Questions about MARSOC CSOs?

A

Astraeus14

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I've been weighing out the pros and cons of each SOF I would like to attempt to be part of and I have a few questions that will help clarify a few things for me (and hopefully other prospective SOFs).

1) For lack of a better example, both SEALs and Rangers do direct action, but there are many differences in the way they do it which leads the SEALs to be better in certain situations and Rangers in other situations. Is there anything CSOs train for or how they operate that seperates them from SEALs, SF, etc on direct action or reconnaissance operations? If there was a choice between SF, SEALs, and CSOs under what circumstances would the CSOs get the call (excluding factors like logistics, politics, etc... just based on what the MSOT could bring that the others couldn't)?


2) I know all CSO's receive basic foreign language training, but how many CSOs attend the Advanced Linguist Course? The reason I ask is because I was wondering about post-military employment and being bilingual is a valuable skill.

3) Do CSOs conduct VBSS, GOPLAT, and other advanced maritime operations? I know they receive diving and small boat training.

Thanks in advance.
 

Marauder06

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Got it, thanks boss. First couple of hits off of Google came up with definitions of CSO that didn't quit fit the discussion.
 

Etype

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To answer #1- That's almost 100% based off of (for lack of a more easily understood term) who is on call. When it comes to high value targets, etc in the various theaters of operation, there are always a few units cycling- it comes down to who is ready to go when the call comes.

As for when the Marines are involved, not really sure when that happens- they don't seem to be in the mix too much except at the VSO level, although I could be completely wrong. The Rangers are always going to get awesome missions because they have a monopoly on what they do (super elite light infantry) and no one is going to be able to compete with them anytime soon, and can perform other tasks as well. SEALs and SF are becoming more or less interchangeable at the base ODA/SEAL platoon level.

The big deficiency I noticed with the SEALs is there ability to function in austerity for long periods of time. The lack of cross training and lack of engineers (they rely heavily on Seabees and Navy commo dudes) puts them up against a steep learning curve at VSO sites and remote firebases. The SF world is modeled around austerity and our structure from the team level to the supply/support system is meant to embrace it. I'd assume Marines would have similar troubles as the SEALs.

It doesn't take long to train an individual how to conduct FID, but it's what goes on behind the scenes that will make or break it- and that takes a bit longer to establish, and I think that's where MARSOC and the SEALs are.
 

fox1371

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The big deficiency I noticed with the SEALs is there ability to function in austerity for long periods of time. The lack of cross training and lack of engineers (they rely heavily on Seabees and Navy commo dudes) puts them up against a steep learning curve at VSO sites and remote firebases. The SF world is modeled around austerity and our structure from the team level to the supply/support system is meant to embrace it. I'd assume Marines would have similar troubles as the SEALs.

It doesn't take long to train an individual how to conduct FID, but it's what goes on behind the scenes that will make or break it- and that takes a bit longer to establish, and I think that's where MARSOC and the SEALs are.
I may be out of my lane here, however I wouldn't think that MARSOC would have difficulties operating in austere environments. They are constantly recruiting Combat Engineers into MARSOC so they may have identified your theory as a problem. My main argument would be that the majority of MARSOC CSOs are Marines that have deployed and are used to living in those austere environments.
 

Etype

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They are constantly recruiting Combat Engineers into MARSOC so they may have identified your theory as a problem.
Combat engineer 18C, that's like saying a 68B = 18D, or 18B = 11B.
 

goon175

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Marines that have deployed and are used to living in those austere environments.

I don't think the average Marine has to deal with the same kind of remoteness/austerity that the ODA does. The Marines generally operate from a FOB or COP, and have reliable logistics in a country that already has a large U.S. presence. For the ODA, they may be in a country that they are the only American soldiers present, and have to build what they are living in/working in from scratch. I think a great example of this would be the ODA's in RVN who would literally go in with just an ODA + a company of hmong indig forces, clear out a football field sized area in the middle of the jungle, throw up some sandbags, concertina, and claymores, a shack to plan in, and got to work. I know there are ODA's that have had to do the same thing in the past 10 years. I'm not saying Marines have never had to do that (mostly because I don't know), but I also think it's probably the exception and not the rule if it has happened.
 
A

Astraeus14

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To answer #1- That's almost 100% based off of (for lack of a more easily understood term) who is on call. When it comes to high value targets, etc in the various theaters of operation, there are always a few units cycling- it comes down to who is ready to go when the call comes.

As for when the Marines are involved, not really sure when that happens- they don't seem to be in the mix too much except at the VSO level, although I could be completely wrong. The Rangers are always going to get awesome missions because they have a monopoly on what they do (super elite light infantry) and no one is going to be able to compete with them anytime soon, and can perform other tasks as well. SEALs and SF are becoming more or less interchangeable at the base ODA/SEAL platoon level.

The big deficiency I noticed with the SEALs is there ability to function in austerity for long periods of time. The lack of cross training and lack of engineers (they rely heavily on Seabees and Navy commo dudes) puts them up against a steep learning curve at VSO sites and remote firebases. The SF world is modeled around austerity and our structure from the team level to the supply/support system is meant to embrace it. I'd assume Marines would have similar troubles as the SEALs.

It doesn't take long to train an individual how to conduct FID, but it's what goes on behind the scenes that will make or break it- and that takes a bit longer to establish, and I think that's where MARSOC and the SEALs are.


Thank you for the detailed and informative response. Does anyone have any information on 2 & 3?
 

0699

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I don't think the average Marine has to deal with the same kind of remoteness/austerity that the ODA does. The Marines generally operate from a FOB or COP, and have reliable logistics in a country that already has a large U.S. presence. For the ODA, they may be in a country that they are the only American soldiers present, and have to build what they are living in/working in from scratch. I think a great example of this would be the ODA's in RVN who would literally go in with just an ODA + a company of hmong indig forces, clear out a football field sized area in the middle of the jungle, throw up some sandbags, concertina, and claymores, a shack to plan in, and got to work. I know there are ODA's that have had to do the same thing in the past 10 years. I'm not saying Marines have never had to do that (mostly because I don't know), but I also think it's probably the exception and not the rule if it has happened.

I agree with you about the "average Marine" part, but this style of embedding with the locals has been a large part of Marine culture for decades. In the Banana Wars, it was very common for 3-5 Marines to lead a group of locals (Haitian Gendarmes or Nicaraguan National Guardsmen) against the rebels. In Vietnam, the CAP program had an infantry squad living with a platoon of RVN local troops in small villages along the coast in I Corps. In Iraq, we had a large number of Marines (100 plus?; my memory is fuzzy) living with IPs in some pretty austere situations.
 

TLDR20

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Let's talk about austere in the sense we are talking about. SF goes into countries as the lone officia/nnoficial US military p prescence. Not just a FOB in Astan, I am talking no one else around, completely supported off what you brought, and what you buy... In some cases in teams of less than 5.
 

F.CASTLE

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Can one of the Mods move this thread to the Marine SOF section? Perhaps we can get some insight and accurate info from Uncle Petey or Hitman2/3 ....... Both CSOs, both Old as Fuck...:-":p
 

0699

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IPs were never in very austere situations...

I guess it depends on your definition of austere. I'm only familiar with the situation in Al Anbar. 2005-2008 there were some pretty remote posts out on the Syria/Jordan border that had a few Marines embedded with them in a BPTT.

Let's talk about austere in the sense we are talking about. SF goes into countries as the lone officia/nnoficial US military p prescence. Not just a FOB in Astan, I am talking no one else around, completely supported off what you brought, and what you buy... In some cases in teams of less than 5.

Agreed. I'm not trying to stand here and scream the the Corps does things better than SF, just that historically Marines have done the "embed with the locals" thing.
 

fox1371

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Combat engineer 18C, that's like saying a 68B = 18D, or 18B = 11B.
Oh PLEASE don't compare Army Engineers to Marine Engineers hahaha. My last deployment left me with an interesting vew on the Army's SOP's in Afghanistan.

I understand what you're saying though. My only point is that the average Marine transitioning into MARSOC is going to have more exposure to improvising, adapting, and overcoming then your average Sailor that is going through BUD/S.

I do see the SEALS relying heavily on the Seabees etc though. However IMO it is not because the SEALS are necessarily incapable of accomplishing those tasks...I think that the Navy has just designed a system where SEALS just don't have to concern themselves with it as much. Of course situation will always dictate on what skill sets are going to be needed anyways. If you're primary mission is DA, then I would completely understand "outsourcing" your labor etc to general forces. If you're embedding in with locals in the middle of nowhere, then yeah you had better have learned some McGyver skills. :)
 

fox1371

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Thank you for the detailed and informative response. Does anyone have any information on 2 & 3?
No idea about 2.

#3- I would ASSUME that VBSS training is received at some point during their career. I had the pleasure of working some VBSS courses out in the Pacific for 3rd Recon. So if Battalion Recon gets the VBSS training, than I would say it's a safe bet that MARSOC does as well. Mission will always dictate though. I have no idea about GOPLAT. They stood Force back up though as well, and the primary focus on Force being stood back up was to focus more towards the Maritime stuff. IME with MARSOC they were conducting for FID missions, or so they told me.

To any MARSOC/Marine SOF guys reading this, if I'm incorrect at all, please let me know and I will crawl back into my hole. Information changes all the time and this is the last I'd heard as of a few years ago.
 

Etype

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If you're primary mission is DA, then I would completely understand "outsourcing" your labor etc to general forces.
There's nothing wrong with knowing what you're doing. I had a SEAL at SOTF-S tell me it wasn't important that he know how to work a PSC-5 because that's what they had commo guys and JTACs for.
EPIC FAIL

The point I am trying to convey is this- having 18 series MOSs creates SMEs on each team who in turn become trainers for the rest of the team. I trust every member of my team to work every weapon system we have. It may take them awhile to level the bubbles, but they could get behind the mortar site and fire rounds accurately. On my last deployment we had an E, C, and A build 3 buildings at one of our VSPs- they were square and plumb, the roofs didn't leak, and the lights worked; I gave a stitches and reduced a dislocated shoulder. That's the kind of stuff that goes on on an ODA.

Putting yourself in the "DA" box is lame. That's what most of us Army guys have been doing since we enlisted, we just called them ambushes and raids back then. Practice all the room clearing you want, but here's the deal- until you get to a unit that does hostage rescue, clear the room from an exterior wall with the Carl G and call it day.
 

fox1371

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There's nothing wrong with knowing what you're doing. I had a SEAL at SOTF-S tell me it wasn't important that he know how to work a PSC-5 because that's what they had commo guys and JTACs for.
EPIC FAIL

The point I am trying to convey is this- having 18 series MOSs creates SMEs on each team who in turn become trainers for the rest of the team. I trust every member of my team to work every weapon system we have. It may take them awhile to level the bubbles, but they could get behind the mortar site and fire rounds accurately. On my last deployment we had an E, C, and A build 3 buildings at one of our VSPs- they were square and plumb, the roofs didn't leak, and the lights worked; I gave a stitches and reduced a dislocated shoulder. That's the kind of stuff that goes on on an ODA.

Putting yourself in the "DA" box is lame. That's what most of us Army guys have been doing since we enlisted, we just called them ambushes and raids back then. Practice all the room clearing you want, but here's the deal- until you get to a unit that does hostage rescue, clear the room from an exterior wall with the Carl G and call it day.
I understand exactly what you're saying and completely agree. It's one of the things that I admire about the structure of an ODA. You guy's did some excellent work on the COIN effort out in Afghanistan by the way. We pulled into an area to find that you guy's had locals pointing out IED locations etc for us. It was pretty nice. I know it's off topic but I figured I'd share. haha.
 

Teufel

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Marines are pretty accostumed to having some pretty austere conditions. On my second to last deployment all we had were hesco, bottled water, ammunition, MREs and Taliban. We would go to the ODA and MARSOC positions to take showers, do laundry and get ice cream. I'm sure some guys were out there roughing it but it wasn't the guys in Farah. And don't jump on my back! Those CJSOTF guys were cool as hell and bent over backwards to help us out like when Uncle USMC couldn't supply us with ammo resupplies or parts.
 
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