Local News

Rumsfeld Welcomes New Marine Special Ops Command

Posted February 24, 2006 4:03 a.m. EST

— Camp Lejeune made history on Friday, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was there to see it. The base activated the Marines' first-ever Special Operations command.

The ceremony offered a glance at the future fighting force and new technology, including the once-troubled Osprey. After the war on terror began, Rumsfeld called for a smaller, faster fighting force to hunt down terrorists.

"It's going to be a long struggle," said Rumsfeld. "It becomes vital that the Department of Defense and the Armed Forces arrange ourselves in new and unconventional ways."

Terrorists don't wear uniforms, and there are no rules in the war on terror. Conventional warfare is history. That's why, for the first time, 25,000 Marines will form a Special Ops unit to conduct covert missions behind enemy lines with other military special forces. The Marines will gather intelligence and train foreign military.

So what does this mean for Camp Lejeune? It won't mean an influx of people, because most of the Marines that will make up the special unit are already there. Some are already ready to go.

"A foreign military training unit will have ultimately 22 teams," said Marine Corps Commander Gen. Michael Hagee. "Special Operations will deploy, in April, three of those teams."

Special Ops used to have a motto, "Anywhere, anytime." Now, the new Marines unit will help the current fight, which is the right force, at the right place, at the right time, and against the right enemy.

The first-ever Marine Special Operations company won't be up to full staff for a couple years, but several teams will be deployed this year.