On this day: October 6th

First MARSOC Individual Training Course Begins — 2008

After standing up the Marine Corps’ first special operations unit in 2006, the USMC’s Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) was mired in controversy after an incident in Afghanistan where the unit was accused of killing civilians in a firefight. The situation was discussed in detail on two episodes of SOFREP Radio.

Announced on November 23, 2005 by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, MARSOC was officially activated in 2006. The unit was originally composed mostly of Force Recon Marines, and had its first deployment in 2007 to Afghanistan.

A formalized training course to produce MARSOC operators, known as Critical Skill Operators, started on October 6th, 2008. “The Individual Training Course (ITC) is a physically and mentally challenging 7-month course designed to produce Critical Skills Operators who can operate across the spectrum of special operations in small teams under spartan conditions. ITC uses a building block approach; the training rigor will systematically increase to mimic the complexity and stresses of combat.”

ITC consists of four training phases.

Phase 1
Phase 1 trains and evaluates students in the basic skill sets required of all special operators. Physical fitness, swimming and hand-to-hand combat are stressed in a PT program designed around endurance, functional fitness and amphibious training. This physical training program will continue throughout the course and has been designed to prepare the student for the unique demands of special operations. Field skills including: navigation, patrolling, Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE), Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC). Mission planning, fire support training and communications round out the first phase.

Phase 2

Phase 2 builds upon the foundation of Phase 1, training the student in small boat and scout swimmer operations, crew served weapons, demolitions, photography and information collection and reporting. Students will be evaluated in two Full Mission Profile exercises “Operation Raider Spirit”, a 2 week exercise focused on patrolling and combat operations, and “Operation Stingray Fury” focused on urban and rural reconnaissance

Phase 3

Student will be trained in rifle and pistol combat marksmanship and will then learn the tactics, techniques and procedures needed to serve as a member of a Marine Special Operations Team during assault operations. This Phase culminates in a series of full mission profile precision raids on rural and urban objectives during “Operation Guile Strike.”

Phase 4

In the final phase, students will receive instruction on Irregular Warfare operations. The course culminates with “Operation Derna Bridge.” Derna Bridge will require the student to use all of the skills mastered throughout the course while training, advising and operating with a Partner Nation / Irregular force. Newly graduated Marine special operators will be assigned to one of the three Marine Special Operations Battalions.”

MARSOC now consists of thousands of personnel and has three special operations battalions each regionally aligned with a unique area of the world.

Featured image courtesy of USMC