MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (April 8, 2008) – A pick-up truck rolls into a small village carrying stacks of small arms, mortar rounds and rocket-propelled grenades as insurgents wait anxiously to unload them into hidden compartments throughout the village. The terrorists move quickly so they won’t be seen. Little do they know, only a couple hundred yards away, highly trained Marines conducting surveillance have been diligently watching them for days.
Marines and Sailors from U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command participated in an advanced special reconnaissance course at Stone Bay, here, last week. MARSOC’s Marine Special Operations School conducted the course as part of a continuing effort to prepare MARSOC warriors to more effectively combat terrorists during special operations missions. According to the officer in charge, 2d Special Missions Branch, MSOS, the majority of Marines and Sailors in the course already have at least a basic understanding of reconnaissance and surveillance. This course expands on the basic special reconnaissance skills the students already have, and expands and reviews the skills and lessons learned in Amphibious Reconnaissance School and the Basic Reconnaissance Course. “The majority of students have the fundamentals of reconnaissance and surveillance because they have been to a school that has provided them that,” said course instructor and 2d SMB officer in charge. “This course is preparing them to operate as small units in their areas of operation.” When MARSOC began more than two years ago, the Marine Corps’ 1st and 2d Force Reconnaissance companies deactivated and became MARSOC’s 1st and 2d Marine Special Operations Battalions respectively. The heritage and legacy of direct action and special reconnaissance skills carried over to MARSOC, along with much of the personnel. The Marines and Sailors in the MSOBs and MARSOC’s other subordinate commands know the importance of the skills they learn from their instructors at MSOS. “Special reconnaissance operations are reconnaissance and surveillance actions conducted by special operations forces to obtain or verify, by visual observation or other collection methods, information concerning the capabilities, intentions and activities of an actual or potential enemy,” said the 2d SMB officer in charge.According to the 2d SMB officer in charge, students were evaluated individually and as team members throughout the multiple-week course. Marines and Sailors learned through classroom instruction and practical application in the field. The 2d SMB officer in charge and course instructor was pleased with how the students performed in the course and was confident they walked away with a better understanding of special reconnaissance, prepared to take the fight to the enemy.