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3 key differences between Recon Marines and Marine Raiders

In many ways, these badasses are similar, but here are three key differences between Marine Raiders and Recon Marines.
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marine raiders vs recon

Marines from the special operations community have been kicking ass and taking names for years. From hunting down Taliban fighters for questioning to tracking the highest value targets — they’re on the job. While people know that the Marines have two different special forces units, most don’t understand the differences between them. Both Marine Recon and Marine Raiders go through a similar training pipeline, but their differences may surprise you. In many ways, these badasses are similar but different.

Here are 3 key differences between Recon Marines and Marine Raiders

1. Their MOS’ are different — but not by much.

Every job in the military has a different MOS, or military occupation specialty, designation. Marine Raiders have use MOS 0372 while Recon uses the designation of 0321.

You might’ve noticed that the first two numbers of these designations are same. If you have the numbers “03” at the beginning of your MOS designation, that means you’re a part of the Marine Infantry — and not a POG.

recon marines training
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, California – Marines with Company A, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion stand on line and perform rifle drills during a combat marksmanship program led by Expeditionary Operations Training Group.

2. Their proud history is different.

The Marine Raiders were established during World War II for special operations, but were disbanded after the war came to a close. Soon after, the Korean War kicked off and decision-makers said,  “Oh sh*t,” to themselves as they realized they needed to create another elite unit to continue kicking ass.

So, in March 1951, the Amphibious Reconnaissance Platoon was formed and, just two years later, was later expanded into a company, made up of several divisions. The company conducted highly successful missions throughout the Korean War, eventually becoming what’s known today as United States Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance.

In 1987, United States Special Operations Command was formed, composed of Army Green Berets, Navy SEALs, and Detachment One — which was made up of some of the best Marines, including some Force Reconnaissance, and would eventually become the Marine Raider Regiment. In 2006, MARSOC was formed as part of SOCOM.

At this time, Force Reconnaissance is still fully operational, but many were chosen to become MARSOC.

marine raiders in wwii
These men have earned the bloody reputation of being skillful jungle fighters. They are U.S. Marine Raiders gathered in front of a Japanese dugout on Cape Torokina on Bougainville, Solomon Islands, which they helped to take, 01/1944. National Archives

3. Their missions are different

Marine Recon conduct amphibious assaults, deep recon and surveillance and battlespace shaping in support of the Marine Expeditionary Force.

Marine Raiders support their governments’ internal security, counter subversion, and reduce violent risks from internal and external threats against the U.S.

Check out Nick Koumalatsos‘ video below for a detailed summary of these key differences.

(Nick Koumalatsos| YouTube)