Marines with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, talk about why they chose to become Reconnaissance Marines and their experiences they’ve had with jumping out of aircrafts with the Utility Tactical Vehicle during Integrated Training Exercise 1-19 at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California, Nov. 15, 2018. The 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion (3rd Recon) conducts amphibious and ground reconnaissance in support of the 3rd Marine Division and Marine Forces Pacific (MarForPac), operating in the commander’s areas of influence. The Battalion is based out of Camp Schwab, a satellite base of Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler. It is geographically located on the Okinawa Prefecture in Japan.
The United States Marine Corps Reconnaissance Battalions (or commonly called Marine Division Recon) are the Special Operations Capable reconnaissance assets of Marine Air-Ground Task Force that provide division-level ground and amphibious reconnaissance to the Ground Combat Element within the United States Marine Corps. Division reconnaissance teams are employed to observe and report on enemy activity and other information of military significance in close operations. The Military Occupational Specialty code for Reconnaissance Man is 0321.
Reconnaissance forces are a valuable asset to the Marine Air-Ground Task Force when the MEF Commander is faced with uncertainty in the battlefield. Reconnaissance provides timely intelligence to command and control for battlespace shaping, allowing the MAGTF to act, and react, to changes in the battlefield. While Marine reconnaissance assets may operate in specialized missions, they are unlike the unconventional SOCOM’s forces counterparts. Both division and force are solely reserved for supporting the infantry, which are directly involved in the commander’s force of action in the battlefield, or battlespace shaping.
Many of the types of reconnaissance missions that are conducted by Marine Recon units are characterized by its degree in depth of penetration. This greatly increases the mission time, risk, and support coordination needs. Division reconnaissance are in charge of the commander’s Area of Influence, the close and distant battlespace; the force reconnaissance platoons are employed farther in the deep battlespace, or the Area of Interest.
(U.S. Marine Corps video by Lance Cpl. William Chockey, Cinematography by Sgt. Joshua Chacon and Cpl. Jennessa Davey)