Republic of Korea Army Special Warfare Command

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Republic of Korea Army Special Warfare Command
Active 1 April 1958 – present
Country  South Korea
Branch Republic of Korea Army
Type Special forces

Unconventional warfare such as:

  • Direct action
  • Special reconnaissance
  • Information operations
  • Assassination
  • Guerrilla warfare
  • Hostage rescue
  • Counter-terrorism
  • Underwater Demolition
  • Fire support
Size 6,000[citation needed]
Part of Republic of Korea Army Headquarters
Garrison/HQ Songpa District, Seoul
Nickname "Black Berets", "R.O.K SF"
Motto 안 되면 되게 하라 (English: Make Impossible Possible)
귀신 같이 접근하여, 번개 같이 타격하고, 연기 같이 사라져라 (English: Approach like a Ghost, Strike like Thunder, Vanish like Smoke)
Engagements Vietnam War
Operation Enduring Freedom
Iraq War

Republic of Korea Army Special Warfare Command (ROK-SWC; Korean: 대한민국 육군 특수전사령부 or 특전사; Hanja: 大韓民國陸軍 特殊戰司令部), also known as the Republic of Korea Army Special Forces "Black Berets"(R.O.K-Special Forces) is the military command of the Republic of Korea Army responsible for their special operation forces. ROK special forces brigades work in close relationship with their counterparts in the United States Army Special Forces "Green Berets". U.S. SOF in Korea are under the command and control of Special Operations Command Korea(SOCKOR) which is a sub-unified command assigned under the Combatant Command (COCOM) of United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and further delegated to the Operational Command of the USFK.

Since 1993, the South Korean military has trained experts by sending officers to various PKO training institutions such as the Northern Europe United Nations Training Corps (UNTC), Poland, and Ireland. And since 1995, officers and related government officials have been sent to the Pearson Peacekeeping Center (PPC) in Canada. To lay the foundation for PKO education domestically, in 1995 the military designated the Joint Services Staff College to be the lead institution to educate officers to become military observers and staff. In May 1998, the PKO Department was officially inaugurated within the college. Moreover, the Special Warfare Command's Education Corps was designated as the institution solely responsible for unit-level education of PKO forces by providing solid education for infantry and engineer personnel.


The command includes seven special warfare brigades that receive special training for counter-terrorist missions.[1] These seven brigades began to be established from 1958 and fall under the jurisdiction of the Special Warfare Command, which was established in 1969.[2] ROK special forces brigades primary tasks include guerrilla warfare, special reconnaissance, unconventional warfare, direct action, collecting information in enemy territory and carrying out special missions. Members of these brigades undergo specialized training in weapons handling and parachuting.

Units of the command include:

  • Special Warfare Training Group
  • 1st Special Forces Brigade 'Eagle'
  • 3rd Special Forces Brigade 'Flying Tiger'
  • 7th Special Forces Brigade 'Pegasus'
  • 9th Special Forces Brigade 'Ghost'
  • 11th Special Forces Brigade 'Golden Bat'
  • 13th Special Forces Brigade 'Black Panther'
  • Oversea deployment Group 'Whole World' ( Formerly 5th Special Mission Group 'Black Dragon')
  • 707th Special Mission Battalion 'White Tiger'

Evergreen unit[edit]

The Evergreen Unit (Korean: 상록수부대)is an ad hoc, all-volunteer, amalgamated ROK Army unit (usually of battalion strength), composed of various members of the South Korean military (including infantry, combat support elements such as engineers and medics, ROK Special Forces and the ROK Marine Corps.), trained specifically for conducting worldwide security operations and rendering humanitarian assistance during ad hoc overseas deployments and UN Peacekeeping Operations.


The South Korean military participated in UN-led Peacekeeping Operations for the first time ever when it activated and deployed the "Evergreen" unit in the summer of 1993 to Somalia for the purpose of overseas reconstruction and humanitarian work. The Evergreen unit is an amalgamated ROK Army battalion-sized engineering unit (named after Korea's ubiquitous perennial conifers), activated for the first time on June 30, 1993 specifically for the Somali PKO deployment. The battalion-sized element, consisting of 504 men (rotated annually), participated in repairing roads and rendering humanitarian assistance during the crisis in Somalia at the time. By the time their mission ended in September 1994, the Evergreen unit deployed some 2,700 men and 1,300 pieces of equipment, successfully linking Balad and Zohar via a rebuilt road, and effectively cooperating with U.S. forces in building another road from Balad to Afgoa.

East Timor[edit]

On August 30, 1999, a UN-mandated referendum for independence in East Timor was held, in which 78.5 percent of the electorate opted for independence. However, indigenous militias who opposed East Timor's independence caused devastating violence. Accordingly, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution to grant installation of the International Forces in East Timor (INTERFET), and the UN Secretary General together with the government of Australia officially requested the South Korean government's participation, in addition to other UN-member nations such as Indonesia, who agreed to the deployment of the multinational forces and actively requested the participation of Asian nations.

In response to the international request to maintain security and restore order, the South Korean government authorized the formation of a second Evergreen Unit. With a battalion strength of 419 personnel—201 from ROK Special Forces with the balance of personnel from transportation, supply, communications, and medical specialties—the Evergreen unit arrived in Lautem, East Timor on 1 October 1999. Upon their arrival, the area was still reeling from post-election violence and 40 per cent of the island's built-up infrastructure—including markets, schools and housing—had been destroyed by rioters. The population of 50,000 had dropped to 20,000 as a result of refugee movement in response to the widespread violence. Shortly thereafter, the 2nd Evergreen Unit formally initiated operations on 22 October 1999 in Lospalos, East Timor. Using its security component, detached from the 5th Special Forces brigade, Special Warfare Command, the Evergreen's area of responsibility covered just 12% of East Timor's land mass.

After a six-month deployment that ended on 28 April 2000, the original 419 members of the Korean battalion returned to Korea after conducting a two-week long, in-theater handover and orientation for their replacements. In February 2002, the battalion was redeployed to the Oeucci enclave to continue Peacekeeping Operations. In April, 2003, an additional 250-strong element from the 8th ROK BATT, deployed for a six-month peacekeeping mission in Oecussi, East Timor. In addition to security operations, the unit engaged in public relations and election-related work, including voter registration, and humanitarian assistance.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bonds, Ray (2003). Illustrated Directory of Special Forces. MBI Publishing Company. pp. 72–73. ISBN 978-0-7603-1419-7. 
  2. ^ "". 

External links[edit]