What Are Recon Marines?


A reconnaissance, or recon Marine, is the special operations division of the Corps. Like Navy Seals, these special ops soldiers began in 1954 as an experiment, but soon became part of the Fleet Marine Force. Almost every military occupational specialty is part of a recon Marine unit. Qualifying for this special ops division is difficult.


  • Two types of recon Marines exist in the corps: The battalion and force recon Marine. The training is the same for both types of recon Marines; the only real difference between the two recon Marines is whether the unit is lead by a Battalion Commander or Task Force Commander. Every Marine, including recon Marines, goes through 12 weeks of basic training, and the Marines assigned to Infantry School attend field training. During infantry school, the Marines that excel in every aspect of training become eligible for the Basic Recon Course.

Basic Recon Course

  • The BRC trains the Marine in several different specialties, as well as one primary skill. The training includes deep reconnaissance techniques, scout swimming, small boat operations, scuba qualification, parachute training or jump school, unconventional warfare and anti-terrorism techniques. A specialty is also chosen for the recon Marine; this includes explosives, information technology, communications, marksmanship or other skills used during special operations.


  • A recon Marine complements the other special forces in the different branches of the armed services. Even though the recon Marine can directly engage the enemies of the United States, his primary role is to support other Marine units or armed services. Recon is an important part of engaging the enemy forces. Recon Marines visually inspect the front lines of the enemy and report these findings to other units or branches of the armed services.


  • Intelligence gathering is also a major role of a recon Marine. Intelligence is gathered by direct contact with the enemy, listening devices, collecting materials and interrogation of prisoners. A recon Marine is trained in all aspects of intelligence gathering, as well as all combat techniques. A recon Marine may venture into dangerous environments to conduct this intelligence and reconnaissance on the enemy stronghold or landscape. Marine Corps Special Operations makes their operational plans based on the intelligence and deep reconnaissance sent to them by recon Marines.

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