707th Special Mission Battalion
|707th Special Mission Battalion|
Operators from the 707th Battalion
|Active||17 April 1981 – present|
|Allegiance||Government of South Korea|
|Branch||Republic of Korea Army|
|Type||Special operations force|
Domestic counter-terrorism and law enforcement|
VIP and key installation security
|Size||~ 200 men and women |
|Part of||ROKA Special Warfare Command|
|Garrison/HQ||Icheon, South Korea|
The unit was formed after the Munich massacre, which forced the South Korean government to create a counter-terrorist unit in time for the 1988 Olympics that would be held on South Korean soil. The unit has about 200 men and women organized in two assault companies, one support company, and one all-female company that could be used as bodyguards or for low-visibility operations.
The 707th Battalion has also been called on by the South Korean government to prioritize potential counter-terrorist operations against any possible threats on South Korean soil. The unit is South Korea’s primary counter-terrorist and quick reaction force. The unit’s soldiers – once distinguished by their black berets (before the standardization of the black beret for all active soldiers) – are tasked with conducting urban counter terrorist missions, and constitute the Army’s quick-reaction force for emergencies. The battalion's nickname is 'White Tiger.'
The unit also has a small number of female special forces operatives. They are used in counter-terrorism operations where the presence of a woman is not seen as a threat to a terrorist.
The recruitment process usually involves conscripts from different branches of the Republic of Korea Armed Forces who apply and try out to become members of the elite force. Others are handpicked by their superiors across the different branches of the military and try out like their applicant counterparts. The selection process is very rigorous. First applicants will undergo a background check and then undergo a 10-day procedure in which 90% are eliminated.
All members of the 707th Battalion are SCUBA and parachute qualified. It is reported that members frequently perform daily calisthenics in the snow and sub-zero temperatures and will swim in freezing lakes without any thermal protection.
Every year, the soldiers of 707th Special Mission Battalion train with foreign partners, including Australian SAS, British SAS, Canadian JTF-2, French GIGN, German GSG-9, Hong Kong SDU, New Zealand SAS, Russian FSB and Alpha Group, Singaporean STAR and Delta Force, Green Berets and FBI HRT from the United States. The purpose of joint training is to gain experience and increase relationships and exchanges with international special forces communities in order to get to a whole new level.
The 707th Battalion also owns and operates a multi-complex counter-terrorism training site for the Republic of Korea Army Special Warfare Command and hosts multi-national counter-terrorist training.
1982 Korean Air Force transport crash
On 5 February 1982, the unit suffered a devastating blow, when a Fairchild C-123J carrying 47 of its members, along with 6 Korean Air Force personnel, were killed in a crash while on approach to Jeju International Airport, Jeju, South Korea. It was the deadliest peace time accident the Korean armed forces experienced since the Korean War, with the exception of another Air Force C-123 that crashed into Mt. Choenggye on 1 June 1982, killing 53, including 49 paratroopers and 4 air force personnel.
Weaponry and equipment
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