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Teaming Up In 2019 Marine Raider Competition
by U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Janessa Pon and Cpl. Bryann K. Whitley
September 26, 2019

Marine Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) hosted the 2019 Marine Raider Competition on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina on June 12, 2019.

MARSOC hosts this event annually to build camaraderie and test operational capabilities consistent with special operations missions and to honor Marine Raider heritage.

The name, “Raider,” was adopted in 2015 in recognition of their forbearers and represents a strong history in special operations with members of all branches of the Department of Defense. Raiders have conducted more than 300 operational deployments to date, spanning across more than 17 countries.

“Marine Raiders continue to make impressive contributions to Special Operations Command’s efforts around the world,” commented Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert B. Neller, during his visit to MARSOC in February for its 13th Anniversary. “I am sure their World War II Raider predecessors would be as proud of them as we are today.”

June 12, 2019 - Marine Raiders paddle a combat rubber raiding craft (CRRC) across the bay for the boating portion of the annual Marine Forces Special Operations Command 2019 Marine Raider Competition on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, NC. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Juan A. Soto-Delgado)
June 12, 2019 - Marine Raiders paddle a combat rubber raiding craft (CRRC) across the bay for the boating portion of the annual Marine Forces Special Operations Command 2019 Marine Raider Competition on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, NC. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Juan A. Soto-Delgado)

The competition consisted of six teams of six participants hailing from 1st Marine Raider Battalion, 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, 3rd Marine Raider Battalion, Marine Raider Training Center and 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion. The teams participated in a rigorous evolution of events that tested their operational abilities consistent with special operations missions.

“The endurance coupled with the strength needed for some of the events was one of the most taxing parts of the competition,” said the Assessment and Selection land navigation instructor on the Marine Raider Training Center team. “Trying to pace ourselves and make sure we were maintaining hydration throughout the events while pushing through all the aches and pains was the most mentally straining aspect.”

Teams left the starting point in 15 minute intervals and were timed to make comparisons for final scores. Throughout the various challenges, teams combatted fatigue and the mental pressure of competition while avoiding possible penalties for missed targets or performing incorrect simulated combat casualty care.

June 12, 2019 - A Marine Raider crosses a rope bridge during the annual Marine Forces Special Operations Command 2019 Marine Raider Competition on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, NC. U.S. (Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Morgan D. Collett)
June 12, 2019 - A Marine Raider crosses a rope bridge during the annual Marine Forces Special Operations Command 2019 Marine Raider Competition on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, NC. U.S. (Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Morgan D. Collett)

“When it came to preparing, our biggest challenge was finding adequate time to train,” said the A&S land navigation instructor on MRTC’s team. “We got hit with some penalties because of that, but we did our best to communicate with each other and help each other through the events.”

During the competition, each team member carried more than 45 pounds of equipment for the duration of the 15-mile ruck course that consisted of events such as rappelling; live fire shoots; casualty carries; breaching; land navigation with resupply; and boating.

“Going in we were expecting to be the fastest team,” said Sgt. Adam Terrazas with the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion team. “I think we came out of the gate too strong, which affected us negatively because we started to break off a little and get dehydrated, but ultimately, we were able to put our minds together at each event and help one another get through the challenges.”

June 12, 2019 - Marine Raiders participate in the land navigation portion of the annual Marine Forces Special Operations Command 2019 Marine Raider Competition on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, NC. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Morgan D. Collett)
June 12, 2019 - Marine Raiders participate in the land navigation portion of the annual Marine Forces Special Operations Command 2019 Marine Raider Competition on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, NC. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Morgan D. Collett)

After all teams crossed the finish line, participants received awards for their performances in the competition.

“It means a lot to us for our recon brothers to join us,” said the MRTC commander during his closing remarks. “This is something we will continue to do to build camaraderie and the competitive spirit.”

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