If belligerent forces take hold of a ship, port, or oil rig, you can’t just blow it out of the water: you might need a specially trained unit to seize and secure the area. In an effort to counter the growing threat of piracy, the Navy has deployed the Marine Raid Force. The MRF specializes in operations conducted on structures in or near bodies of water. They utilize speed and stealth to take enemy forces by surprise and secure their target.
The MRF operates under the Marine Expeditionary Unit, the smallest task force in the Marines. The MEU operates as a quick reaction force to respond to any crisis or threat. The MRF organizes each task force based on the needs of a given mission, but it is composed of three platoons: force reconnaissance for assault, amphibious reconnaissance for support, and battalion landing for security. Other specialists such as explosive ordinance disposal technicians, military information support operators, and biological specialists may join as needed.
While the need for specialized troops to take waterborne structures and vessels has existed since the age of sail, only recently has the Navy decided to focus resources on the maritime raid force. After World War II, there wasn’t much need for a force like the MRF; most infantry fighting took place on the ground. However, as the MRF continues to grow and train, their history and area of operation expands from the Pacific to the Middle East and beyond.