The Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC) celebrated its 13th anniversary on February 21st with a ceremony at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Notables from across the Special Operations community and the United States Marine Corps attended the event, including Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. Ronald Green.

“Marine Raiders continue to make impressive contributions to SOCOM’s efforts around the world,” said General Neller. “I am sure their WWII Raider predecessors would be as proud of them as we are today. On this 13th anniversary, we cannot forget to pause and honor those MARSOC Marines who have given their last final measure, too.”

Since MARSOC’s activation in 2006, Marine Raiders have earned over 300 awards for valor on the battlefield. Recently, a Marine Raider received the Silver Star, the nation’s third-highest award for bravery under fire, for single-handedly stopping an Islamic State (ISIS) Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) that was speeding toward his team in Iraq.

On behalf of MARSOC, Maj. Gen. Daniel Yoo, MARSOC’s commander, said, “Honoring our fallen and upholding their legacies are central virtues within MARSOC.”

“We saw that spirit in the Marines that are forward deployed,” added Major General Yoo. “We are in sustained combat. Today is about taking a pause to celebrate our past accomplishments and remember and honor those who have gone before.”

On a side note, MARSOC adopted the title Raider for its Marines only in 2015. The title pays tribute to the Marine Raiders who fought against the Japanese in the Pacific Theater during the Second World War. The title, however, seemed controversial to some, as if war-fighters aren’t recruited, trained, and equipped to defeat the nation’s enemies and like to have aggressive titles. That is why it took so long for the title to be officially adopted. The unit’s motto is “Spiritus Invictus,” which is Latin for “Unconquerable Spirit.”

MARSOC is the latest addition to the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). The command is comprised of three Marine Raider Battalions (MRBs), with each battalion containing four Marine Special Operations Companies (MSOCs), with each MSOC having four Marine Special Operations Teams (MSOTs). The reason that the Marine Corps’ leadership resisted for so long to create a dedicated special operations command lies in the Corps’ culture, which holds that every Marine is special and thus, there isn’t need for a spec ops command.