Portal:United States Marine Corps/article/2010May

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Marine Raider insignia
Marine Raiders with their war dogs during the Bougainville Campaign
Photo credit: TSgt J. Sarno, circa November/December 1943


The Marine Raiders were an elite unit of the Corps during World War II, created to conduct amphibious light infantry missions behind enemy lines, such as inflatable boat landings and reconnaissance. The first American special operations forces to form and face combat during the war, they are the progenitors of the modern Force Recon and MARSOC units. President Roosevelt was interested on having a commando force on par with British Commandos, and despite Commandant Holcomb's reluctance to segregate an "elite within the elite", the 1st Raider Battalion was activated on 16 February, 1942 under LtCol Edson, while the 2nd Raider Battalion was activated three days later under LtCol Carlson. These Riaders would land on Tulagi, defend Henderson Field, and fight the Battle of Edson's Ridge during the Guadalcanal Campaign, and raid Makin Island. The 3rd and 4th Raider Battalions were formed in the fall of 194 under LtCols Liversedge and Roosevelt. All four battalions would combine to form the 1st Marine Riader Regiment under Liversedge in March 1943, and fought in the Solomon Islands campaign and New Georgia Campaign, until they temporarily split into two regiments for the Bougainville Campaign. When Vandegrift became Commandant, the need for regular infantry, lack of commando missions, and institutional opposition to the Raider concept led to the dissolution of the Raiders, most of whom would be used to form the reactivated 4th Marine Regiment. their legacy can be seen in the insignia of MCSOCOM Detachment One, and the fireteam/squad organization used by the Corps today, as well as the term "gung-ho".

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