Canadian Special Operations Regiment

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Canadian Special Operations Regiment
Régiment d'opérations spéciales du Canada (French)
Canadian Special Operations Regiment Badge.jpg
Regimental badge
TypeSpecial operations forces
RoleSpecial operations
Part ofCanadian Special Operations Forces Command
Garrison/HQCFB Petawawa[2]
Motto(s)Latin: Audeamus, lit.'Let us dare'
March"Over the Hills and Far Away"
Iraq Edit this at Wikidata
LCol Jamie Hammond
HeaddressTan beret

The Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR; French: Régiment d'opérations spéciales du Canada, ROSC) is a Special Forces unit of the Canadian Armed Forces and forms part of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM). As a special forces unit the regiment's roles include conducting complex or difficult raids, capturing strategic facilities and undertaking reconnaissance. It is also capable of working with the armed forces of other countries.

Unit history[edit]

Members of the regiment during a freefall jump out of a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III during Emerald Warrior 2013, Hurlburt Field, Florida

The unit traces its roots to the First Special Service Force (FSSF), the Canadian-American special forces unit that was stood up in 1942 and earned the "Devil's Brigade" moniker for daring night raids on German forces at the Anzio beachhead.[2]

CSOR perpetuates the battle honours of the FSSF.

Recruiting for the new unit took place in early 2006, and the first CSOR selection course took place with approximately 175 candidates.[3]

On 13 August 2006, an official stand-up ceremony for CSOR took place at the unit's home station, Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Petawawa, with approximately 250 soldiers participating. The ceremony included a skills demonstration including rappelling from helicopters, and both static and freefall parachuting. It was also announced that the second training serial of CSOR recruits would take place in early 2007. The first commanding officer and regimental sergeant-major of CSOR were Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol) Jamie Hammond and Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Gerald Scheidl.

The regiment suffered its first casualty on 24 June 2011: Master-Corporal Francis Roy died in a non-combat incident while deployed in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.[4][5]

In 2013, the unit competed in an international special forces competition held in Jordan, coming in third place after Chinese Special Police teams took first and second place.[6]

In March 2015, Sgt Andrew Joseph Doiron was killed by friendly fire while serving on Operation Impact in Iraq.[7]

Operations and exercises[edit]

The regiment maintained a presence in Afghanistan from 2006 to 2014 in support of Canada's mission in Afghanistan.[8][9]

Under the auspices of the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program of Global Affairs Canada, CSOR conducted training with both the Jamaica Defence Force and the Belize Defence Force, culminating in Exercise Tropical Dagger.[10][11]

CSOR participates in Exercise Flintlock,[12] a special operations forces–focused exercise planned, coordinated and executed by African partner nations and sponsored by United States Africa Command.

CSOR participates in the CANSOFCOM commitment to Operation Impact, the Canadian Armed Forces' support to the international military intervention against ISIL in Iraq and Syria.[13]

Due to the Taliban offensive in 2021, CSOR operators were deployed to Afghanistan to assist Canadian embassy staff to leave and destroy anything sensitive.[14][15]

In January 2022, CSOR was deployed to Ukraine.[16]


Canadian special operations soldier descends in front of Mount Rainier onto Fort Lewis, Washington, with U.S. 1st Special Forces

While the regiment is composed of personnel from the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force, it is part of CANSOFCOM, a joint command reporting directly to the Chief of the Defence Staff, responsible for providing agile, high-readiness special operations forces capable of operating across the spectrum of conflict at home and abroad.

CANSOFCOM is composed of CSOR, 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron, and the Canadian Special Operations Training Centre in Petawawa, Joint Task Force 2 (JTF-2) in Ottawa, and the Canadian Joint Incident Response Unit in Trenton.[17]

Battle honours[edit]

  • Monte Camino[18]
  • Monte la Difensa – Monte la Remetanea[18]
  • Monte Majo[18]
  • Anzio[18]
  • Rome[18]
  • Advance to the Tiber[18]
  • Italy, 1943–1944[18]
  • Southern France[18]
  • North-West Europe, 1944[18]
  • Afghanistan[19]

Regimental culture[edit]

The CSOR badge represents many aspects of the culture and history of the regiment. The V-42 stiletto is recognized as the fighting knife of the FSSF and links CSOR to allied American special forces organizations and is the main CANSOFCOM symbol. The crossed arrows signify friendship and are a direct link to the 1st Canadian Special Service Battalion, which is viewed as the founding Canadian special operation forces unit. The laurel wreath defines the knowledge of SF operators as educators and captures the unique role of CSOR as warrior diplomats and teachers of foreign forces. The wings signify swiftness, exemplified in the unit's readiness to undertake operations around the world. The motto, Audeamus, translates to "Let us dare". It encapsulates that the regiment will accept any task and will step up to any challenge that comes its way.

CSOR was authorized the regimental standard by Governor General David Johnston on 15 April 2015.

CSOR's regimental march is "Over the Hills and Far Away", a traditional British folk song thought to date back to the 16th century and popularized during the Napoleonic Wars during the 1800s.

The regimental drink is whisky and was chosen in recognition of the regiment's lineage to the FSSF. On 5 December 1943, while stationed in Italy and during the Battle for Monte la Difensa, the FSSF went into a defensive posture once Monte la Difensa was secured. Colonel Robert T. Fredrick, commander of the FSSF, directed his assistant commander, Colonel Paul Adams, to get 15 cases of whisky to bolster the spirits of his soldiers. The men's rations were supplemented that night with whisky which greatly improved morale. The regimental drink is used to welcome newly badged special forces operators to the regiment and during mess dinners in order to toast the regiment.

The special forces badge is awarded to personnel once they complete the Special Forces Course and become badged special forces operators. The arrowhead is symbolic of the FSSF, the V-42 symbolizes both the connection to the FSSF and allegiance to CANSOFCOM.

The lightweight combat utility tool, referred to in the regiment as "the tomahawk", is issued to each special forces operator. In addition to being an element of their operational equipment, the tomahawk represents the great contribution of Indigenous peoples in Canada to the development of irregular and special warfare. The origin of the steel tomahawk comes from the boarding axes used by Royal Marines during naval combat. The design of the head was a proven utility item and if needed a combat weapon. Its use flourished by both French and British frontiersman as well as a trade item to Indigenous peoples. The first European military uses in North America came from the original French Marine Militia dispatched to New France and later was an issued item among British colonial regiments, specifically the colonial-raised ranger regiments, one of the most famous of which was Captain Rogers' Rangers who conducted scout and special operations missions during the French and Indian War. During the War of American Independence Captain Rogers fought for Britain against the Continental Army.

Canadian Special Operations Regimental Association[edit]

The Canadian Special Operations Regiment Association was incorporated May 2016 and founded to provide an avenue to resources and support services, including training, social services, family education grants, emergency support services and the like.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Background Information – CSOR". National Defence and the Canadian Forces. 16 April 2012. Archived from the original on 2 July 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Canadian Special Operations Regiment". National Defence and Canadian Forces. 22 February 2013. Archived from the original on 2 July 2013.
  3. ^ "Creating Canada's new Commandos". The Ottawa Citizen. 5 August 2006. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012.
  4. ^ Fisher, Matthew (26 June 2011). "Latest Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan identified". Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  5. ^ Sachs, Susan (26 June 2011). "Casualty is Canada's 157th Afghan death". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 2 July 2011.
  6. ^ Murphy, Jack (4 June 2013). "Canadian Special Operations Regiment Places 3rd in CT Competition". Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  7. ^ Chase, Steven (7 March 2015). "Canadian soldier killed in friendly-fire incident in Iraq". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  8. ^ "Behind the secret world of Canada's covert commandos". 5 April 2014.
  9. ^ "CSOR: Canada's SOF part 1". 18 December 2013.
  10. ^ "Canadian special forces personnel from Petawawa wrap up exercise in Belize". Ottawa Citizen.
  11. ^ "Beyond Top Secret: Undercover with Canadian Special Operations Forces in Jamaica". 3 July 2009.
  12. ^ "United States Africa Command". Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  13. ^ "A Case for Investing in Canada's Special Forces".
  14. ^ "Canada to send special forces to Afghanistan to close embassy in Kabul, official says". 13 August 2021. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  15. ^ Graham, Karen (13 August 2021). "Canada sending special forces to close Afghan embassy". Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  16. ^ Shakil, Ismail; Ljunggren, David (17 January 2022). "Canada sends small special forces detachment to Ukraine amid tensions with Russia: report". National Post. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  17. ^ "CSOR: The Canadian Special Operations Regiment". March 2022.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Canadian Special Operations Regiment: Approval of a Standard". Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges. Governor General of Canada. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  19. ^ "South-West Asia Theatre Honours". Prime Minister of Canada. 9 May 2014. Archived from the original on 12 May 2014.
  20. ^ "Canadian Special Operations Regiment Association". Canadian Special Operations Regiment Association. Retrieved 27 March 2018.


  • Rhoads, Franklyn. (2012). Elite Warriors: Special Operations Forces of the World (ebook) (1st ed.). New Delhi, India: World Technologies. ISBN 9788132328537.
  • Horn, Col. Bernd (2016). No Ordinary Men: Special Operations Forces missions in Afghanistan (ebook). Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Dundurn. ISBN 9781459724105.

External links[edit]