A decade after the Marine Corps stood up its new special operations command, Marine Raiders are helping lead the charge against the Islamic State group, training local troops across the African continent and quietly conducting missions across the Asia-Pacific region.
Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command activated on Feb. 24, 2006, to lend the Corps’ muscle to U.S. Special Forces Command as it took on expanded operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond.
Beginning as a fledgling force drawn from two Marine force reconnaissance companies, MARSOC expanded to three special operations battalions — each with its own support battalion — aligned with Africa, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.
“MARSOC has grown into a mature Special Operations Forces organization over the last 10 years and is on a sustainable operations path,” Maj. Gen. Joseph Osterman said in a release. “We are Marines first and bring the strong Marine ethos of honor, courage and commitment to special operations.”
A staff sergeant and CSO with 1st Raider Battalion who requested anonymity, citing security concerns, told Marine Corps Times that in his experience over the last 10 years, that it is the tight-knit camaraderie that has driven MARSOC’s success.
“I look back at everything and am humbled and honored to walk beside and serve beside my heroes every day,” he said. “Just living and breathing and sweating and gun fighting beside guys like that … they just work in the shadows, that’s all they want and they care about their brothers.”
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