Maritime Raid Force

Marines Maritime Raid Force
Marines, assigned to the Amphibious Recon Platoon (ARP), embark a CH-53E Super Stallion, assigned to the “Dragons” of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 Reinforced, as it takes off from the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) during a helo cast exercise. (Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Gavin Shields/U.S. Navy)

If belligerent forces take hold of a ship, port or oil rig, you just can't blow it out of the water: You might need a specially trained unit to seize and secure the area. To counter the growing threat of piracy, the Navy has deployed the Maritime 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 ordnance 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, the Navy only recently has focused 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, its history and area of operation expand from the Pacific to the Middle East and beyond.

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