The Marine Corps Special Forces is an arm of the United States Marine Corps responsible for special reconnaissance and counterterrorism. This unit is also referred to as the Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) and was created in the midst of the Iraq War. Personnel in this unit, who may be directly involved in foreign internal defense, are highly trained and under the direction of the MARSOC Commander and the MARSOC Sergeant Major. The Marine Corps Special Forces recruits promising Marines for its multi-stage training process.
MARSOC was created in 2005 as a reaction to the need for counterterrorism forces in the Middle East, and it deployed for the first time in August 2006. Special Forces personnel have been responsible for assisting American missions in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, and other nations. The headquarters for the command is Camp Pendleton in California. Additional training facilities and quarters are housed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
This military unit is tasked with assisting the United States military with direct action, counterterrorism, and reconnaissance. Direct action missions carried out by the Marine Corps Special Forces include engaging military assets and destroying pinpoint targets. Members of the the unit may be sent to terrorist havens to knock out communications systems and gain intelligence on terrorist cell movements. Reconnaissance missions cover everything from pre-strike geological layouts to post-strike damage assessments. Special Forces personnel may be also responsible for defending cities and regions occupied by the United States military from counterattacks.
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The chain of command for MARSOC starts with the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) which assigns the MARSOC commander to oversee training and mission execution for the group’s three battalions. The MARSOC Sergeant Major oversees enlisted and non-commissioned personnel within the unit. The Inspector General is assigned to investigate any wrongdoing or illegal behavior within the command.
The training process for a member of the unit begins with a rigorous assessment and selection process. A prospective member is given psychological and physical testing to determine the trainee's threshold for stress. The seven-month training program features courses in demolitions, marksmanship, and communications systems. Mission planning and foreign languages also form part of the curriculum. Upon completion of this training program, a member of this Marine component participates in drills and simulations for 18 months before entering combat areas.