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STA platoons were the "Surveillance and Target Acquisition" platoons of the United States Marine Corps. They were assigned to the Headquarters and Service Company of a U.S. Marine rifle battalion and were the home of Marines working directly for the S-2 (Intelligence) that were specially trained at close range reconnaissance and information gathering for the battalion commander.
These Marines worked in small teams (as little as two and or three men) employing ground surveillance radar and night observation devices to aid the battalion commander in locating the enemy at the forward edge of the battle area.
STA platoon was also the home of the Marine Scout-Snipers. Marine Scout Snipers can act on immediate information to reduce the enemy, deny the enemy access to flanks and protected areas, or slow the enemy's ability to maneuver through long-range precision fire.
The STA platoon is still in use at the battalion and regimental level. They have been in heavy use since the first Gulf War up until OIF/OEF. The STA platoon is the "sharp edge of the sword" for the Marine Rifle Battalion.
In popular culture
- Anthony Swofford's experiences in an STA platoon are recounted in his 2003 book, Jarhead, and the 2005 film of the same name.