Does Force Recon fall under MARSOC?


Mar 3, 2010
How does this work Marines? I saw on another site where they were posting pictures of MARSOC and others were correcting them saying no they are not MARSOC. They are Force Recon. What is the difference? Thanks.
This is about MARSOC:

MARSOC comprises roughly 2,500 Marines and supporting sailors. It is based at Camp Lejeune and is split into five subordinate commands:

The Marine Special Operations Advisor Group (MSOAG), based at Camp Lejeune, contains about 400 infantry personnel and trains friendly foreign military forces in an effort to ease the workload for Army Special Forces to concentrate on more specialized missions. (Formerly the Foreign Military Training Unit)

Two Marine Special Operations Battalions (MSOBs), one on each coast (one at Camp Lejeune, the other at Camp Pendleton, California).Their tasks are direct action, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense, counter-terrorism, unconventional warfare, and information operations. Each MSOB consists of four or five Marine Special Operations Companies (MSOCs), commanded by a Major (O-4). Three Marine Special Operations Teams (MSOTs) make up the MSOC, commanded by a a Captain (0-3) and Team Sergeant (E-7 / E-8), consisting of 14 operators in each team. The core personnel strength of the MSOTs was initially drafted from Force Reconnaissance Marines.

The Marine Special Operations Support Group (MSOSG) at Camp Lejeune, which also comprises 400 personnel, contains the Command's administrative, intelligence, and support assets.

The Marine Special Operations School (MSOS) at Camp Lejeune conducts screening, recruiting, training, selection, assessment, and development functions for MARSOC.

This is about FORCE RECON:

United States Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance (Force Recon) units are special-purposes units roughly analogous to the U.S. Army Special Forces and are widely recognized as the "special operations forces" of the United States Marine Corps. Marine Force Recon personnel, or "operators", perform highly specialized, small scale, high-risk operations, such as:

Amphibious and deep ground surveillance.
Assisting in specialized technical missions such as Nuclear, Biological, Chemical, Radio, sensors and beacons, etc.
Assisting in ordnance delivery (i.e., designating targets for close air support, artillery and naval gunfire).
Conducting direct action raids, such as gas and oil platform (GOPLATS) raids and the capture of specific personnel or sensitive materials.
Counterinsurgency Operations
Behind Enemy Lines Assault
Deep Reconnaissance
Hostage/prisoner of war rescue
Unconventional warfare
Foreign Internal Defense
Force Reconnaissance units have been recently integrated into the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), and are now part of Marine Special Operation Battalions East and West. However, United States Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) won't be fully integrated into SOCOM until 2010.
And they are at:
1st Force Reconnaissance, based at Camp Pendleton, California; 2nd Force Reconnaissance, based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company, based in Mobile, Alabama and 4th Force Reconnaissance Company, based in Honolulu, Hawaii. 5th Force Reconnaissance was folded into 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion as Bravo Company, which also deploys as the Deep Reconnaissance Company in the 31st MEU(SOC) at Okinawa.

The Recon Battalions:

Marine Reconnaissance Battalions in the United States Marine Corps, often called "Recon Marines", exist to provide information about the enemy situation to higher command via patrols behind enemy lines. The members of Recon Battalions are specially selected through a grueling screening process at their respective Battalion, and upon their completion attend the Basic Reconnaissance Course at Reconnaissance Training Company, School of Infantry West. While at this school Recon Marines receive training on mission planning, advanced patrolling, advanced radio communications, advanced land navigation, reconnaissance and surveillance techniques, fast-roping, rappelling, calling for artillery and close air support, small boat operations, and clandestine amphibious operations. Upon successful completion of either school the Marines receive the MOS of 0321 Reconnaissance man. He will then attend SERE School, Army Airborne School, and Combatant Diver school. In addition to these core courses Recon Marines will have the opportunity to attend Sniper school, Military Free Fall school, Ranger school, and Helicopter Rope Suspension Training (HRST) master school as slots become available.

Traditionally, Recon Marines have operated ahead of the front lines, making extended foot patrols deep into unfriendly territory, carrying light equipment and avoiding detection by or contact with the enemy. In the Iraq War, however, they have operated in a more traditional counterinsurgency role, patrolling in Humvees, wearing Kevlar helmets and body armor, gathering intelligence face-to-face rather than through binoculars, and acting directly on the intelligence they gather rather than simply passing it on to higher command.

There are 4 reconnaissance battalions in the Marine Corps:

1st Reconnaissance Battalion 1st Marine Division Camp Pendleton, California
2nd Reconnaissance Battalion 2nd Marine Division Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
3rd Reconnaissance Battalion 3rd Marine Division Camp Butler, Okinawa, Japan
4th Reconnaissance Battalion 4th Marine Division Marine Forces Reserve San Antonio, Texas

For more details and answers go here:

Hope that helps....}:-)
Thanks alot. I was reading about them in another thread but you helped alot by putting the info together for me. My cousin served Force Recon for several years in the early 90s. He's a very hardnosed guy. He does not say alot, though.
consisting of 14 operators in each team.


How does that many in a team work out? In my time anything over 7 complicated things a lot. Especially in that jungle environment. Going out with 15 or 16 guys was insane in my books. Too many to run and not enough to stand and fight. It got a lot of guys killed between 66 & 68. A lot of the time the entire plt. was out. Paul Young in his book "1st Recon Second To None" says he was really uneasy because he had to go out with less than 23 men.

I only went out with more than 7 men once. I was lead PL and point for 16 men. We were sent into a basecamp my team got shot out of the week before. We were probed on three sides the entire day. When the gooks saw where we were headed they left. Evidently they knew the camp was empty and didn't want to mix it up.

16 men strung out on a jungle trail raised my pucker factor way up. To make matters worse I had two boot Lts on their first snapping in patrol. The second PL did a great job of letting me know what was going on back there but it didn't ease my feelings.

I realize the present war is a different world. Just curious.

One more stupid question. Saw a TV show last night where one guy called a snoop & poop a keyhole op. That's what they were called when I did my thing. Is that still a valid term today? Other op we had was the stingray.

Higher numbers for the black side stuff (~14), lower number for the green side stuff.(4)

That breaks it down for me but doesn't answer the question. 14 might look good on paper but may not be the thing to do on the ground. That's the way it was way back when. Combine that with Staff NCOs coming from grunt outfits and officers coming from Div. to get a CAR it was a recipe for disaster. Glad things changed when Drumright took over in 70.

I'm only the cut n paste guy on this one, so I really can't say.

But, it appears as if ComingBack has some info on it.

You are still up on me. Things are so different and more complicated now than from my time I stay lost. These guys are eating steak and spuds while I'm still working on a dog bone left over from Dog Patch.

Things were simple. Force and Bn. doing the same thing. 1st & 3rd Force and 3rd Recon were gone by Sept. 70 so that left 1st Recon doing everything until it pulled out in April 71. My world was even simpler. It consisted of finding basecamps and firing them up.

As far as I know there wasn't a full Marine special unit above us.
The (active duty) Force Reconnaissance Companies belong to and support the three Marine Expeditionary Forces with direct action and deep reconnaissance. MARSOC, while drawing heavily from the reconnaissance community, belongs to SOCOM and does whatever missions SOCOM requires of them.
Hey Cayenne,

For what your thinking your right a 14 man Recon team is not going to happen. However, a MSOT isn't a Recon team. SR is one of the capabilities that the team can perform, but your not going to have all 14 members performing a SR mission in one big group. The MSOT has to be able to perform several types of missions in several types of enviornments. Having 14 men gives the team flexibility on how to best execute a given mission. Just because there are 14 members there is nothing to say that all 14 will operate together on every mission. Other than strict R&S missions even the Battalion guys are operating in Plt sized elements. Just a different animal thats all.
Hey Cayenne,

Just a different animal thats all.

Everything is a different animal from when and how I served. It's night and day. Knowing that I can't help but try to make connections where there are very few. When the first gulf war broke out I envisioned trying to take a seven man team across the desert where it didn't appear there was anywhere to hide. As fast as things progressed there wasn't any way to keep up. Sounds foolish but 30 or 40 years from now if there is a different kind of war the present generation will be doing the same thing. A few might be reaching back to my time trying to equate how they operate opposed to how we did.
I stay lost most of the time on these boards. I'm on a net 1st Recon bullshit group made up of mostly Nam Reconners. We only have a couple of after Nam dudes who post. I think we have more that lurk but don't post because they feel there is no connection. I can understand their feelings even though we don't bring up Nam or how things were done very often. It's mostly just bullshit. I know all the regulars personally so can take liberties I wouldn't attempt here.
Anyway....thanks to those trying to educate a semi-old warhorse.