MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command’s Marine Special Operations Advisor Group observed its two-year anniversary here, Oct. 19. Marines, Sailors, family and friends attended a ceremony during which the National Defense Service and Global War on Terrorism Streamers were affixed to the unit color and the unit celebrated a historic and productive two years.
“MSOAG began with a few Marines sitting around a table with a concept,” explained Col. Michael N. Peznola, commanding officer, MSOAG.
Two years ago, MSOAG included approximately 70 deployable personnel and about six teams. Company A was established in March, 2006 and was the first of two MSOAG companies. Company B came one year later and already had three operational teams when it formally stood up. Now, MSOAG has more than 132 deployable Marines and Sailors and nearly 20 Special Operations Teams formed to conduct missions directed by U.S. Special Operations Command.
During MSOAG’s two year existence, its teams successfully completed 18 deployments to more than nine different countries in support of foreign internal defense missions.
“Although we train foreign militaries and help expand their capabilities, our long-term goal is to provide a better relationship with each country,” said 1st Sgt. Robert W. Pullen, MSOAG’s acting sergeant major.
By training foreign militaries and building relationships, MSOAG builds confidence within the host-nations.
“Building confidence will build hope for these countries,” explained Peznola. “With hope, more schools will be built and the host nations will grow stronger and then, hopefully, they will turn away from any extremists who enter their country.”
MSOAG teams work to tailor their skill sets toward their assigned countries or regions and become very familiar with local cultures and language. The Marines and Sailors are expected to be knowledgeable in a wide range of military and infantry tactics. Because of this, the advisors train hard to enhance, expand their abilities and build well-rounded teams of advisors.
Pullen believes MSOAG is an important addition to the special operations community and is one of the leading units in the Global War on Terrorism.
“First and foremost, we are Marines,” explained Pullen. “As Marines, we are used to moving at a quick pace, so we have adapted well to being a special operating force.”
MSOAG has moved with a measured sense of urgency over the past two years, and will not slow down any time soon. As it grows beyond its roots as the Foreign Military Training Unit, MSOAG will continue enhance and develope its capabilities in order to win wars before they ever begin.
Active duty Marines and Sailors interested in joining MARSOC can contact the Marine Special Operations School at (910) 450-3349/3123 (DSN 750-3349/3123) or visit us online at www.marsoc.usmc.mil/recruiting.