Forty Marines graduated the second ever U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command Individual Training Course and earned the title Marine special operator during a graduation ceremony Feb. 11, at the MARSOC headquarters building auditorium.
The seven-month course is designed to prepare Marines to conduct special operations missions in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Marines attend the course after they pass the Assessment and Selection process.
“When Marines come through ITC, they go through the basic infantry skills, back to the fundamentals,” said Col. James Parrington the commanding officer of Marine Special Operations School. “We make sure they go through the skills right every time they do them.”
The course was broken down into four phases. In each phase, the Marines learned a myriad of different skill sets including direct action, close quarters battle, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense, fire support, tactical casualty care, irregular warfare, survival evasion resistance and escape, and infantry weapons and tactics.
The grueling course tested their mental and physical limits. The rigorous training systematically increased with each phase to mimic the complexities and stresses of combat.
“We were evaluated physically, mentally and emotionally every day. It was one of the toughest things I have ever done,” said one of the course graduates.
The course culminated with a final training exercise titled “Derna Bridge.” The 27-day training evolution forced the Marines to use all the skills mastered throughout the course, which included special reconnaissance techniques, precision raids on rural and urban objectives and irregular warfare operations.
Now that the Marines have completed the training, they will fill the ranks of one of three Marine Special Operations Battalions located at Camp Lejeune and Camp Pendleton, Calif..
“With the training I received here I know I am better prepared for deployments,” said another course graduate. “I know I am ready for the challenges ahead.”