MARSOC evolving into Marine Raiders might have been the greatest asymmetrical operation in the history of MARSOC. Half kidding, but it was a long road filled with lots of conflict along the way. In typical Marine fashion, the USMC was stubborn, and MARSOC (Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command) used the tools they had to accomplish the mission.

Before we go forward discussing the name change, it would be unjust if I fail to mention how we got to this point.

In 2003, the Marine Corps established a pilot program called Marine Corps Detachment One to assess our capability to operate in the special operations space. It was disbanded in 2006 and was succeeded by MARSOC. In 2006, 1st and 2nd Force Reconnaissance Companies cased their colors and became 1st and 2nd Marine Special Operations Bn, now 1st and 2nd Marine Raider Bn.


Marines began to connect with the Raider lineage as you can see in Det One’s logo below, and almost immediately upon MARSOC’s establishment, Marines connected those dots as well. That connection was further established with the World War II Raider Association, based on MARSOC critical skills operators calling themselves Raiders and wearing the patch. The association actually sent a bunch of the iconic Raider patches to 1st and 2nd Raider Bn Marines while they were deployed in Afghanistan.


“The military in general derives it names and traditions from our predecessors. We are finally paying homage to the men who paved a path for us in the past and for all of special operations. We can now honor them and continue to set the standard for special operations to come.” —Marine Raider

The name change to identify MARSOC Marines as Raiders was not publicly supported by the United States Marine Corps. That’s because there is no special units within the Marine Corps. A Marine is already special. Ironically enough, this is essentially the reason why the original Raider battalions were disbanded in 1944. But thanks to the continual support from the WWII Raider Association and the majority of the MARSOC command, we were granted the honor of carrying on the Raider lineage within special operations.