ComNavOps occasionally has distinguished visitors drop by and today is such a day. We have a guest post provided by WireguidedMarine. Regular readers will recognize the name from his frequent and insightful comments throughout the blog and especially concerning Marine and amphibious matters. Indeed, it is exactly these topics that WireguidedMarine offers his unique perspective on in today’s post. He is a retired Marine SNCO who started off using missiles and eventually moved to Intel. He later went to college on the GI Bill where he majored in history. An authoritative and unique perspective, indeed! Enjoy!
Recently the Navy and Marine Corps have begun to focus on the Pacific and
. In addition, within the Corps, there is a feeling that the last decade has seen the Marines become “a second land army” to the detriment of the Service’s core capability. How should the Marine Corps go forward post-Iraq/Afghanistan and refocus on the sea? China
One way to bring some capability back to the Fleet is to reinstate the Marine Detachments (MarDets). Until the 1990’s, Marines were regular components of battleship and aircraft carrier crews. During the Cold War, detachments usually consisted of two officers with 35 to 44 Marines on cruisers and two officers with 46 to 64 enlisted on carriers. By the late 1990’s, budget and manpower constraints had reduced these numbers by half on carriers before being eliminated altogether. As the regulations at the time specified, Marines were: “To provide for operations ashore, as a part of the ships landing force; or as a part of the landing force of Marines from ships of the fleet or subdivision thereof; or as an independent force for limited operations.” Does this not sound familiar to us in the present day?
|MarDets - More of Good Thing|
Marines I knew who had been part of these MarDets talked of how they worked with the crews of the SH-3s (and later SH-60s) on all types of insertions including on land, on ships, at night, and in bad weather. They were the Captain’s personal assault force when necessary. Not to take away from the SEALs, but these roles of hostile ship-boarding and raiding are tailor-made for Marines. This would ease up demand on the already stretched thin SEALs.
I believe the MarDets need to be placed on cruisers again as well. A smaller contingent of one officer and 25 enlisted Marines would add to the flexibility of any task force.
A CSG under my plan with a carrier and two cruisers would have over 100 Marines fully integrated into the force. MH-60s (and possibly MV-22s) organic to the group would provide airlift. Any tasking more than the CSG’s Marines could handle might be brought in by the ESG with the LHD or LPD to handle the C3 and logistics. The Marines would be a small enough unit to get in and out quickly and would have naval gunfire (5”/54, 5”/62, 155mm AGS), MH-60Rs, and fast movers to provide the support needed during their brief time ashore.
I like the idea of bringing back the MarDets. They are the Marine Corps’ past, and I believe they can be the Marine Corps’ future.
The Naval Institute Guide To The Ships And Aircraft Of The U.S. Fleet Norman Polmar 18th edition 2005