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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 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


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

Marine Corps Special Forces (MARSOC) Training


In addition to regular Marine Corps training, a MARSOC candidate will be required to attend the Marine Special Operations Individual Course (ITC) at the Marine Special Operations School.

The seven-month course centers on all the skills necessary to develop a Marine special operator, which include direct action, close quarters battle, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense, fire support, tactical casualty care, irregular warfare, survival evasion resistance and escape, and infantry weapons and tactics.

The training occurs in four phases: 

Phase 1 is a 10-week basic skills course that incorporates individual fitness, such as swimming, running, rucking, hand to hand combat as well as patrolling, mission planning, fire support, land navigation, combat medic training, and SERE training.

Phase 2 is an 8-week course that focuses on the Marine Special Ops Unit. Marines will master small unit tactics, intelligence gathering, maritime navigation, small boat handling and field training exercises in urban / non-urban environments.

Phase 3 is a 5-week course where precision training starts to challenge the Marines further.  Close Quarters Combat (CQC), marksmanship, shooting and moving through a target as a team is the focus of Phase 3.

Phase 4 is a 7-week course and teaches Asymmetric Warfare (AW) which teaches the Marine how to think like the enemy in order to disrupt their insurgencies, acts of terror, or guerilla warfare.

The Marine Special Operations School performs the screening, training, assessment and doctrinal development functions for MARSOC. It includes two subordinate Special Missions Training Branches (SMTBs) one on each coast. The SMTBs provide special operations training in tactics, techniques and procedures, and evaluation and certification of MARSOC forces to specified conditions and standards for SOF.

Related Topics

Special Operations Forces MARSOC
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