A promotional poster announces the MARSOC Strength Challenge at the command's headquarters at Stone Bay, part of Camp Lejeune, N.C., on April 26. (Courtesy of MARSOC)
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Are you tough enough for MARSOC?
A new recruiting event sponsored by Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command allows active-duty Marines to find out if they have the physical qualifications to become an operator. The MARSOC Strength Challenge, which will take place April 26 at the command’s headquarters at Stone Bay, part of Camp Lejeune, N.C., will run Marines through a 10-minute test of physical stamina that includes pull-ups and strength exercises using weighted prowler sleds, according to promotional materials.
A MARSOC spokesman, Capt. Barry Morris, said Marines also will be required to do a fireman’s carry and to lift kettle bells, though recruiters are not revealing how long registrants will be required to sustain each activity, he said.
The event will be similar to the mobile pull-up bar challenge that Marine recruiters bring to public events to promote enlistment, but will be limited to male and female active-duty Marines, Morris said.
The event is open to the first 100 registrants, all of whom will receive a MARSOC T-shirt. The top three finishers will also receive awards, which likely will be certificates of accomplishment, Morris said. All participants will have the opportunity to submit their contact information to a MARSOC recruiter, he said, though the event does not guarantee the ability to participate in MARSOC assessment and selection. It’s not yet clear if more recruiting events like this one will be held, Morris said.
The strength challenge is the latest in a series of MARSOC recruiting initiatives aimed at building interest and brand recognition. Last year, the command launched a visually appealing recruiting website, marsoc.com, complete with motivational recruiting videos. The strength challenge this year will come on the heels of MARSOC’s April 26 5-mile Mud, Sweat and Tears run, an annual public event created in 2012 in the style of the popular Tough Mudder runs.
The command has also increased its social media presence, with nearly 40,000 fans on Facebook.
The 0372 critical skills operator remains a high-demand, low-density military occupational specialty. The Corps spends millions of dollars in re-enlistment bonuses to keep its critical skills operator slots filled with qualified Marines. The command also has authorization to grow its population of operators to a force of 844, though Marine officials said last year that growth had been temporarily frozen in keeping with a Defense Department directive.
Morris said the creativity and volume of recruitment efforts reflects a desire from the command to increase its reach within the Marine community.
“It’s just consistency,” he said. “We’ve got to be consistent in reaching the right type of Marines that we want to join MARSOC.”
However, he said, the traditional recruiting format isn’t going away.
“Face to face, kneecap to kneecap is the preferred method,” he said.