New Special Forces Support Group: Inaugural Parade
On May 11th I was invited along with the Secretary of State for Defence, the Rt Hon Des Browne MP, and the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mike Jackson,and Brigder Adrian Bradshaw the Director of Special Forces to attended the inaugural parade of the new Special Forces Support Group at RAF St Athan. were I was able to talk with the Secretary of State about the Matrix Bid and how this would be good for Llantwit Major and employment within the Vale.
The Special Forces Support Group is a new unit within the UK Special Forces group, which was set up on 3 April 2006. It will directly support UK Special Forces intervention operations around the world and provide the UK with an additional counter-terrorist capability. Personnel for the unit will be specially equipped and trained for their Special Forces role
Personnel for the new unit have been drawn from the Parachute Regiment, the Royal Marines, and the Royal Air Force Regiment. The unit will be part of the UK Special Forces Group, falling under the operational command of the Director of Special Forces. As with the rest of the Special Forces, the best way to protect their capabilities is to respect the importance of keeping the identities of its individuals, its operations, its capabilities, its tactics and training, and its equipment properly secret.
The need to enhance Special Forces capability was announced in the Strategic Defence Review New Chapter, published in July 2002. Members of the Special Forces Support Group (SFSG) will retain the cap badges of their parent units and will also wear the SFSG insignia.
All individuals within this specialist group have passed either the Royal Marines Commando course, the Airborne Forces Selection course run by the Parachute Regiment or the RAF Pre-Parachute Selection course. Each of these selection courses involves arduous physical selection and high quality infantry training. The personnel are then equipped and provided with additional training to fit their specific specialist role on joining the SFSG.
The main role of the SFSG is to provide direct support to UK Special Forces intervention operations around the world. They will be prepared to operate in war-fighting, counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations at short notice. Their roles may include provision of supporting or diversionary attacks, cordons, fire support, force protection and supporting training tasks. Prior to the creation of the SFSG, these tasks have been carried out by other units on an ad hoc basis.
The creation of two new Special Forces units to enhance the overall capabilities of the Special Forces and to improve the UK's ability to fight terrorism was announced by the then Secretary of State for Defence, Geoff Hoon, on 16 December 2004. The first unit, the Special Reconnaissance Regiment, became operational in April 2005. The SFSG is the second unit, which became operational on 3 April 2006