On 9 September 2010 Force Recon Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and Sailors from the USS Dubuque (LPD-8) conducted an opposed boarding of the motor vessel Magellan Star, rescuing 11 hostages and apprehending 9 Somali pirates. It was the first boarding of its kind in modern U.S. naval history.
This was the culmination of the Marine Corps’ 25-year resistance to joining the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), an interval that included disbandment of Force Recon companies in favor of an experimental Marine Special Operations Command. Ultimately, Commandant of the Marine Corps General James T. Conway ordered the reestablishment of Force Recon in fall 2008 to support the Marine Air-Ground Task Force commander.
It is an ironic story in which the old guard was half right (that Marines should support Marines) and half wrong (that Marines should support only Marines). And it is one that proved in the end the strategic value of the Special Operations Capable MEU, or MEU (SOC).