Editor’s note: This article was originally published on June 6, 2018. It is being republished due to the recent news that the Marine Corps has once again decided to boost their corporate image by honoring a bulldog, Sgt. Chesty XIV, with a retirement ceremony while continuing to ignore requests to award the affected men of MARSOC Fox Company with the Marine Special Operators Breast Insignia that they deserve.
Word came back from Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC) that they will not approve the affected members of the MARSOC 7 to wear the Marine Special Operators Breast Insignia (MSOI) at this time. Their decision is based on a series of Marine Administrative Messages (MARADMIN) spanning from 2011-2016, although most of the MARSOC 7 had either voluntarily left active duty by this point or been forced out. Those MARADMINS cover the initial lateral move opportunity for MARSOC Critical Skills Operators (CSO) as a primary military occupational specialty (MOS) of 0372, requirements for a selection panel for Special Operations Officer MOS of 0370, and guidance on wearing the insignia.
The men of Fox Company were the pioneers of modern Raiders yet the MARSOC 7 are not authorized to wear the insignia because they didn’t follow an administrative process. On one side, the rules are the rules. I get that. On the other, the Marine Corps is an organization that prides itself on looking out for the well-being of their own. The MARSOC 7 had their careers and lives ruined while the Marine Corps virtually stood by and allowed it to happen by their apparent lack of support in clearing their names.
When the Marine Corps chooses to, it can move mountains to make things happen. It can break protocol. The Commandant made time to recognize Chuck Norris an honorary Marine, but they can’t make time to personally respond to a Congressman on the matter of the MARSOC 7. It can promote a bulldog to a new rank in a formal ceremony at 8th & I in Washington DC. But when they could publicly show support for seven Marines who had their lives shaken, HQMC opts to take the easy road and point to some MARADMINS as if their hands are tied. After three months since the initial inquiry into the process, the best the offices at HQMC can do is indicate that the MARSOC 7 need only to follow the formal application process to be considered for approval or disapproval of wearing the MSOI – except that has already been done with no progress in sight.