Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 9 2009 Contents 41
he sharp crack of an
device (IeD) snapped
through the gusty dusk in the
But the Diggers of 2 Company,
1 Commando Regiment (1Cdo Regt) stayed
calm and ignored the dropping temperature
as they carried out their now instinctive drills
and relayed information throughout the
Commando Company Group (CCG).
As the sun dipped below the nearby ridgeline,
the injured were carried away for treatment, and
the meticulous village clearance began.
This time the IED was simulated, and the
village had been erected in the southern end of
Cultana Training Area, in South Australia, where
the westerly winds whipped over the hills and
brought frigid showers down on the troops.
The CCG is made up of commandos, armoured
crewmen of 1 Armoured Regiment, sappers from
the Incident Response Regiment and supported
by enablers including a RAAF P3 Orion, 20 STA
Regiment and a range of other ADF agencies.
When the simulated IED was triggered,
the collective group was close to finishing the
culminating serial of their Mission Rehearsal
Exercise (MRE), rounding off a month spent near
South Australia’s Port Augusta.
The CCG MRE was supported by a number of
role players, including linguists from the School
of Languages and a mock Afghan Security Force
partnering element. The role players gave CCG
members the opportunity to cut their teeth at
interaction with an unfamiliar local population and
a developing partnering force before they deployed.
The night before, elements of the CCG
tactically entered the small village, Special
Operations Commander Australia (SOCAUST),
Major General Timothy McOwan made clear his
stance regarding the Force Element (FE).
“I want to emphatically state the fact that
I have no doubt about the capacity of this FE,”
MAJGEN McOwan said.
“I have no doubt that you will perform
well in the field of battle.”
He warned that the counter insurgency
fight for which the CCG had trained would also
require traditional warfighting expertise.
“I expect you will see action,” MAJGEN
McOwan said. “Do not relax to the point where
you expect that counter-insurgency does not
require hard-edged soldierly skills.”
MAJGEN McOwan said the FE had a wealth of
experience, an opinion shared by the Commanding
Officer of 1 Cdo Regt, Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Davies.
LTCOL Davies said his unit integrated the
varied world and operational experiences of its
Army Reserve members with those of former and
current Australian Regular Army staff from 2 Cdo
Regt and the Special Air Services Regiment.
“They have quite remarkable backgrounds,”
LTCOL Davies said.
“There is a good mix in the CCG. The guys
have drawn on previous experiences. There is a
wealth of operational experience in the unit.”
The 2 Company CCG includes police,
lawyers, teachers, emergency service personnel
and other professionals.
“For counter-insurgency operations, they can
draw on these backgrounds and their experiences,
probably more so than in a traditional war fighting
role,” LTCOL Davies said.
He said 1 Cdo Regt had evolved to the
stage where the unit could provide robust
individuals to round out and reinforce
other Special Operations Command
entities, or rotate formed bodies at a
platoon or company level.
An early indication of this
capability was first displayed in
2001when the regiment provided a formed
body to bolster the then 4RAR in East Timor.
LTCOL Davies singled out the commando trade
model as the means through which his soldiers
have obtained the skill sets needed for overseas
deployment in the commando role.
“Now we have a single commando trade model,
regardless if you are a full-time member of 2 Cdo Regt or
a full-time or part-time member of 1 Cdo Regt,” he said.
“That’s where it has been difficult to provide
individuals in the past, because the unit had a
different standard and skill set.”
The single trade model is demanding and
requires Army Reserve members to undertake
effectively 12 months of continuous full-time
service in order to deploy in their trade.
The regiment, integrated with about one-third
ARA staff, now holds a number of dual-coded
positions and can draw in the experiences and skills
both Commando and SAS-trained personnel.
The issues associated with drawing reservists
away from their employers for extended periods
of time have not been avoided, but LTCOL Davies
believed the informal and formal communications
between the Unit, its members and their employers
have mitigated most of the hurdles.
“I think most employers see that this enhances
their employees,” he said. “Some of the military
training enhances their civilian roles.”
Further information on a career with the Special
Forces Command is available at http://www.defencejobs.
defence magazine ›
sPeCIAl oPerAtIons CommAnD
By Lieutenant Peter Martinelli
IeD, IeD, IeD
LeFT: Getting the lowdown on practical
field craft and camouflage techniques
was all part of the work experience
program at the Royal Military College.
Photo: Phillip Vavasour
BeLOW: Commandos from 2 Company,
1 Commando Regiment, prep for a raid
and insertion via fast-rope as they wait
for directions to board australian army
aviation Black Hawk helicopters. Photo:
CPL Chris Moore
BeLOW LeFT: special Operations
Commander australia, MaJGen
Timothy McOwan, addresses
commandos of 2 Company, 1 Commando
Regiment. Photo: CPL Chris Moore
a commando from 2
Company, 1 Commando
Regiment, is set for a
raid and fast-roping as
he waits for directions
to board australian
army aviation Black
Photo: CPL Chris Moore
Commandos on all-terrain vehicles
move to higher ground during a mission
rehearsal exercise at the Cultana Range in
south australia. Photo: CPL Chris Moore
a commando from 2 Company, 1
Commando Regiment, looks out for enemy
movement during a mission rehearsal
exercise at the Cultana Range in south
australia in preparation for an upcoming
deployment. Photo: CPL Chris Moore
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