A MARSOC Marine downrange sports the iconic Marine Raiders patch, though it's not officially approved for wear. (Level Zero Heroes via Facebook)
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In a nod to their ancestral heritage, some Marine special operators deployed to Afghanistan are wearing the shoulder patch of the legendary Marine Raiders.
Unauthorized? True, but it's sliding by with a wink on isolated outposts where teams get sporadic visits from leaders who don't dwell on uniform matters.
The same leaders may also agree that modern operators have a direct lineage to the Raiders, the highly trained amphibious forces that helped seize key islands in the South Pacific during World War II.
A proposal to name MARSOC personnel "Marine Raiders" was nixed by Commandant Gen. Jim Amos in January 2011 when it was decided that being called Marines was as good as it could get.
The U.S. Marine Raiders Association has provided patches to MARSOC teams at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Members of a team in 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion wore the patches during a 2010 deployment to remote Bala Morghab in Badghis province. Former Staff Sgt. Michael Golembesky, a joint terminal attack controller on the team, said they were never corrected for wearing the patch.
"Where we were, and with the reputation for the fighting there, people didn't come to scrutinize us, they just came to see what we needed," he said. "We were never told to take the patch off."