World War II Marine Raiders reunite
By Sgt. Christina Porras
| Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego | August 15, 2014
San Diego --
In the midst of World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt enacted an order creating a group of Marines to perform elite operations and employ unconventional warfare tactics similar to those used by modern-day special operations units. Volunteers made up four battalions of these elite operators and they came to be known as the Marine Raiders. Although the specialized operators were only in existence from 1942-1944, the men left a lasting impression in the pages of Marine Corps history.
Seventy years after their disbandment, and as part of their annual reunion, 18 of the original Marine Raiders were among the audience as new Marines of Company D, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, graduated from recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego Aug. 7.
“It’s always a good feeling to be around Marines,” said retired Lt. Col. Jack R. Christensen, a Marine Raider participating in the reunion for the first time. “We are proud of our history and proud of these Marines.”
During their reunion, some Raiders visited the Command Museum and toured various facilities at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. including Marine Special Operations Command facilities. During that time, they also spoke to Marines about their combat experience and enjoyed camaraderie among their Raider brothers as well as with active duty Marines.
“This is my first time joining (a Raider reunion). It has been an honor,” said Christensen, who served in the Marine Corps for 28 years.
Their reunion coincided with the announcement that their legacy will be continued as Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos, released a proclamation Aug. 6 declaring that MARSOC Marines will again carry the Marine Raider moniker by renaming its subordinate units, such as Marine Raider Battalion and Marine Raider Group.
“They are the founding fathers of Marine special operations – they conducted special (operations) before special operations were created,” said Capt. Barry Morris, MARSOC spokesman. “The Marines of MARSOC are proud and honored to carry on the Raider name. It’s a logical step that ties us to our heritage.”
“They’ve been carrying on the tradition that we started years ago,” said Christensen. “We want our name to be active today. It’s the right thing to do for our brothers.”