Skip to comments.Marines do it their own way
Posted on 09/30/2001 2:28:55 PM PDT by kattracks
A different approach to special forces A Marine awaits orders during urban war training exercises last week at Camp Pendleton, California. By Sue Lackey
Sept. 30 For the average Marine, it is both amusing and a bit galling to hear all the talk about special forces and their capabilities. For while the Army, Navy and Air Force have created Special Operations Commands with a unique structure, the Marine Corps has taken its basic forward deployed unit the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and trained every one in special operations tactics.
THE FAMED Delta Force is often celebrated as the nations most elite special operations team, but its position as a member of the the Armys Joint Special Operations Command gives it a narrow focus restricted to counterterrorism and hostage rescue. In contrast, each MEU must be qualified in 18 separate mission areas, including counter terrorism. This broad focus in training and qualifications makes the Marine unit more versatile than any other services special operations forces.
Gen. Alfred M. Gray, who served as Commandant of the Marine Corps in the early 1980s, helped create the Joint Special Operations Command. But while the command often requests Marines to flesh out its capability, the Corps is the only service which has refused to join the command at an organizational level. It goes against the reason the Marine Corps was developed, says a Marine officer who is a special operations specialist. It would have forced the Corps to focus on one mission, when the nation needed an amphibious force for forcible entry, with much broader capabilities.
Under a recent reform of the system, traditional special operations forces forces are assigned to specific theater Commanders in Chief for instance, the Commander in Chief, Europe or the Commander in Chief, Southern Command, which handles Latin America. East of these commands have units with specific specialties, and depend on that regional commander for support. MEUs, however, an amphibious force that can be deployed at will to any theater. Their floating base of operations gives them the ability to sustain a mission longer than other special operations forces, which are traditionally used for short term insertions, or in the case of the Green Berets, specific insurgency training missions.
The true strength of the MEUs lie in their ability to augment their forces with air and ground combat elements and combat service support. This means any given unit can call in tanks, amphibious assault vehicles, and fixed wing aircraft all of which are part of standard MEU order of battle. Other special operations forces must rely on conventional service support when additional forces are needed.
A perfect example of this versatility was in the 1983 Grenada invasion, where Army special forces were inserted to extract U.S. Embassy staff. The team was able to reach their target, but were then bottled up inside the embassy and unable to get out through enemy troops. The JSOC team then called for Marine support. An MEU which had been diverted to Grenada broke through with tanks and armored vehicles to extract their colleagues and the embassy personnel they had rescued.
The way in which special operations training has been integrated into the basic structure of the Corps has changed the capabilities of the Corps as a whole. The other military services are large enough to allow their SF units to function in some degree of separation. Because the Marine Corps is so small in numbers, its SOC qualified personnel rotate on duty throughout the Corps, which has enhanced the overall quality of training and identification with special operations forces. Most of these men have now percolated to the top of the command structure. Its been in place so long now that a lot of the flag officers grew up with this-theyre Al Grays boys, said one Marine special operations veteran. Thats what you do not get in the other special forces, because they tend to stay in their own areas. When they do go into other units to further their careers, they have problems integrating within the conventional forces and its military bureaucracy. They dont do well as staff officers; they want to go back to their unit.
That lack of experienced special forces officers at high levels to give special forces a voice allows other branches of the conventional forces to marginalize the effectiveness of special operations in budget battles and mission planning a situation the Marine Corps has managed to avoid.
Gray was Commandant from July 1987 through June of 1991.
The Marines who rescued Scott O'Grady in June of 1995 were run of the mill grunts and wingers doing what they've all been trained to do and practice on a regular basis. America gets the most bang for it's defense dollar with the Corps. A hearty Semper Fi to all my fellow Devil Dogs past and present around the globe.
Perhaps the Marine Medal of Honor recipient I admire most is General Merritt "Red Mike" Edson, his Medal of Honor won at Edson's Ridge on Guadalcanal. "Red Mike" Edson was on track to be Commandant of the Corps but left active duty to achieve two things - the independence of the Corps and that Second Amendment powerhouse and defender of our liberties, the modern National Rifle Association of America. Before Past President Merritt Edson the National Rifle Association was only an association of shooting clubs.
America can always count on the Marines.
Thanks for this post!
But it's time to drop it. We're all in the same boat, and we have a common mission to eradicate the threat to our nation and its people. It's going to take the skills and capabilities of everyone, from the cop on the beat and the firefighter on the truck, to the FBI and intelligence services, to every single member of our armed forces, regular and reserve.
I don't think we really, truly understand the scope of what we are facing. The terrorists' numbers might be small in absolute terms, but they are spread out and dug in across two-thirds of the northern hemisphere.
We're going to need all the tools we have at our disposal, both on the frontlines and on the homefront, to get through this thing.
God Bless President George W. Bush, and God Save the United States of America.
Hogwash. It's long past time that America knows that one branch of the military didn't succumb to that Commie Clinton and his gang of fellow lefties on the Hill who have attempted and in some cases succeeded in weakening the United States and it's ability to defend itself. America doesn't need a Marine Corps. America wants a Marine Corps. Because of this trust the taxpayer deserves to know that there are 170,000+ warriors who take the extraordinary and make it ordinary. Our sister services as well as the average citizen would be well served to follow the Corps' lead, although history has shown that they have been reluctant and unwilling to do so in the past.
|Symbol of Marine Corps Resolve|
| A Marine Corps flag stands watch as a silent sentinel of the recent destruction at the Pentagon.
Submitted by: 13th MEU
13th MEU Deployment
Aboard the USS Tarawa (LHA-1), a 21-gun salute is fired in
honor of the Marines and Sailors who paid the ultimate sacrifice during
the assault on Tarawa in November 1943. The ceremony was one of two
conducted Aug. 29, by 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations
Capable) and ships of Tarawa Amphibious Ready Group, and the force
steamed past the Tarawa Atoll. The 13th MEU(SOC) is currently on a
six-month deployment to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf.
If you have a kid wanting to enlist - go Marine Corp. the level of seriousness they have for their craft is remarkable and it starts with their education in warfare - my husband is a mini-expert on nearly every battle because of the Marines and their determination never to "reinvent" the wheel but go forward with their objective. They might be "jarheads" but the jar is full of intellect.
Two weeks ago we attended the MCRD graduation in San Diego and I am happy to report that those boys have become men.
Calling in a few friends..:))
Nobody is going to do that to America and live.
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