Marines serving as critical skills operators and special operations officers are now authorized to wear a newly-created insignia on their chests, according to a Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) news release.
The new uniform item will be awarded to Marines once they complete the Individual Training Course (ITC), a five-phase, 196-day training program that prepares Marines for special operations duties. Upon conclusion of ITC, individual Marines move on to specialized curricula, totaling at least 268 days of training before joining operational forces.
“It’s a representation of the pride and legacy that dates back to the Marine Raiders of World War II. This badge will distinguish a SOF-qualified Marine, just as the combat crew wings distinguish an aviation crew chief or the jump wings and dive bubble distinguish a Recon Marine.”
“The individual MARSOC operator must be trained and educated to think critically and function in an increasingly complex operating environment — to understand and interact in dynamic, dangerous and politically-sensitive battlefields,” said Maj. Gen. Carl E. Mundy III, commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command. “Our rigorous training pipeline ensures that a newly minted critical skills operator has developed the skills required for full spectrum special operations. This badge serves as a visual certification that they have trained and prepared to accept their new responsibilities.”
The 2” x 2.75” insignia consists of a bald eagle with outstretched wings grasping a dagger in its talons, surmounted by a shield with the Southern Cross constellation inscribed upon it. On a scroll above the eagle’s head is the Latin phrase “Spiritus Invictus,” translating to “Unconquerable Spirit.” The eagle represents the United States, its outstretched wings the nation’s global reach. The Fairbairn-style dagger represents the legacy of Marine Raider Battalions and the Marine Special Operations School. The Southern Cross constellation on the shield honors the insignia of Marine Raider Battalions and the 4th Marine Regiment under which they were later amalgamated during World War II, as well as the 1st Marine Division insignia. The Southern Cross has traditionally been incorporated into Marine Raider insignia over the years.
“It’s a representation of the pride and legacy that dates back to the Marine Raiders of World War II. This badge will distinguish a SOF-qualified Marine, just as the combat crew wings distinguish an aviation crew chief or the jump wings and dive bubble distinguish a Recon Marine,” said a critical skills operator.