Sometimes there is power in understatement. Many special operations units have intriguing or even fear-inducing names...The elite unit of the Georgian military is simply known as, The Special Forces Brigade. It may not sound all that "cool", but as someone who has trained with members of this unit, I believe their skills and capabilities to be unquestionably elite. A couple of decades ago, Georgians were part of the Soviet Union. Georgia became an sovereign state in 1991, but its initial government (s) experienced a fairly tumultuous beginning. It wasn't until 2003-2004, after yet another political revolution, that reforms were instituted to stabilize and strengthen the nation's government and military.
Small teams of individuals with special skills and who underwent some form of special operations training were active immediately after the state gained its independence. As stated earlier, the nation struggled as opposing political forces backed by their own armies fought for control and power. Many of these "special forces" units/operators had previous training and experience in past conflicts, but since the political environment was so fluid, there was not much in the way of training standardization or structure. Soon after, Turkish and other NATO advisors formulated and instituted a professional training doctrine to begin a quality special operations capability and school for future development.
The Brigade's operations headquarters is located in the national capital of Tibilisi, but unit bases are located throughout the nation. The Special Forces Brigade served along side U.S. and NATO troops in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003-2008. In 2008, the unit was called home to deal with pressing domestic threats and needs. It has been reported that they were involved in a very tangible way with USSOCOM components in Operation Enduring Freedom--quite probable since Georgian Armed Forces units have served in OEF alongside the U.S. Marines, and have received praise from NATO command staff for their combat medical skills in this theater.
Training and Equipment:
Modeled after other highly successful NATO special forces training systems, the Georgian Special Forces Brigade provides excellent and thorough instruction for potential unit members. Schools of instruction include an Airborne School and Ranger School. Upon successful completion of these two phases of instruction, candidates may apply for The Special Forces Ranger School. If an applicant succeeds in this course of instruction, he may be admitted to The Special Forces School. In each course of instruction, students are trained in airborne and airmobile operations, counterterrorism and counterinsurgency, MOUT (Military Operations in Urban Terrain), combat medical skills, advanced land navigation, and mountaineering. It is reported that, from start to finish in these phases of instruction, there is a less than ten percent success rate. Sounds pretty elite to me.
A multitude of weapons have been employed by the Georgian Armed Forces due to the nature of events the Georgian military has experienced. Russian military weapons were extensively used in the early days of the nation's forces; as NATO political, financial, and military support increased, so did NATO weapons. AR-15/M4 (M4A1) weapon platforms have been the primary battle rifle used by the regular army and The Special Forces Brigade. Recently, the Heckler and Koch HK416 has been issued and in use; the Georgian military has even designed and begun production on a similar model known as the G5, as an alternative to the M4A1. The main difference in the HK416/G5 and the M4A1 is that the former uses a piston operating system rather than the standard AR direct gas impingement system.
The Georgian Special Forces Brigade is truly and elite special operations unit that has been of genuine assistance to U.S. forces in the GWOT; their selection to use the AR platform to defend their nation and fight against terrorism is further evidence of the amazing value and dependability of this weapon. Thanks for reading our blog. If you have any questions about the AR-15 rifles we produce at Del-Ton, Inc. or the parts we offer at www.del-ton.com, please contact us.