By Debbie Gregory.
The Raiders are back, and no, we’re not referring to the NFL team. An elite branch of the U.S. Marine Corps will officially be known as Raiders, resurrecting a name made famous by World War II units that carried out risky amphibious and guerrilla operations.
An official flagging ceremony to rename Marine special operations battalions in honor of their World War II predecessors took place on June 19th. The ceremony came ten months after the command first announced its plan to change the names of Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command’s (MARSOC) component units to reflect their history.
The name will give a unique identity to the Marines’ branch of U.S. Special Operations Command, like their special forces counterparts, the Green Berets and the SEALs. The formal names of eight units comprising some 2,700 Marines, including nearly 1,000 critical skills operators, will include “Marine Raider.”
Special operations Marines carry out raids on insurgents or terrorists, conduct deep reconnaissance and train foreign military — similar to their special operations counterparts in other branches. Raiders must pass a selection process that includes grueling swims and hikes, as well as specialized combat training.
The following units are part of the change:
- Marine Special Operations Regiment becomes Marine Raider Regiment.
- 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion becomes 1st Marine Raider Battalion.
- 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion becomes 2nd Marine Raider Battalion.
- 3rd Marine Special Operations Battalion becomes 3rd Marine Raider Battalion.
- Marine Special Operations Support Group becomes Marine Raider Support Group.
- 1st Marine Special Operations Support Battalion becomes 1st Marine Raider Support Battalion.
- 2nd Marine Special Operations Support Battalion becomes 2nd Marine Raider Support Battalion.
- 3rd Marine Special Operations Support Battalion becomes 3rd Marine Raider Support Battalion.
“MARSOC unit emblems will continue to use the existing blue Raider shield with Southern Cross, tying us into the Raider’s rich legacy and heritage, but we will not use the Raider skull, as the legacy of the skull belongs to the Raiders of WWII,” said Capt. Barry Morris, a MARSOC spokesman.
The Southern Cross stars represent the constellation under which WWII Marines fought at Guadalcanal.
“United States Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command is proud and honored to adopt the name Marine Raider, carrying on the rich heritage and legacy passed along to us by the Raiders of World War II,” MARSOC’s commander, Maj. Gen. Joseph Osterman, said in a statement.
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The Green Berets, the SEALs, and Now, the Raiders: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory