Marine Corps Security Force Regiment

The Marine Corps Security Force Regiment is a dedicated security and anti-terrorism unit of the United States Marine Corps.[1][2] It provides security forces to guard high-value naval installations, most notably those containing nuclear vessels and weapons. It also provides Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Teams (FAST) and Recapture Tactics Teams (RTT). Marines who complete Security Forces training are assigned a secondary Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) of 8152 (Marine Corps Security Force Guard), while instructors can earn 8153 (Marine Corps Security Force Cadre Trainer).

Marine Corps Security Force Regiment
The unit's logo
CountryUnited States
BranchUnited States Marine Corps
RoleExpeditionary Security
Garrison/HQNaval Weapons Station Yorktown, Virginia
Motto(s)Deter, Detect, Defend
Col John Evans


The unit was initially organized as the Marine Detachment, Naval Operation Base in 1920. It was re-designated as Marine Barracks, Norfolk in 1939. During World War II, Marines from the Norfolk Barracks provided security for several commands in the Tidewater area, including the Naval Station, Naval Air Station, and Naval Fuel Annex at Craney Island, and what is now Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek.

The Barracks also acted as the processing center for transient Marines on the East Coast. In addition to providing gate security for the Norfolk Naval Base Complex and a security force for a nearby Service Storage Facility, Barracks Marines also served as ceremonial troops and provided security at the headquarters of United States Atlantic Fleet and provided administrative support to Marines stationed in various Naval commands in Norfolk area.

The Barracks was re-designated as Marine Corps Security Force Battalion, Atlantic, on 1 April 1987, and exercised administrative control over security force companies and detachments afloat in the Atlantic region. The first FAST companies were established that same year to provide a more mobile force. On 16 December 1993, the Battalion was again re-designated as Marine Corps Security Force Regiment and assumed control of all security force companies and detachments globally. In 1998, numerous companies and detachments were deactivated due to force reductions and realignments; two FAST companies were established to take their place.



Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team (FAST) companies

Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team Companies
Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team logo
Nickname(s)"FAST Company"
Motto(s)Anytime, Anyplace
EngagementsUSS Cole bombing, Operation Just Cause, Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, American Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, Iraq, Afghanistan

The Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team (FAST) platoons are capable of rapidly deploying to immediately improve security at United States Government installations worldwide. They are capable of special operations, including advanced close quarters battle and in-extremis hostage rescue.

Established in 1987, FAST companies provide a limited-duration, expeditionary security force to protect vital naval and national assets. FAST maintains forward-deployed platoons at various naval commands around the globe, and possesses U.S.-based alert forces capable of rapidly responding to unforeseen contingencies worldwide. Each FAST company is equipped and trains with some of the most state-of-the-art weaponry and currently consists of around 500 Marines.

FAST companies maintain a high degree of readiness in order to conduct these short-notice, limited-duration contingency operations. The USMC's FAST companies provide both the US Navy and Marine Corps with a dedicated force protection and anti-terrorist unit, and they constitute as one of the USMC Special Operations Capable Forces. The late 1970s and early 1980s were a high water mark for US military counter-terrorist efforts. A series of deadly attacks directed at Americans highlighted the requirement for security forces capable of countering terrorist threats against military units.

The President issued a directive ordering US security agencies and all branches of the military to enhance their capabilities in this field. In compliance with this directive, the USMC conducted a thorough evaluation of its security forces during the mid-eighties. Upon the study's completion, the Corps came to the conclusion that its current security procedures were inadequate to handle the security threats being posed against it. The Corps decided to form a new unit of highly trained Marines dedicated to defending both US Navy and Marine Corps assets from terrorist attack.

The new unit was designated as the Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team, or FAST. Established in 1987, FAST Companies are equipped to perform security missions as directed by the Chief of Naval Operations. FAST Company Marines augment installation security when a threat condition is elevated beyond the ability of resident and auxiliary security forces. They are not designed to provide a permanent security force for the installation. The Marine Corps uses FAST Companies to protect forces when a threat level requires it.

Each company is well grounded in basic infantry skills. FAST Companies are primarily designed to conduct defensive combat operations, military security operations, and rear area security operations. They also can be tailored for specific tasks from the Chief of Naval Operations. They also ensure nuclear material on submarines is not compromised when the vessels are docked.

  • Dedicated, armed, combat-trained cadre
  • Task organized and equipped to perform security missions of short duration
  • Augment installation security when the threat condition has been elevated beyond the capability of the permanent security force
  • Train installation security forces in anti-terrorism and weapons marksmanship
  • Assist the base security officer in the preparation of base defense and other security plans
  • Requested by combatant and fleet commanders-in-chief
  • Deploy only upon approval of the Chief of Naval Operations

Since their inception, FAST Company Marines have seen a heavy operations tempo, being deployed to participate in numerous training, security, and combat operations. In 1989, elements of 1st FAST were deployed to Rodman Naval Station, Panama as a response to a number of incursions by unknown intruders (the intruders were believed to be members of a Cuban special operations unit who were attempting to sabotage US POL stockpiles located on the base ). 1 FAST immediately commenced operations, conducting security patrols around the base perimeter, and establishing ambush positions along known avenues of approach.

The FAST Marines were successful in deterring further incursions, and on a number of occasions they took intruders, attempting to gain entry to the base, under fire. On December 21, 1989 the US launched Operation Just Cause, the invasion of Panama. US forces were to secure the country and remove Panamanian military strongman, and the country's de facto leader, from power. Although primarily a US Army, and special operations forces mission, a select number of USMC units were to participate. One of the USMC units selected for the operation was 1st FAST Co.

1st FAST had been operating in Panama for some time providing security at US naval installations; conducting training exercises; and gearing up for any possible terrorist attack directed at USMC or USN facilities in Panama. 1st FAST along with a detachment form the 2nd Light Armored Infantry (LAI) Battalion, another new USMC unit, were to conduct several joint combat missions together. The 2nd LAI det. provided speed, armored protection, and heavy firepower, while 1 FAST provided CQB skills necessary for operating in the tight confines of an urban environment.

During Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield, FAST Marines provided additional security to US naval installations in Bahrain.

In January 1991, the US Navy and Marines conducted Operation Sharp Edge, the noncombatant evacuation operation of US and foreign nationals from Liberia. FAST was deployed to relieve the Marine Amphibious Readiness Group that was providing security at the US embassy in Monrovia, Liberia.

Shortly after the conclusion of Vigilant Warrior, USCENTCOM found itself involved once again in Somalia, this time to cover the withdrawal of UNOSOM II in accordance with a United Nations decision to pull its forces out of that war ravaged country. After the withdrawal of US forces on 25 March 1994, the United States maintained a liaison office in Mogadishu in an attempt to further the process of political reconciliation in Somalia. Security for this office was provided by a Fleet Anti terrorist Security Team (FAST) platoon. As conditions in Mogadishu deteriorated, the liaison office relocated to Nairobi and the FAST platoon redeployed to Mombasa, Kenya, on 15 September 1994, with FAST redeploying to home station three days later.

FAST Platoons also provided security support for the transfer of Cuban migrants from Panama holding areas to Guantanamo Bay during Operation Safe Passage from January to February 1995. Following the 1996 bombing of a USAF barracks in Saudi Arabia, FAST Marines responded. Elements of FAST Company arrived on the scene and secured several buildings within 10 hours.

During Operation Fairwinds in late 1996, FAST Platoons provided security for Navy Seabees and USAF Civil Engineers, work sites, camp sites, and convoys in Haiti.

There are currently three FAST companies in the US and a training company. Companies A and C are located on Naval Station Norfolk, Norfolk, Virginia, and Company B, which is located at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, Yorktown, Virginia. These companies operate under the control of the Marine Corps Security Force Regiment located on Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia, The Security Force Regiment Training Company is located on Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads, Northwest Annex (NSA Northwest), in Chesapeake, Virginia. Each company includes almost 400 Marines, task-organized based upon mission.

All Marines assigned to FAST must have completed the following training:

  • SOI (School of Infantry).
  • Security Force School - (NSA Northwest, Chesapeake, VA) - Teaches Combat Marksmanship (shotgun and pistol), Close Quarter Battle
  • FAST Training (5 weeks)-(NSA Northwest, Chesapeake, VA) Additional training in Advanced Urban Combat.

During their training exercises, FAST makes extensive use of simulated ammunition or UTM. Si-munition and UTMs are like paintball ammunition, but it can be fired from weapons normally used by the unit instead of plastic guns. The USMC has seen fit to equip its FAST units with a wide array of weapons, and equipment to help them accomplish their mission. The FAST's arsenal is known to include M4 rifles, M4/M-203 40mm grenade launchers, Modified M-14 rifles with specialized stocks to make them Designated Marksmen Rifles (DMR which has a composite stock and fixed magnification scope) or Enhanced Marksmen Rifle (EMR which has a SAGE stock with a specialized scope known as the Scout Sniper Day Scope or SSDS), Beretta M9A1 9mm pistols, Remington 870 shotguns, Benelli M1014 semi automatic shotgun, M-249 5.56mm Squad Automatic Weapons (SAWs), M-240B 7.62mm MMGs, Browning .50 Cal. HMGs, MK-19 40mm HMGs (automatic grenade launchers).

All these weapons can at any time be outfitted with the most advanced optics known today like ACOG, EoTech, AimPoint, various PEQ laser systems and night vision scopes. Almost all of FAST Company's missions are unknown, except by the members of that platoon. Charlie FAST Company from NAS Bahrain was sent to secure the embassy in Sanna Yemen in July 2011 just one year prior to the FAST's most recent mission that was known around the world and caught media attention was on 12 September 2012. A FAST team 1 from Rota, Spain was sent to Libya in response to the 2012 U.S. Consulate attack in Benghazi.[3][4]

Recapture Tactics Team

Recapture Tactics Team
Recapture Tactics Team logo, Bangor logo
Nickname(s)CQB Cowboys : Reapers
Motto(s)"Speed, Surprise, and Violence of Action"

The Recapture Tactics Team or RTT specializes in SWAT procedures without having to be military police special reaction team trained, as the two weeks of Army SRT School is not seen as being adequate to their mission profile. RTT units are attached to Nuclear Weapon Stations aboard US naval installations and do not deploy. Where as FAST Platoons deploy to areas in need of naval security operations, RTT has no need to deploy because they are already positioned in the appropriate strategic locations where they are most needed.

Marines and Sailors assigned to Naval Nuclear Weapons Stations are given an opportunity, if the Command allows them, to try out for RTT, which is colloquially referred to within the nuclear commands as simply "CQB Platoon," or just "CQB."

Typically, only a small fraction of the Marines and Sailors who are permitted to try out for CQB Platoon are actually selected from the grueling two-week selection process. Those who are selected then have a tactical spin-up (a period of intensive preparatory training), in which the CQB Platoon's current Operators help to get the newly selected candidates ready for the 3rd hardest tactical school in the United States Marine Corps.

If they successfully complete spin-up, and an alternate is chosen in one of their places, the RTT candidates then report to USMC CQB School where they undergo an intensive seven-week advanced combat marksmanship and dynamic assault course, during which, in-extreme hostage rescues and counter-nuclear proliferation are heavily emphasized. The Marines and Sailors learn to violently recapture, and take back by force, United States personnel and property that has been stolen or otherwise compromised.

If they pass the nearly two-month long USMC CQB school, they have officially earned the 8154 MOS, and they then go back to their Naval Nuclear Weapons Command where they spend several more weeks getting "broken in" by the platoon as new Operators. Upon successfully completing that phase, the candidates are formally admitted onto the Recapture Tactics Team as Shooters (also more controversially known as "Operators.")

All RTT Shooters must attend the following schools to obtain the appropriate certifications:

  • United States Marine Corps Recruit Training, viz., Boot Camp - 13 weeks long
  • Marine Corps School of Infantry, Infantry Training Battalion (SOI-ITB) - 9 weeks long
  • Basic Security Guard (Marine Corps Security Guard Anti-Terrorism Training) - 7 weeks long
  • Close Quarter Battle School - 7 weeks long (not including platoon tryouts, spin-ups and the post-Schoolhouse breaking in period.)

And are eligible to attend the following courses, pending their command's approval:

However, this is not in the pipeline fashion, as it is with other specialty units. RTT receives the "on job training" needed after going to CQB school, before going to the other schools listed. Once formally trained in CQB School, they receive the MOS 8154.

The Marine Corps Security Forces Regiment's Close Quarters Battle Teams go to various installations as Mobile Training Teams to teach CQB course to units such as but are not limited to: military police special reaction teams, other military branches (both foreign and domestic), and law enforcement organizations (federal, state, and local).

See also


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