1st Commando Regiment (Australia)
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|1st Commando Regiment|
1st Commando Regiment cap badge
|Active||1 February 1981–Present|
|Part of||Special Operations Command|
|Engagements||War in Afghanistan|
|Unit Colour Patch|
|Abbreviation||1 CDO REGT|
1st Commando Regiment is a reserve commando regiment of the Australian Army with a contingent of full-time cadre staff. It is part of the Australian Special Operations Command (SOCOMD). Members of the unit have become increasingly involved in operational deployments since 2000, such as Bougainville, East Timor, The Solomon, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The 1st Commando Regiment is a part of the Australian Special Forces. The term Commando is derived from the South African/Dutch word used by the Boers identifying their irregular sized raiding forces employed against the British during the South African Wars. The term commando was adapted by newly formed British raiding forces during the Second World War, and the name was subsequently used by Australian units raised to fight in the Pacific. These centered around the Independent Companies and M Special Unit and Z Special Unit.
Through a decision promulgated by the Military Board on 16 September 1954 it was decided to raise two Citizen Military Forces (CMF, now Army Reserve) Commando Companies. One company would be raised in Sydney (Eastern Command) and the other in Melbourne (Southern Command). The established strength of the new Commando Companies was to be 265 all ranks, comprising one major (OC), five captains (three of them platoon commanders), six sergeants and 241 other ranks. This establishment was very similar to the Independent Companies of World War 2.
2 Commando Company was raised in Vic on 24 February 1955. 1 Commando Company was raised in NSW and first paraded at "Q" Block, Victoria Barracks, Sydney on the evening of Friday 15 July 1955. Both functioned independently of each other until the formation of the 1st Commando Regiment on 1 February 1981. At the same time 126 Signal Squadron (Special Forces) was also brought under command of 1st Commando Regiment until, in 1999, they were transferred to 4RAR (Cdo), 301 Signal Squadron was re-raised to provide communications support to the 1st Commando Regiment.
All Australian commandos wear the Sherwood green beret adopted from the British Commandos. It was first used by the Companies in 1956 and later continued under 1 Commando Regiment. Prior to 1956, the unit wore the traditional Australian Rising Sun Badge. It was then decided to have a competition in which both 1 and 2 Company members could enter for a new design. The Officer Commanding 2 Company decided on a design by Warrant Officer Ronald Nordhoff, a dagger and boomerang, with the motto "Strike Swiftly".
In 2008 the regiment's operational commitment took a step further with the deployment of a Commando Company Group (CCG) as part of the Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan over the winter period. This constituted the first deployment of an Army Reserve force element since the Second World War and the Regiment has continued to support this operational commitment with similar deployments each year since. The unit suffered its first fatality in 2009, with Private Gregory Sher killed by a rocket attack in Uruzgan province, on 4 January.
The Unit headquarters is located in Randwick, New South Wales. 1 Commando Company (1 Cdo Coy) is located in HMAS Penguin, Balmoral, NSW. 2 Commando Company (2 Cdo Coy) is located in the historic Fort Gellibrand at Williamstown, VIC. 301 Signal Squadron (301 Sig Sqn) has its headquarters at Randwick and elements of the squadron are located in Sydney and Melbourne with each Cdo Coy. 1st Commando Regiment is organised similarly to 2nd Commando Regiment (formerly, 4th Battalion the Royal Australian Regiment), which is a regular Commando unit also serving in SOCOMD. The commando companies are made up of a headquarters, three commando platoons, a reconnaissance platoon, a training platoon and integral combat service support elements.
Regimental role 
The role of the 1st Commando Regiment (1 Cdo Regt) is to maintain and sustain a pool of suitable qualified Special Forces Full Time (FT) and Part Time (PT) military personnel and selected civilian personnel with niche skills and capabilities to command, support and reinforce Special Operations Command across the continuum of operations.
Specialist equipment 
1 Cdo Regt is equipped with a range of weapon systems that allow it to tailor requirements based on mission specifics. Key equipment are Zodiac F470 inflatable boats, Australian Commando Operational Watercraft (known as COWs - aluminium hulled jet boats) and other small craft such as the Klepper folding kayak.
Reserve service 
1 Cdo Regt is SOCOMD's only mixed Regular and General Reserve unit. As such it fills a unique role in providing a surge capacity to the Commando capability. Members of 1 Cdo Regt include lawyers, airline pilots, police officers, firemen, paramedics, teachers, businessmen, students, doctors, scientists and numerous other professions and trades. This wide range of occupations provides for a close relationship between the Unit, local community and industry.
The unit featured heavily in reserve soldier Nathan Mullen's 2011 book, Keep Your Head Down, written about his experiences on operational duty in Afghanistan as the SOCOMD relief unit. 1st Cdo Regiment personnel maintain the same base level commando skills as the regular commando capability and are positioned to provide short notice reinforcement in support of Special Operations Command operational and training activities. All members of the regiment are required to complete the training right up to the standard of their full-time counterparts.
See also 
- 2nd Commando Regiment (Australia)
- Australian commandos
- MV Krait
- Z Special Unit
- Special Air Service Regiment
- Australian Government, Department of Defence. "Private Gregory Michael Sher". Defence.gov.au. Retrieved 2010-09-30.