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Marine RECON 



Here is the new breakdown to clear up any confusion with the changes in USMC RECON and the new structure of MARSOC.

RECON still exists!  They have simply rearranged the Force RECON teams into MARSOC and the Battalion RECON missions have been largely unchanged.  See the details at Camp Pendleton’s Basic RECON Course.  But in a nutshell, all future RECON students must attend BRC – BASIC RECON COURSE.  You can still do this as a new Marine but you must first qualify after Boot camp and School of Infantry (SOI).  The link above will describe the standards that a RECON applicant must adhere to before joining the Marine Occupational Specialty 0321 (RECON Marine).  RECON Battalions remained as part of the USMC Divisions and continue to perform missions for the deployed USMC commander.  BRC is open to Marines and Navy Hospital Corpsman.

Here is a brief history of USMC RECON and MarSOC:

In recent history(1990s-2005),  Recon Battalions were Division assets and focused primarily on Amphibious/Ground Reconnaissance and Surveillance missions.  This included both green side and urban R&S.

Then you had the Force Recon Company, which was a completely separate unit that was a Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) asset.  They were primarily the Close Quarter Batlle (CQB) platoon and had a deep reconnaissance mission set.  In reality, as much as no one really wanted to say it, Force was the senior unit.  Guys would start off in Bn Recon and then move over to Force (Not always, but that's the way it generally worked).

Now enter MARSOC.  In 2006, both 1st and 2nd Force Recon Companies became MARSOC.  MARSOC was built on the backs of the RECON community and took many of the RECON operators.  Since then, the attitude at MARSOC (At the senior Officer/Enlisted level) has become one of animosity towards 0321's.  So the Force Companies went away and weren't stood back up, in name, until like the 2009/2010 timeframe.  There was a lot of transition and name changing during that time.

So here's what we have right now as of 2012:

There are three Recon Battalions. 

- 1st Batt is out at Camp Pendleton, CA. 
- 2nd Batt is out of Camp Lejeune, NC. 
- 3rd Batt which is out at Camp Schwab, Okinawa. 

The Battalion is broken down into three Companies (A, B, C) the Force Recon Company, and a Headquarters and Support Company (H&S ).  Recon Battalion is controlled by their respective Marine Division and support the Marine Expeditionary Units (MEU) with a Recon Plt.  Additionally, the Battalion had been doing deployments for the Division directly to support OEF and any other taskings from the Marine Division.

The Force Recon Company supports the MEU's and is Operationally Controlled by the Marine Expeditionary Force (The Parent Command of the Division).  However, Force is still administratively controlled by the Recon Battalion and pretty much still gets tasked by the Division. 

Recruiting Programs for Enlisting into RECON:

There is still the 0321 enlistment program.  Here's what it will look like:

- Bootcamp-13 weeks

- Infantry Training Battalion, Basic Rifleman Course-12 weeks, either at SOI-East or SOI-West

- Report to Marine's Awaiting Reconnaissance Training Platoon (MART Plt) - This is the new RIP (RECON Indoc Program).
It's a semi-formalized course that is taught at the BRC Schoolhouse at Camp Pendleton.  Students will be in MART for anywhere from 4-8+ weeks.  A lot depends on the student, how many seats are open in the next BRC class, etc.  This is a prep course (Similar to BUD/S Prep Course) and also a place for guys that get rolled back to go and wait for the next course to start.

- Basic RECON Course - BRC - Twelve weeks of advanced training that is challenging both physically and mentally.  The course is located at Camp Pendleton with the exception of a two week Amphibious Phase in Coronado on the bay side of the Naval Amphibious Base.

There is also a pipeline that is setup so the RECON candidates will go to BRC, then to Airborne, SERE and Marine Combatant Diver Course in Panama City. 

The RECON PFT is more involved and in-depth.  Here's what the new Reconnaissance Physical Assessment Test (conducted Annually):

It will be broken down into 2 separate tests.  The first test is the RPAT and the second test is the SOCOM Dive Screener (Aquatics Confidence Test). 

The RECON candidates start off with the standard Marine Corps PFT and CFT.

RECON Physical Assessment Test (RPAT) - 500 yd swim, pushups, situps, pullups, 1.5 mile run in boots / pants, 12 mile 50 # ruck, and two USMC obstacle courses.

RECON Aquatics Competency Test (RACT) - This is a variety of skills required of any Special Operator.  To prepare practice swimming underwater 25m, treading water with no hands, floating, bobbing, tying knots underwater (bowline, clove hitch, square knot, right angle knot, figure 8 knot, drownproofing feet / hands tied, standard Navy drownproofing entering water from height, inflating blouse / trousers to float for 10 minutes, and entering water with full load of gear and remove gear after submerging.

RECON MISSION:   The mission of Force RECON is to “conduct amphibious reconnaissance, deep ground reconnaissance, surveillance, battle space shaping, and limited scale raids in support of the Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), other Marine air-ground task forces, or a joint force.”

All future RECON students must attend BRC – BASIC RECON COURSE taught at the School of Infantry (SOI) West RECON Training Company in Camp Pendleton, CA.   The Basic RECON Course consists of three phases: 

Phase 1 is four weeks long and focuses on Marine individual physical skills such as running, high repetition PT, obstacle courses, ocean swims with fins, rucking, land navigation, helicopter rope suspension training, communications and supporting arms.

Phase 2 is three weeks long and concentrates on small unit tactics, mission planning and includes a nine-day exercise in full mission profiles.

Phase 3 is two weeks and focuses on the maritime mission.   Held in Coronado, CA, the Marine will conduct amphibious reconnaissance, boat operations and nautical navigation.

You can still try out for RECON as a new Marine recruit, but you must first qualify after Boot camp and School of Infantry (SOI).  The RECON applicant must adhere to the following standards before joining the Marine Occupational Specialty 0321 (RECON Marine):

         US Citizen, score 105 or higher on the General Technical portion of the ASVAB

         Completed Infantry Training Battalion (enlisted Marines)

         3rd Class Swimmer Qualification

         Score at least 225 on your PFT by Phase 1

         No color vision deficiencies

         At least 20/200 vision

RECON Battalions remained as part of the USMC Divisions and continue to perform missions for the deployed USMC commander.  BRC is open to Marines and Navy Hospital Corpsman.

For more information see the RECON Websites listed in this article. 

"This is a commercial site and not affiliated in any way with the Federal Government - The use of the words USMC or MARSOC does not imply nor infer any endorsement, either explicit or implicit, by the Federal Government or any military unit"

Download the E book NOW at the link:  USMC RECON Twelve Week Workout Plan


TESTIMONIAL:  First of all I want to thank you for the fitness information you provide for all walks of life. I've been in the Marine Corps coming up on 8 years now and I have found myself in phase 2 at the Basic Reconnaissance Course. I've been trying to get into this community since I was a boot in the fleet and the last couple years I have totally dedicated myself to obtaining the title Recon Marine. I purchased your Recon Prep a while back and I can't preach about it enough. I tell all of my Marines about the program, the design of the program is amazing and by following the program it has allowed me to push myself beyond my old limitations and I now find myself beating the younger Marines in almost all events to include the pool and long rucks (with bad knees)  So again thank you! As I mentioned above I'm in phase 2 of BRC which is our Amphib phase down at NAB Coronado.

 Stew Smith, CSCS, former Navy SEAL and fitness writer is certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).  You can find more information about his training methods at


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Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness (Book / DVD)

The Complete List of Stew Smith's eBooks:

Fitness for All Levels of Fitness

The 90 Day Beginner Guide to Fitness
The Advanced Maintenance and Recovery Program

Reclaim Your Life - The Erin O'Neill Program

Veteran's Fitness - Baby Boomer and a Flat Stomach

The Busy Executive Workout Routine
The Advanced Weights / PT Workout (Fall / Winter Weight Gain Cycle)
The Perfect Pushup Workout

The TRX Workout
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NEW Obstacle Course Race Ebook

The Special Forces Physical Fitness Workouts
 Combat Conditioning Workout

Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1  Beginner Weeks 1-9
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3 - Intermediate Weeks 1-12
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4  Grinder PT -  Four weeks before Hell Week

Navy SWCC Workout

The Army Special Forces / Ranger Workout 

The Army Air Assault School Workout

The Army Airborne Workout

The OCS, ROTC, Service Academy, & Bootcamp Workouts

New - Army PRT and CRT
Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard OCS Workout

The USMC IST and PFT Workout
USMC OCS / TBS Workout
The Service Academy Workout (West Point, Navy, Air Force Academy)
The Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp Bootcamp Workout

The Army OCS and PFT Workout
The PFT Bible - Military / Police Standard PFT


The Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Test Workouts

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The FLETC Prep Workout - Ace the PEB

The State / Local Police Academy Workout

The Fire Fighter Workout

TRX Train Like the Pros


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