Taiwan’s Naval Command had confirmed that a team from the Marine Raiders Regiment – the U.S. Marine Corps’ special operations forces – arrived in the country on November 9 to train the Taiwanese Marines, the first such official contact between the two since 1979 when the United States formally recognized the People’s Republic of China.
Taiwan News, quoting the UDN, reported that during their month-long visit, the Raiders will train the Taiwanese Marines “in assault boat and speedboat infiltration operations at the Tsoying Naval Base in Kaohsiung.”
Taiwanese special forces and the U.S. Army Green Berets hold annual joint exercises, the report also noted.
The special operations unit and the Marine contingent are a small but symbolic effort by the U.S. to increase Taipei’s confidence in building its defense against potential Chinese aggression.
Current and former U.S. government officials and military experts believe that deepening ties between U.S. and Taiwan military units is better than simply selling Taiwan military equipment.
Who are the Marine raiders?
The Marine Corps is the nation’s expeditionary force, ready to respond to any crisis, anywhere.
The Marine Raiders are special operations forces initially established by the United States Marine Corps during World War II to conduct amphibious light infantry warfare.
The U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) is the Marines’ contribution to special operations on today’s battlefield. Also known as Marine Raiders, they are capable of conducting complex direct-action raids and high-level reconnaissance. Raiders are not the same as Marine Force Recon — while Force Recon is an elite unit, it does not belong to the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) as MARSOC does. MARSOC is the most recent addition to the primary special operations groups, having been activated in 2006.
The Marine Raiders is conducting sensitive combat missions all over the world.
The Marine Raider Regiment consists of a Headquarters Company and three Marine Raider Battalions. The Regiment provides tailored military combat-skills training and advisor support for identified foreign forces to enhance their tactical capabilities and prepare the environment as directed by USSOCOM and the capability to form the nucleus of a Joint Special Operations Task Force.
The Marine Raiders had played a vital role in the Pacific campaign in World War II. The Marine Special Operations Command’s appropriation of that moniker for all units under it in 2014 had been somewhat controversial. U.S. Marine Corps Major Evans Carlson — along with Colonel William “Wild Bill” Donovan, the chief of the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency – is seen as one of the fathers of the Raiders.
Marines and Sailors of Marine Raider Regiment train, advise, and assist friendly host nation forces – including naval and maritime military and paramilitary forces – to support their governments’ internal security and stability, counter-subversion to reduce the risk of violence from internal and external threats. Regiment deployments are coordinated by MARSOC, through USSOCOM, following engagement priorities for Overseas Contingency Operations.
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