The ultra-lethal Special Forces unit few have ever heard of

The ultra-lethal Special Forces unit few have ever heard of

Cpl-Carter-610x378In the wake of the special congressional hearings on the jihadist terror attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, the American people have become inundated with a bevy of brain-dizzying acronyms such as FEST (Foreign Emergency Support Team), SEAL (Sea, Air, Land), SOF (Special Operation Forces), and FAST (Fleet Anti-Terrorist Security Team).

According to the St. George News (of Utah) via Google News, there is another jumble of letters well known to U.S. Marines but foreign to the vast majority of Americans: MEU (SOC). St. George follows a small portion of the paces the 13th MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit) out of Camp Pendleton, California is going through in the high desert to gain certification as Special Operations Capable (SOC).

While in Utah, Marines practiced a mission that involved an assault on a fictional IED bomb factory. Factored into the mix were an unknown number of terrorists and “high-value targets,” with the unit’s goal being to capture the targets and utterly destroy the facility.

If Every One Could Be a Marine, It Wouldn’t Be the Marines…

Consisting of 2,200 already highly-trained Leathernecks, the MEU must undergo even further training that would kill a lesser man. Besides the standard Marine Corps doctrine of killing very bad people, the Special Operation Capable training and certification ensures Marines are qualified in the following 18 special missions:

  • Amphibious raids
  • Limited objective attacks
  • Non-combatant evacuations
  • Show of force
  • Reinforcement operations
  • Security operations
  • Training foreign military
  • Civil action
  • Deception operations
  • Fire support coordination
  • Counter-intelligence
  • Initial terminal guidance
  • Signal intelligence-electronic warfare
  • Tactical recovery of personnel and aircraft (TRAP)
  • Clandestine reconnaissance
  • Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT)
  • Special demolitions operations
  • In-extremis hostage rescues

When It Absolutely, Positively Has to Be Destroyed Overnight…

With the U.S.M.C. divided between its Atlantic and Pacific commands, the Corps maintains seven different MEUs (SOC) for deployment to the world’s trouble spots such as the Mediterranean, the western Pacific, and the Indian Ocean or Arabian Gulf region in case a helping hand or killing blow is deemed necessary.

If and when given their marching orders by higher authority, American Marines can be almost anywhere on the face of the Earth within hours.

A Big Punch in a Small Package…

More than capable of ruining someone’s day, the typical Marine MEU (SOC) can boast lethality ranging from AV-8B Harrier jump jets, to M1A1 tanks, to 155mm artillery pieces, to the most dangerous weapon on the face of the earth – a United States Marine and his rifle.

Then Politics Rears Its Ugly Head…

As previously covered by, Barack Obama has announced that he plans on slashing the Marine Corps by 20,000 troops. Despite the massive cutback in manpower, the operation tempo for the Corps will not be decreased.

On the contrary, the Marine Corps will have more missions added to it’s already bulging list of world-wide commitments.

T. Kevin Whiteman

T. Kevin Whiteman

T. Kevin Whiteman is a retired Master Sergeant of Marines. He has written for Examiner, Conservative Firing Line, and other blogs.


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