What Misconceptions do People Often Have About the Marine Special Operations?

01/26/2017 02:05 pm ET Updated Jan 27, 2018

What misconceptions do people often have about the Marine Special Operations? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Elliot Ackerman, Author of Dark at the Crossing, former Marine Corps Special Operations, on Quora.

I served in Marine Corps Special Operation during its early days, between 2007 and 2009. We were very much figuring things out back then. It was an exciting time, but one filled with uncertainty as we changed the organizations of our teams and tried to define exactly what role our community would play in supporting Special Operations Command's largest mission. The larger Marine Corps was not always supportive of our community, a great deal of skepticism existed both within the Corps and outside of it as to whether or not Marines belonged in Special Operations. A point of concern within the larger Marine Corps was that its special operators would lose their identity as Marines by integrating into the command. What we quickly learned, was that our unique culture as Marines gave us our advantage. Yes, we could offer up that we came from a service that understood amphibious operations and that it was our service that had a long heritage of fighting small brush fire wars and counter insurgencies going back to the Philippines and Banana Wars of the early twentieth century, but serving as small teams of Marines in a joint special operations environment put our identity into clearer relief for us and showed us how important our culture was. Specifically, as Marines, we had a baseline level of discipline, esprit d' corps, and maturity that allowed us to differentiate ourselves. So, ironically, in our search to become part of special operations command we found a renewed appreciation for what it meant to be Marines.

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