Intro: The purpose of this article is to shed a little light on the linear heritage line of MARSOC as the newest and youngest component of SOCOM. The original spark of inspiration for this piece came to me in a small bar called the “Public House” in La Jolla, California, just north of San Diego. I was on a mission to put back as many free imported beers as possible because Jeff Scholz, the owner of Visual Unrest Apparel, was graciously picking up the tab. In the mix with some MARSOC team guys, the conversation was laced with crude humor, blunt talk and booze. The topic: MARSOC is thinking about developing a device for CSOs (Critical Skills Operators-0372) to wear that would rival the show-stopping effect of the SEALs Special Warfare insignia, which, in my opinion, is the greatest recruiting tool ever, next to the 1917 Navy Recruiting Poster by artist Howard Chandler Christy.

MARSOC, Afghanistan 2010
MARSOC, Afghanistan 2010

This is how we arrive to the subject of this article, MARSOC and its association to the legendary Marine Raiders of Merritt Edson and Evans Carlson. Make no mistake; I hold three things very near and dear to my heart. My Velcro Raider patch from my time with MSOT 8222 is one of them, the others being my little girl and a pink shower towel that was given to me as a joke from my fellow team member GySgt. Robert Gilbert (DOW March 16, 2010).

In order to understand where the MARSOC/Raider heritage is today, we must state the facts and place them in the modern Marine Corps atmosphere of today.


Back-story: For the sake of argument and to keep this article to a digestible length let’s assume we all have a relatively good grasp of the units that lead up to the formation and unfurling of the MARSOC colors. Born in the belly of Southeast Asia under the banner of “Raiders”, Battalion Recon, Marine Reconnaissance; Force Recon in the jungles of Vietnam/Cambodia to the short-lived and milestone achievements of DET-1 in Iraq.

Afghan's "Raiders"
Afghan’s “Raiders”

Current Command: I understand both positions here. MARSOC is a new creation unto its self and wants to generate a new line of modern warriors in the SOCOM family. I get it. No matter how deep the Raider/Recon heritage roots goes, MARSOC does not want to bring along the politics and infighting that comes from a bloodline that started in 1942 (USSOCOM was formed in 1987).  I understand that MARSOC wants to start a fresh; but the Marine in me wants an official recognition of the heritage. MARSOC was created on the back of the Marine Reconnaissance community which derived its core warrior ethos from the Raiders legacy. In this “political correct” world we live in, I realize that we can’t have an elite military force operating around the globe called “the Raiders”. I personally have no problem with this but I know for a fact the protected huddled masses out there will have a conniption fit over it, guaranteed. The world is a different place from 1942 or is it? Gear, weapons and mission change yes. But the warrior spirit of Patriots does not.

The personnel that first manned the ranks of MARSOC was an overnight free-for-all grab from Force Recon. The Marines and Sailors were assembled into formation outside of 2nd Force as the command rolled up the colors from 2nd Force Recon and then unfurled the one for 2nd MSOB (Marine Special Operations Battalion). SOCOM waved its magic wand and BOOM! You just went from Marine Recon to SOCOM Special Operations. Do you feel any different?

2d-msob_logoFact 1: MSOB unit logos are taken directly from the Raider patch e.g. shield, southern cross star formation, the color blue signifying amphibious capabilities and the bright red color of warrior’s blood shed. The dagger is symbolic of U.S. Special Operations, a throwback to Cloak and Daggers days.