During the early years of World War II, the United States Marine Corps Raider battalions became the first American elite units committed to battle the Axis. Though originally conceived as a counterpart to the British commandos, the Raiders proved to be much more, and like their English brethren, laid the groundwork for the future while carving out an illustrious list of accomplishments that earned it a hallowed place in military history.

Lieutenant Colonel Merritt "Mike" Edson
LTC Merritt “Mike” Edson

Born by order of President Franklin Roosevelt, the 1st and 2nd Raider Battalions were formed and activated on February 16, and 19, 1943, respectively, under control of two of the Corp’s most capable officers.

The 1st battalion came under command of Lieutenant Colonel Merritt “Mike” Edson, who decided to train his men from a more traditional standpoint and used basic Marine Corps doctrine as far as strategy, tactics and discipline mattered.

As for 2nd battalion’s commander, Lieutenant Evans Carlson, it was he who had been one of the officers that encouraged Roosevelt to green light the Raiders.