View Full Version : Recon leads the way on paths to MarSOC

11-08-05, 05:42 PM
Recon leads the way on paths to MarSOC

By Christian Lowe
Times staff writer

The Corps hasn't figured out who will get to join its new spec-ops unit or what experience will qualify a Marine for that kind of action, but it's pretty clear what types of job skills the new MarSOC will require.

So if you want to grow a beard and go high-tailing around some desert hellhole on a four-wheeler with the rest of the special operators, there are a few ways you can get yourself onto the Corps' radar.

But being spec ops means more than just "grab snake, bite head, chew, repeat."

Here are a few places where you can build your skills:

Go recon

The Marine Corps can't seem to get enough of them - or even keep the ones they've got - but if you're an infantryman who's not afraid of a little cold water and a lot of hard work, this is a good place to start.

You'll have to pass a grueling indoctrination course before being assigned to a recon training school. The MarSOC will need plenty of these types of Marines to fill out the ranks of its Marine Expeditionary Unit Special Operations Group direct-action battalions.

Call for fire

It may be called the Marine Special Operations Support Unit, but there's nothing low-speed about it. The group will need Marines who are experts in calling for artillery, naval gunfire and close-air support and can hang with the baddest of the spec-ops world. You'd better like to live in the dirt, get a kick out of meeting people who don't speak English and be able to keep it short on the radio. Communications technicians, air delivery specialists and artillery fire support men have a leg up. If you're good with a map, duty with an Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company might be the right place for you - and a good way into MarSOC.

Get smart

It's not the exotic life of James Bond, but if you're smart, pick up languages easily and have a clean background, intelligence might be your ticket into the Corps' new SOCom group. They're going to need interrogators, counterintelligence specialists and human exploitation teams to fill the ranks. The Corps has been trying to entice leathernecks into the intel community for years, boosting re-enlistment bonuses to as much as $40,000 for first term re-enlistees this year. So you can not only get into some high-speed action on the job, but you'll get paid for it too. When it comes to getting into the counter-intel and human intel communities, you have to do a lateral move into those military occupational specialties as a corporal or sergeant. You have to be a male and make 110 or better on your military composite score.

Go boom

The new spec-ops units are going to need Marines who can deal with booby traps and dirty nukes. If you have a knack for dismantling things like alarm clocks and cell phones, then becoming an explosive ordnance disposal technician might be the best way for you to join the Corps' first commando unit. This is another one of those job fields that the Corps is having a hard time filling. You can't join the bomb defusers right off the bat; you have to lateral move in. But if you do and you're a junior noncommissioned officer, you could get a bonus of up to $40,000 to sign on.

Tune in

You can expect the new Marine unit to deal with some of the highest of high-tech communications gear in the U.S. arsenal. These units will need to talk to headquarters from all corners of the earth - on land, at sea and in the air. Satellite communications, high frequency radios, encrypted transmissions - if you're a whiz with gadgets and electronics, then get into the communications field. If you do, you might have a good chance of finding yourself assigned to the Corps' new cadre. This is yet another job field the Corps is short on. So if you're willing to stay in comms, the service may be offering up some bonus cash for you, too.