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The true story behind the SAS operator in Kenya

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sas operator in kenyan hostage crisis - The true story behind the SAS operator in Kenya

A British Special Air Service (SAS) operator who reacted to last Tuesday’s terrorist attack in downtown Nairobi, Kenya became famous overnight. Despite his identity is unknown to the public, he made headlines. World news agencies have speculated about his identity and outfit. At first, he was “identified” as a Navy SEAL from SEAL Team 3 because he wore a Velcro patch that ST3 SEALs have been seen wearing. In fact, after some research, the truth is that he is not a “regular” SAS operator. Instead of that, he is part of the British Territorial Army SAS which is the reserve component of the famed Special Operations unit, according to the NEWSREP.

The 21 SAS and 23 SAS Regiments are garrisoned by civilian volunteers who have undergone rigorous SAS selection and training. They are led by senior officers and non-commissioned officers coming from the active-duty 22 SAS Regiment. Unlike the regular SAS Regiment, it accepts members of the general population without prior military service.

The two special operation units had been part of the United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) since its inception in the late 1980s. However, a recent organizational restructure of the British Army brought them under the wing of the 1st Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Brigade in 2014. Still a SOF unit, they now focus more on SR and Human Environment Reconnaissance and Analysis (HERA) operations. Alongside these skill sets, they also conduct FID and advice and training missions.

The SAS operator who single-handedly stormed the luxury DusitD2 hotel was in Kenya on training and advise mission. They was assigned to the local police and military counter-terrorist units. On a side note, during the terrorist attack, he was off-duty, but despite that, he assisted Kenyan special forces during the rescue operation.

The Territorial SAS Regiments have been mobilized for all the major conflicts in recent British history, including Falklands, Northern Ireland, the Balkans, the Gulf War, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

During 1 September 2014, 23 SAS was placed alongside 21 SAS under the command of 1st Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Brigade, a brigade under Force Troops Command which provides combat specialist support to the British Army’s Reaction and Adaptable Forces.

Moreover, the unnamed operator has been nominated for the George’s Cross (GC), the equal standing to the Victoria Cross (VC), which is the British equivalent of the Medal of Honor. It is equal standing hence is the VC and GC Association, the VC comes first in lists as it was instituted first but they are both level one awards.

The aftermath of a deadly attack on the luxury hotel by the Somali militant group al-Shabaab, which is affiliated with notorious al-Qaeda, brings the total toll of 21 people dead, including an American citizen, and dozens wounded.

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British Special Forces Lacks of Recruits

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British Army soldiers boarding Chinook

British elite special forces, including SAS and SBS, are 200 soldiers short after ­recruitment plunged 20 percent. The lack of “good quality” soldiers has hit the Special Air Service (SAS), Special Boat Service (SBS) and SRR, the Special Reconnaissance Regiment. Hardest hit is the Special Boat Service, down in numbers by around 100. The SRR needs 60 and the celebrated Special Air Service – motto Who Dares Wins – is 40 light. Each unit normally has 340 to 400 operators.

Senior defense sources say the SBS and SRR are now classed as being “over-stretched” with troops deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Baltic States and Africa. The shortage is being linked to cuts and a recruitment and retention crisis affecting the rest of the armed forces.

The British Army is down in size from around 150,000 in 1990 to 78,000. Despite that reduction, the SAS and the SBS have remained the same size.

A military source said: “The talent pool is shrinking. A lot of guys who built up experience in Iraq and Afghanistan and who would often see the special forces as the next step have left. In the last 25 years, the SBS has increased in size and the SRR has been created but the Army has shrunk around 40 percent. So there are fewer quality people coming through. But we have been down this road before and it hasn’t had an impact on our operational commitments. It means that everybody has to work harder to get the job done.”

Twice-a-year selection courses are tough and an average pass rate of 10 percent has led to as few as eight recruits. One serving member of the SAS said: “Life is tough. You spend a lot of time on operations, overseas exercises and on courses. It is unrelenting.”

British Special forces earn about £30 extra a day but experienced operatives can earn far more in private security. The British MoD does not comment on special forces.

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Witness seeks immunity to testify against Navy SEAL accused of battlefield murder

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Chief Gallagher - Witness seeks immunity to testify against Navy SEAL accused of battlefield murder

Prosecutors could gain an ally in the case of a Navy SEAL accused of executing a young ISIS fighter during the battle of Mosul in 2017 and his commanding officer, who allegedly failed to report the incident.

Author of the article:

An attorney for a fellow SEAL has requested immunity for his client in return for testifying that Chief Edward Gallagher called in “false target coordinates to engage a mosque” and put his team at risk, yet Lt. Jacob Portier failed to relieve him on several occasions, Navy Times’ Carl Prine first reported.

Gallagher is charged with premeditated murder for allegedly using his knife to kill a wounded ISIS fighter and then posing for a reenlistment video next to the man’s corpse. Portier has been charged with obstruction of justice and related offenses for allegedly destroying evidence in the case and lying about Gallagher, as well as dereliction of duty for allegedly not stopping Gallagher from wounding two non-combatants.

The SEAL who served with Gallagher and Portier is requesting immunity so that he will be protected against any possible retaliation in the future, said attorney Michael Hanzel, who is defending the SEAL along with his wife Lauren and a Navy attorney.

“Our client has done nothing wrong, and we believe the record will demonstrate that,” Hanzel said in a statement to Task & Purpose.

“It is never an easy thing to be placed in the middle of a situation like this, but it is crucial to the integrity of the military justice system that witnesses in a case as high-profile as this are protected from retaliation later. The only way to ensure that is through grants of immunity, which is why we requested that for our client.”

The SEAL is showing “great courage” by offering to testify about what he witnessed during the deployment with Gallagher and Portier, said Hanzel, who added his client is not seeking any publicity, nor does he bear a grudge against any of the accused SEALs.

The full article can be found here.

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