HISTORY OF Marine Reconnaissance
The history of Recon Marines begins in World War II, when two units were formed: the Raider Battalion, which was created in January 1942 with the intention of providing the Marines a light-force raid unit much like the British Royal Marine Commandos, and the "Observation Group" of the 1st Marine Division, comprised of two officers and twenty enlisted men. The latter was expanded to 98 Marines in 1943, renamed the Amphibious Recon Company and served at the island of Apamama in the Pacific, where their success in aiding the invastion led to another expansion to 20 officers, 270 enlisted, and 13 Navy doctors. The Observation Group participated in landings for the rest of the war, including Tinian Island, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.
The need for recon became prominent once again in the Korean War, where the Amphibious Recon Company was called upon to make landings in Northern Korea and report back their findings, and carry out raids against tunnels and rail lines, with some of these missions taking place as much as 40 miles inside enemy territory. Recon members also operated closely with US Navy Underwater Demolition Teams during some of their missions. In March of 1951 the force was expanded and named the 1st Amphibious Recon Platoon, and would continue to serve after the end of the war. In 1957 the 1st Company of "Force" Recon Marines was formed, and 2nd Company Force Recon was formed in June 1958. In 2006, as part of reorganization under MARSOC, both companies were deactivated, and force reconnaissance is currently carried out by the 1st and 2nd Reconnaissance Battalions, under the 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions, respectively.
The 1st Reconnaissance Battalion was reactivated in June 2000 but the battalion was originally activated in March 1937, and was primarily a scout/sniper unit. In April 1944 a two-company amphibious reconnaissance battalion was formed with the mission of conducting beach reconnaissance and hydrographic survey. Today the Battalion performs a wide variety of tactical and special operations in support of the Division.