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Marine Division Recon / Battalion Recon

United States Marine Corps Reconnaissance Battalions, otherwise known as Marine Division Recon, are an elite cadre of Marines which provide reconnaissance for their assigned Marine Air-Ground Task Force Gound Combat element commander.

Marine Division Recon - Roles

Tasks carried out by Division Recon include:

  • amphibious-ground reconnaissance
  • underwater reconnaissance
  • initial terminal guidance
  • battle damage assessment
  • direct action raids or ambushes

Marine Division Recon have a similar role and capability to Marine Force Recon but also differ in several ways. Division Recon typically operate closer to the main ground force of Marines, in the close to distant battle space area, while Force Recon tend to operate much further out in the deep battle space area. Division Recon has a more limited direct action capability than their Force Recon or MARSOC cousins.

Marine Division Recon - Organization

There are currently division reconnaissance battalions:

  • 1st Reconnaissance Battalion (1st Recon)
    assigned to the 1st Marine Division
  • 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion (2nd Recon)
    assigned to the 2nd Marine Division
  • 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion (3rd Recon)
    assigned to the 3rd Marine Division
  • 4th Reconnaissance Battalion (4th Recon)
    assigned to the 4th Marine Division Marine Forces Reserve

Reconnaissance Battalions are made up of a number of Companies : Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta (Force Reconnaissance) and a Headquarters and Services Company.

Recon Companies consist of a number of Recon Platoons, which themselves consist of:

Each platoon includes 3 6-man teams:
  • Team Leader: Staff Sergeant or Sergeant
  • Assistant Team Leader: Sergeant or Corporal
  • Radio Operator: Sergeant or Corporal
  • Assistant Radio Operator: Corporal or Lance Corporal
  • Point Man: Corporal or Lance Corporal
  • Scout/Driver: Corporal or Lance Corporal.
When deployed with a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Recon Marines form a Reconnaissance Platoon / Amphibious Reconnaissance Platoon within the MEU's Battalion Landing Team (BLT).

Deep Reconnaissance Platoons

In recent times, with the transfer of most Force Reconnaissance Companies to Marine Special Operations Battalions (MSOBs) under MARSOC, Division Recon Battalions were augmented with any remaining Force Recon assets. Each battalion, except 4th Recon, now includes a Force Reconnaissance Company and so is capable of carrying out deep reconnaisance operations for the Marine Air-Ground Task Force it is assigned to. In this role, the Force Reconnaissance Marines deploy as Deep Reconnaissance Platoons (DRP). Most direct action missions are now typically assigned to MSOBs although the Force Recon Companies retain the capability.

Marine Division Recon - Recent Operations

  • 2003 - Iraq - Operation Iraqi Freedom

    1st Recon was the tip of the spear of the ground invasion in Southern Iraq, 2003. Convoys of 1st Recon Humvees sped North towards Baghdad, engaging Iraqi forces along the way.
    more info : 1st Recon - Iraq Invasion
  • Marine Reconnaisance Creed

    read the Reconnaissance Creed

    Battalion Recon Photos

    Recon Marines with the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, come ashore in combat rubber raiding craft (CRRC) infaltables.
    US DoD photo Photo By: Cpl. Zachary Scanlon

    Recon Afghanistan
    1st Recon Marines engage the enemy during a firefight in Afghanistan, 2010.
    DoD photo by Sgt. Ezekiel Kitandwe

    3rd Force Recon
    Members of 3rd Recon's Deep Reconnaissance Platoon fast-rope down from a CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter during a training exercise.
    US DoD photo by Lance Cpl. Abigail M. Wharton

    Marine Division Recon Resources

    « Marines Special Operations

    1st Recon insignia
    Featured DIVISION RECON Photo
    Marine Division Recon photo
    A Marine assigned to the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, armed with a M249 Para machine gun, pictured on operations in Iraq, 2007.
    (click photo for fullsize image)
    more Division Recon photos
    photo : US Dod

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