Take a look at MARSOC training, where the Marine Corps grooms its top operators

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Marines make their way through the surf with a combat rubber raiding craft at Camp Lejeune, N.C., on May 21, 2015.
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USMC/Cpl. Steven Fox

Amid the Department of Defense’s historic change to open all combat jobs to women, the Marine Corps accepted the first female applicants to the sister service branches’ special operations command (MARSOC).

An average of 11 months of grueling training and the mastery of seven weapons are just some of the hurdles to join the elite tier of the Corps’.

After serving three years as a Marine, MARSOC candidates arrive at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in the best shape of their lives.

Some of the physical assessments include a 300 yard swim in cammies and a brutal 12-mile timed rucksack run carrying 45 pounds of gear.

Come along to MARSOC and see what the training is like.


MARSOC training begins with Phase One, a 10 week long course that focuses on basic skills that all operators will need to master.

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USMC/Sgt. Kyle McNally

These skills include general fitness …

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USMC/Cpl. Thomas Provost

… And significantly more advanced swimming skills.

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USMC/Cpl. Steven Fox

All Marines must also master survival skills such as Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) training and Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC).

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USAF/Master Sgt. Larry Carpenter

After a successful completion of Phase One, Marines enter into 8 weeks of Small Unit Tactics in Phase Two.

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USMC/Cpl. Steven Fox

This second phase involves small boat operations and information collection.

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Staff Sgt. Robert Storm via Wikimedia Commons

Urban and rural reconnaissance is also a focus of this phase.

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USMC/Sgt. Kyle McNally

After completion of Phase Two, successful Marines enter into 5 weeks of Close Quarters Battles training.

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Marines participate in a month-long urban sniper course at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., July 16, 2013.
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US Marine Corps Photo

Phase Three focuses on the necessary martial skills that all MARSOC operators must master to survive during their missions.

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USAF/Master Sgt. Larry Carpenter

This includes rifle and pistol marksmanship lessons …

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USMC/GySgt. Josh Higgins

… As well as learning the tactics and techniques required for successfully conducting raids on urban, rural, and maritime objects.

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USMC/Gunnery Sgt. Robert Storm

Phase Four is the final section of the course and lasts seven weeks.

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via The LoadoutRoom

This phase, dubbed Irregular Warfare, requires that Marines demonstrate a complete mastery of all preceding skills.

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US Marine Corps/ Staff Sgt. Robert Storm

In the fourth phase, operators will pair with soldiers from a participating partner nation.

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USMC/Gunnery Sgt. Robert Storm

MARSOC operators are required to then train, advise, and successfully operate with the partner nation forces. MARSOC has operated in more than 40 countries.

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Global Recon