Maritime Special Purpose Force
The Maritime Special Purpose Force (MSPF) were specialized units that were part of Marine Expeditionary Units (Special Operations Capable) (MEU(SOC)).
Maritime Special Purpose Force - Role
The MSPF provided the MEU(SOC) with an organic special operations capability, with a focus on operations in the maritime environment. The roles of the MSPF included:
- Direct Action
- Deep Reconnaissance
- Vessel Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS)
- Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO)
- Gas and Oil Platform (GOPLAT) interdiction and assault
- Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP)
- support of other special operations forces
Maritime Special Purpose Force - Organization
A Maritime Special Purpose Force was drawn from elements within its parent Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU(SOC)) and could be rapidly tailored to a specific mission. A MSPF typically consisted of:
- Command Element
The command element of a MSPF was made up of:
- Commander, MSPF
- Communications Detachment
- Human Exploitation Team (HET)
- Medical Section
- Intelligence section from MEU(SOC)
- Security Element
The MSPF's security element typically comprised a rifle platoon from the Battalion Landing Team (BLT) and may have been augmented by Naval Special Warfare assets such as a SEAL platoon.
- Assault Element
The assault element of the Maritime Special Purpose Force consisted of a Force Recon Direct Action Platoon. Other elements, deployed as required, included additional sniper support, SIGINT / Electronic Warfare specialists (Radio Reconnaissance Platoon) and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams.
- Reconnaissance and Surveillance Element
The R/S element provided sniper and reconnaissance support for the assault element. It comprised Marines from the MEU's Battalion Recon Platoon, including a sniper team. Radio Reconnaissance Teams provide SIGINT support - listening in on enemy radio transmissions.
- Support Element
The MSPF's support element includeda Scout Sniper Platoon as well as communications, and Aviation Support. The support element typically consisted of :
- a Team(s), Reconnaissance and Scout Sniper
- b Team(s), Communications Det.
- c Team(s), RadBn Det.
- d Team(s), HET Det.
- e Naval Special Warfare Training Unit (As required).
- f Aviation Support Element.
Members of the security element of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Unit's Maritime Special Purpose Force (MSPF) pictured providing security during a training exercise.
DoD photo by LCpl. Kamran Sadaghiani (Released)
update - the MSPF is no longer an active formation. The concept, however, lives on with the Maritime Raid Force
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