Infantry: March 17, 2003

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Last year, the U.S. Marine Corps announced the formation of commando units, recruited from their elite Force Recon battalions. Force Recon are basically long range reconnaissance troops (LRRPs) and have served well for over three decades. The marines did not place any of their Force Recon units under SOCOM (Special Operations Command) control in the late 1980s when SOCOM was formed. But now, with the greater popularity of commando type troops, the marines want in. The navy (which the marines belong to) and SOCOM are now having second thoughts. The problem is duplication of effort. SOCOM already has commandos (SEALs and Delta Force), and the Special Forces are well trained for the LRRP function (and much else besides.) Not wanting to see the marines waste their time, it's been suggested that the new marine force instead train to act as seagoing Rangers. The current Ranger force (three army light infantry battalions) are trained for commando type jobs that require more manpower. The marines could have platoons or companies of their elite troops at sea and available to reinforce, or rescue, smaller SEAL, Delta Force or Special Forces teams that get in trouble, or simply reinforce them as needed. In other words, SOCOM could use an elite force somewhere between commandos and Rangers in numbers and capability. The marines have not yet responded publicly to any of this. But if SOCOM doesn't take them, the marines will be stuck with an expensive commando unit they may not have much use for. 

 


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