phases.
This is the time period where a Force platoon is put together and all of the billets and slots are filled. As guys rotate back from deployments, they get shifted around to make sure that the experience is spread throughout the unit. Many more experienced operators from Recon Battalion come over to further their training and pick up the DA mission.
Once the platoon reaches an operational level, they start training as a newly formed unit. The majority of the operators are experienced Recon Marines (whether from Force or Battalion), so training is quickly at the “run” pace. Listed below are some of the missions that Force Recon Marines train on.
- Deep Reconnaissance
- Direct Action
- Raids and Ambushes
- HVT Hits
- GOPLAT Operations
The teams also need to be able to get to “work”. Here are some of the insertion/extraction techniques utilized by Force:
- Static Line Parachute Insert
- HALO (High Altitude/Low Opening) Parachute Insert
- HAHO (High Altitude/High Opening) Static Line Parachute Insert
- CRRC (Combat Rubber Raiding Craft aka Zodiac) Inserts
- Helo Casting (Soft Duck when Zodiac is used)
- Water Landing Parachute Insert (Rubber Duck when Zodiac is used)
- Over the Horizon CRRC Inserts
- SPIE Rigging
- Fast Roping
- Closed Circuit Diving (Rebreather)
The vast majority of Force Operators already have their basic schools out of the way (Amphib Recon, Jump, Dive, SERE), so the Force schools phase is concentrated on more advanced schooling. Here are some of the schools that Force guys go through.
- Explosive Breacher Course
- MFF (Military Freefall)
- Advanced Breacher Course
- Dive Supervisor
- Jump Master
This phase is where the Force platoon fine tunes its CQB skill set. The package is approximately 6 weeks long and guys shoot about 1000 rounds a day between secondary and primary weapon systems. This is the phase where the Recon Marine becomes a “shooter”.
During this phase, the platoon is officially “chopped” to the MEU to start work ups towards deployment, whether that be a Float or combat deployment. The Forec platoons conduct training missions that mimic what they will be tasked with during the actual deployment and operate within the larger MEU structure.
Deployments for Force Platoons vary greatly. Some platoons are tasked to float with the MEU, which is usually a 6 month trip on a naval ship. A float can turn out to be great fun stopping at lots of distant foreign ports, or you can end up operating in the newest hot spot. Other platoons are rotated into combat deployments within the current AOs.
Rinse … Repeat
A lot of operators spend their careers moving back and forth between Recon Battalion and Force as they move up in rank and experience and where they’re needed. Whatever Reconnaissance unit that they’re assigned to, they can count on a high OpTempo and deployment schedule and a ton of training.
Like I said in the opening, Force is what most people think of when they hear Recon Marine. Being assigned to a Force platoon is a good life. Constant training, constant deployments, and don’t worry– lots of fun.