The Origin of the Military Assault Command Operations (MACO)
Starfleet’s premier proponent of unconventional warfare, MACO’s can trace its historical roots from the elite United States Army formations of World War II and the Office of Strategic Services, or OSS. The OSS was formed in World War II to gather strategic intelligence and conduct operations behind enemy lines in support of resistance groups in Europe and the Far East. After the war, individuals such as Colonel Aaron Bank, a former OSS operative. Colonel Wendell Fertig and Lieutenant Colonel Russell Volckmann, both of whom fought as guerrillas in the Philippines, used their wartime experience to formulate the doctrine of unconventional warfare that became the cornerstone of Special Forces. In Starfleet’s official lineage and honors, the MACO’s are linked to the regiments of the First Special Service Force, an elite combined Canadian-American unit that fought in the Aleutians, Italy and southern France.
As the following examples beginning in Earth’s Age of Industrial Warfare (18th Century –21st Century) will show, it is a combination of the equipment of Elite Troops and training of Special Troops that has given the modern Special Forces his mentality; Special Training for Special Men with Special Equipment in Special Situations.
18th and 19th Centuries
The first major example of soldiers conducting Special Forces’ type missions was on the North American Continent during the Seven Years War (1754-1763) between all the major European powers at the time. The French had enlisted the help of Native Americans to turn the tide of expansionary settlement by British colonists. These Natives didn’t fight in the “Traditional” styles that marked warfare in Europe, and the British soldiers had an impossible time overcoming their own deficiencies in combating the unusual threat. In response, a British colonial officer named Major Robert Rogers formed a company of troops who were trained to fight in the manner of their Native American enemies. He instilled in his troops the mentality of “Move Fast and Hit Hard”.
Operating in the hard terrain on the western side of the Appalachian Mountain Range and throughout the Ohio River Valley of the North American Continent, he used stealth, small MOU tactics, and a willingness to shrug off the rules of “civilized” warfare in order to win battles. These men constantly distinguished themselves as Scouts and Light Infantry operating with the vanguard of the British Army throughout the conflict in North America.
The “Swamp Fox”
One of the best examples of the Special Operations ideal of “economy of force” was first practiced by the American Colonial Officer Francis Marion during the American Revolution of 1775-1783. Known by enemy and ally alike as the “Swamp Fox”, his band of Colonial Militia were the bane of British Loyalist and Regular Troops throughout the North American region known as MOUth Carolina. He would strike at Army supply trains and supposedly secure towns in order to create the largest reaction for the smallest commitment of manpower. Using surprise and stealth he forced the British Generals to dedicate large amounts of regular troops to either securing every possible target or hunting Marion down in his own territory.
The “Gray Ghost”
In the American Civil War of 1861-1865 the Confederate Colonel John Singleton Mosby of Virginia picked up the mantle of Irregular Warfare. Colonel Mosby handpicked nearly 300 volunteers and led them on a campaign against their Union enemies. Well-trained and well-disciplined, his men cut off lines of communications and supply, wrecked railroad rights-of-way, and raided Army Headquarters and Supply SOUs far behind the front lines. It could be considered that Colonel Mosby was the first true example of Irregular Warfare serving a national military goal, weakening the enemy’s front line, infrastructure, and winning over the support of its people. Added to the fact that the Colonel was incredibly difficult to capture, his campaign of Guerrilla Warfare was the nightmare of many Union Generals.
The Second World War
Many current and historically significant Special Operations MOUs can trace their direct lineages to the numerous Special Forces-type SOUs of Earth’s Second World War (1939-1945). During the conflict, clandestine government agencies and special military SOUs all operated (more or less) together to bring victory to their nations and allies.
While many of these MOUs were built around normal military formations for use together for specific missions, numerous others were sponsored by civilian government agencies for what would now be considered Special Forces operations.
The biggest user, and over-user, of Special Operations SOUs was Nazi Germany. Its supreme totalitarian leader, Adolf Hitler, had an obsession for these types of SOUs.
Whenever a difficult or secret mission was ordered a new special SOU was built and staffed by the best personnel that could be found. These weren’t necessarily one time use MOUs; rarely were they disbanded after the mission was complete and yet they never served on the front lines in support of their comrades. By the fall of Berlin and the end of Nazi Germany in mid-1945, there were dozens of Special Operations Units demanding the best of everything, making the task of waging an ultimately futile war even more difficult on the German General Staff. The most notable example of this was the Waffen-Schutzstaffel (or just SS) SOUs. Originally a single Brigade of Elite Nazi guards it eventually grew to a force of 38 Divisions that offered only marginally better performance than their regular army counterparts but for a greater expenditure of men, material, and treasure.
Rangers, Raiders, and Scouts
In nearly all of the Allied democratic countries, special military SOUs were formed to perform specialized tasks and duties. However, unlike the Nazi Germans, these SOUs were nearly exclusive in their mission assignments. While many didn’t survive the war, some did and a handful lasted decades longer. These SOUs were special in that they generally had better equipment and or training then typical SOUs, but also unlike their Nazi counterparts these SOUs were never elitist in their actions. Many times these special SOUs had to fill in for normal infantry units. Even though they suffered extreme casualties when employed in normal roles, their morale and fighting spirit never suffered.
The first SOU to be generally accepted as to have conducted Special Operations within the Allied Military was “L” Detachment of the Special Air Service Brigade. It was formed as an airborne deep strike and sabotage unit of the British Army in North Africa and Italy. These British soldiers were excellent parachutists that typically dropped at night and times of bad weather to surprise the enemy. Working extensively with the Long Range Desert Reconnaissance Units of the British 8th Army, it became a terror to the German Afrika Corps striking airfields and supply depots far behind the enemy lines.
The United States Army formed battalion sized units and trained them in small unit tactics so as to perform reconnaissance missions for larger formations. These units were typically formed from infantry battalions, although some notable exceptions did occur, and were referred to as Rangers. While often misused as normal infantry, during such missions they fared no better than a normal unit; they did, however, make a name for themselves on the beaches of the Normandy during Operation Overlord. The US Second Ranger Battalion was charged with assaulting a suspected heavy artillery unit overlooking Omaha Breach, which had been dug into the cliffs of Point du Hoc. In order to assault the position the Rangers had to scale 100ft sea cliffs with nothing more than climbing ropes and scaling ladders, famously borrowed from a local fire department in Britain. While the suspected artillery had never been emplaced, the Rangers used their position to flank the defenses along Omaha Beach in further support of the landings.
1st Special Service Force
The 1st Special Service Force, famously known as the Devil’s Brigade, was one of the first multi-national military forces of such a size. It consisted of soldiers from both the United States and Canada, all of whom were airborne qualified and trained extensively.
They were originally intended to operate as a deep strike force in cold weather and mountainous terrain, such as Norway or Romania. While their training in sabotage and deep strike missions did in fact spawn from the intended targets of hydroelectric dams and oil fields, it eventually became specialized in close combat techniques against numerically superior enemies. Unfortunately, they would eventually suffer the same fate as similar units and be forced into the line as a normal infantry brigade. In fact the unit didn’t even survive the war, being disbanded in 1944 in an Italian field and its soldiers being used as replacements in various Canadian and United States Army Parachute Units.
A similar unit formed to fight in a completely different theater of the war and environment was the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional). Formed from a direct mandate of the Quebec Conference of 1943, it was trained to be a deep penetration unit for use in the jungles and mountains of Burma and south eastern China. Eventually earning the nickname of Merrill’s Marauders after their long time and much loved commander, they used small unit tactics, surprise, and flexibility to engage and eliminate Imperial Japanese units. These tactics were partly a result of the terrain in which they had to fight and partly a result of their lack of heavy weapons. Because equipment had to be quickly moved through nearly impassible jungles, all artillery and vehicles were deemed as unnecessary and the unit learned to fight without them. The Marauders also became infamous for their ability to take losses, not only from combat but from the prevalent diseases as well, and still keep on fighting. When the unit was disbanded in 1944, after only five months of duty, it could only muster 130 combat effectives out of the original 2997 men; even more telling was that of the 2750 men to enter Burma only 2 had never suffered a battle wound or major illness.
In comparison, another unit in the Pacific Theater of the Second World War had a completely opposite combat record. The Alamo Scouts were a volunteer organization of United States Army officers and former US-trained Filipino soldiers who spied on Imperial Japanese installations and troop movements throughout the Philippines. Their most recognized operation was the raid on the Prisoner-of-War camp at Cabanatuan on the island of Luzon. They lead a combined unit of US Army Rangers and local guerrillas on a rescue mission to free American POWs who were scheduled to be executed by the Imperial Japanese High Command. Despite this one high profile mission, they accomplished over 80 other hazardous missions while never numbering over 70 men and not once suffering a man killed in action. Individual Alamo Scouts were also highly decorated, as a unit they were awarded a total of 44 Silver Stars, 33 Bronze Stars, and 4 Soldier’s Medals.
The SOE and the OSS
During the years of 1941 to 1943 the two major democratic powers (the United States and the United Kingdom) were hard-pressed to hold Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Germany. Their ally of convenience, Joseph Stalin and his Soviet Union, demanded that they immediately invade France across the British Channel in order to open up a Second Front in Europe and take pressure of the Red Army currently fighting for its life on the plains of Russia. Neither democracy had the troops, equipment, or experience to launch such an invasion as of yet. Though the plan for such an invasion (Operation Overlord) was already on the drawing board, and was constantly being revised and upgraded. Instead both governments created clandestine services to launch a “secret” war against their Nazi enemy using Insurrection and Guerrilla Warfare.
When the United States joined the war after the surprise attack on their Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1941, they found themselves desperately underequipped in nearly every category. The most glaring deficiency was in Foreign Intelligence Gathering, for which there is no substitute in the type of warfare that the rest of the world was fighting. A new agency was needed to fill this important role, so President Franklin D. Roosevelt commissioned the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Borrowing heavily from the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) model – although the OSS was significantly larger and more diverse, the Americans quickly closed the gap in Intelligence Operations when compared with the other major combatants in the war.
The SOE was formed to compliment the already outstanding work being done by the various Clandestine Intelligence Agencies in His Britannic Majesty’s service. Their goal was twofold: (1) advise, supply, and regulate already existing “resistance” groups operating within the confines of Nazi-Occupied Europe; and (2) launch directed, covert precision strikes against hardened targets in Europe that were either too difficult or too dangerous to eliminate with conventional military means. The SOE and the OSS eventually had an incredibly close working relationship, so much so that many operations were conducted jointly and to many they appeared to be the same organization.
The crown jewel of operations for both the SOE and the OSS was Operation Jedburgh. Operation Jedburgh was designed to seed three man teams throughout enemy occupied territory in order to liaise with already established groups of insurgents or form groups of insurgents from the local population. These teams, often called Jedburgh Teams consisted of an Officer (British or American Army), an Area Specialist (a military officer or local from the area in which the team was to operate), and an Enlisted Radio Operator. These teams allowed groups of insurgents to operate in support overall military objectives and be supplied with top of the line military equipment so as to be more effective against their occupiers. Universally effective in both the European and Pacific Theaters (although the OSS was almost exclusively responsible for operations against the Japanese), these units served as the prototype for future Special Forces Units specializing in Insurgency, most notably the US Army’s “Green Berets” Special Forces Teams.
At the end of the war both the Special Operations Executive and the Office of Strategic Services were disbanded by their respective governments. However, with the beginning of the US-Soviet Cold War (1945-1991), the United States again found itself at a disadvantage in foreign intelligence gathering, this time against the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. When the National Security Act of 1947 was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman, tucked into a then-obscure clause was the authorization for the President to create the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Formed from the ashes of the Office of Strategic Services, and including much of the same leadership and personnel, the CIA eventually went on to be the one of the premier agencies for clandestine intelligence gathering during the latter half of the 20th century and into the 21st.
The Brush Wars and the Coming of Age
After the Second World War, an uneasy peace descended on the world, ruled by continuous tensions between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and her allies on one side and the United States of America and her democratic allies on the other. Their alliance during the previous war was one of convenience, and after their common enemy was defeated their post-war politics were ruled by mutual mistrust.
The Allies lead by the United States wanted to spread democracy to far corners of the shattered world, while Joseph Stalin’s USSR wanted to spread communism. The democratic powers used diplomacy and economic aid to spread their form of government, helping all willing countries to establish commerce and a higher standard of living for its people. The USSR, with significant guidance from the Chinese Communist Mao Zedong (although the Soviets would never admit it), spread their form of government by means of the self named “Wars of Liberation”. These wars generally pitted a national army (such as the United States, France, or England) against a smaller army recruited from the population of the country being fought over.
These smaller armies were traditionally communist, and were armed and trained by either of the two major communist countries at the time, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the USSR. These wars took place anywhere that a communist guerrilla band could become organized enough to attract the attention of the communist powers or they were organized from the outset by the foreign intelligence services of the communist nations. This whole period of unrest earned its name because of their typical arenas, heavy jungle and forest which the larger national armies had a difficult to impossible time fighting in and the communist armies, with their high concentration of locally recruited soldiers, excelled at fighting in.
The Korean War
Waged from mid-1950 to mid-1953, it was fought on a northeastern Asian peninsula strategically placed between the PRC, USSR, and Japan (which was still home to a sizable United States occupation and reconstruction force at the time). Occupied by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II, the peninsula had been split along the 38th degree of latitude after the war. This was because of the portioning of former Axis territories between the opposing camps of the victorious Allies, the camps being the democratic Allies and the Communist USSR.
In an attempt to reunite the two halves of the Korean Peninsula, the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Kim Il-sung, waged a war of aggression against his brothers to the south. He was supported by Soviet advisors and armed with top-of-the line Soviet equipment, much of which was just a single generation removed from the equipment used against Nazi Germany. While the North would eventually get a massive reinforcement of PRC troops, this wouldn’t be until late in 1950. The democratic allies, under the auspices of the United Nations, launched a concerted defense and counter-attack in support of their ally, the Republic of Korea (South Korea). After three years of bitter fighting, an armistice was signed between the openly warring powers and the peninsula returned to its pre-war boarders. Even though this war was primarily a contest of major arms and armies, with little tangible involvement of Special Operations type units, it did have a major impact on the roles, missions, leadership, and direction of Special Operations within the United States.
During this war the recently established CIA, using veterans of the OSS, tried to again support their military comrades with behind-the-line operations. However, these missions were never as successful as the ones conducted as little as a decade earlier, and some were downright disasters. Their failures were a direct result of the CIA’s inability to connect with the local Korean people on a personal or even military level.
They lacked any training or experience with Asiatic peoples and culture, even simple things like communicating in the Korean language was difficult if not impossible for the CIA’s agents. As a result of the lack of support from the CIA, three of the four branches of the US Military decided that they would form, in some cases resurrect, their own Special Operations units answerable to only the military leaders. United Kingdom’s Special Air Service The entirety of the Special Air Service Brigade, parent unit to the famous “L” Detachment, was disbanded after the Second World War because the British Army could see no need for such a unit in the post-war world. Less than a year later, however, in 1946 the British Army reversed its course and raised a Volunteer Regiment in their Territorial Army that would specialize in long range, deep penetration Commando raids. The original unit was designated the 21st Special Air Service Regiment (V) and was stood up in 1947.
Its initial service was planned to be in support of the United Nations forces fighting on the Korean Peninsula, but after three months of training the Imperial General Staff decided to send a squadron of the Regiment to the southeast Asian nation-state of Malaysia. During the Malaysian Emergency, British Commonwealth forces tried to stem the tide of communistic expansion that threatened to overthrow their efforts to reform the Malaysian economy. Eventually three volunteer squadrons of the 21st SAS Regiment would serve in Malaysia, perfecting tactics that involved long range patrols, ambushes, and strikes deep into enemy controlled territory. They also pioneered techniques that allowed parachutists to be successfully used in areas of heavy jungle. They were not strictly an attack force, they also constantly sent out medical teams to jungle villages to dispense medical care in an effort win the hearts and minds of the local populace.
From the late 1960’s to the early 1990’s, units of the 22nd SAS Regiment, the Regular Army brother to the 21st SAS, were deployed against insurrectionists operating in the Northern Ireland province of the United Kingdom. This was, and in some circles still is, considered the most controversial deployment of Special Operations units ever conducted by a democratic nation. The reasoning behind initial deployments was that regular army and loyalist constabulary units needed a dependable quick strike and reconnaissance force to combat the acts of terrorism being perpetrated in the region.
While a majority of the official records concerning the acts of the 22nd SAS in this conflict were never publicly released before their destruction during Earth’s Eugenics Wars, several general facts are known.
The 22nd SAS resurrected the tradition of pure military forces conducting clandestine intelligence gathering. These types of intelligence operations are essential to counterterrorist activities. Due to a terrorist organizations need to remain largely anonymous, there is never a centralized position or group that can be targeted by intelligence personnel. Therefore, intelligence gathering must be conducted in the field by trained operators who know what they are looking for. While the large scale success of these types of intelligence missions are rare, they are incredibly successful in preventing terrorist actions in the short term.
In response to a terrorist organization’s small numbers, the 22nd SAS had to perfect close quarters and small unit combat techniques. They did this at the school maintained by the Counter-Revolutionary Warfare (CRW) wing. During training they learned how to attack and counter terrorist actions against any number of targets or in any conceivable situation. The training was intense, and by some accounts the average student would expend over ten thousand rounds of pistol ammunition during the course (not counting training with carbines and various rifles). With a combination of the training received at the CRW and their experience in Northern Ireland, the 22nd became known as the premier Counter-Terrorist unit on Earth. This led to them becoming the basis and inspiration for a large majority of other such units during the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
United States Army Special Forces
Colonel Aaron Bank and Colonel Russell Volkmann, two former OSS operatives who remained in the US Army after the Second World War, worked tirelessly to convince the Army Leadership to adopt an unconventional warfare force. Special Forces as envisioned by these two men (Bank in particular) were designed to be a force multiplier: a small number of soldiers who could cause a disproportionately large amount of trouble for the enemy. Confusion would reign among enemy ranks and in their territory, and missions could be accomplished with extreme economy of manpower.
The 10th Special Forces Group (SFG) was the first experiment in this type of organization. The 1950 Lodge-Philbin Act of the United States Congress gave the US military the ability to recruit and accept foreign nationals into their ranks. The benefit to these new recruits was that after five years of service and an Honorable Discharge, they had earned citizenship in the United States. The benefit to the US Army, in particular, was that a majority of these foreign nationals were actually displaced persons from Eastern Europe and almost all of them were former resistance fighters against Nazi German Occupation. These facts meant that all these experienced fighters had intimate knowledge of areas, cultures, and societies that were now considered enemy territory. The mission for the 10th SFG was as a “stay-behind” unit that wouldn’t retreat in the face of a Soviet-led Warsaw Pact invasion along with the rest of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) forces. Once the initial wave of enemy troops had passed, the Special Forces soldiers would embark on a campaign of sabotage, reconnaissance, and insurrection similar to the French Forces of the Interior and OSS/SOE Jedburgh Teams during World War II. These operations would be carried out with little or no assistance from conventional military forces, and these soldiers would be expected to survive for long periods of time amongst the civilian population. Since the invasion of Western Europe by the forces of the Warsaw Pact never materialized, the 10th SFG was never needed for its intended role. However, it did serve as the testing ground for the tactics, techniques, and procedures that would be desperately needed in another theater where the US military did see extensive combat, the Indo-China region of Southeast Asia. In the nation-state once known as the Republic of Vietnam
South Vietnam), the United States military tried to establish and maintain a democratic state in opposition to its communistic brother to the north, then known as Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam). The communist forces of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) made extensive use of indigenous fighting forces (known as the Viet-Cong or VC) and guerilla tactics to strike at the South Vietnamese Army and their American supporters whenever they chose to. As had been the case in similar wars throughout history, the conventionally minded armies of the South Vietnam and the United States were incapable of countering these unusual tactics. The 5th SFG was able to put into practice the tactics and skills developed by the 10th SFG in Europe to successfully combat both the NVA and the VC. However, even though the missions of US Army Special Forces were incredibly successful, the United States campaign in Southeast Asia failed because of political and social turmoil at home and abroad.
United States Navy Special Warfare Command
At the outset of the Second World War, the United States Navy understood that in order to defeat Imperial Japan in the Pacific Theater and to liberate Europe from Nazi Occupation, amphibious landings were going to critical. Even though the United States Marine Corps had been experimenting with and perfecting the art of Amphibious Warfare, there were still no established assets to provide physical reconnaissance on designated landing beaches. It was into this void that the joint effort between the United States Navy, Army, and Marine Corps established the Amphibious Scout and Raider School to train combat swimmers and experienced explosive ordnance disposal personnel in amphibious reconnaissance.
These basic principles of amphibious reconnaissance and obstacle clearance drastically evolved less than a year after its introduction because of the disastrous 1943 invasion of the Pacific island of Tarawa. The Marine Corps landing force floundered on submerged coral reefs and other Japanese emplaced artificial obstacles during its initial landings. As a result, a ghastly number of Marines drowned trying to get to shore. In response, the US Navy modified its Amphibious Scout and Raider training to include a greater focus on obstacle clearing and landing support in order to prevent another disaster like Tarawa from ever happening again. The units trained in this manner became known as Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT).
UDTs served with distinction for the rest of the war, participating in every amphibious landing conducted by the United States military. After the Second World War, the UDTs were not disbanded as many of their Special Operations compatriots. Their worth was proven a short five years after the war with the Invasion of Inchon during the Korean War. The planning for this amphibious operation started barely two months before the troops were expected to make the landing. Due to the compressed time table, UDT units were forced to accomplish two related but separate missions at nearly the same time. They first needed to clear the landing zones of artificial obstacles and scout the avenues off the beachheads. These units were also required to lead the initial waves of assault troops off these same beachheads with barely enough time to finish their initial mission. The UDTs mission was large and complex but they executed it flawlessly.
When the United States began to provide increasing amounts of support to their allies in the Republic of Vietnam, the UDTs began to deploy and train their South Vietnamese counterparts. However, as the war gradually became larger and the US began to commit combat troops to the fight, the UDTs had to become better at fighting on the land. They began to train in counter-guerrilla tactics, jungle warfare, and airborne deployments. The combination of these skills gave the UDTs the ability to fight from the Sea, Air, and Land; this unique skill set also gave the UDTs a new moniker, SEAL Teams.
Operating primary from the South Vietnamese city of Da Nang and in the area known as the Mekong Delta; they attacked the VC and NVA in their strongholds, not waiting for them to be the first to attack. However they never stopped training their South Vietnamese counter parts in the skills they were using. In fact they tried to combine the units they were training into SEAL missions, giving their trainees controlled combat experiences along with the confidence that comes with victory. Even though South Vietnam only survived as an independent nation a bare two years after the complete withdrawal of US combat troops, the last South Vietnamese troops to surrender or be destroyed were those that had been trained by the US Navy SEAL Teams.
Earth Forces in Space
Everything on Earth begins to change after Zefram Cochrane historic warp flight on April 5, 2063. In time all the countries would come together and form the United Earth. In doing so, all the countries that had military forces that survived World War III would be disbanded and a new United Earth military organization was formed during the 2150s, prior to the founding of the Federation. The MACOs were made up of the previous Special Forces from around the Earth but were not associated with the Starfleet.
Xindi Conflict (2153 to 2154)
The Xindi Conflict was a series of events lasting nearly a year, involving an attempt made by the Starship Enterprise (NX-01) to save Earth from destruction by the Xindi. It began with a preemptive surprise strike on Earth by the Xindi, who were acting on false intelligence provided them by the Sphere Builders (a race of trans dimensional beings, and a faction in the Temporal Cold War). At this time, the United Earth Military Assault Command Operations (MACO) served as the United Earth’s armed forces, and were separate from Starfleet. MACOs were assigned to Enterprise to reinforce the Starfleet security personnel, and demonstrated that Starfleet required organic military (Conventional Ground Forces) and Special Operations (MACO) units.
Earth – Romulan war (2156 – 2160)
In the 2150’s, the MACOs fought in the decisive battles at Galorndon Core and Vorkado as well as the Battle of Cheron.
In 2161, the United Earth helped to form the United Federation of Planets and all military forces – including the MACOs – were consolidated into Starfleet and the Federation Ground Forces.
United Federation of Planets
The First Federation – Klingon War (2195 – 2199)
Though any numbers of independent traders had encountered Klingons in Orion ports, the U.F.P. had never taken official notice of this new culture, whereas Klingon military observers had been gathering data about the U.F.P. and Starfleet for years.
In 2151, the Federation made first contact with the Klingon Empire which quickly led to armed conflict. After a long, exhausting war with the Romulans, the Federation was in no shape to get involved in another one so soon with the Klingons. Although the Federation’s military was mostly starship-based at this time with MACOs and a few Federation Ground Forces bolstering the Starfleet’s naval security forces, the Klingons made extensive use of infantry and other ground troops. Klingon squadrons (or sometimes fleets) would batter Federation outposts with orbital bombardment to damage shields and cause confusion before beaming in Klingon infantry, who would easily defeat the poorly trained naval personnel in close combat.
Intel analysis during and after the war determined that heavy, and often unnecessary, losses of manpower and equipment was often caused by limited intelligence of the battlefield and the enemy, the inability to conduct long range reconnaissance, and the inability to conduct precision, specialized infantry-type strikes.
During the early part of the first Federation-Klingon war, Commodore George Alford had a team of Starfleet personnel trained in light infantry raiding tactics, with the idea of disrupting rear-area Klingon forces. One of these units, led by Commander William Rogers and nicknamed “Rogers’ Rangers,” (after the famous historical Rogers’ Rangers) was inserted several light-years behind the front and raided an important Klingon supply base. This caused a significant interruption to Klingon supply lines. The team managed to hold the base for months, before the Klingons re-took the facility. Although Commander Rogers was killed in the counter-attack, his Rangers managed to destroy a significant portion of the base (including almost all of the supplies), and four of the team escaped.
In response to the hard lessons learned during these wars, Starfleet decided that in addition to an enlarged Starfleet Marine Corps, a Special Operations branch organic to Starfleet would be required. This was accomplished by forming the Starfleet Special Operations department in 2298 consisting of three components; the Starfleet Rangers, Reconnaissance, and Intelligence, each with its own specialties.
U.S.S. Akbar Incident
The Federation Ground Forces and the Starfleet Special Operations were capable of dealing with most issues that took place on a planet, ship or at a starbase. But it wasn’t until an Orion Crime syndicate presented a direct threat to Starfleet that a need for something a little more specific was realized. The then president of the Federation was traveling from Earth to Tellar, when the ship he was aboard was attacked. A Saladin Class Destroyer was rendered incapacitated and set adrift shortly after with not a single person left on board. This incident was so bold it even garnered the attention and admiration of the Klingons who began courting the Orions for an alliance as they apparently now had a common enemy in the Federation.
Starfleet scoured the space lanes in an attempt to find the crew of the U.S.S. Akbar. They would sweep into a location possibly find the body of a crewman but nothing else. It became imperative that Starfleet find a new way to deal with the issue. The Orions had demanded a list of things and in an attempt to placate them and retrieve some of the prisoners several concessions were made. According to the Orions it was not enough. A single shuttle and crew were returned, all unconscious. It was at this point that a former MACO commander proposed a special team be created to find and return the captives. A secret vote caused a single ship to depart from Earth to begin training a crew of officers and enlisted that had been pulled from a wide cross section of Starfleet and the Federation Ground Forces. These personnel trained and learned everything they could about Orion weapons and Tactics, they learned how to speak the native languages and they learned how to perform highly special techniques like SILO (Space Insertion Low Opening) and high speed nap of the earth shuttle piloting. During their training time the Orions were still returning a single dead body every so often. After the Crew had been in captivity for nearly 2 months the rescue team finally got a break. An encrypted communication tipped them off that a certain ship would be traveling through a sector of space to drop a package. It matched intelligence that told Starfleet they may be able to find a crewman sometime after the shuttle left. The operation was given a green light and an unmarked shuttle that had been appropriated from a Tellaraite left the secret training base.
The shuttle reached the star system ahead of the Orions and as bait they simulated an engine malfunction and sent out an SOS. The Orions took the bait. Swooping in to capture the shuttle they had no idea that the shuttle was carrying a group of special operators. Within minutes of pulling the shuttle into the Orion freighter The Special Ops team had disabled the Orion ship, captured the entire crew and rescued a Starfleet officer that was going to be killed and left on the planet below. They were able to trace the ships stops and courses to figure out where the Orions had been hiding all along. A location that irritated everyone even more when they discovered that the Orions had established a makeshift base on the edge of the Kuiper belt in Earths own star system. Rather than launch a full scale attack the team took the captured Orion ship and headed for the base. As they approached several of the team exited through the ships air locks and using spacesuits and small micro thrusters approached the based in the shadow of the larger ship. As the ship docked they moved to other ports and either captured or disabled other ships that were docked. As soon as the ship had docked the Special Ops team began to take control of the small base and in less than 10 minutes had captured all the Orions present and freed the remaining Federation officers and diplomats including the Federation President. As they left the base a pair of Constitution class ships approached to “collect” anything else they could find before destroying the facility.
Less than a month later the Starfleet Special Operations SEALS was established with the quiet flourish of a grateful Federation President. He had Starfleet reorganize the Military Assault Command Operations branch which would now have four special operations forces components; The Rangers, Reconnaissance, Intelligence and the SEALS.
Cardassian War 2347-2367
The Federation-Cardassian Wars, known in the Federation as the Cardassian Wars or Border Wars, were prolonged conflicts between the Federation and the Cardassian Union, which started as far back as 2347 and lasted into the 2350s. (Smaller skirmishes, not officially considered part of the wars, continued into the 2360s.) The ensuing stalemate by the mid-2360s advantaged neither side in firepower or territory. A 2367 truce enforced an end to hostilities but left key questions unresolved; the finalized treaty, unsigned until 2370, formed a demilitarized zone between the powers, creating a new border and clarifying claims to planets such as Dorvan V.
The wars raged in a series of conflicts of various sizes as the two powers struggled to protect their individual interests. A series of serious incidents and a not entirely unjustified fear of an invasion by the Federation, culminated in a Cardassian Army expedition against the planet of Setlik III in 2347. Mistakenly believing that a secret Special Operations base was on the planet, the Cardassians tortured and killed over one hundred civilians in the raid. When the Cardassian Government, still convinced that the Federation had a base on Setlik III, refused to apologize or make an offer of reparations to victim families, war fever raged in the Federation. Ships and troops were sent, and an undeclared war raged for the next 20 years. The conflict itself was not continuous; it would flare for a few months, die down, only to flare again after halfhearted peace talks failed. The most active part of the war was in 2366, shortly before the truce that ended it was signed.
The Cardassians had planned “Operation Hammer,” a series of naval and ground force engagements designed to force the Federation out of the Badlands once and for all. Unfortunately for the Cardassians, MACO Ranger and Reconnaissance teams along with Federation Ground Forces Special Operations forces called Omega teams had infiltrated most of the planets the Cardassians were using for staging bases. They quickly detected mission preparations, and just twenty four hours before kickoff, these MACO teams and provide critical information that helped additional ground forces to attack the Cardassian supply depots and assembly areas, while Starfleet forces simultaneously attacked the gathering Cardassian fleet. Within weeks, the Cardassians had lost territory they claimed before the war began. When the truce was signed in 2367, the Badlands were firmly in Federation hands.
Much of the fighting went on in the area of space that would later become the DMZ. The Beloti sector was a hot spot during the wars, and in the 2350s, gravity mines were deployed in the sector. The Cardassian Union pushed into Federation space, and Federation systems such as Minos Korva were disputed territory during the wars. In 2369, two years after the established truce, the Cardassians unsuccessfully attempted to take the system. Members of Starfleet further feared that the Cardassians would try to annex the Igo sector in that year.
Losses during the wars left deep scars on both sides. Post-Cardassian War analyses described Starfleet Security’s performance as front-line ground troops during the war as overall abysmal: They took roughly twice the casualties per capita of any other branch. The Federation Ground Forces took heavy casualties and the Starfleet Special Operations also took on large casualties while also discovering that the need for a more specialized MACO Operational Unit was needed that would incorporate all the skills of the four existing MACO components. In 2372, Starfleet once again reorganized the Starfleet Special Operations, this time adding a fifth component to the previously designated four components. The Starfleet Special Operations Military Assault Command Operations (MACO) was formed.
Dominion War 2373-2375
The Dominion War was a major conflict in the Alpha Quadrant that raged from 2373 to 2375 between the Dominion and the Federation Alliance. The Dominion Axis was comprised of the Dominion, Cardassian Union, and the Breen Confederacy. The Federation Alliance was comprised of the United Federation of Planets, Klingon Empire, and eventually the Romulan Star Empire.
The war included many famous battles such as “Battle of Deep Space Nine”, the two “Battles of Chin’toka”, “Battle of Betazed”, and the “Battle of Cardassia”.
The signing of a treaty of peace with Cardassia did not mean “the end of war in our time” any more than the Khitomer Accords did over 150 years before. At most the major powers of the Alpha and Beta quadrants maintained a delicate balance. So delicate was the balance that one incident could tip the quadrants towards all out war. The entrance of the Dominion into the Alpha quadrant through the Bajoran wormhole was such an incident. With the arrival of the Dominion the Alpha and Beta quadrants destabilized leading not only into all out war, but to multiple alliances of convenience. Alliances between the various powers shifted constantly during this time.
The Dominion war started unlike most wars, that is they did not enter the Alpha quadrant with guns blazing. Instead the Dominion chose to use subterfuge to undermine the already fragile alliances that existed in the Alpha and Beta quadrants. By undermining those alliances the Dominion had hoped to push the more powerful governments into open hostilities with each other, which would in the end weaken them enough so that a Dominion invasion would meet little opposition. The Federation and the Klingons were the first targets of the Dominion. Changelings had infiltrated the Klingon High Command and were feeding false information regarding the recent civilian overthrow of the Cardassian government to Chancellor Gowron.
The infiltrators had Gowron convinced that the Dominion was behind the overthrow and therefore Cardassia must be invaded to stop the Dominion. The Federation disagreed and in the end helped the newly formed Detapa Council escape from the Klingon invasion of Cardassia. The Federation’s willingness to help the Cardassians and their refusal to participate in the invasion led Gowron to withdraw from the Khitomer Accords.
Open hostilities between the Federation and Klingon Empire ensued. During this time the Federation Ground Forces was instrumental in several battles and was used extensively to bolster any planets civilian defense forces. On several occasions forces of the Federation Ground Forces were able to hold the Klingons back thus preventing several planets from falling. Not only did the Federation Ground Forces enjoy the thrill of victory, but the pain of loss. Men and material were being lost at an alarming rate; soon losses from this stage of the war surpassed those that had been suffered during the war with Cardassia. While the war raged on the Federation began to grow concerned that a Changeling had replaced the Klingon Chancellor. A plan was devised to determine whether or not this had actually occurred. While carrying out this plan, a group of Starfleet officers led by Captain Benjamin Sisko discovered that it was not Gowron who had been replaced, but his commanding general, General Martok. This fact was revealed to Gowron in spectacular fashion. Captain Sisko’s team was allowed to leave Klingon space unhindered, and Gowron was able to convince the High Council to call for a cease-fire.
Even though a tenuous cease-fire existed between the Federation and the Klingons, the Klingons were still engaged in a war with the Cardassians. Sometime mid-2373 the Cardassian Union allied with the Dominion. This gave the Dominion a foothold in the Alpha Quadrant and they immediately began sending fleets of warships and supply vessels through the Bajoran wormhole and into Cardassian territory on a weekly basis. The Klingons now found themselves facing a foe that they could not fight alone, and they were forced to withdraw from Cardassian space. War with the Dominion was inevitable and only the combined Federation-Klingon forces stood a chance. With that Gowron resigned the Khitomer Accords, thus officially ending hostilities between the two powers.
The Cardassian Union and Dominion meanwhile, continued to fortify their positions and secure nonaggression treaties with the Miradorn, Tholians, Bajorans, and most notably the Romulans. Dominion intentions were becoming clearer with each treaty they made. The Federation was forced to act, but a preemptive strike was out of the question, there simply was not enough men and material for such a strike to succeed. Instead it was decided that mining the Bajoran wormhole to prevent further Dominion reinforcements from arriving would be sufficient. The mining of the wormhole provoked the Dominion into acting. Even while apparently reaching an agreement with the Federation to allow limited medical and economic supplies through to help rebuild Cardassia, the Dominion secretly planned an attack on DS9. The Dominion plan was to attack and take the station before the Federation had time to complete and activate the minefield. However the Klingons were able to send word to DS9 that a large Cardassian and Dominion fleet was inbound. With this knowledge DS9 was able to prepare its defenses and work toward bringing the minefield on line. Even though the Dominion arrived too late to prevent the successful activation of the minefield they began their assault on the station. No Federation reinforcements were available and in light of the overwhelming force that DS9 faced, Captain Benjamin Sisko was forced to order all Federation personnel to evacuate the station. This would not be the last time that DS9 changed hands during the war. After the evacuation the reason for the lack of reinforcements was made known. While the Dominion was busy attacking DS9 a combined Federation-Klingon task force had attacked Dominion shipyards at Torros III. That assault had required all available vessels.
The opening months of 2374 saw a string of allied defeats, both in space and planet side. Starfleet saw most of its losses through massive space battles involving huge fleets while the Starfleet Marine Corps saw most of its losses in large tactical engagements on various planets. However the Federation Ground Forces also suffered horrendous losses in space engagements, especially in planetary invasions. Troop carriers were favorite targets of Cardassian and Dominion forces. Each troop carrier destroyed meant the loss of hundreds if not thousands of Federation Ground Forces. With losses mounting morale was at an all time low. However the tides of fortune would change in favor of the Allies in the second quarter of that year. That quarter saw the successful implementation of Operation Return, the objective of which was to retake DS9 and the Bajoran Wormhole.
Operation Return was a risky and bold move that only succeeded due in part to the surprise appearance of a huge Klingon attack force. The USS Defiant was able to break through the lines and head toward the Bajoran Wormhole. As the USS Defiant arrived at DS9 the Dominion was able to successfully destroy the minefield placed months earlier by Starfleet. The way was now open for Dominion reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant. However the Dominion had not taken into account the non-corporeal aliens that dwelt in the Bajoran Wormhole. As the Dominion fleet was en route and in the wormhole Captain Benjamin Sisko was able to convince the aliens to destroy the Dominion reinforcements. From that point on no further Dominion ships would make it through the wormhole. With their reinforcements gone and Allied forces breaking through their lines, the Dominion was forced to withdraw from DS9. This was the first major allied victory. Federation Ground Forces losses during this engagement were light in comparison to other engagements and most were due to the actual space battle.
With the retaking of DS9 and the wormhole, the war entered a temporary lull. The Dominion had retreated within Cardassian space and engagements along the Cardassian border were rare. Marines soon found themselves with lots of time on their hands, which is a not necessarily a good thing. However they soon found themselves performing daily drills and weapons training. In their off hours marines tried to stave of boredom any way that they could. Some formed musical groups and sang various songs that they found in the cultural databases. Martin and the Brigadiers was one such group. An impromptu group formed by several general staff officers one evening only recorded one song, ‘You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling”, which they found in the Earth’s cultural database. The song soon became the favorite of Aerospace Pilots in bars throughout the Federation. Aside from 20th century Earth songs, Klingon warrior songs were almost as equally well received.
While the Federation Ground Forces did their best to keep themselves occupied, the Dominion vied for peace, going so far as to offer to withdraw from large portions of territory that had been occupied in the onset of the war. Further analysis of the situation by a special Federation think-tank showed that this was a ploy to obtain the Kabrel system, which would allow the Dominion to produce ketracel-white in the Alpha Quadrant. Since the Dominion was no longer receiving shipments through the wormhole they faced a supply shortage that threatened their position in the war. The Federation did not accept the peace proposal and weeks later the fighting resumed.
Ships patrolling the Cardassian border were frequently engaged and destroyed. Many ships just vanished never to be seen or heard from again. During this time marines dreaded being sent to the border as either a detachment on board ship or as part of a recon element. Any unit sent on either of those missions rarely returned. Soon after fighting resumed MACO and Starfleet Intelligence was able to ascertain that the Dominion had started breeding Jem’Hadar in the Alpha Quadrant negating the need for reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant.
Later in 2374 the Federation Ground Forces was dealt its largest defeat yet in the war, the fall and subsequent occupation of Betazed. Tens of thousands of ground forces fought valiantly to hold the planet, but the Dominion was able to bring an overwhelming force to bear and was successful in routing the defenders. Very few combat ready units escaped the fall of Betazed. Ground Forces casualties for that one particular engagement were 75%. Those units that were unable to withdraw from Betazed and that were not completely destroyed were able to escape to the surrounding countryside.
Those units formed the basis of an organized armed resistance that would continue operating until the end of the war. In order to keep the resistance going the MACO was able to insert several teams to the planet to conduct reconnaissance and gather critical intel while the MACOs would make high-speed transporter drops to various parts of the planet. This was usually accomplished through specially outfitted transports that were capable of transferring cargo at high warp speeds as the passed by the planet. The heavy losses were deemed acceptable though because of the strategic value of Betazed and that the resistance was able to successfully disrupt many of the Dominion’s activities.
At the opening of 2375 the Federation and her allies found themselves suffering a severe shortage of manpower, ships and equipment. While the Federation and her allies found themselves struggling to rebuild their shipyards and replace the men and material that had been lost, the Dominion was producing ships and Jem’Hadar warriors at an astounding rate. Worse that the shortage of manpower and material the Federation now faced was the fact that with the loss of Betazed, the core Federation worlds of Vulcan, Andor, Tellar, and Alpha Centauri were vulnerable to invasion from Dominion forces. With the core worlds of the Federation facing imminent invasion, the ground forces began to ship any available reserves to those core worlds that were deemed most vulnerable to invasion.
The outcome of the war looked grim for the Federation and her allies. It was determined that in order to have any chance of winning the Romulans would need to brought into the conflict as an ally. This was easier said than done considering that the Romulans had declared themselves neutral in the conflict. However this neutrality was called into question, as they would allow safe passage for Dominion ships traversing their space. No matter how hard the Federation pushed diplomatically to have the Romulans join the conflict as an ally the Romulans refused to do so.
However evidence of a Dominion assassination plot against a high-ranking Romulan senator was uncovered. This evidence caused the Romulans to enter the conflict as part of the Federation Alliance. Within hours of joining the alliance the Romulans attacked 15 bases along the Cardassian-Romulan border. Shortly after the Romulans initial attack a combined Federation-Klingon-Romulan fleet was able to penetrate Cardassian space and successfully captured the Chin’toka system. Again the MACO and Federation Ground Forces took heavy losses in the operation, mostly from the automated weapons platforms that had been dispersed throughout the system by the Cardassians. Once the weapons platforms were neutralized, the Federation Ground Forces along with Klingon and Romulan Ground Forces were able to take and hold the planets in the system. Ground fighting was fierce and brutal, many of the battles fought were resolved in bloody hand-to-hand combat. Federation Ground Forces losses from both the initial invasion of the system and then the two inhabited worlds were 38%. Losses in the Chin’toka system were the highest ever sustained in a single combat action.
While the allies had established a beachhead in Cardassian space, they soon found themselves bottled up in the Chin’toka system. Any push to carry the invasion forward was stopped by the combined Cardassian-Dominion forces that had encircled the Chin’toka system. By the end of 2375 the war had become a stalemate. During the stalemate of 2375 one notable and infamous battle took place, The Battle of the Joe’s. It was during this battle that the USS Cupajoe NX-98134, a Percolator-class assault ship, from the 99th BDE used the Federation Ground Forces famous conflict resolution system, RPS, to defuse a particularly difficult situation that resulted in the parties enjoined in the battle reaching an amicable resolution. Each side searched for a way to break the stalemate and move the war forward. The Dominion was able to break the stalemate after enlisting the help of the Breen. When the combined Dominion fleet entered the Chin’toka system they used a Breen energy draining weapon and were able to decimate the Allied forces. Federation and Romulan ships easily fell victim to the Breen weapons, Klingon ships however were somehow immune. The Second Battle of Chin’toka again saw the MACO and Federation Ground Forces taking heavy losses in both space and on the ground. Most of the ground casualties resulted from the orbital bombardment that commenced after the Allied fleet was swept aside. Many Federation Ground Forces units and MACO Teams were left behind, some were able to successfully elude capture and were recovered after the end of the war, some were taken as prisoners of war, and others have not been seen since.
While the Allies reeled from the loss of the Chin’toka system, there came news that the Breen had successfully penetrated Sol space and attacked Starfleet Headquarters on Earth. It was a clear signal that the tides of war had once again shifted, this time in favor of the Dominion. Since Federation and Romulan ships were vulnerable to the Breen weapon the Klingons had to hold the front lines themselves until a countermeasure could be developed. While the Dominion and its allies continued to win battle after battle, an internal struggle was beginning. Sensing that they were no longer in favor the Dominion, the Cardassians began to organize a rebellion. The Federation wanting to take advantage of an internal rebellion sent Special Operations Forces in to help instruct and organize the rebellion.
While ultimately the rebellion itself was betrayed from within, they were able to capture a Jem’Hadar fighter outfitted with the Breen energy weapon and return it to Federation space. Before the rebellion was crushed it was also able to inflict significant damage to various Dominion infrastructures on Cardassia. With a countermeasure developed and the Dominion trying to rebuild some of its infrastructure on Cardassia, the Allies determined the time was right for a three pronged attack. Federation, Klingon, and Romulan forces would simultaneously attack Cardassia on three fronts.
The Battle of Cardassia has been called the single greatest space battle in recorded galactic history. The start of which saw the Allies taking heavy losses. For a time it looked like the invasion would fail. However the civilian populous on Cardassia haven been emboldened by the actions of the failed rebellion, were able to destroy the main communication complex on Cardassia. This caused a complete breakdown in communications between the Dominion commanders on Cardassia and their forces in space. In retaliation the Dominion ordered the destruction of Lakarian City hoping it would deter further acts of rebellion. It did not have the desired effect. Upon hearing the news of Lakarian City, the Cardassian forces that had been fighting alongside the Dominion suddenly began to fire on Breen and Dominion ships. With the Cardassians changing sides the Breen and Dominion were caught off balance the Federation was able to capitalize on the situation and broke through the Dominion lines. With communications re-established the Dominion ordered all ships back to Cardassian space and ordered the complete annihilation of the population of Cardassia Prime. However this would not come to pass as the Cardassian rebellion was able to capture the Changeling, thus ending the battle.
The war officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Bajor. Shortly thereafter all Dominion forces retreated to the Gamma Quadrant, however the Changeling remained to stand trial for war crimes. The cost of the Dominion war is staggering, billions dead, whole planets reduced to rubble, and thousands of ships destroyed. It will take decades to repair the damage wrought by this war and in some cases there may be no recovery. The Federation Ground Forces suffered its greatest losses in its entire history during the Dominion war, as of the last tally it was 50%, with 35% of those being lost to space combat. The MACO suffered its greatest losses in its short history during the Dominion war, as it was 35%, with 90% of those lost to ground combat.
Again, Starfleet decided to reorganize the Special Operations by taking the Ranger, SEALS and Recon units and re-designating them as Hazard Teams. This move would reduce the sub-command level from three to one, and allowing the three separate training schools to become one.
Starfleet also wanted to bring all Special Operations units under the command and control to the Starfleet Special Operations Command, but strong resistance from the SFMC Special Operations component eventually led to Starfleet renaming the Starfleet Special Operations to the Military Assault Command Operations thus allowing the SFMC to retain there Special Operations component.
24th century and beyond
As an Operative of the Military Assault Command Operations, you are expected to be able to operate in Space Environments, In the Air, on Land and under the Sea, MACO Operatives are the masters of every weapon they touch, they are tacticians, they are Linguists, and finally they are some of Starfleet’s best officers. A MACO Special Warfare Operator/Officer can come from Fleet, the Med Corps, The Federation Ground Forces or any other group.