What’s a Marine Raider?

Marine Raider

My guest today loves research as much as I do. Thrill Writing, her blog, is a rich resource for crime writers. Be sure to check it out if you’re not already following her. For her new release, WASP, she needed to research Marine Raiders. This piqued my interest because I need to write novellas for two military Kindle Worlds, Brotherhood Protectors and Special Forces. The first book due in June, the second in August. Yikes! While I get back to work, I’ll leave you in Fiona Quinn’s capable hands.

Welcome to Murder Blog, Fiona!

Marine Raider.

No? Never heard the term?
I recently received a lovely note from a Marine after I sent out a newsletter that mentioned that my new novel WASP had a hero named Gage Harrison who was a Marine Raider out of Lejeune. “Uh oh,” he said, “Marine Raiders haven’t been around since mid-twentieth century.”

And you know what? He was right! Sort of.

You see, the Marine Raiders were developed as an elite unit back in WWII. The Marines didn’t very much like the idea of an “elite” unit and the effort was ended in 1944 when they were considered “no longer necessary.” And then, yup, America decided they were pretty darned necessary.

In 2014, they were back but this time they worked under the name MARSOC – Marine Special Operations Regiment and later reclaimed their original name Marine Raider – like Gage, my wonderful character.

You may know about Army Rangers and SEALs. You may know of the difficult selection process and the rigorous super-human training that they go through. And this is the same for the Marines. The Marines were faced with establishing their own brand of super-hero. They began by building on what they knew from the other branches, but as the Marine Raiders’ role clarified, so did the selection and vetting process as well as the training.

“Raiders’ capabilities are a unique blend with more emphasis on amphibious operations than, say, Army Rangers, but less than SEALS. And they offer something else, that aggressive can-do Marine ethos.” (NPR, 2016)

One of the reasons that Marine Raiders are not well known is that they keep a low profile. There are some Raider units that are not even discussed officially. This anonymity is part of their mystique and perhaps partly because they are a small group of operators.

According to a Marine, Price, interviewed by NPR at Lejeune,

“…the Raiders say their size is also a strength because it means a tighter team. They have only about 3,000 Marines. That’s little more than a tenth of the number of troops in Army special operations and less than a third as many as Navy special ops. Arkin [Military analyst William Arkin] says a big question is whether their identity will be distinctive. He thinks they should lean heavily on the traditional Marine expertise in brief, hard-hitting missions and coastal fighting.”

In WASP, Gage’s skills are put to the test – good to know he had the background and the intensive training so he knew how to get the job done.

WASP: Available on most platforms 

Zoe Kealoha is a military research scientist. Her work with microrobotics is meant to save lives. But she’d kept her work a secret to protect her from just this kind of scenario. As footfalls outside her bedroom door stalked closer, Zoe knew her quiet world was about to be upended.

​Unlike Zoe’s orderly world of hypothesis and laboratory controls, Gage Harrison loved the rush he got from his high-risk job as an elite warrior with the Marine Raiders. He was a Marine in every sense of the word. His soft spot was Zoe.

​When Gage hears Zoe’s screams from inside her home, his instincts and training switch from lover to guardian. He’ll stop at nothing to protect her from those plotting her abduction. Gage and his team are willing to risk everything to guard Zoe and her top secret military research. Zoe and Gage work together to untangle the sticky web of intrigue that traps politicians, schemers, spies, and lovers and those willing to put money over loyalty.

I hope you enjoy my book – it’s getting stellar reviews. I’d love to hear what you think!

~ Fiona

This article is based on an NPR article found HERE

Canadian born, Fiona Quinn is now rooted in the Old Dominion outside of D.C. with her husband and children. There, she homeschools, pops chocolates, devours books, and taps continuously on her laptop.

She is the creative force behind the popular blog ThrillWriting. Which shares the interesting behind the scenes research, interviews, and hands-on experiences of suspense writing. www.thrillwriting.blogspot.com

Quinn writes the bestselling Lynx Series including: Kindle Scout winning novel WEAKEST LYNX. and the Kate Hamilton Mystery Series. She will be debuting two new series in 2017 – Uncommon Enemies (Silverheart Publishing) and Strike Force. All of her novels are part of the Iniquus World of high stakes national security. www.FionaQuinnBooks.com


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About Sue Coletta

Member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers, Sue Coletta is the bestselling, award-winning author of psychological thrillers and mysteries. OOTG Flash Fiction Offensive magazine published her flash fiction and her short stories are published in numerous anthologies and collections. InSinC Quarterly featured her forensic articles about Radiocarbon Dating and Skeletal Differences. In 2017, Feedspot awarded her Murder Blog as one of the Top 50 Crime Blogs on the net. Sue's also the communications manager for Forensic Science and the Serial Killer Project. As a way to help fellow crime writers, Sue created a team of crime experts (detectives, coroners, police captains, etc.) and founded #ACrimeChat on Twitter. She's also a proud member of the Kill Zone, where she blogs every other Monday.


  1. Cool info, Fionna! Thank you for sharing and good luck with the book!
    JHolmes, author recently posted…Painting the Idea WallMy Profile

  2. Interesting! I never knew such a group existed.

    Wishing you the very best with WASP, Fiona. That’s an eye-catching cover!

  3. This post baffles me somewhat. I was an active duty Marine (“Once a Marine, always a Marine!”) during the Vietnam War in a line company (basically, a combat unit). My MOS was “0311” — your basic “grunt” rifleman. I served in Vietnam along the DMZ (demilitarized zone) during 1967-68.
    Back in my day, the Corps had “Recon” units (short for reconnaissance”). They operated in small groups, “snooping & pooping” (reconnaissance work). They were parachute and SCUBA diving trained & qualified. I was under the impression that such units were still in existence during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. I haven’t heard of the resurgence of the Marine Raiders. Looks like I need to do some research of my own!
    Sue, if you should need any military-type info (regarding the USMC specifically, other branches “maybe”) I’d be glad to offer my help. 🙂

  4. Back in the 80s, I did logistical support for some top secret combined forces special operations units. I left the service before they were fully operational. I’m sure they have morphed into something else by now. I remember a few beer hall arguments over which branch of service was best, but when it came time to work together and put differences aside, jarheads, grunts, and swabbies all spoke the same language.

    • That’s a question I had about the military – the jargon is important and reflexive – but it can sound like a foreign language which in a pinch could be the difference between life or death.

      Cheers, Fiona

    • You’ve lived such an interesting life, Paul. I may contact you for my own research purposes. 🙂

  5. Interesting piece, Sue & Fiona. I’d never heard of the Marine Raiders before. Thanks! Sue – while you’re researching special ops forces, check out the SBS if you aren’t aware of them. Most know of the British Special Air Services (the SAS) but they also have a Special Boat Service (the SBS) who specialize in marine insertion/extraction/assault and sabotage. Frederick Forsyth did an in-depth part on the SBS in “The Cobra”. Here’s an SBS link: http://www.eliteukforces.info/special-boat-service/

    Best wishes for success with “Wasp”, Fiona! Sue – get back to work – you’ve got deadlines 🙂

    • Hahahaha. Yes, I do! Thanks for the link, Garry. I’ll definitely check that out. For one World, I need to concentrate on SEALs and for the other, I need special ops of some kind. The SBS could be a cool and different way to incorporate that niche with my style of thriller. Hmm…I wonder if they govern military waterways, too. That opens all kinds of possibilities.

    • Thank you kindly! And yes, sir!

      Cheers, FIona

  6. Very cool bit of history to go with the modern version.

  7. Sounds fascinating! It’s amazing how many of these different groups most people don’t even know exist! Thanks for sharing. Wishing you much success.

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