21st Special Service Group

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21st Special Service Group
21 Gerup Gerak Khas
21 SSG's beret backing.svg
The Gerak Khas badge on the 21st Special Service Group's beret backing.
Founded1 August 1970; 52 years ago (1970-08-01)
Country Malaysia
Branch Malaysian Army
TypeSpecial forces command
SizeClassified
Part of Malaysian Armed Forces
HeadquartersIskandar Camp, Johor
Nickname(s)"21 GGK", "GGK", "Grup Gerak Khas"
Colours   Jungle Green and Caribbean Blue
MarchGerak Khas
Mascot(s)Malayan tiger
Anniversaries1 August
Commanders
Current
commander
Major General Nubli Hashim
Colonel-in-chiefSultan Ibrahim Ismail of Johor
Notable
commanders
General Tan Sri Borhan Ahmad, Lieutenant General Dato' Seri Zaini Mohd Said SP, Lieutenant General Dato' Awie Suboh, Brigadier General Mazlan Md Sahalan
Insignia
Tactical formation patches
LFT 21 GGK.svg

The 21st Special Service Group (Abbr.: 21 SSG, Malay: 21 Gerup Gerak Khas) is a command for Malaysian Army special forces, the Gerak Khas. The 21 SSG and 10th Parachute Brigade are elite fighting formations of the Malaysian Army. Both units are independent units[note 1] under the Malaysian Army and report directly to the Chief of Army. The headquarters of the 21 SSG are at Iskandar Camp in Mersing, Johor.

Major General Nubli Hashim is the current commander of the 21 SSG, succeeding Major General Datuk Jamaluddin Jambi on 6 September 2021.[1]

History[edit]

The 21st Special Service Group, previously known as Rejimen Pertama Gerak Khas Malaysia or the 1st Malaysian Special Service Regiment, was established on 1 August 1970, at Sungai Udang Camp in Malacca. This unit was the direct successor to the Malaysian Army's special operations task force, the Malaysian Special Service Unit, as well as the spiritual successor to Malaysia's first modern special forces unit, the Malayan Special Forces.[2][3][4]

Background[edit]

Following the end of the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation in 1966, the army command considered disbanding the Malaysian Special Service Unit (MSSU). The MSSU, which was based at the time in Sebatang Karah Camp, Negeri Sembilan, was a task force whose members were all commando-trained but belonged to their own regiment or corps, and some were sailors from the Royal Malaysian Navy. In 1969, the 13 May incident occurred, and the MSSU was dispatched to Kuala Lumpur to defend the weapon depot located within Mindef Camp (Malay: Kem Kementah). The MSSU is also joining forces with the Royal Malaysia Police's Special Branch to apprehend leaders of gangsters and triads who contributed to the racial tensions behind the scenes during the incident. The incident was short-lived due to the quick response of both units. As a result, the brass decided not to disband the MSSU.[3][5]

1st Malaysian Special Service Regiment[edit]

Malaysian Army established the 1st Malaysian Special Service Regiment (1 MSSR) in August 1970 to replace the MSSU. As a task force, the MSSU members are still accountable to their original units. To address this issue, by 1973, the MSSU members who wish to join the special forces unit must resign from their original units and volunteer to join the 1 MSSR. Later, in the mid-1970s, the 2nd Malaysian Special Service Regiment (2 MSSR) was formed to cope with the rapidly expanding Malaysian Army special forces.[6][4] The Special Warfare Training Centre (SWTC) was founded in 1975 to provide the Gerak Khas with commando and special operations training. As the senior unit, 1 MSSR members were chosen as SWTC instructors.[5][7]

Malaysian Special Service Command[edit]

The Malaysian Army separated the command of special forces from the 1 MSSR on 4 April 1980, by establishing the Malaysian Special Service Command (Malay: Markas Gerak Khas) at Imphal Camp in Kuala Lumpur, while the 1 MSSR and 2 MSSR continued to serve as combat units. The Malaysian Army renamed the Malaysian Special Forces Command to Malaysian Special Service Group (MSSG) on 1 April 1981, at the same time that 1 MSSR was renamed to 21st Para Commando Regiment and 2 MSSR was renamed to 22nd Para Commando Regiment. Two new counter-revolutionary warfare units were formed at the same time, the 11th Special Service Regiment (11 SSR) and the 12th Special Service Regiment (12 SSR), to provide specialised support to the Para Commando regiments. Many other support units were established in December 1981 to provide additional combat support to the combat units under MSSG. In 1983, the 12 SSR were disbanded, and the 11 SSR were no longer specially assigned to the 21st Para Commando.[5][7]

21st Special Service Group[edit]

The MSSG was renamed the 21st Special Service Group in 1985 because the Malaysian Army wanted to standardise the names of the Malaysian Army's units and formalise the unit as the Malaysian Army's 21st brigade. Units under the command of the 21 SSG were also renamed. The 21st Para Commando Regiment became the 21st Commando Regiment and the 22nd Para Commando Regiment became the 22nd Commando Regiment. The 21st Engineering Squadron of the 21 SSG (now known as the 10th Squadron (Parachute), Royal Engineer Regiment) was decommissioned from the 21 SSG in 1986 and transferred to the Malaysian Army's 3rd Infantry Division. The Special Warfare Training Centre was placed under the command of the Malaysian Army Training and Doctrine Command.[5][7]

Formations[edit]

21 SSG's Current Organizational Structure

1970–1980[edit]

  • 1st Malaysian Special Service Regiment[note 2]
  • 2nd Malaysian Special Service Regiment

1980–1981[edit]

1981–1983[edit]

  • Malaysian Special Service Group
    • 21st Para Commando Regiment
      • 11th Special Service Regiment
    • 22nd Para Commando Regiment
      • 12th Special Service Regiment
    • 21st Signals Squadron
    • 21st Engineering Squadron
    • Garrison Command
    • 21st Composite Company
    • 21st Ordnance Company
    • 21st Military Police Company
    • 21st Workshop Company
    • Armed Forces Payroll Affairs Company
    • Special Warfare Training Centre

1983–1985[edit]

  • Malaysian Special Service Group
    • 11th Counter-revolutionary Warfare Regiment
    • 21st Para Commando Regiment
    • 22nd Para Commando Regiment
    • 21st Signals Squadron
    • Garrison Command
    • 21st Composite Company
    • 21st Ordnance Company
    • 21st Military Police Company
    • 21st Workshop Company
    • Armed Forces Payroll Affairs Company
    • Special Warfare Training Centre

1985–2010s[edit]

  • 21st Special Service Group
    • 11th Special Service Regiment
    • 21st Commando Regiment
    • 22nd Commando Regiment
    • Signals Squadron, Royal Signals
    • Garrison Command
    • Composite Company, Royal Service Corps
    • 21st Company, Royal Ordnance Corps
    • 21st Company, Royal Military Police Corps
    • 21st Squadron (Workshop), Royal Service Corps
    • Armed Forces Payroll Affairs Company, Royal Service Corps

Current formations[edit]

Grup Gerak Khas (GGK) Insignia.svg 21st Special Service Group
Unit's name (English) Unit's name (Bahasa Malaysia) Abbreviation Beret backing Headquarters Specialty and purpose
11th Special Service Regiment 11 Rejimen Gerak Khas 11 SSR Crest of 11th Gerak Khas.png Sungai Udang Camp The 11th Special Service Regiment is a premier special forces unit in the Malaysian Army and one of the 21st SSG's three combat units. 11 SSR is also known as the 11th Unit Lawan Keganasan (Abbr.: 11 ULK), or the 11th Counter Terrorism Unit in English. Its responsibilities include counter-terrorism, hostage rescue and close protection.
21st Commando Regiment Rejimen 21 Komando 21 Cdo Crest of the 21st Commando of Gerakhas.png Sungai Udang Camp The 21 Cdo is one of 21 SSG's three combat units. The 21 Cdo task is similar to the 22 Cdo task, but 21 Cdo is more focused on airborne operations. Its responsibilities include unconventional warfare, direct action, counter-insurgency and special reconnaissance.
22nd Commando Regiment Rejimen 22 Komando 22 Cdo Crest of 22nd Gerak Khas.png Sri Iskandar Camp The 22 Cdo is one of 21 SSG's three combat units. The 22 Cdo task is similar to the 21 Cdo task, but 22 Cdo is more focused on waterborne operations. Its responsibilities include unconventional warfare, direct action, counter-insurgency and special reconnaissance.
Garrison Command Markas Garison Mk Garison 21 SSG Garrison.svg Sri Iskandar Camp The Mk Garison is a company-sized administrative support unit tasked with assisting the 21 SSG in the administration of the Sri Iskandar Camp.
21st Logistics Group 21 Kumpulan Logistik 21 Kump Log 21 SSG Logistic's beret backing.svg Sri Iskandar Camp The 21 Kump Log is a battalion-sized special operations support unit tasked with providing combat service support to all units under the command of the 21 SSG, such as logistics. The 21 Medic and 21 Kump Log, which was formed in 2017, is the 21 SSG's newest unit. The 21st SSG's service support companies were merged into this unit, which now has three squadrons: the 21st Materials Squadron, Royal Ordnance, the Service Squadron, Royal Service, and the 21st Workshop Squadron, Royal Service.[8]
21st Signals Squadron, Royal Signals 21 Skuadron Semboyan Diraja 21 SSD 21 Squadron, Royal Signals' beret backing.svg Sri Iskandar Camp The 21 SSD is a special operations combat support unit tasked with providing communication support to all units under the command of the 21 SSG.
21st Medic Squadron 21 Skuadron Medik 21 Medic 21 Medic of 21 SSG's beret backing.svg Sri Iskandar Camp The 21 Medic is a special operations support unit tasked with providing medical support to all units under the command of the 21 SSG. The 21 Medic and Logistics Team, which was established in 2017, is the 21 SSG's newest unit. Among its responsibilities are providing special operations combat medics as well as medical care to all special forces members and their families at all army camps occupied by the 21 SSG.
21st Company, Royal Military Police 21 Kompeni Polis Tentera Diraja 21 KPTD 21 MP Coy's beret backing.svg Sri Iskandar Camp The 21 KPTD is a military police unit in charge of enforcing the law in the 21 SSG and Sri Iskandar Camp.
21 SSG's BAKAT BAKAT 21 GGK Sri Iskandar Camp Family welfare support for the group.

Uniforms and insignia[edit]

Green beret[edit]

Members of Gerak Khas inherited the green beret and Fairbairn–Sykes fighting knife as a commando qualification symbol from the Royal Marines Commando. This is because the first batch received commando training at the British Army Jungle Warfare Training School from the 40 Commando Royal Marines.[note 3] Unlike the British Armed Forces or the U.S. Army, which only allow soldiers, sailors or marines who have completed the Basic Commando Course[note 4] or the United States Army Special Forces selection and training to wear the green beret,[note 5] all members of the 21 SSG wear the green beret whether they have completed the Basic Commando Course or not. Members who have completed the Basic Commando Course may wear their unit's beret backing (Malaysian renditions of the U.S. military beret flash) to distinguish themselves from non-commando trained members.[5]

Shoulder sleeve insignia[edit]

The insignia of the 1st Malaysian Special Services Regiment. From the 1970 to the 1980s.
Shoulder sleeve insignia of the 21st Special Service Group. Worn from the 1980s to the present.

Number 5 uniform (Combat uniform)[edit]

The insignia, also known as a tactical formation patch (Malay: Lencana formasi taktikal), is worn on the combat uniform and is olive and black in colour. The patch features a roaring tiger's head and a commando dagger in the centre.

Number 2 uniform (Bush jacket)[edit]

The 21 SSG personnel wore their command insignia on their number 2 uniform's left shoulder sleeve. The 21 SSG shoulder sleeve insignia is similar to the beret backing but has a black outline. The current insignia is based on the insignia of the Malaysian Special Service Unit, which depicts a roaring tiger's head with a commando dagger in the centre. The background is a combination of jungle green and Caribbean blue. The colour jungle green represents commando specialties while also being the colour of Islam, while Caribbean blue represents the founder, 40 Commando Royal Marines.[9]

Stable belt[edit]

Members of the 21SSG wear their number 3 uniform (work dress) with a green and light blue stable belt.

Commanders[edit]

Since the establishment of the Malaysian Special Service Regiment in 1970, there have been 20 people who have held the position of Commander of Gerak Khas, also known as Panglima Gerak Khas in Malay. The list here is based on the highest rank they achieved before retiring from the service, not the date they held the position.[10]

  • Borhan Ahmad – Retired as a General. Before retiring, he served as the 12th Chief of Defense Forces.
  • Zaini Mohd Said, SP – Retired as a Lieutenant General. Before retiring, he was the Commander of Army Field Command.
  • Awie Suboh – Retired as a Lieutenant General. He was the Commander of the 1st Infantry Division before retiring.
  • Hasan Ali – Retired as a Lieutenant General. Before retiring, he was the Commander of the 21st SSG.
  • Ramli Ismail – Retired as a Major General. Before retiring, he was the Commander of the Malaysian Army Training and Doctrine Command. Died on 13 November 2011.
  • Mohd Ghazali Ibrahim – Retired as a Major General. Before retiring, he was the Commander of the Malaysian Army Training and Doctrine Command.
  • Mohd Rodi Zakaria – Retired as a Major General. Before retiring, he was the Commander of the Malaysian Army Training and Doctrine Command.
  • Abdul Samad Yaacob – Retired as a Major General. Before retiring, he was the Assistant Chief-of-Staff of Malaysian Army Planning and Development.
  • Zolkopli Hashim – Retired as a Major General. Before retiring, he was the Commander of the 21st SSG.
  • Mohd Fadzil Tajuddin – Retired as a Major General. Before retiring, he was the Commander of the 31st Border Brigade.
  • Jamaludin Jambi – Retired as a Major General. Before retiring, he was the Commander of the 21st SSG.
  • Hasbullah Mohd Yusof – While still in service, he was killed in a helicopter crash on 8 December 1989. He was the Commander of the 3rd Infantry Brigade at the time and held the rank of Brigadier General.
  • Daud Ariffin – Retired as a Brigadier General. Before retiring, he was the Commander of the 21st SSG.
  • Muhammad Yassin Yahya – Retired as a Brigadier General. Before retiring, he was the Commander of the 5th Infantry Brigade.
  • Harun Hitam – Retired as a Brigadier General. Before retiring, he was the Commander of the 21st SSG.
  • Mohd Daniel @ Damien Abdullah – Retired as a Brigadier General. Before retiring, he was the Commander of the 9th Infantry Brigade.
  • Effendi Abdul Karim – Retired as a Brigadier General. Before retiring, he was the Commander of the 21st SSG.
  • Mazlan Md Sahlan – Retired as a Brigadier General. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Director of Special Operations at Joint Forces Command. Prior to that, he was the commander of National Special Operations Force, a tier 1 special operations unit.[11]
  • Khairul Anuar Yaakob – Retired as a Brigadier General. Before retiring, he was the Chief-of-Operation (S3) of the 21st SSG.
  • Nubli Hashim – the 21st SSG's current commander.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Did not fall under the command of either the eastern or western field commands.
  2. ^ The 1st Malaysian Special Service Regiment also serves as the Malaysian Army's special operations command at the time.
  3. ^ The British Army Jungle Warfare Training School was located in Johor at the time.
  4. ^ Non-commando qualified Royal Marines wear a dark blue beret, whereas non-commando qualified British Army soldiers wear their original unit headdress.
  5. ^ Soldiers who are assigned to the U.S. Army Special Forces but are not Special Forces qualified wear a maroon beret.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mohammad Shukri Suhaimi (2021-09-06). "Mej Jen Nubli Hj Hashim Panglima 21 GGK Baharu". Berita Tentera Darat Malaysia (in Malay). Archived from the original on 2021-10-30. Retrieved 2021-10-30.
  2. ^ Tan Siew Soo, Lt Col (Rtd) (2020-08-03). "Remembering Malaysia's first special forces mission". The Star. Archived from the original on 2020-10-06. Retrieved 2021-10-29.
  3. ^ a b Ahmad Ridzuan Wan Chik (2011). Rejimen Gerak Khas: Pasukan Khusus Tentera Darat Malaysia (in Malay). Kuala Lumpur: Utusan Publications. ISBN 978-9-67612-522-4.
  4. ^ a b Arikrishnan, Vijay Gaundar (2017-08-01). "52 Tahun RGK Menjadi Pasukan Elit TD". Berita Tentera Darat Malaysia (in Malay). Archived from the original on 2021-01-18. Retrieved 2021-10-29.
  5. ^ a b c d e Shamsul Afkar bin Abd Rahman (June 2013). History of Special Operations Forces in Malaysia (Thesis). Monterey, CA: Naval Postgraduate School.
  6. ^ Aliza Minai Rajab. "08/06/1957 - PERASMIAN KEM REJIMEN PERSEKUTUAN SUNGAI UDANG". hariinidalamsejarah.com (in Malay). National Archives of Malaysia. Archived from the original on 2021-09-12. Retrieved 2021-10-29.
  7. ^ a b c Buku Jubli Emas GGK ke-50 (in Malay). Kuala Lumpur: Pusat Teknologi Maklumat Tentera Darat. 2015.
  8. ^ Ainur Aisyah Yahaya (2017-07-21). "Enam Dekad KOD Bersama TD". Berita Tentera Darat Malaysia (in Malay). Archived from the original on 2021-01-24. Retrieved 2021-11-04.
  9. ^ WRA (2017-05-04). "Harimau Berjuang". The Patriots (in Malay). Archived from the original on 2021-01-26. Retrieved 2021-11-05.
  10. ^ Toharudin Rasid (2019-03-03). "AF 137: GENERALS OF THE MALAYSIAN ARMY". Putera Lapis Mahang: My Military Life (in Malay). Archived from the original on 2019-05-17. Retrieved 2021-11-11.
  11. ^ "KUNJUNGAN HORMAT KOMANDER NATIONAL SPECIAL OPERATION FORCES (NSOF)". airforce.mil.my (in Malay). 26 February 2018. Retrieved 11 November 2021.