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Sierra Leone faces the Atlantic Ocean and has one of the largest natural harbours in the world next to the capital, Freetown. The mountains that surround Freetown were named by the Portuguese navigators of the sixteenth century the Serra Leoa, or Lion Mountains. Most of the coast consists of swamps and lagoons, the Peninsula mountains around Freetown being an exception. Inland, the northern part of the country is largely savanna, while the south consists of rolling woodland interspersed with hills that rise abruptly from the forest. There is a mixture of savanna and hill country with some substantial mountains in the northeast. There are nine major rivers running through the country, which are not navigable in their inland sections. The rivers contain crocodiles, alligators, manatees and hippopotamuses. The rainy season runs from May to October and the dry season from November to April. In general, the climate is warm and humid. The various villages now tend to be arranged along a road and less frequently in the traditional circular manner. Freetown itself contains two approaching helicopters. A soldier of the 1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment on patrol near Yeliwor Island, Sierra Leone in May 2000. Operation Palliser (British assault on RUF forces) Operation Khukri (Operation to free Gurkha Rifles at Kuiva) Operation Basilica SIERRA LEONE Hostage rescue in Sierra Leone The SAS Hostage Rescue Team flies into Gberi Bana by Chinook. 3 The hostages are rescued and evacuated. 4 SAS Land Rovers provide fire support for the rescue. 5 1 Para is inserted in Magbeni to take on the main West Side Boys force. 6 1 Para Support Company provide mortar fire support. 7 A Sierra Leonean Hind and British Lynx provide top cover for the operation. Soldiers of the Australian SASR in a Land Rover Perentie Long Range Patrol Vehicle after capturing Al-Asad air base as part of Operation Falconer. Australian Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) The Australian SASR was first established as the 1st Special Air Service Company, Royal Australian Regiment in 1957. It was later renamed the Australian Special Air Service Regiment in 1964. The Regiment is closely allied to its British and New Zealand counterparts and they use the same winged dagger badge with the motto 'Who Dares Wins'. The selection processes and roles are also similar. Apart from the British SAS, the Australian SAS also has roots in the Australian 'Z' special force of World War II fame as well as the Independent Companies that operated in the Pacific. The Regiment took part, alongside the British and New Zealand SAS, in operations in Borneo in 1965 against Indonesian incursions and insurgency. In 1966 the Regiment deployed, again with the New Zealand SAS, to Vietnam where it carried out a variety of reconnaissance missions. IRAQ US Army Special Forces in HMWWVs patrol south of Najaf after a heavy battle with Iraqi forces the previous night, March 2003. Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force–West (CJSOTF–West) The core unit for CJSOTF–West was US 5th Special Forces Group. Additional forces were provided by the British Special Air Service (SAS) and by the Australian Special Air Service Regiment (SASR). The Australians also provided an additional elite component in the form of the 4th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (Commando), operating as Task Force 64. There was also a deployment of US Air Force Special Operations Command and Naval Special Warfare Command Navy SEALs. The mission was similar to that in the 1991 Gulf War, the major difference being that, unlike the previous deployment, coalition forces would be invading Iraq. The forward reconnaissance provided by some of the US 'A' Teams and their allied counterparts would therefore have a direct impact on the course of the invasion. Yet another component of special forces in the western sector, known as Task Force 20, worked with intelligence agents to track down Ba'ath Party Members and members of the Fedayeen. They were also tasked with interdicting other Iraqi irregular activity. For example, a bus was intercepted with several Iraqis who were found to be carrying money as rewards for the murder of US soldiers. The US Rangers operated in the western sector, both to secure and protect vital infrastructure assets such as pipelines and to locate possible sites for weapons of mass destruction (WMD). IRAQ Australian SASR in Iraq The 1st Squadron Group Australian SASR deployed to western Iraq along with elements of the British SAS and US Special Forces. The SASR was supported by the 5th Aviation Regiment, operating CH-47 Chinook, S-70A Black Hawk and MRH-90 helicopters. Their major role in the primary phase of operations was to track down and destroy Iraqi Scud launchers, either by direct action or by calling in Close Air Support (CAS).A U.S. Air Force Special Forces airman inspects the 7.62mm (.3in) machine gun on an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter of 301st Rescue Squadron.