1st Marine Raider Battalion conducts ground training at Camp Pendleton. August, 1015. Photo by Vance Jacobs.
1st Marine Raider Battalion conducts ground training at Camp Pendleton. August, 1015. Photo by Vance Jacobs.

MARSOC Recruiters Visit Camp Foster

CAMP FOSTER, Japan – The Headquarters Marine Corps Marine Special Operations Command Screening Team visited with Marines May 19 on Camp Foster.

HMST briefed the Marines on the requirements and process for joining MARSOC, as well as give an overview of MARSOC’s missions and operations.
“This lets the Marines know that they have the option,” said Sgt. Leonid Mernenko, a MARSOC recruiter. “But it’s not easy.”

Marines who wish to make the move to MARSOC must meet the following prerequisites: a minimum general technical score of 105, a minimum physical fitness test of 225, be able to pass the MARSOC swim assessment, meet MARSOC medical screening criteria, be eligible to obtain and maintain a secret security clearance, and upon selection make a lateral move into the critical skills operator MOS.

From the first day of assessment and selection, it take more than 10 months to become a MARSOC Marine, according to Staff Sgt. Brian Downer, a MARSOC recruiter.

“As a MARSOC Marine, you’re an adaptable asset that can be leveraged as a scalpel for surgically executed precisions strikes, and as a sledgehammer capable of devastating the enemy with overwhelming force,” said Downer. “It takes time to master those unique and lethal skills.”

There are three phases to becoming a critical skills operator.
First phase serves as the precursor to the nest two phases. Aside from physical training, the course incorporates a mix of classroom instruction and practical application of basic Marine Corps knowledge and MARSOC fundamentals.
“Second phase is an extremely competitive mentally and physically challenging evaluation,” said Mernenko. “It enables MARSOC to identify Marines that have attributes compatible with special operations and the MARSOC way of life.”

Marines selected for assignment as critical skills operators or special operations officers attend individual training course, a nine-month program that builds multidimensional operators capable of operating across the full spectrum of special operations, and aware of the strategic context in which they operate.
“The training is immensely challenging out of necessity,” said Downer. “The nation calls upon MARSOC for the difficult; the impossible, we deliver because we’ve been conditioned for those types of circumstances through the gauntlet that is assessment and selection and individual training course.”

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