Adm. Nimitz – 136th Birthday & USMC Raiders

Pacific Paratrooper

Pacific War Museum, Nimitz statue

Chester W. Nimitz was born on February 24, 1885 – and today would have been his 136th birthday. The National Museum of the Pacific War is located in Fredericksburg. Texas because Nimitz grew up here and he was a major figure in the U.S. victory over Japan in WWII.

Nimitz reached the pinnacle of naval leadership when he was promoted to the 5-star rank of Fleet Admiral in late 1944. As the Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Area, heledmore than two million men and women, 5,000 ships and 20,000 planes in the Pacific Theater.

Adm. Nimitz at the “Old Texas Roundup”

He was known to be a congenial and accessible leader and that sailors loved and respected him. He is pictured here at the “Old Texas Roundup” speaking to his guests - sailors, soldiers and Marines who hailed from Texas. The barbeque was held on…

View original post 393 more words

Profiles in Courage: MARSOC Team Endured Hell to Evacuate Wounded

“We faced what seemed the inevitability of death.”

While conducting village stability operations in the Upper Gereshk Valley, of Helmand province Afghanistan, a Marine Special Operations Team with 1st Marine Special Operation Battalion came under heavy fire.

The initial volley sparked a gunbattle that would rage for a full two days.

On the morning of June 14, 2012, the Marine special operations team was in a village compound when it came under heavy enemy fire. Immediately, the team leader and one other Marine were severely wounded, according to a Department of Defense press release.

In the aftermath of the ambush, each member of the team was credited with playing a critical role in securing the casualties, administering lifesaving medical care, and in fighting off the enemy attack.

Sgt. Ryan K. Pass reached the wounded Marines first, scaling a ladder to the roof and providing first aid. Staff Sgt. Christopher W. Buckminster, exposed himself to enemy fire as he verified targets and marked their position. Meanwhile, Gunnery Sgt. Brian C. Jacklin began organizing a counterattack and a casualty evacuation. Jacklin contacted a nearby supporting unit and coordinated air, direct, and indirect fire support and readied his men to cross a field to secure a landing zone for a casualty evacuation.

“When surrounded on all sides by seven to eight times our numbers, we faced what seemed the inevitability of death as we attempted the day-time (casualty evacuation) of our grievously wounded,” said Jacklin, during an award ceremony for the team’s actions.

When he recounted the firefight, Jacklin said he asked his teammates: “Does anybody have a problem with risking it to take these guys out of here? Because if we don’t, they are going to die here.”

The response was unanimous. They were all in.

Buckminster, Staff Sgt. Hafeez B. Hussein, and Gunnery Sgt. William C. Simpson ran across open ground to where the injured Marines were located, taking enemy fire along the way. They provided first aid until Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jordan Walker, the team’s corpsman, arrived to quickly stabilize the wounded men so they could survive transport to the evacuation site.

As this was happening, the enemy closed within 100 meters of the Marines’ position.

Buckminster, Hussein Pass, and Simpson carried the casualties across to a landing zone devoid of cover. When the team arrived, Walker positioned himself between the casualties and the direction of the enemy fire, effectively acting as a human shield for his wounded comrades.

As the helicopters approached the landing zone to evacuate the wounded, the Marines and supporting units fought to secure the landing zone, with Jacklin “raining M203 grenades on the enemy and directing the fires of his team” until the landing zone was secured, reported Marine Corps Times.

After the casualties were safely evacuated, the remaining Marines continued fighting well into the night, and when their relief finally arrived, Jacklin and Sgt. David E. Harris volunteered to stay behind and help.

The two Marines carried on their fight for the next 24 hours.

For his bravery and composure under fire, Jacklin was awarded the Navy Cross during a ceremony on April 9, 2015, at Camp Pendleton, California, where he and five other Marines there that day were recognized for their bravery. Buckminster, Harris, Hussein, Simpson, and Sgt. William P. Hall were awarded the Bronze Star Medal for valor.

According to the Department of Defense press release, both Pass and Walker were unable to attend the ceremony but are expected to be awarded for their actions. Pass will receive a Bronze Star for Valor, and Walker will receive a Silver Star Medal.

“Not a man before you here today skipped a beat in their commitment to seeing their injured brothers home,” said Jacklin during the ceremony. “All or nothing. Death or glory. These men before you charged out into the heaviest barrage of fire I’ve seen in over 10 years of heavy combat to get the job done.”

Watch a CBS news reel on the award ceremony honoring Jacklin and his fellow teammates below

Read the Original Article at Task and Purpose

How To Become a MARSOC Raider in 3 Steps

I like that the author did not put the word “EASY” in front of 3 Steps. First off, because NOTHING in life that is ever WORTH doing is going to be Easy and Second, because in reference to this course it would be a flat-out LIE! -SF


A Former MARSOC Raider shares tips on how he made it through assessment and selection. It’s not physical, it’s mental.


Occasionally, someone will ask me for advice on how to pass the United States Marine Corps Special Operations Command assessment and selection course, the first step to become a MARSOC Raider, which I did in 2008. These days there is no shortage of reading out there espousing what workouts one should do in preparation to become a member of Special Operations. Fear not, for I will not bore you with another calisthenic/Crossfit/SEALfit/bullshit routine, nor provide false tips on how to save your knees from the countless miles you should be spending with a pack on your back.

My answer to how to prepare for MARSOC training isn’t actually even about the physical — it’s all about the mental. Those legendary intangibles, the all too often glossed-over qualities required in special operations are the most important. So here is what it takes:

1. Show up. First and foremost you have to show up. If every operator had a nickel for every time someone told them about the time they thought about going to selection, but didn’t for some bullshit reason, SOCOM wouldn’t need re-enlistment bonuses. The reality is most people talk themselves out of attending selection before they even start. This self-selection is probably the most important part of the process. To those would-be operators out there: fuck what everyone else says, show up.

2. Don’t Quit. Once you have passed that first step, remember one thing — don’t quit, ever. Not for a little bit, not cause your feet hurt, not because you’ve got broken bones. Not quitting is the single most important quality in any operator. Assessment and selection is designed to answer one question — are you a quitter? This fundamental question needs to be answered before any special operation command can invest any resources in training you.

The beauty of Assessment and Selection is that you can drop on request at any time. The course is designed to make you want to quit. The formula is simple. How much stupid, painful, ridiculous, seemingly useless shit can I ask you to do before you will give up? A friend of mine used to always say, “We’re not particularly smarter or stronger. We’re just the idiots who don’t know when to say enough.” Indeed, most rational people wouldn’t cover over 20 kilometers of land navigation in a day or push a broken jeep across a map, just because they were asked. Most people wouldn’t march with a pack in the pitch dark of night, not knowing where they were going, or when they would get there, with no track of time and no communication, all while being evaluated on unknown criteria. But, that is why most people are not special operators.

Why do we care if you’re a quitter? Operators are thrust into daunting and unforgiving challenges in harsh and ambiguous environments. When a team of less than 15 operators is leading 100 panicky Afghan commandos into a hostile village assault, you want to be sure that none of those operators are going to quit on you. In this regard, assessment and selection is the perfect tool for separating the mentally strong and willing, from the unworthy.

3. Adapt. Although torturous, assessment and selection is not completely arbitrary. Why would they require people to complete impossible challenges with inadequate resources and insufficient time? Because, that is the life of a special operator. Why would they create difficult situations surrounded in ambiguity in a team environment? Because they need to know how you’ll function under the most stressful of circumstances down range.

Commanders love special operators because they are good at mission accomplishment, whatever the mission may be. Adaptability is the name of the game, not just to the situation on the ground but having the capacity to do it all. Teams function on a concept of redundancy. Everyone needs to know everyone else’s job, understanding that at any given point someone can be taken out of the fight. Those situations are never accommodating, in fact, those situations always seem to be the worst-case scenarios. A well-functioning team will always accomplish the mission, regardless of setbacks, because everyone in the stack can adapt and do the job of the man who went down.

In summary: show up, don’t quit, adapt, and you are well on your way to becoming a pipe hitter.

And if all that fails always remember to follow the Recon rules: 1. Always look cool, 2. Never get lost, 3. When in violation of rule 2, follow rule 1.

Read the Original Article at Task and Purpose


Evolving the Marine Corps for Irregular Warfare



The concept of an evolution to a new type of warfare has been understood for decades, but the U.S. military, the Marine Corps included, has failed to adapt to the changing methods of waging war. The type of warfare that goes by the names irregular, counterinsurgency, low-intensity, and hybrid, among others, is not new at all. Although the methods used in this type of war may seem unfamiliar or un-warlike to a conventionally trained military, it is war nonetheless. While the Marine Corps still relies solely on the methods of conventional maneuver warfare, or even older ones of attrition and massed firepower, our enemies have adapted other ways of defeating us. Both state and non-state actors have used terrorism, propaganda, recruitment through social media, and combined regular and guerilla tactics to defeat far technologically superior forces. No matter what name we give to the poorly understood methods of irregular war, the fact remains that it is still war, and we must adapt if we are to be successful in it. As our enemies’ methods of war have evolved, ours must evolve as well if we want to remain relevant. It is time for the Marine Corps to change the way it thinks about, trains for, and carries out irregular warfare.

“Light” not “Line” Infantry

The Marine Corps must adopt the capability to fight as light infantry. FMFM-2A: Light Infantry offers some useful insights into what “light” infantry is, and how it differs from “line” or “regular” infantry. Light infantry is “a flexible force capable of operating in austere conditions with few logistical requirements, providing the commander a force ideally suited to complement heavier elements of the army.”2 Where line infantry is akin to the heavily armed and armored but rigid phalanx of Greek hoplite warfare, light infantry is more akin to the hit-and-run ambush mentality of Mongol horsemen or Prussian Jaegers. Light and line infantry forces work in mutual support of each other. A combination of the ambushes, raids, and harassment of light infantry, with the overwhelming mass and finishing blow of line infantry and heavier forces creates havoc for the enemy.

Unfortunately, the entirety of the Marine Corps infantry is focused on fighting as line infantry, rather than as the more flexible combination of light and line infantry. Too much concern on armored protection, firepower, and linear drill-like tactics has limited our capability. The United States already has a medium/heavy force, and it is called the Army. Within the Marine Corps, tanks, artillery, attack aircraft, and armored vehicles can deliver heavy firepower, but infantry battalions lack significant training in fighting as a light force.

It is important to note that “light” is not a description of the actual weight of the unit but of its notion of agility and operational versatility.3 With this in mind, John Boyd’s ideas of variety and initiative4 are essential elements of operating as light infantry. Light infantry must be adaptable and able to use a variety of assets at their disposal to surprise, harass, and demoralize the enemy. For the modern Marine Corps, this means more mobile vehicles, more flexible and creative tactics, more decentralized execution, less logistical tail, and more methods for physical, mental, and moral warfare. Light infantry Marines must be able to live off the land, strike the enemy when he least expects it, then disappear back into the shadows, all with minimal direction from higher headquarters. They must be “an influence, and idea, a thing intangible, invulnerable, without front or back, drifting about like a gas.”5 Light infantry is not usually the main effort but complements it by keeping the enemy off balance and reactive, allowing friendly forces to maintain the initiative.

The operationally versatile mindset of light infantry can be used not only to demoralize the enemy but to find creative ways to convince other parties to join our cause, as will be discussed later.

No More Drill

“Each new generation has brought a major shift towards a battlefield of disorder. The military culture, which has remained a culture of order, has become contradictory to the battlefield.”6 Drill, saluting, crisp uniforms, and rank structure are products of first generation warfare and are irrelevant and sometimes detrimental to operating on the modern battlefield. While armies in the 18th and 19th centuries benefitted from tight formations and instant obedience to orders, these same qualities have caused modern armies to be defeated by numerically and technologically inferior enemies.

Modern fighting units require adaptable and flexible tactics, flattened command structures, and uniforms and equipment based solely on functionality. The necessary mindset of constant change and flexibility is the complete opposite of the rigid and linear mindset that drill instills. It is typically harder to unlearn habits than it is to learn them. With that said, instilling recruits and candidates with a drill mindset from the beginning of their training makes it harder for them to unlearn the bad habits of linearity and rigidity, reducing their effectiveness when operating in ambiguous environments. Luckily, many Marines have been able to unlearn drill habits and have proven to be highly adaptable fighters and leaders, but many struggle to overcome the drill mindset. Adaptability and critical thinking must be the focus of entry-level training through the use of tactical decision games and force-on-force field exercises.

There is still some need for a division of responsibility between leader and led, so some form of rank structure should be retained. But the command structure should be more akin to that employed by LtCol Evans Carlson in the Second Raider Battalion during World War II.7 Leaders must be empowered down to the lowest level; Marines of all ranks must display mutual respect and suffer the same hardships and living conditions; and every Marine must be allowed to voice his or her opinion in decision making. Drill and fancy uniforms still have some utility when used for ceremonies, parades, or other formal occasions, but they are useless just about everywhere else. Eliminate our 18th century habits, and the Marine Corps will start adapting faster to the demands of future wars.

Relaxed Grooming Standards and Local Dress

A Marine on patrol in full battle-rattle, complete with rifle, body armor, helmet, goggles, camouflage utilities, radios, and a clean shaven face and living on a built-up base with hot showers, abundant food, TV, and internet sends two clear messages to local observers: “You do not want to mess with me,” and “I am not one of you.” These perceptions can have either a positive or negative influence, depending on what the intended message is. If the objective is to intimidate the enemy and assert American dominance in an area, then they certainly send the right message. However, if the objective is to talk to people and convince them to support our cause, then they only magnify the gap between Marines and the populace.

Read the Remainder at Marine Corps Gazette

%d bloggers like this: