Since its activation in June of 1957, the United States Marine Corps Force Recon has served as one of the elite units in the special operations community. The idea for Force Recon was inspired by the Marine Amphibious Recon Units of World War II, which worked alongside the Navy Combat Demolitions Teams (the predecessors to the US Navy SEALs) to scout landing beaches hours before the main forces assaulted the beachhead. The idea of the Force Recon became a reality during the 1950s, in which General Lemuel Shepherd created a unit to test the various non-conventional warfare techniques utilized by the Recon today.
Force Recon Marines undergo a constant and arduous training regimen, even after they’ve completed their initial training course. In order to qualify for Force Recon, candidates must complete an extensive list of training courses that includes reconnaissance school, SERE school (survival, evasion, resistance, escape), combat diving school, airborne school, and free fall courses. After graduating from these courses, Marines must continue to hone their skills by attending advanced specialized courses in their assigned area of expertise (ie. scout sniper school or laser operators course).
As a result of their extensive training and experience, Force Recon units are capable of carrying out a variety of missions. Their missions are broken down into two main categories: green operations and black ops.
As hinted in their title, Force Recon Marines are capable of conducting long-range reconnaissance in any environment. These ‘green’ operations rely on the stealth of these small, versatile units. If their position is given away, then their mission has failed.
Black operations incorporate Direct Action tactics, which allow active engagement of the enemy. During these operations, Force Recon Marines are able to strike the enemy with a devastating blow and then swiftly exfiltrate the target area. Since these mission profiles are more direct, the Recon units often have access to support units such as artillery and close air support.
The Marine Force Recon units are among the most highly trained and deadly military units in the world. So elite is the unit that only several hundred active servicemen fill its ranks. Wherever their mission takes them, they always stay true to their motto: “Swift, Silent, Deadly.”