This is a great story written by Gunny Josh Higgins. It’s published here unredacted and in its entirety.
During World War II, four Marine Raider battalions and two
Raider regiments were formed and saw action in the Pacific Theater
between 1942 and 1944. Formed to conduct amphibious raids and
guerrilla operations behind enemy lines, the Raider battalions were the
United States’ first special operations units.
The Raiders went on to participate in campaigns across the Pacific
Ocean and earned more than 700 decorations, including seven Medals
of Honor, before disbandment approximately two years later.
Though the unit’s existence was short-lived, they left a lasting
impression. The Marine Raider battalions were the inspiration for what
would become modern-day special operations.
But when U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command
was established in 2003, the unit did not officially carry-on the
On August 6, Commandant of the Marine Corps General James F.
Amos made official the title in a proclamation, which calls for “the
official continuation of our Corps’ special operations heritage from the
Raiders of World War II to our modern-day Marines.”
“United States Marines take great pride in our special operations
and irregular warfare heritage … From this point forward, the
Marines of MARSOC will be officially aligned with the Marine Raiders
of World War II and are charged with maintaining the high standards
and traditions that accompany such distinction,” as stated in the proclamation
read during the unit’s change-of-command ceremony held
at Stone Bay aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.
While MARSOC is adopting the name Marine Raiders, the
command’s official title will remain MARSOC. However, major subordinate
elements of the unit will reflag with the Raider name.
By Gunnery Sergeant Josh Higgins