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Commando Regiment In Firing Line

Commando Regiment In Firing Line:

“Chocko’s” and coppers hung out to dry?

By Sasha Uzunov,

The Australian Army’s elite reservist unit, 1 Commando Regiment, is being made a scapegoat over allegations of misconduct in Afghanistan, a former unit member has told TEAM UZUNOV.

The experienced ex-Commando said that he was deeply concerned over claims that poorly trained and led members had breached rules of engagement during a raid on house in Afghanistan which resulted in the deaths of 5 local children after grenades had been thrown last February.

“My concern is the unit has been left out to dry by the Defence Department even before judgement has been passed. Let due process of law take place,” he said. “If people were innocent then that should be shouted from the rooftops but if people were guilty then throw the book at them.”

“Whatever the outcome of the investigation, the responsibility is with the government of the day as well Defence Department bureaucrats. It is they who send troops to war.”

The ex-Commando spent over 20 years with the Sydney based 1 Commando Regiment (1 Cdo Regt) and served in Papua New Guinea, East Timor and the Middle-East.

The unit, he says, consists of a core full time staff, complimented by highly trained reservists from all walks of life. He revealed that there was a high percentage of New South Wales and Victorian Police officers within the ranks.

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“The coppers are little group of their own and unfortunately some people see them as a law unto themselves. But that’s not their fault as these guys work together in civilian life as well,” he said.

The ex-Commando laughed at a report in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald newspapers by “defence reporter” Jonathan Pearlman who wrote :


“The Herald/Age understands that some of the soldiers in the sub-unit were reservists who worked as police in Australia and that questions have been raised about the possibility they were not properly trained in military procedures for entering houses.”

The ex-1 Cdo Regt soldier said there was no great major difference between a military and a police procedure for a room clearance. “I’m sure the coppers would’ve picked it within a few seconds of training.”

Traditionally a fierce rivalry has existed between the Australian Regular Army (ARA) and the Army Reserve (Ares). Reservists are known as “chocolate soldiers” or “chockos” for allegedly not being able to withstand combat and melt under pressure.

Some Regular soldiers and officers see the reservists as allegedly incompetent or as “weekend warriors.” Some reservists regard their full time colleagues as “lifers” unable to think outside the box.

1 Cdo Regt has its headquarters in Randwick, Sydney and consists of 1 Commando Company in Sydney and 2 Commando Company, in Williamstown, Melbourne, Victoria.

The unit belongs to the Australian Army’s Special Operations Command together with the Perth based regular army Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) and Sydney-based regular army 2nd Commando Regiment (formerly 4 RAR – Commando).

The ex-Commando said if the politicians and media were not happy with reservists in Afghanistan “then don’t send them.”

As revealed in an earlier TEAM UZUNOV story in 2008:


The legacy of the Nelson-Howard military doctrine has the Special Forces doing most of the fighting, because of the fear of casualties to our regular infantry units. The long term effect could be burn out of our full time Special Forces.

Cross posted from:


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