“ We are either in an op (operation), or preparing for one, or coming back from one,”the CO says in an interview. In this frenzied state, death is always a close companion…”
Ever wondered there could be a story why the special forces badge is specifically maroon in colour? Find it at the end of this article.
Para SF are the premier special forces unit of the Indian army, they are an unstoppable force of the deadly and feared ‘Red devils’. Even though they are the most highly skilled unit of the forces in unconventional combat and asymmetric warfare we don’t know much about the paratroopers. This is simply because they don’t want you to know. All the special forces operations are highly classified and even their close friends and family members might not know their exact job profiles.
You will never hear about us, cause we don’t exist ,
You will never see us, cause it don’t happened ,
We are Ghosts , Stalking and Hunting
Not stopping for food and rest , cause it never happened
We don’t exist , so that you can”
A 23-ish year old para trooper has already been to 40 to 50 classified operations with a one way ticket (that means he might not be able to see another day) and is so used to combat that he doesn’t get adrenaline rush even in high tension combat episodes like a human being is supposed to. It has also been researched that their heart rates are surprisingly low even in surprise distress situations. These men save the day like 26/11 and we don’t even know who these boys were. They are overused in battle operations and are thrown into battle countless times and every operation is classified.
In an interview, one reports, “Every week we are dropped into some vast, unknown forest area, on steep slopes, in complete darkness, and told, here, this is where you have to fight! As time passes, our heartbeats do not increase anymore, they remain steady, the Doc says we lack heart-rate variability.”
They are a deadly force and all of the recruits are voluntary. The attrition rate in selection is 90-95% and most of the volunteers are made to drop out due to the gruesome selection process and only a handful which are the best among the best are able to make it to the special forces. The initial 9 month course followed by a 3 month probationary period which comprises of all kinds of mental and physical torture including sleep deprivation for weeks, battle like simulations and extreme stress performance tests. These selection process gets the best of the men and are a true test of the physical endurance and most importantly the strength of their spirit. And by the way, all this is just the selection procedure not the actual training, some details of which are available on YouTube by discovery channel featurette series ‘VEER‘. The training of the selected maroons is totally a different game. The phases of this training includes psychological conditioning of the mind to be immune to stress situations and physical endurance. The degree of training is to such an extent that all of your spirit is disoriented and broken down into pieces and then you are subjected to the training tasks which includes escaping, evading, survival and dealing with capture and interrogation. Its a living nightmare. They train the longest for 3.5 years and are taught every kind of sleek battle tactics and specialise in every one of them. Para jumping from 20000 feet is considered an extraordinary feat but para trainees require 40-50 para jumps at 33,500 feet to pass.
When asked one Para (SF) commando is reported to have said, “inside a dense forest, boxed into a single forested slope, all sight lines hidden by trees, sometimes we only see where the terrorists are, by the flash of their guns”
Many are puzzled as to why these brave hearts don’t have a physique like that of John Abraham and one interesting answer on the internet read, “with proper diet any para commando can have a physique like John but John would probably vomit blood if he was made to run 60 km at a stretch with load of up to 25 kg which is a daily routine for a para.” Seriously, what would happen if John was sleep deprived for 11 days straight with no proper food and continuously subjected to extreme physical and mental trauma? What I just explained is just the tiny part of the probation period of just the selection procedure of a para commando. They are the best men ever trained on this world wide earth and the commitment that these men make is the most selfless act of extreme bravery. Casualty rate is very high in the commandos unlike the rest of the army. They are put into almost any situation and yet they deliver their best against the most unfavourable odds. Hats off to these superheroes!
Operation khukri was a rescue mission conducted by the 2 PARA (SF) in Sierra Leone, June 2000. About 90 operators commanded by Major (now Lt. Col.) Harinder Sood were airlifted from New Delhi to spearhead the mission to rescue 223 men of the 5/8 Gorkha Rifles who were surrounded and held captive by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels for over 75 days, just 90 Para (SF) forced 2000-5000 members of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) divided into 5 battalions to surrender that ultimately led to the liberation of Freetown. 90 men made 2000–5000 surrender. Pretty hardcore.
There is an interesting story as to why the Para Special Forces badge is specifically maroon in colour. The Para uniform is olive green and every time there was an exchange of gunfire shots with the enemy, the uniform became bloody. Olive green mixed with the soldier’s blood gave a maroon texture to the uniform. And so as to honour the blood spilt, the badge is said to be maroon.
‘Its a mistake to push a man to violence when violence is what the man has dedicated his life to perfecting’ And yet these are the same caring fathers, friends and husbands who live among us and we can never know the things they have endured.
Men apart, every man an emperor.
~ The para sf motto