MARCOS Commandos Training And Why It Is One Of The Toughest?

Formerly known as the Indian Marine Special Force, now known as the Marine Commandos, abbreviated to MARCOS, officially called the Marine Commando Force (MCF) are the Special Operations Forces in the Indian Navy. They were established in 1987 and work in environments of land, sea and air. Most of their operations remain classified.

The MARCOS motto is: “The Few, The Fearless”

The training of these commandos vary across a spectrum. They are instrumental in counter-terrorism missions, Navy operations and anti-piracy operations.

Any serving personnel of the Indian Navy can apply to join the MARCOS. The training period is very extensive and goes on for two to three years. The selection is purely based on merit and the physical strength of a candidate.

Candidates who are in their early 20s are preferred for the MARCOS. The selection happens based on two grounds; first being the physical stamina and strength and the second is an aptitude examination. Majority of the candidates do not reach the aptitude examination as the physical test completely drains them out and they do not qualify.

Candidates applying for MARCOS have to be enlisted in the Navy as commissioned officers or sailors.

Once selected, the training period of these commandos goes on for an extensive two-three years. The training of a MARCOS commando is carried out on INS Abhimanyu. The candidates are also trained with the Army’s paramilitary force at the Indian Special Force Training School.

Candidates who fail to complete the training continue to serve as Naval officers and do not become MARCOS Commandos.

There are four stages of becoming a fully qualified commando. These are:

  1. The first phase is the pre-selection. This phase comprises an enrolment and is held for three days. Candidates who successfully clear this round are called for the five-week selection process.
  2. The second phase is the selection. The second phase comprises of five-days of rigorous physical activity. It includes morning runs of 20 kilometres, night marches of 20 kilometres carrying a load of 60 kilograms on your back, training with ammunition, amongst various other tasks. The MARCOS training period also follows the US Navy SEALS model of a ‘Hell Week’. The week involves continuous training of 20 hours per day, receiving barely 4 hours of sleep everyday of the week, the candidates are given an array of physical intensive tasks to perform at the end of the week to prove their stamina, durability and endurance.
  3. The third phase is the Initial Qualification Training (Basic SF Training). The third phase includes candidates who successfully passed the selection phase. The Initial Qualification Training involves a 10-week basic SF training on INS Abhimanyu. The training includes weapons handling, ammunition handling, kayaking, photography, hostage rescue, a basic parachute course at the Indian Army Parachute Training School, Basic Combat Diver’s course, ship intervention drills, unarmed combat training, etc.
  4. The fourth phase is the Probation Period (Advanced SF Training). Candidates who successfully complete the basic SF training, move on to the advanced SF training. The training includes free-fall training, water para-jump training, counter insurgency which is taught at the Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School (CIJWS), anti-hijacking and anti-piracy, surveillance, unconventional warfare, language training, operations from submarines, sniper competence and training on shoulder-launched missiles, training at the Desert Warfare School in Rajasthan, a 4 week high altitude commando course in Arunachal Pradesh along with other Special Forces Units, and making Improvised Explosive Devices. The MARCOS Commandos work in every and all environments. They perform the toughest of tasks and are the elitist of the Indian Navy. They go on missions that are classified and hence, cannot even get the fame they deserve.

These unsung heroes are who go into life-threatening situations for the safety of their nation. Any Special Forces Unit of our country is one that should be celebrated with pride.

As seen from the above four phases, the MARCOS selection and training is not everyone’s cup of tea. It is at par with the US Navy SEALs and the UK’s SAS.

The MARCOS Commando training is considered one of the toughest in the world for all the right reasons and the missions they have performed further prove that. There is no doubt that our Special Forces are one to be proud of as we can stand tall and face any enemy with confidence. Our commandos undergo extensive training that push them to the limit and make them better versions of themselves. It would take years for any other being to master even quarter of what these commandos do.

I hope this article was helpful and insightful to everyone who aim to be a part of the elite Special Force of the MARCOS Commandos. If you wish to join the MARCOS, start keeping yourself physically fit from the earliest. Aim to join the Navy and apply to the MARCOS in your early 20s.

All the best to every aspirant!

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