The Marine Raiders are back. The U.S. Marine Corps revived the Raiders name made famous by World War II units that carried out risky amphibious and guerrilla operations. Now, joining the Army, Navy and Air Force branches of the U.S. Special Operations Command, an elite branch of the Marines will also have their own name - the Marine Raiders.
This Marines Special Operation Command is not new. In fact, this elite branch of the U.S. Marine Corps was created more than a decade ago. Up until now, these Marines were known as MARSOC.
The ceremony to change the name to Marine Raiders comes 10 months after the command first announced its plan to change the names of Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command's component units to reflect their history.
The formal renaming was held up while Headquarters Marine Corps approved a bulletin announcing the upcoming change, said Capt. Barry Morris, a MARSOC spokesman. He said MARSOC's headquarters in Sneads Ferry, North Carolina, also had to coordinate with its major subordinate elements to determine a date for the ceremony.
During World War II, the Raiders were organized in response to President Franklin Roosevelt's desire to have a commando-style force that could conduct amphibious raids and operate behind enemy lines. Raider commanders studied unconventional warfare tactics, including Chinese guerrillas, and were given their pick of men and equipment, according to Marine historians.
Raider units were credited with beating larger Japanese forces on difficult terrain in the Pacific, and they participated in key battles including Guadalcanal and Bougainville. They were disbanded toward the end of the war and the Raider name hasn't been used in an official capacity since, said Capt. Barry Morris, a U.S. Marines spokesman.Today's Marine Raiders has more than 2,700 Marines, including nearly 1,000 critical skills operators. The three Raider battalions receive region-specific training for deployments to Africa, the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East.
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