Special Contingent 41 was first formed in mid-2374. Envisioned as a quick strike force consisting of one squad of Marines under the command of an Officer In Charge (OIC), their purpose was to provide a quick, mobile SWAT-like force for starships not on the front line of the ever-escalating Dominion War following the events of Operation Return. Their equipment aboard the starship included a large shuttlecraft-like vehicle referred to as a Higgins-class landing craft, which could hold up to two dozen troops and their equipment.
In late 2374, Special Contingent 41, under the command of 2nd Lieutenant Sean McIntyre, was assigned to the Intrepid-class starship USS Dauntless (NCC-74658), with Gunnery Sergeant Christopher O'Laughlin assigned as Squad Leader. The contingent was assigned the landing craft Normandy. While not participating in any front-line combat against Dominion forces at that time, both McIntyre and O'Laughlin participated in a special mission to rescue hostages from a group of Orion terrorists in the Alpha Karnarsay system and were instrumental in the defense of the Dauntless against the Borg and evacuation of the starship during the incident that destroyed the vessel.
The war escalatesEdit
With the escalation of the Dominion War in 2375, Special Contingent 41 saw several changes. Upon reassignment to the new Sovereign-class USS Dauntless (NCC-75310), the contingent was upgraded to the size of a full Marine Company with the addition of an air wing to the starship's complement, including four Hornet-class attack fighters. The starship was modified during construction to support the Marine contingent, with a large section of the secondary hull turned over to the Marines as barracks, storage and training areas, including a dedicated holodeck for combat training, the inclusion of a 22-man troop-drop transporter, the entire secondary shuttlebay at the aft end of the ship for the Marines' embarked craft and later, at the insistence of the starship's crew, a recreation area solely for the Marines' use which was affectionately dubbed the 'Wreck Deck.' OIC McIntyre was also promoted to 1st Lieutenant.
As the war dragged on, the Dauntless saw more combat in which Contingent 41 participated, culminating in the Battle of Cardassia, where ground troops led by Gunnery Sergeant Christopher O'Laughlin fought against Jem'Hadar shock troops in the streets of the Cardassian capital while Air Wing VFMA-41 ("Black Aces") led by Captain Sean McIntyre supported the starships in combat in orbit of the planet.
Aftermath of the Dominion WarEdit
Once the war ended with the Dominion surrendering and signing the Treaty of Bajor at Deep Space 9, the Dauntless resumed its mission of exploration. During this time, the Marine contingent often worked alongside the starship's normal security department. However, following the change of command in early 2377, the Marine contingent was assigned security duties, in effect becoming the starship's security department. Captain McIntyre was assigned as Chief of Security.
In 2380, shortly before the return of Captain Peter J. Koester to the command of the starship Dauntless, Contingent OIC McIntyre was promoted to Major. With Koester's return, the department organization aboard the Dauntless remained the same and McIntyre continued as Chief of Security and OIC of Special Contingent 41. Since the starship resumed its mission of exploration of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, Contingent 41 played a major part in the rescue of the passengers and crew of the SS Half Moon from the dinosaur-inhabited planetoid Oriaphus IV and the rescue of the away team of Starfleet Academy midshipmen and Fleet Space Cadets stranded on the surface of Temeklia IV.
Their darkest day since the Dominion War, however, was when Zaqri terrorists attacked the Dauntless under the guise of a diplomatic mission. Almost two dozen members of the contingent who were acting as an honor guard in the starship's main shuttlebay were killed when the Zaqri shuttle that was supposed to be carrying a new ambassador to the Federation Council exploded shortly after touching down aboard the Federation starship. It was the prelude to a massive attack that would not only nearly destroy the Dauntless, but cause mass casualties aboard a Klingon battlecruiser and in the capital cities on Romulus and Tzenketh. When the Dauntless entered Antares Shipyard, it was time for Special Contingent 41 to heal its own wounds as well.
The following craft are embarked aboard the Dauntless in support of Special Contingent 41. (Note: All Marine craft aboard Dauntless are named for famous battles throughout history.)
- Hornet-class attack fighters
- Iwo Jima (NCC-75310/F12)
- Wolf 359 (NCC-75310/F13)
- Guadalcanal (NCC-75310/F14)
- Hiroshima (NCC-75310/F15)
- Peregrine-class fighter/bombers
- Tinian (NCC-75310/B26)
- Okinawa (NCC-75310/B27)
- Higgins-class landing craft
- Normandy (NCC-75310/SFMC20)