“United States Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command is proud and honored to adopt the name Marine Raider, carrying on the rich heritage and legacy passed along to us by the Raiders of World War II,” said Maj. Gen. Joseph L. Osterman, commander, MARSOC.
MARSOC officially re-designated its subordinate commands as Marine Raiders during a ceremony at Stone Bay, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., June 19, 2015. The re-designations make official the use of the Marine Raider moniker for all of MARSOC.
The ceremony was especially monumental for original Raiders seeking to keep their heritage alive. Three Raiders and family members of other Raiders who are deceased were in attendance, representing all original Marine Raiders and the U.S. Marine Raider Association, a non-profit organization supporting scholarships in the Solomon Islands, the Marine Raider Museum located at Raider Hall aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Speaker Forums and Memorial Visitations.
“This is a proud moment for me, and my fellow Raiders who can’t be here today,” said Charles H. Meacham, an original Marine Raider who served as a machine gunner with the Raiders during World War II. “We are grateful to know that our legacy will not be forgotten, and is being carried on by the extraordinary Marines of MARSOC.”
The Marine Raiders were formed in 1942 as the war in the Far East was reaching a difficult phase and senior leadership sought to replicate the special operations missions conducted by the British Commandos and other Special Forces units within the Pacific theatre.
MARSOC and the Marine Raiders share the common experiences as a specialized unit, formed during a time of conflict, and uniquely manned, trained and equipped to conduct special operations.
Marine Raiders have long highlighted their wish for their legacy to be carried on by another Marine Corps unit. They requested MARSOC to be the unit, and Gen. James F. Amos, former Commandant of the Marine Corps, concurred.
Amos made official the title in a proclamation released Aug. 6, 2014, which called for “the official continuation of our Corps’ special operations heritage from the Raiders of World War II to our modern day Marines.”
While assigned to MARSOC, all personnel are authorized to call themselves a Marine Raider, to include all support personal, civilian employees as well as the command’s critical skills operators (CSO) and special operations officers.
A CSO with MARSOC, describing his feelings about carrying the title of Marine Raider, made reference to the CSO creed, which includes the phrase: “My title is Marine, but it is my choice and my choice alone to be a Special Operations Marine. I will never forget the tremendous sacrifice and reputation of those who came before me.”
“It’s extremely important to carry on the legacy of the original Raiders and all other reconnaissance and special operations Marines before us,” said the CSO. “It’s up to us to keep the honor of ‘Always Faithful, Always Forward, Spiritus Invictus (unconquerable spirit), and now Marine Raider.”
MARSOC unit emblems will continue to use the existing blue Raider shield with Southern Cross, but will not use the Raider skull. The Raider patch itself will not be an authorized unit emblem to wear in uniform or kit, but may be used in a personal capacity, out of uniform as a symbol of unit pride and Marine Corps heritage.