Academic journal article Military Review

Always Faithful, Always Forward: The Forging of a Special Operations Marine

Academic journal article Military Review

Always Faithful, Always Forward: The Forging of a Special Operations Marine

Article excerpt

ALWAYS FAITHFUL, ALWAYS FORWARD: The Forging of a Special Operations Marine

Dick Couch, Berkley Books, New York, 2014, 352 pages

For those familiar with Dick Couch's writing, the subject of his most recent work, Always Faithful, Always Forward, will not come as a surprise. In it, Couch follows the path of Class 1-13 on their journey to become critical skills operators (CSOs) and special operations officers in U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC, or Raiders).

Couch's previous works in this field have followed the paths of similarly hopeful Army Rangers and Green Berets, and Navy SEALs (Sea, Air, and Land teams), among others. However, the most noticeable difference in Always Faithful, Always Forward is not the discrepancies between training in the various branches, but the newness and still-nebulous nature of MARSOC within the larger special operations forces (SOF) community. Yes, its history is one steeped in the tradition of World War II's Raiders, but the formal structure of MARSOC is one that arose in the midst of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan less than one decade ago. In this sense, the book is as much a learning process for the writer as it is for the reader.

Over the course of about 350 pages, Couch spans a great breadth of subjects related to MARSOC, including the history of Marine SOF, MARSOC's current structure, and the role it has played in recent conflicts in the Middle East. Despite the frequent lack of detail in accordance with the classification that comes alongside MARSOC training, Couch also manages to give a close look at the pipeline from marine to CSO or special security officer (SSO). …

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