The 1st Reconnaissance Battalion was voted the fittest unit in the entire Marine Corps.
To achieve this honor, the 1st Recon Marines had to beat not only the other Recon battalions but also the Marine Raider units.
This is the second year that the Marine Corps is holding this competition. To win, a unit must have the highest combined average of the Combat Fitness Test (CFT) and Physical Fitness Test (PFT).
The 1st Recon Marines achieved a combined average score of 551 points out of the 600 points possible.
The Reconnaissance community as a whole seems to be the fittest in the Marine Corps. According to the Marine Corps Times, the 3rd Recon Battalion came second, with a combined average score of 543, and the 2nd Recon Battalion came third, with a combined average score of 542. The fourth and fifth spots were taken by two Marine Embassy Security Guard (MESG) units.
Unsurprisingly, the award for the victor was a hammer similar to that of Thor, the Scandinavian deity.
Captain Samuel Stephenson, a Marine Corps spokesperson, said that “We wanted this award to be different and stand out amongst others that a unit may have on display. The award needed to highlight strength and fitness while also capturing the warrior ethos of Marines,” he added. “The legend of Thor’s power and warrior spirit is legendary and his hammer being the most iconic object from Norse mythology made it the perfect choice for this award.”
To become a Recon Marine, a candidate must first pass the grueling Basic Reconnaissance Course (BRC). The 12-week-long BRC has an attrition rate of over 50 percent and consequently is considered one of the toughest Special Operations selections programs in the military.
Additional attrition takes place even before BRC begins. Candidates must first complete the Basic Reconnaissance Primer Course (BRPC) before they are eligible to advance to BRC. The five-week-long BRPC was put in place to prepare candidates for the physical and mental rigors of the main course. That, however, doesn’t make it easy. In fact, this is where the bulk of the attrition in the Recon pipeline takes place.
Last November, a female Marine became the first woman to ever pass BRC. She is currently in the pipeline.
Although Reconnaissance Marines are widely considered to be Special Operations, they don’t fall under the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC). Instead, they are assigned to each Marine division to provide an organic Special Operations-capable reconnaissance element.