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Special Operations Overview

Called upon to perform the toughest duties in the armed forces, Special Operations Forces directly affect the protection of America's freedom.

Army

Army Special Forces
Learn More About the Green Berets

75th Ranger Regiment
Learn More About the Army Rangers

160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
Learn More About the Night Stalkers

Marines

Marine Force Reconnaissance
Learn More About Marine RECON

Marine Corps Special Operations Command
Learn More About Marine MARSOC

Marine RECON Missions
Learn More About Marine RECON

Air Force

Air Force Special Tactics
Learn More About Special Tactics

Joining MARSOC: FAQ

MARSOC rifle training.

What does MARSOC do?
How is MARSOC Different from recon?
What is the deployment tempo like?
What happens if I'm not selected for ITC?
Do I need to be an excellent swimmer?
Do I have to re-enlist to go to A&S?
How much time will my Marine spend away from home?
Will I know where my spouse is going?
What will my Marine do on his deployments?
Where can I go for more family-specific information?
Can I choose my duty station within MARSOC?
What is the current SRB, and if I re-enlisted for a bonus in my current MOS or the OPFOR will I have to pay it back?
Can I choose ot go back to my MOS after the five years are up?
What special pay swill I receive?
Do I have to do a B-billet while at MARSOC?
Can Reservists apply?

What does MARSOC do?

MARSOC's core activities are:

Direct Action
We conduct short strikes and small-scale offensive actions to seize, destroy, capture, recover, or inflict damage in hostile or denied areas. 

Special Reconnaissance 
We acquire information about the capabilities, intentions, and activities of an enemy. 

Preparation of the Environment
We collect intelligence and prepare for future operations at the direction of USSOCOM.

Security Force Assistance
We support the security forces of allied foreign governments to achieve operational objectives the U.S. shares.   

Counterterrorism
We prevent, deter, and respond to terrorism. 

Foreign Internal Defense
We provide training and other assistance to foreign governments and their militaries to enable them to provide for their national security. 

Counterinsurgency
In concert with allied governments, we conduct military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological, and civic action operations to defeat insurgency.

How is MARSOC different from recon?

MARSOC conducts missions by direction of the SOCOM Commander. These missions are normally conducted in irregular and unconventional settings. MARSOC Marines receive additional training with Special Operations Equipment and Tactics in order to fulfill these missions. USMC Recon conducts missions as part of the MAGTF in support of conventional operations.

What is the deployment tempo like?

MARSOC units have a flexible deployment cycle ranging from 90 days to 8 months.

What happens if I'm not selected for ITC?

A&S is voluntary, so if you are not selected, you will return to your command. A&S staff will inform you of your eligibility to re-attend if so desired.

Do I need to be an excellent swimmer?

Candidates should meet the current Marine Corps intermediate swim qualification for initial screening, and will receive further training at ASPOC.

Swim Assessment as follows:

  • Conduct abandon ship drill from a 6 meter platform (in accordance with CWS- 4).
  • Swim 300 meters continuously in utility blouse and trousers without CBE and boots using the modified breast stroke or side stroke.
  • Tread water in a utility blouse and trousers unassisted for ten minutes then transition to the survival float using the blouse or trouser for floating for five minutes.
  • Must demonstrate confidence in the water and the ability to remain afloat.

Do I have to re-enlist to go to A&S?

A candidate must have a minimum of 90 days time on contract to attend A&S. Reenlistment is not a requirement, as the MARSOC monitor will work to gain a 60-month obligated time-in-service upon selection.

How much time will my Marine spend away from home?

Operational tempo can vary widely depending on the mission your Marine's team is performing. A MARSOC Marine trains—sometimes away from home—to prepare for deployment and to ensure mission success. There is no "typical deployment," but most pre-deployment training is 10-12 months followed by a 6-9 month deployment. After a deployment, time with family is a command priority for MARSOC Marines.

Throughout your Marine's career at MARSOC he will have the opportunity to break up his operational tempo with schools and non-deployable billets.

Will I know where my spouse is going?

MARSOC deploys Special Operators throughout the world as needed. While there are many times in which you will be given the information you need, there will be times when the success of the mission depends upon secrecy even from family members.

What will my Marine do on his deployments?

MARSOC carefully screens, selects and trains special operators to perform specialized missions throughout the world. 

Your Marine will operate in a small, highly-skilled and immaculately-trained team of Marines. MARSOC teams are bound by trust and cohesion and work effortlessly together—giving them an advantage over many military units.

Where can I go for more family-specific information?

Can I choose my duty station with MARSOC?

The MARSOF monitor will assign you to one of the operating battalions upon completion of ITC. EFMP members may be able to stay on current station (Pendleton/Lejeune).

What is the current SRB, and if I re-enlisted for a bonus in my current MOS or the OPFOR will I have to pay it back?

If you reenlisted for the OPFOR bonus, you are not eligible to attend assessment and selection for MARSOC. You must meet the requirements of your contract.

Can I choose to go back to my MOS after the five years are up?

An 0372 would have to request a lateral move back out of the MOS to return to the general purpose force upon completion of a 60 month tour.

What special pay will I receive?

0372 Operators receive at a minimum SDA level 5 which is $375 on top of base pay. Special skill sets gained while at MARSOC will add corresponding special duty allowances.

Do I have to do a B-billet while at MARSOC?

Currently 0372s do not fill SDA billets outside the command.

Can Reservists apply?

Only E4 and E5 can apply. For more information contact your prior service recruiter.

Related Topics

MARSOC Marine Corps
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