Often abbreviated as Force Recon or even FORECON, the US Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance special operations, a top US special forces team, provide certain elements regarding military intelligence to the command sector of their Marine Air-Ground Task Force, supporting their force commanders as well as their subordinate operating units, the Fleet Marine Force (FMF).
FORECON performs both deep reconnaissance and direct action missions, though the majority of the direct action operations are now under MARSOC – the US Marine Special Operations Command, and their Marine Special Operations Team (MSOT). This change in responsibility freed Force Recon to place most of their focus on their intelligence-gathering missions.
FORECON operates independently behind enemy lines, often performing unusual missions that support the conventional warfare. They, like the Navy SEALs, receive land, sea and air training for insertion and extraction missions. Their focus generally remains primarily in supporting Marine operations. FORECON has two different types of missions: Green operations and Black operations
A Brief Look at Green Operations
Green operations involve the collection of vital intelligence using both amphibious and ground reconnaissance. They often travel deep into enemy territory far beyond any artillery or gunfire support, so their safety greatly depends on their ability to move about undetected. If even one round is fired, the mission is said to be unsuccessful.
A Brief Look at Black Operations
FORECON black operations require direct action. Unlike the green operations which are out scouting to locate potential problems, black operations require direct action and are almost always carried out within fire support. Close air support is one vital skill that is often exercised in a direct action mission. They also provide protection – or Personal Security Detail – for vital personnel.
FORECON training has a number of phases. Within each phase, candidates are specially trained both as an individual and as a unit in areas such as recon and surveillance and combatant diving. They also must successfully complete a number of programs including a Basic Airborne Course, Multi-Mission Parachute Course and Scout Sniper Course. They also receive six month’s training in Special Operations. Once certified, they go into a six month deployment phase.
This is but a brief overview highlighting a few of the many detailed tasks and missions of FORECONs highly trained soldiers. The US Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance is an incredible group of specialized Marines whose motto is “Swift, silent, deadly”.