The MACOs (an acronym for Mobile Advanced Combat Operations but in the 22nd century it was an acronym for Military Assault Command Operations) is a military organization in service in the Federation from the 2150s through the late 24th century. The MACOs (pronounced “MAY-ko”) operate in tandem with Starfleet personnel. This allows them the freedom to operate outside of the direct chain of command. Though they are afforded this freedom, on board a Starfleet ship, they accept orders from the captain and the command staff.
MACOs have similar training and tactics as the special forces of a number of member nations of United Earth (the US Navy SEALS, Delta Force, Army Rangers, Marine Force Recon, Special Air Service, etc), and their rank insignia is similar to that of the U.S. Marine Corps. Their operation aboard Starfleet vessels is comparable to that of the U.S. Marines on board U.S. Navy vessels in the 20th and 21st centuries
In the 22nd century
During the 2150’s the MACO’s were overseen by General Casey. At the time MACO posts included Atlanta and the Janus loop. The primary training post was West Point in New York. MACO’s were deployed aboard Starfleet vessels during the Xindi crisis, and remained aboard until the birth of the Federation. (ENT: “The Expanse”, “The Xindi”, “Hatchery”, “The Council”)
A detachment of troops were assigned to the Enterprise under the commanded of Major J. Hayes during the ship’s mission into the Delphic Expanse in 2153. (ENT: “The Expanse”)
Aboard the Poseidon
MACO’s also served aboard the Poseidon during the birth of the Federation. (Star Trek: Poseidon – The Birth of the Federation)
In the 23rd century
A 23rd century MACO officer
After the Xindi War, the newly formed Federation began to set its sights on the peaceful exploration of the Galaxy. It was decided that MACO’s projected the wrong image for ships of peace, and therefore they were slowly phased out of primary starship service, leaving the protection of the larger starships to their own security forces. By the end of the 22nd century, MACO’s could only be found on board the lighter ships of Starfleet.
MACO’s would return to regular service, however, to great advantage during both the Earth-Romulan War in 2266 as well as the beginning of the Klingon Cold War in the 2240s, but as these wars were resolved or waned, MACOs would once again be pushed into the service of the lower-line vessels of the fleet. (Tamerlane)
The MACOs on the Tamerlane
The USS Tamerlane along with a number of her sister ships have carried MACOs aboard since the beginning of the Klingon Cold War. Most of the time the MACOs were used as boarding parties or ground assault troops, but as the war cooled down, they began to find roles more akin to their Starfleet counterparts.
Led by Major James Arbough, the MACOs of the Tamerlane in the latter part of her career have seen some very interesting missions, but have often found themselves prepped for battles that rarely, if ever, occur. (Tamerlane)
The MACOs on the Saladin
Led by Lt. Commander Robert Shea, USS Saladin’s MACOs saw considerable action as boarding parties, as ground assault teams, and as peacekeeping forces while assigned to the disputed Triangle sector of space between the three major star-faring empires of the Alpha Quadrant. (Star Trek: Saladin)
In the 24th century
A 24th century MACO soldier
MACO’s served aboard Federation starships when the Federation was either in a state of war or on the verge of war. A team of MACO’s served aboard the USS Lambda Paz during and after the Dominion War. (Star Trek: War Aftermath: “Episode 1: The True Way”, Star Trek: Lambda Paz: “Revenge a Dish Best Served Cold”)
The ground-combat uniform pictured was never established in canon as belonging to a military branch other than Starfleet, but is consistent with the description of MACO uniforms in Star Trek: War Aftermath and Star Trek: Lambda Paz.
The MACOs return (Star Trek: Pioneer (STP) continuity)
In 2382, with the growing tensions between the Federation and the So’ja Coalition, the Starfleet Marine Corps reinstated the MACOs as onboard ship military specialist to deal with situations where normal Starfleet security officers could not. With the outbreak of the Coalition War, Starfleet Command issued orders to have MACO teams on all ships actively engaged in fighting. (“The Hornet’s Nest”)
In 2383, the Horizon Project recruited a team of MACOs for project security. Major James Morgan was selected to head the team, as well as receiving a promotion to Colonel. The team, along with the test vessel, USS Horizon was lost after jumping away from a Breen attack in the Dallos Cluster. (Star Trek: New Horizons: “Jump”)
The 504th MACO were originally designated as the 504th Recon Detachment until the unit completed the required MACO Training
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