Navy SEAL candidates in training

The Marine and Navy Special Forces: What to Expect If You Join Marine Force RECON, Marine Raiders or the Navy SEALs

Are you looking to pursue a career in the Marine Corps or Navy special forces? Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering the Marine’s Force RECON or Raiders and the Navy SEAL teams.

Marine Force RECON: Duties, qualifications and training

Marine Reconnaissance units are some of the most elite warriors in an already superior fighting force. Recon Marines gather information through reconnaissance and surveillance missions deep behind enemy lines.

Force RECON is overseen directly by the Marine Corps. Recon Marines have a military occupation specialty code of 0321.

Enlisted Marines and new recruits can qualify to become a Recon Marine candidate if they:

  • Are a U.S. citizen
  • Score a 105 or higher on your ASVAB’s General Technical section. This score includes both reading and math.
  • Be very physically fit as a swimmer and for fitness tests
  • Can get a secret security clearance
  • Pass a screening for selection. Check out a preparation course to get ready.

Qualified candidates can request a transfer from their commanding officers to attend the nine-week Basic Reconnaissance Course, or BRC, at the School of Infantry in Camp Pendleton.

This training will cover everything from ocean swimming to helicopter rope suspension and various reconnaissance training. Those who pass get additional specialized training before heading out on missions around the world.

The Marine Raiders: Duties, qualifications and training

Have you considered joining the Marine Raiders? They’re part of the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, or MARSOC. They complete special ops missions assigned by the joint forces U.S. Special Operations Command, or SOCOM. These missions are rooted in their Marine heritage: Small, lethal teams that win strategic battles before a war can break out. The Raider MOS is 0372.

Enlisted Marines who want to become a special forces Raider must:

  • Have a minimum ASVAB General Technical score of 105
  • Excellent physical fitness scores and pass a MARSOC swim test
  • Be able to get a secret clearance
  • Able to transfer to a required skills MOS

Once you’ve checked your eligibility, you’ll undergo the first three-week phase of Assessment and Selection course. Completing the first phase doesn’t guarantee selection, but you may make it through to the second phase of A&S. After that, you’ll proceed to a nine-month Individual Training Course for your new MOS.

The Navy SEALs: Duties, qualifications and training

Navy SEAL teams are a special ops fighting force completing missions from air, land and sea by whatever means necessary. These teams specialize in unconventional warfare tactics to complete missions all around the world – from capturing high-profile terrorists to detonating bombs for beach landings.

You can apply to become a Navy SEAL as a civilian, a Navy sailor or even as a service member from another military branch. Both new recruits and active military future SEAL candidates must:

  • Be incredibly physically fit. For example, a SEAL candidate would ideally swim 500 yards in 9:30 minutes, with a similar time for the 1.5 mile run.
  • Have high ASVAB scores in math, science, electronics and other subjects
  • Be younger than 29 years old
  • Have U.S. citizenship

Enlisted service members must also visit a career counselor to see if they can transfer, as well as pass a dive physical.

Qualified candidates then go through the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, or BUD/S. Candidates continue physical training while learning new skills like combat diving, land warfare and advanced tactics. Not everyone will graduate, but those who do become some of the most elite fighters in the world.

Talented and dedicated enlisted Marines and sailors are welcome in any of the special operations teams. If you want to become part of a special ops unit like the Recon Marines, Raiders or Navy SEALs, talk to your commanding officer or career counselor about possible transfers.

Learn about other branches’ elite units as well as other military careers to pursue. Discover all the ways Military OneSource is your connection to information, answers and support to help you overcome challenges, reach your goals and thrive.

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