The only things those people have that you don’t is guts. Do you wanna live forever?
— Col Merritt A. “Red Mike” Edson
The Marine Raiders were established to operate behind enemy lines during World War II. They specialized in amphibious warfare in the cover of darkness. The Raider concept was born in the early days of World War II when America was perilously weak and needed forces that could harass and slow down a stronger enemy. The President wanted an American version of the British Commandos and recognized a need for what would become the Raiders. The Marine Corps was the natural place for this organization. The Raiders were given the best of the Marines’ equipment, and were handpicked from available volunteers.
From the beginning Marine recruits are isolated from all civilian influence during the lengthy 13 week boot camp instilling in them that they have entered a closed off and exclusive society. From the time of the Spartans, isolating a soldier from society and making him believe that he suffers more is a valuable tool. Adding a lack of reward and increased expectations compared to ordinary men creates a powerful bonding experience. The harsh training and constant reminder that ‘you volunteered for this‘ instilled an intense desire to endure the worst and to achieve the impossible just to prove it can be done. While most Marines have enlisted out of patriotism, loyalty soon took on an entirely different meaning – a brotherhood was formed. The men of the 1st Raider Battalion and future battalions created later in the war were products of this loyalty and brotherhood. Their bond was knowing that they were the elite of the elite, and that they have suffered and endured more than should be expected of a war fighter.