Marine Special Operations Regiment

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Marine security forces perform drill.
Sgt. Lance Naring, Close Quarters Battle instructor, Training Company, Marine Corps Security Forces Regiment, checks to see whether the door is locked as Lance Cpl. Isaac Saxton and Cpl. Robert Friddle provide cover during a breaching drill aboard the Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads, Northwest Annex, on Sept. 25, 2012. (Sgt. Scott McAdam/Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command)

The Marine Special Operations Regiment (MSOR) consists of a Headquarters Company and three Marine Special Operations Battalions (1st, 2d and 3d). The regiment provides custom military combat-skills training and adviser support for certain foreign forces to enhance their tactical capabilities and to prepare the environment as directed by USSOCOM. They also possess the capability to form the nucleus of a Joint Special Operations Task Force.

Marines and sailors of the MSOR train, advise and assist friendly host nation forces -- including naval and maritime military and paramilitary forces -- to enable them to support their governments' internal security and stability, to counter subversion and to reduce the risk of violence from internal and external threats. MSOR deployments are coordinated by MARSOC, through USSOCOM, in accordance with engagement priorities for Overseas Contingency Operations. MSOR was activated in 2007 and oversees three battalions: the first, second, and third Marine Special Operations battalions.

The 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion was activated on Oct. 26, 2006, and is headquartered at Camp Pendleton, California. 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion (1st MSOB) is organized, trained and equipped to deploy for worldwide missions as directed by MARSOC. It consists of four Marine Special Operations companies (MSOCs) of 15 men each and is task-organized with personnel uniquely skilled in reconnaissance, communications, special equipment support, intelligence and fire support.

The 2d Marine Special Operations Battalion activated May 15, 2006, and is headquartered at Camp Lejeune, N.C. The 2d MSOB is organized, trained and equipped to deploy for worldwide missions as directed by MARSOC. It consists of five Marine Special Operations companies (MSOCs) and is task-organized with personnel uniquely skilled in special equipment support, intelligence and fire-support. Each MSOC is commanded by a Marine major and capable of deploying task-organized expeditionary Special Operations Forces for conduct of special reconnaissance and direct action missions in support of the geographic combatant commanders.

The 3d Marine Special Operations Battalion (3d MSOB) trains, equips and deploys Marine Special Operations Forces for worldwide special operations missions as directed by the Marine Special Operations Regiment. The unit is based at Camp Lejeune.

The Marine Special Operations Regiment has roots in Marine Corps Special Operations Command Detachment One, a pilot program created to measure the viability of Marine special operations forces. Det One went active in 2003 and was composed of a 30-man reconnaissance element, a 29-man intelligence element, a seven-man fire element and a headquarters element. Marines that took part in the Det One pilot program were handpicked from more than 500 personal records, with the reconnaissance element composed entirely of Force Recon Marines.

Training and selection for members of the battalion begins with entering Assessment and Selection (A&S). Applicants are screened through their records, physical tests and psychological evaluation. The core of A&S is a three-week course that is held seven times a year and challenges applicants physically and mentally. Everyone passing this phase moves on to the individual training course (ITC).

This lasts for seven months and involves four phases that slowly begin to mimic actual combat conditions. After completion of ITC, Marines undergo language training and advanced training with their assigned battalion in special reconnaissance, close quarters battle, sniping, breaching and weapons employment.

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