View Full Version : Corps' first elite group to be Pendleton-based

12-29-02, 10:22 AM
By Jeanette Steele

December 19, 2002

The Marine Corps' first special operations unit, an experimental, 86-person group born out of the war against terrorism, will be based at Camp Pendleton and deploy with Navy SEALs from Coronado, Marine officials said yesterday.

The hand-picked unit the Marines' tentative entry into elite special operations will begin training in June and ship out in April 2004, said Lt. Col. Giles Kyser, head of the Corps' air-ground task force special operations section at the Pentagon.

Called the Marine Corps Special Operations Command Detachment, the unit emerged from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Kyser said. The Marine commandant, Gen. James Jones, felt the Corps would be required to work in new ways to hunt down terrorist threats, like it did as the first conventional ground force in the war in Afghanistan.

Jones formed the unit as a two-year pilot project to test the concept of Marines serving with units under the U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, Fla.

"The events of Operation Enduring Freedom showed there's a greater potential for Marine Corps and special operations forces units to be working together," Kyser said. "We're conducting the kind of offensive operations where operational security and forward deployment make a big difference. That's a natural marriage between naval expeditionary forces and the Special Operations Command."

If it succeeds, the Camp Pendleton-based contingent could be expanded or duplicated, Kyser said.

Lt. Col. Bob Coates, head of the Special Operations Training Group at Camp Pendleton, will lead the force. He couldn't be reached for comment yesterday, and base officials referred questions to the Pentagon.

Drawing from existing Marine specialties, the detachment will include 22 people in a headquarters element, 30 reconnaissance Marines, 28 intelligence operatives and a six-person team to provide firepower.

It will be trained to conduct four types of missions: special reconnaissance, such as scouting the enemy; short combat strikes; internal defense of foreign nations; and support of international coalitions.

The unit's missions will be like those performed by other special operations units, such as the SEALs and the Army's Green Berets, Kyser said.

Marine officials are screening applications from throughout the Corps to fill the team. Kyser said "an awful lot of people" have applied for what will undoubtedly be a prize job title in the Marine Corps, which already prides itself on being "America's 911 force."

The Camp Pendleton detachment will work together from June to October, then join the SEALs at the Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado for joint training.

The Marine unit will deploy with the SEALs under the Navy command's authority for six-month periods, Kyser said. Camp Pendleton was chosen for the program because of its closeness to the SEAL base.

It's a momentous step for the Marine Corps, which didn't participate in the U.S. Special Operations Command when it was formed in 1987 as the Cold War ended.

The Marines didn't have the manpower to contribute then, and instead added a "special operations capable" training program to its Marine Expeditionary Units, which deploy around the world. At nearly 173,000 personnel, the Marine Corps is the smallest military service.

"Special operations forces are doing things all over the world right now," Kyser said. "It is the right thing to do for each of the services to step forward with what they can to assist them."



12-29-02, 11:26 PM
All i can say is WOW

12-30-02, 06:20 PM

12-30-02, 07:27 PM
I think that they are only taking marines form 1st Force!

12-30-02, 08:28 PM
WHAT! They don't need any rotorheads!

mpc8541, keep us up to date bro! ;)

01-01-03, 06:03 PM
Another "elite force"?

Don't get me wrong, I respect them but---.
It all seems like a one-up-manship game with the army and navy.

I think that the creation of these elite units is somewhat devisive.
It has always been a pis*ing contest about MOS's. Leave it there.
Just assign the new unit a new MOS.

Marines are basic riflemen first, then a specialist in what they are trained to be used for.

I believe that history shows us that the name MARINE is all that really needs to be said of any unit. They just have a new task.

Semper Fi

Art Petersn
01-01-03, 06:26 PM

I couldn't agree with you more.