Special Air Service (Blue - Black Shield)

wordwidesymbols

Joined March 2015

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The Special Air Service traces its origins to 1941 and the Second World War, and was reformed as part of the Territorial Army in 1947, named the 21st Special Air Service Regiment (Artists Rifles).

22 Special Air Service Regiment, part of the regular army, later gained fame and recognition worldwide after successfully assaulting the Iranian Embassy in London and rescuing hostages during the 1980 Iranian Embassy siege, lifting the regiment from obscurity outside the military establishment.

Following the post-war reconstitution of the Special Air Service, other countries in the Commonwealth recognised their need for similar units. The Canadian Special Air Service Company was formed in 1947, being disbanded in 1949. The New Zealand Special Air Service squadron was formed in 1954 to serve with the British SAS in Malaya. Australia formed the 1st SAS Company in July 1957, which became a full regiment of the Australian Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) in August 1964. On its return from Malaya, the C (Rhodesian) Squadron formed the basis for creation of the Rhodesian Special Air Service in 1961. It retained the name “C Squadron (Rhodesian) Special Air Service” within the Rhodesian Security Forces until 1978, when it became 1 (Rhodesian) Special Air Service Regiment.

Non-Commonwealth countries have also formed units based on the SAS. The Belgian Army’s Special Forces Group, which wears the same capbadge as the British SAS, traces its ancestry partly from the 5th Special Air Service of the Second World War. The French 1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (1er RPIMa) can trace its origins to the Second World War 3rd and 4th SAS, adopting its “who dares wins” motto. The American unit, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, was formed by Colonel Charles Alvin Beckwith, who served with 22 SAS as an exchange officer, and recognised the need for a similar type of unit in the United States Army. The Israeli Sayeret Matkal has also been modelled after the SAS, sharing its motto. Ireland’s Army Ranger Wing (ARW) has also modelled its training on that of the SAS, as well as Delta Force (who in turn have been influenced by the SAS). The Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force was formed along the lines of the SAS.

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