Marine Raiders (MARSOC) VS Navy SEALs: A Detailed Look at Two Elite Forces

The difference between Marine Riders and Navy SEALs is worth knowing because both armed forces have various things in common that you should know.

Both the Navy and Marine branches of the United States Military are quite competitive on the ground, but the Marine Raiders and Navy SEALs are special operations forces.

Before choosing any special operations forces as a career, you need to know in detail. So, keep reading to see the absolute comparison of Marine Raiders vs Navy SEALs.

Some Key Similarities And Differences Between Marine Raiders And Navy SEALs.

Some similarities and differences between Marine Raiders and Navy SEALs are worth knowing because they will help you determine the major differences quickly and easily.


  • Purpose: Navy SEALs and Marine Raiders both are special operations forces. Both forces are trained to engage in reconnaissance missions, direct raids or actions, assaults on enemy targets, unconventional warfare, and take action against terrorist groups.
  • Technology and Weapon: Unsurprisingly, The United States Armed Forces have the world’s most advanced and sophisticated weapons. And both of these special operations forces used the most advanced equipment in their mission.
  • Benefits: When it comes to perks and benefits, both Navy SEALs and Marine Riders personnel have many in common. Each member of both forces got life insurance, housing facilities, veterans assistance loan, tax advantages, and more. 
  • Training: U.S. Navy SEALs are considered the world’s toughest force. With that said, you should also think about how tough their training is. Both special operations forces are given similar training to dominate the war zone.


  • Organization Structure: The two elite forces have big organizational structure differences. Both Navy SEALs and Marine Raiders team building formation is quite the opposite, so it’s a major difference between Navy SEALs and Marine Raiders.
  • Size: In terms of size or the number of personnel, Navy SEALs have a larger number of active duty members than MARSOC.
  • Branch of Service: As you already know, although both Navy SEALs and Marine Raiders are the United States special operations forces (SOF), their branches are different. Navy SEALs operated under the United States Navy, and Marine Raiders (MARSOC) operated under the United States Marine Corps.

Knowing some key similarities and differences, let’s see the major differences between Marine Raiders and Navy SEALs below.

Major Difference Between Marine Raiders and Navy SEALs

marine raiders vs navy seals
Difference Between Marine Raiders and Navy SEALs

The Maine Riders, also known as MARSOC, are the United States Marine Corps’ primary special operations force. On the other hand, Navy SEALs are the United States Navy’s primary special operations force. But, both elite forces specialize in Special Warfare/Special Operations missions.


History brings the major difference between Marine Raiders and Navy SEALs. But both special operations forces have existed in the world of warfare for a long time now.

The United States of America utilizes both prestigious forces in several wars as of today.

Marine Raiders History

During World War II and under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency, The Marine Raiders was organized in January 1942.

The United States Maine Crops force started Marine Raiders elite unit to conduct special operations, raids, and reconnaissance during World War II.

But, just right after two years later, the United States Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) disbanded by the decision of the U.S. Marine Corps.

After a long time, there was no existence of Marine Raiders until the again establishment of MARSOC in 2006. And on 6 August 2014, Marine Commandant James F. Amos changed the name of MARSOC to Marine Raiders.

Behind this elite force, Commander Evans Carlson has a major role. He also gave the Marine Raiders motto “Gung-ho.”

So, now the Marine Raiders is an active special operations force of the United States military. The Marine Corps constantly develops the Marine Raiders to present as a successful elite force.

Navy SEALs History

Navy SEALs is a U.S. special operations force that was formed in January 1962 by President John F. Kennedy as a part of the United States Navy.

The full form of SEAL is Sea, Air, and Land. And Navy SEALs’ famous motto is “Never Out Of The Fight” and “The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday.”

In the long history of Navy SEALs, this elite force was given various nicknames such as Frogmen, The Teams, and The Men with Green Faces.

By engaging in several wars, Navy SEALs earned a prestigious reputation all over the world. Navy SEALs were involved in notable wars: the Vietnam War, the Yugoslav Wars, War in Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom, and more.

Navy SEALs need to conduct many roles, including hostage rescue, counter-proliferation, counter-terrorism, direct action, and many more.

Related: Most Famous Navy SEALs

Eligibility And Requirements To Join

Although Navy SEALs and Marine Raiders are special operations forces, they keep the recruitment process as simple as possible.

But, you have to meet several qualification standards, which are different from one another, to be in any of these elite forces.

Marine Raiders Qualifications and Requirements:

  • Candidates must be between the ages of 17 to 28, but you are going to need parental permission to join Marine Raiders at the age of 17.
  • You have to have a high school diploma or pass the General Educational Development Test (GED). And no college degree is required.
  • To become a Marine Raiders, you must be a U.S. citizen or a resident alien.
  • You must score a minimum of 235 on The Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test (PFT).
  • If you have no Non-Judicial Punishment (NJP), then it will help you to join MARSOC. But you have no more than two NJPs, or you will be disqualified.
  • Candidates must have a minimum GT score of 105 to enlist.
  • You must also pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test.
  • Meet the MARSOC medical screening criteria is required to be qualified.
  • You must pass the MARSOC swim assessment.
  • Candidates must be eligible to obtain and maintain a secret clearance.

Navy SEALs Qualifications and Requirements:

  • You must be between 18 to 28 years old to enlist in the U.S. Navy SEALs. But, at the age of 17, you can also join only with parental permission.
  • Candidates must be United States citizens to join the Navy SEALs.
  • No college degree is required to become a Navy SEAL, but you must be a high school graduate or at least meet the High-Performance Predictor Profile criteria (HP3).
  • To be in any SEAL Team, you must meet the minimum Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) score. (GS+MC+EI=170 or VE+MK+MC+CS=220 or VE+AR=110 MC=50)
  • As you are aware, Navy SEALs members go through high physical demand training. So, a candidate must pass the special SEAL Physical Screening Test (PST).
  • Be qualified as Navy SEALs; you also pass the Computerized-Special Operations Resilience Test ( C-SORT ).
  • Candidates must meet specific eyesight requirements. The eyesight following standard is 20/40 best eye, 20/70 worst eye, correctable to 20/25. Point to be noted, if you have color blindness, you will be disqualified.
  • To join Navy SEALs, you also need to be proficient in speaking, reading, writing, and understanding the English language.

Right after, any candidates will be elicited into the delayed entry program; a SEAL/SWCC mentor will be assigned to those candidates to prepare for the boot camp and Pre-BUDS training.

And then, the final test you need to take is Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) before finally becoming a Navy SEALs. 

It goes without saying that you need to be tougher mentally and physically to become a Navy SEAL.

Comparing both elite forces’ requirements and qualifications, it’s clear Navy SEALs required more physical tests than Marine Raiders.

See Also: Navy SEAL TV Shows

Missions And Purpose

The ultimate purpose of all the U.S. armed forces is to defend the United States and the nation’s interests. But, Navy SEALs and Marine Raiders have several particular missions and purposes that make both regiments elite.

There are several missions and purposes that are the same for both special operations forces. However, Navy SEALs have more missions than Marine Raiders.

Marine Raiders Purpose and Mission

The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) operates and prepares Marine Raiders Regiment for missions.

Marine Raiders’ purpose is to sustain, advise, engage in the nation’s small wars, recruit, train, and accomplish missions the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) assigns.

They are also very well trained to execute, distribute, and achieve any mission regardless of the environment.

Marine Raiders have made a fundamental contribution to the War on Terror, also known as Global War on Terrorism. This elite force deployed a large number of soldiers to the War on Terror. And still today, MARSOC is fighting to eliminate terror.

Types of missions Marine Raiders engage:

  • Amphibious warfare
  • Direct action
  • Raiding
  • Special operations
  • Foreign internal defense
  • Special reconnaissance

Navy SEALs Purpose and Mission

Navy SEALs’ main purpose is to accomplish any special warfare or operations mission by sea, air, or land.

The United States Navy assigned Navy SEALs to capture high-value terrorists and enemy personnel around the world.

Navy SEALs can operate missions in amphibious environments since they are able to take strong action in sea, air, and land. In particular, Navy SEALs are a highly decorated elite force to eliminate terrorism.

So far, Navy SEALs have engaged in several key missions, including the Vietnam War, the Invasion of Grenada, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Red Wings, and more.

Types of missions Navy SEALs engage:

  • Special operations
  • Counter-proliferation
  • Direct action
  • Counter-terrorism
  • Special reconnaissance
  • Unconventional warfare
  • Hostage rescue
  • Counter narcotic operations
  • Foreign internal defense
  • Amphibious reconnaissance

Related Too: Top Navy SEAL Motivational Speakers


marine raiders vs navy seals training

In terms of training, the elite forces training program is more physically demanding than any other armed forces of the United States military.

And Navy SEALs and MARSOC Raiders deployed in highly classified and tough missions around the world. Therefore, they need special training to accomplish the mission.

And, let’s just not forget, to become the world’s toughest special force, Navy SEALs and Marine Raiders require to go through ruthless and rigorous training every day.

Marine Raiders Training

Marine Raiders or MARSOC special operations force primary training program is the Marine Special Operations Individual Course (ITC).

The Marine Special Operations Individual Course (ITC) training program is arranged at the Marine Special Operations School in Camp Lejeune. The ITC training program is also required for all the U.S. Marine units too.

The Marine Special Operations Individual Course (ITC) is a nine-month training program that challenges MARSOC candidates physically and mentally.

This 9-month training teaches you the basics demanded skills to become a MARSOC and SOCOM. MARSOC Special Operations Officers (SOOs) and Critical Skills Operators (CSOs) also need to take ITC training.

After finishing nine-month ITC training, only the officers need to go through another four-week Team Commanders Course (TCC).

The Assessment and Selection Preparatory and Orientation Course (ASPOC) training is another phase of the Marine Special Operations Individual Course (ITC).

And even the Assessment and Selection Preparatory and Orientation Course (ASPOC) training has two phases, the first phase of the training is three-week, and the next one is also three-week.

Then start another training program called Individual Training Course (ITC). The ITC consists of four phases in total such as basic skills, small unit tactics, close-quarters battle, and irregular warfare.

In each of these training phases, Marine Raider candidates face tough physical and mental challenges.

Navy SEALs Training

Navy SEALs training is unique from various perspectives because their training program is considered the most intense training.

The two main Navy SEALs training programs are:

  • Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, or BUD/S
  • SEAL Qualification Training (SQT)

Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training

Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, or shortly BUD/S, is a 24-week mental and physical training program each candidate must complete.

The Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training program consists of five stages, and each stage lasts a couple of weeks.

The BUD/S stages include an introduction to BUD/S, basic conditioning, combat driving, and land warfare.

On average, only two candidates out of ten can make it to the end of the BUD/S training because this is the instantly mentally challenging and physically demanding training in the world.

SEAL Qualification Training (SQT)

The post-BUD/S and last training program before becoming a Navy SEAL is The SEAL Qualification Training (SQT).

The SEAL Qualification Training (SQT) is a more advanced degree and tactical training phase of Navy SEAL that lasts 26 weeks.

Candidates are taught from basics to advanced level of Navy Special Warfare during SEAL Qualification Training (SQT) that includes weapons training, small unit tactics, land navigation, medical skills, opening in cold weather training, and more.

As you can see, the training phases bring a major difference between Marine Raiders and Navy SEALs because, although both forces are elite, they are not operating in the same manner.

See Also: What Do Navy SEALs Do?


When it comes to the capabilities of Navy SEALs and MARSOC, both special operating forces have some similarities.

Needless to say, both the Marine Raiders and Navy SEALs are highly skilled and versatile special operations forces with a wide range of capabilities, but in terms of mission, purpose, and area of expertise, they share many uncommon capabilities.

Here are some key differences between both elite force’s capabilities:

  • Specialization: While Navy SEALs are more specialized in capturing enemy personnel and terrorists around the world, Marine Raiders are focused on accomplishing the special operations missions assigned by the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).
  • Mission Focus: In the mission focus capability, both forces are different from each other. Navy SEALs are more focused on accomplishing any mission or operations by sea, air, or land, while Marine Raider’s main mission is supporting the Marine Corps operations.
  • Amphibious Warfare: Both special operating forces are trained for the amphibious warfare operation, but Navy SEALs have more capability to take under control any amphibious warfare operation than MARSOC.
  • Humanitarian Assistance: In the United States, every armed force is equally responsible for providing humanitarian assistance. In terms of Navy SEALs and Marine Raiders, it’s evident the Raiders are more active than SEALs in providing humanitarian assistance around the world.
  • Special Reconnaissance (SR): Navy SEALs and Marine Raiders received training on special reconnaissance, but as Navy SEALs are engaged in more warzones than MARSOC, that’s why they are always one step forward in this capability.
  • Size of the Forces: As of today, the Marine Raiders have fewer members or personnel than Navy SEALs.


Knowing that both Navy SEALs and Marine Raiders’ special operating forces fall under the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is essential.

But, the structure of these two elite forces is completely different, and that is what makes Navy SEALs and Marine Raiders different.

Structure of Marine Raiders

The Marine Raider Regiment operates under the United States Marine Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC).

The United States Marine Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) consists of Marine Raider Regiment (MRR), Marine Raider Support Group (MRSG), and Marine Raiders Training Center (MRTC).

As of today, The Marine Raider Regiment consists of three Marine Raider Battalions (MRB) and a Headquarters Company. Three Marine Raider Battalions are the 1st Marine Raider Battalion, 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, and 3rd Marine Raider Battalion.

These three Marine Raider Battalions have four Marine Special Operations Companies (MSOC); each company consists of four fourteen-man Marine Special Operations Teams (MSOT).

Three elements organize the Marine Special Operations Teams (MSOT): Headquarter and two Technical Squads.

You can deep dive into the further structure of the Marine Raider, but the above info is more than enough for you to understand the structure of Navy SEALs and Marine Raiders.

Structure of Navy SEALs

The Navy SEALs are controlled under The United States Naval Special Warfare Command (USNSWC or NSWC), a naval component of United States Special Operations Command.

The United States Naval Special Warfare Command (USNSWC or NSWC) is broken down into several groups and teams.

Naval Special Warfare Groups:

Currently, there are six active Navy Special Warfare Groups, and each NSWC Group is commanded by a Navy Captain (0-6).

  • Naval Special Warfare Group 1: The Naval Special Warfare Group one is based at the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado in California. Under the NSWC group one, SEAL Team 1, SEAL Team 3, SEAL Team 5, and SEAL Team 7 are operated.
  • Naval Special Warfare Group 2: The NSWC Group two is located at the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia. This group operates SEAL Team 2, SEAL Team 4, SEAL Team 8, and SEAL Team 10.
  • Naval Special Warfare Group 3: As of 2024, Naval Special Warfare Group 3 no longer exists. This NSWC Group was deactivated in 2021, and this group is based at the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado in California.
  • Naval Special Warfare Group 4: The Naval Special Warfare Group four is also based at the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia. The NSWC Group 4 is responsible for Special Boat Team 12, Special Boat Team 20, and Special Boat Team 22.
  • Naval Special Warfare Group 8: More than any other NSWC group, The Naval Special Warfare Group 8 operates more teams and subsidiaries of Navy SEAL teams. The Naval Special Warfare Group 8 is also situated in the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia. Currently, the NSWC 8 handles SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1, SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 2, Special Reconnaissance Team 1, Special Reconnaissance Team 2, Logistics Support 3, Training Detachment 3, and Mission Support Center.
  • Naval Special Warfare Group 10: The NSWC Group 10 was deactivated in 2021, so no SEAL Teams are operating under this group.
  • Naval Special Warfare Group 11: The NSWC Group 11 eleven is based at the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado in California. Now, this group is only operating SEAL Team 17 and SEAL Team 18.
  • Naval Special Warfare Development Group: The Naval Special Warfare Development Group is based at the Dam Neck Annex, NAS Oceana, Virginia Beach, Virginia, assigned operationally to JSOC. This group is also known as SEAL Team 6 or DEVGRU since the Naval Special Warfare Development Group only operates SEAL Team 6 only.

SEAL Teams:

Each Navy SEAL Teams is commanded by a Navy Commander and eight operational 16-man SEAL platoons. And the platoons also can be structured to operate as 4-man Fire Teams, 8-man Squads, or 2-man Sniper/Reconnaissance Teams.

  • SEAL Team 1
  • SEAL Team 2
  • SEAL Team 3
  • SEAL Team 4
  • SEAL Team 5
  • SEAL Team 7
  • SEAL Team 8
  • SEAL Team 10
  • Special Boat Team 12
  • SEAL Team 17 (aka Operational Support Team 1)
  • SEAL Team 18 (aka Operational Support Team 2)
  • Special Boat Team 20
  • Special Boat Team 22
  • SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1
  • SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 2
  • Special Reconnaissance Team 1
  • Special Reconnaissance Team 2
  • Logistics Support 3
  • Training Detachment 3

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Marine Raiders Better Than Navy SEALs?

Both special operation forces, Navy SEALs and Marine Raiders, have different missions and purposes. Also, each of these elite forces operates under different organizations.

But, since Navy SEALs received more religious training and have access to the most modern equipment, that’s why it’s fair to say Navy SEALs are tougher than Marine Raider Regiment.

Is it Harder to be a Marine Raider or Navy SEAL?

Considering several factors, becoming a Navy SEAL is much harder than being enlisted in the Marine Raider.

To enlist in Navy SEALs, candidates go through rigorous physical and mental training that Marine Raider’s candidates tolerate way less.

Navy SEALs candidates must complete 24 weeks of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training (BUD/S) and 26 weeks of SEAL Qualification Training (SQT). Both training programs are designed to test the candidates’ ultimate physical and mental capacity.

Are Marine Raiders and MARSOC the Same?

No, Marine Raider is part of the Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC). The Marine Raider Regiment (MRR) operates under MARSOC.

With Marine Raiders, the Marine Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) consists of other teams, including Marine Raider Support Group (MRSG) and Marine Raiders Training Center (MRTC).

Can a Marine Raiders become a Navy SEAL?

A Marine Raider cannot become a Navy SEAL because to become a Navy SEAL, you must be a member of the United States Navy.

But, if you are not an active-duty Marine Raider, you can enlist in the Navy SEAL after going through all the training programs.

Final Words

The big differences between Navy SEALs and Marine Raiders are structure, training, size of the force, mission, and purpose. Therefore, the difference is significant between both of these elite forces.

Although both MARSOC and Navy SEALs are U.S. special operations forces operating under the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), but they are managed differently.

That said, the purpose of Navy SEALs differs from the Marine Raider Regiment. Each of these elite forces gives their best to accomplish and keep their interest protected.

Before judging any of these special operations forces, you must know some key differences which will let you choose the perfect career options for yourself and others.

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