MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N. C. -- The Foreign Military Training Unit, Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, is set to make their mark in history as they send the first MARSOC units to deploy as part of SOCOM.
Teams One, Two, Three and Five from Company “A” reached the end of their training cycle and took the next step in their evolution by deploying this past weekend.
“This is the first time in Marine Corps history that this has been done and it feels good,” said a weapons instructor with Team 5.
Last month, Team 5, a Spanish language team, completed its Operational Readiness Exercise in Puerto Rico, the first held outside the continental U.S., and has since been readying to deploy to South America.
“The other teams trained stateside during their ORE, but ours was as close as you could get to the actual mission,” said the enthusiastic Team-5 Marine.
Prior to completing their ORE, the teams underwent months of advanced training involving patrolling tactics, shooting and demolition packages, weapons handling, teaching techniques, communication systems, land navigation, mission briefings and other physically-rigorous training.
A key part of all the training is learning the language and culture of the host nation that each team would deal with specifically. While Team 5 studied the Spanish language and culture, Teams 1, 2 and 3 prepared for their deployment to North Africa by studying French and the native cultures of that part of the world.
“Every week is a progression in our language [and cultural knowledge] abilities,” said a senior member of Team 3. “After months of training, we are about to take our first steps into the special ops community and be relevant. This is where [we] write the next chapter of the Marine Corps’ history.”
For one corpsman with Team 3, this is a personal accomplishment as he hopes to write his own chapter in naval history as he gets a chance not only to be a corpsman, but to be a basic infantry instructor as well.
“I have been with various infantry units for six years, and for these guys to feel confident enough in me to help teach the basic infantry skills, it’s a great honor,” the corpsman said proudly. “They took my wealth of knowledge and built on that a thousand fold.”
The corpsman, like other members of FMTU who are on their second, third, and even fourth enlistments, possesses the experience to carry out their missions in their 11-man teams.
“I feel more comfortable with the smaller teams because we know each other and protect each other better,” said a communications operator for Team 2.
The teams are scheduled to stay in their assigned countries for up to four months; some will “shadow” trainers already on site and others will act as advisors.
During this time, the “scholar-warrior” teams will provide a range of skill sets concentrating on foreign internal defense and other basic infantry tactics.
“I hope those we teach will grasp the knowledge we give them over the period of time,” said the communications operator. “In return, I hope we can build a relationship with them and have mutual respect for each other.”
The enthusiastic Marines and sailors worked tirelessly to bring their efforts to fruition and their families supported this new endeavor in their personal and professional lives.
“Our families are proud of [us], but it still seems like just another deployment to them,” the communications operator said. “But to us, it’s so much more.”
This deployment is the first of many for FMTU. In coming years the unit will grow to include 26 teams in two companies and will conduct operations throughout the world.
“It’s awesome [because] you always hear that you are on the ‘tip of the spear’, but with FMTU, you truly are,” said the corpsman.