First Ever MARSOC Individual Traning Course Culminates

Marines Special Operations Command PAO

Story by Cpl. Richard Blumenstein
Date: 05.04.2009
Posted: 05.04.2009 12:13

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – Fifty Marines graduated from the first ever U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, Individual Training Course and earned the title Marine special operator during a graduation ceremony April 22, at Stone Bay here.

The ceremony marked a historic event for the Marine Corps and the special operations community, as these Marines will circulate into MARSOC and set a precedent for future generations of Marine operators and their role in special operations.

ITC is designed to prepare Marines to conduct special operations missions in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Marines attend the course after they pass the Assessment and Selection process.

MARSOC began developing the course shortly after the Marine Corps officially joined the ranks of U.S. Special Operations Command on Feb. 24, 2006. The course follows guidelines set after the Secretary of Defense approved a joint recommendation by USSOCOM and the Marine Corps in November of 2005 to create a Marine Special Operations Command as a component of USSOCOM, according to U.S. Department of Defense news releases.

"The secretary of defense said 'I want a special operations command in the United States that represents all four of my services, not just three of them. I want a dedicated Marine Corps special operations command with a pipeline that produces Marine special operators that becomes a fully fledged member of U.S. Special Operations Command and is a component of that joint command,'" said Maj. Gen. Mastin M. Robeson, the commander of MARSOC.

The graduation of the first ITC class marks the coming to fruition of years of labor in making the idea of a Marine special operations force a reality, according to Col. Joseph Marello, commander of Marine Special Operations School, MARSOC, who is responsible for conducting the ITC.

"The result is a demanding special operations course that not only develops the tangible special operations skills, but also seeks to develop the values, character and mindset of a Marine special operator," Marello said.

The course began on Oct. 6, 2008 and took nearly seven-months to complete. The course curriculum centers on all the skills necessary to develop a Marine special operator, which include direct action, close quarters battle, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense, fire support, tactical casualty care, irregular warfare, survival evasion resistance and escape, and infantry weapons and tactics, according to Marello.

Although MARSOC is now open to all military occupational specialties, all of the Marines graduating from this first ITC have a background in special operations. Each Marine came from within the ranks of MARSOC, and many have already conducted special operations missions with the command.

"That was by design," Robeson said, explaining the classes' experience. "Because we wanted to get the first course right, and we needed their expertise to help us get that right and make adjustments before we go into the next one."

According to the Marello, the input of the ITC instructors and newly-graduated Marines will be used to refine the course and further improve the abilities of future special operators,

"You are a new breed of Marine," Robeson said. "You are a historic breed of Marine and it's a historic chapter for the U.S. Special Operations Command and for our nation."