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Australian Special Air Service Regiment

From Academic Kids

The Australian Special Air Service or SAS is a special forces regiment styled around the original British SAS. It is based in Perth, Western Australia and forms part of the Australian Defence Force. The regimental motto is Who Dares Wins

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Uniform and Equipment

The uniform of the regiment is Australian issue camouflage and a sand coloured beret with metal 'winged dagger' badge on a black shield. Parachute wings (rounded at bottom and straight on top) are worn on right shoulder. On operations, dress is a mixture of the Australian 'green' or 'desert' camo pattern. Operators also wear assorted coalition military dress. In Iraq and Afghanistan, Australian SAS operators were distinguished by their long hair and beards. Basic patrol weapons are the M4 carbine with M203 40mm grenade launcher and F89 Minimi light machine gun. Many other weapon systems are used as the mission dictates.

Operators are multi-skilled and all parachute qualified, but they specialize in either Air, Water or Vehicle-mounted insertion methods. The Regiment is organised into three 'sabre' squadrons of up to 80 'beret qualified' operators, but the majority of the regiment is composed of highly trained specialist staff who provide support for all operations.

Selection and Training

Selection is from serving Australian military personnel and involves a gruelling selection course and then up to 18 months of difficult courses before joining a squadron as a junior trooper. Of over 300 men that commence selection, on average only six will make it to the end of 18 months of reinforcement courses.

Since their beginnings in 1954, the Australia SAS has lost more men in training than on combat operations, such is the rigorous and unrelentless nature of their training. Each man is an expert in unarmed combat and knife fighting and is expected to hold at least blackbelt standard in Karate. One of the features of Australian SAS selection is exposure to crocodiles and deadly snakes.

Operations

The SAS were the spearhead of operations in Somalia 1994, Rwanda 1994, Cambodia, North Korea, Chechnya, Bougainville, United Arab Emirates, Laos, Operations in East Timor 1999-2000, Bhutan, Libya, Sydney Olympics 2000, Afghanistan in 2001, Barbados, Solomon Islands and the Iraq 2003 to present.

The details of their involvement in all operations were kept top secret. However, it is known that they operated in small groups, mostly performing surveillance and calling in air strikes. In Afghanistan, Australian SAS allegedly discovered Osama Bin Laden and called in US air support, but US fire missed their target. As far as the Iraq campaign went, media claims that they were involved in preventing the use of Iraqi Scud missiles were made but not confirmed. It is confirmed that the Australian SAS captured the large Al Asad airbase in the Western Desert of Iraq.

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