Kopassus

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Komando Pasukan Khusus
Lambang Kopassus.png
Insignia of Kopassus.
Active 16 April 1952 – present
Country  Indonesia
Branch Logo Indonesian Army.jpg Indonesian Army (TNI-AD)
Type Special Operation Forces
Role
Part of Lambang TNI.png Indonesian National Armed Forces, Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI)
Garrison/HQ Cijantung
Nickname(s) Baret Merah (Red Berets)
Motto(s) Berani, Benar, dan Berhasil (English: Brave, Rightful, and Successful)
Colours Red beret
Engagements
Commanders
Current
commander
See the List of Kopassus Commanders
Kopassus commandos during parade

Kopassus (a portmanteau of Komando Pasukan Khusus or "Special Forces Command") is an Indonesian Army (TNI-AD) special forces group that conducts special operations missions for the Indonesian government, such as direct action, unconventional warfare, sabotage, counter-insurgency, counter-terrorism, and intelligence gathering. Kopassus was founded on 16 April 1952. It gained worldwide attention after several operations such as during the Indonesian invasion of East Timor and hostage release of Garuda Indonesia Flight 206.

The Special Forces quickly made their mark by spearheading some of the government's military campaigns: putting down regional rebellions in the late 1950s, the Operation Trikora (Western New Guinea campaign) in 1961–1962, the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation with Malaysia from 1962–1966, the massacres of alleged communists in 1965, the East Timor invasion in 1975, and the subsequent campaigns against separatists throughout Indonesia.

Kopassus is alleged by national and international media and human rights-affiliated NGOs to have committed violations of human rights in East Timor, Aceh, Riau and Papua and the capital Jakarta. Notably in the Western press, published articles in mainstream media may include epithets such as "the notorious Kopassus".[1]

History[edit]

On 15 April 1952, Colonel Alexander Evert Kawilarang laid the foundation for Kesatuan Komando Tentara Territorium III/Siliwangi (Kesko TT), the early name of Kopassus.

The impetus for building this special force was provided from an experience of frustration when fighting against the troops of the RMS (Republik Maluku Selatan or Republic of the South Moluccas) forces. The Indonesians were amazed and shocked by RMS's sniper ability and skills – which the Indonesian armed forces at the time did not possess. They were then inspired to build a similar force for Indonesia. However, at that time, there were no Indonesian commanders with necessary experience nor skills in special operations. However, Lieutenant Colonel Slamet Riyadi would not see his dream realised due to his death in a battle against the troops of the separatist RMS.

Not long after, Colonel Kawilarang with the use of military intelligence located and met with Major Rokus Bernardus Visser - a former member of the Dutch Special Forces who had remained a peaceful and law-abiding citizen in newly independent Indonesia, settled in West Java, married an Indonesian woman, and was known locally as Mohamad Idjon Djanbi. He was the first recruit for the Indonesian special forces, as well as its first commander. Due to him, the unit which later became Kopassus wear red berets instead of the distinctive green beret (worldwide associated with special forces).

At that time, Indonesia's special force name was Third Territorial Command Commando Unit: Kesatuan Komando Teritorium Tiga (Kesko TT). Kopassus was the final result of five name changes: KTT, KKAD, RPKAD, and Kopassandha.[2] The first generation of this force was only around a hundred soldiers or one company, headquartered in Bandung.

As RPKAD (Resimen Para Komando Angkatan Darat), a name used in the 1960s, the para-military force was involved in the widespread killings[3] during Gen. Suharto's rise to power. An estimated half-a million people were killed in the anti-communist purge with strong communal overtones.

RPKAD was involved in wiping out entire villages such as Kesiman (east of Denpasar) in Bali, many of them in beach areas which are major tourist resorts today[4]

The unit also saw action during the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation when in 1965, Indonesia launched a war for control of North Borneo (Sabah/Sarawak) during Malaysian independence, particularly in the Battle of Sungei Koemba.

Organization[edit]

Kopassus' Groups

Kopassus organizational structure is different from the infantry units in general. Although in terms of the corps, Kopassus members generally came from the Infantry Corps, but according to their specific nature, Kopassus created its own structure, which is different from other infantry units.

Kopassus is intentionally not tied to the general dimensions of infantry units, this is apparent in their units called Groups. The use of Group terms is certainly to have their units protected from standard infantry unit size in general (eg Brigade). With this unit, Kopassus can choose in the number of personnel, more than the size of the brigade (about 5,000 personnel), or fewer.

There are Five (5) groups of Kopassus which are:

Except for Pusdikpassus, which serves as an educational center, other Groups have operational functions (combat). Thus the Pusdikpassus structure is different from other Groups. Each Group (except Pusdikpassus), is subdivided into several battalions. Each Group (except Pusdikpassus) is subdivided into battalions, for example: Yon 11, 12, 13 and 14 (from Group 1), and Yon 21, 22 and 23 (from Group 2).

Group 1 Para-Commando[edit]

Kopassus commandos

Group 1 Para-Commando ("GRUP 1 PARA KOMANDO") is a unit of Brigade level which is part of the Army Special Forces Command and was established on 23 March 1963. The group is headquartered in Taktakan, Serang, Banten, and it was first commanded by Major L.B. Moerdani. The unit's motto known as Dhuaja is Eka Wastu Baladhika, then created by Corporal First Class Suyanto. It has a total of 3,274 personnel.[5] The unit's internal organization are as follows consists of four battalions which are:

  1. 11th Battalion / "Atulo Sena Bhaladhika"
  2. 12th Battalion / "Asabha Sena Baladhika"
  3. 13th Battalion / "Thikkaviro Sena Bhaladhika"
  4. 14th Battalion / "Bhadrika Sena Bhaladhika"

Each battalion consists of 3 companies. Each company is broken into 3 platoons, each of which consisted of 39 people. And each platoon consists of 3 small units called a squad of 10 men.

Group 2 Para-Commando[edit]

Group 2 Para-Commando ("GRUP 2 PARA KOMANDO") is a unit of Brigade level, which is part of the Special Forces Command of the Army and was established in 1962. The group is headquartered in Kartasura, Sukoharjo District, Central Java and was first commanded by Major Soegiarto. The unit's motto is Dwi Dharma Bhirawa Yudha and has a total of 1.459 personnel. The unit's internal organization are as follows consists of three battalions which are:

  1. 21st Battalion / "Buhpala Yudha"
  2. 22nd Battalion / "Manggala Yudha"
  3. 23rd Battalion / "Dhanuja Yudha" - located in Parung, Bogor

Like the "Group 1", "Group 2" has the main tasks and responsibilities for missions such as Special Operation forces, Jungle warfare, Unconventional Warfare, Counter-Insurgency, Special Reconnaissance, and Direct Action.

Special Forces Training and Education Center[edit]

The Special Forces Training and Education Center (Pusat Pendidikan dan Latihan Pasukan Khusus) abbreviated "Pusdiklatpassus" is the training and education center for recruits and personnel associated with and becoming to join as Commandos in the Army Special Forces Command (Kopassus). As an educational institution, "Pusdiklatpassus" is divided based on its training function. Supervises nine schools of education and training including:

  • Para School
  • Commando School
  • Sandhi Yudha (Intelligence) School
  • School of Specialized Warfare
  • Specialization School
  • Raider School

It provides other specialist courses, which are also open to members of the Army out of Kopassus such as: Hunting Company, Scuba, Rock-climbing, Demolition, Path-Finder and Sniper.

Commando Training[edit]

The Commando education and training lasts for approximately seven months (28 weeks) which is divided into three stages. The first phase of the implementation of the education is conducted on the base for 18 weeks, the second stage all participants will be released in the forest and the mountains twice each for 6 weeks, and the next stage of the third stage ends with a 4-week sea-swamp stage. The 97th batch of the Commando Education had first initial participants as many as 251 personnel, who successfully passed through commando education and inaugurated as a special forces commando of 214 personnel. Phases are as shown bellow:

  • Phase I (Base training)

10 Weeks with individual ability points in Batujajar. Establish attitudes & personality, fill in technical skills, Command Operation tactics, Individual & basic capabilities of urban battle, Support knowledge, Field managerial, and individual ability test.

  • Phase II (Forest and Mountain)

6 Weeks with GLG emphasis, Jungle warfare and Raid warfare in Situ Lembang. Stabilization of forest observations, individual abilities in the forest / Basic battle techniques, forest capabilities in group relations, forest HTF, and durability of long march application (PPJJ).

  • Phase III (Swamp and Sea)

4 Weeks with heavy Commando operation tactics, sea battle tactics in Cilacap and Nusakambangan. Conservation observation of Sea-swamp, patrol ability, swamp terrain knowledge and CAMP endurance test.

Currently "Kopassus" has graduated students from the Commando Education (Dikko) up to 100 batches. In the year 2016 followed by 153 commando students, which consists of ranks of 41 Officers, 101 NCOs, and 11 Enlisted. The command officers who successfully complete the 7-month Command Course well are entitled to wear the qualified commando brevet issued to their clothing/uniform.

Group 3 Combat Intelligence[edit]

Group 3 / Sandhi Yudha is a Kopassus unit that has the specification of "Clandestine Operation" 'secret warfare', including combat Intel and counter-insurgency. Group 3 was formed on 24 July 1967, headquartered at Cijantung Kopassus Headquarters, East Jakarta. Prospective Personnel in this Group are strictly selected internally ranging from prospective soldiers who are still educated to personnel who have active duty in unity but have an intelligence talent that will then be trained again. The motto of this unit is "Chatur Kottaman Wira Naraca Byuha". Battalions which are under this unit are:

  1. 31st Battalion/Eka Sandhi Yudha Utama
  2. 32nd Battalion/Apta Sandhi Prayudha Utama
  3. 33rd Battalion/Wira Sandhi Yudha Sakti

Conducted Training[edit]

The basic training is the same as other Kopassus soldiers (2.5 months), Command School (7 months) plus other courses such as PH (Jungle Warfare), PJD (Close Combat), Spursus (Special combat school )and Dakibu (Climber,) but after that the candidates of combat-intelligence is educated more specifically for the education of "Sandhi Yudha" in "Pusdiklatassus" located in Batujajar whose education materials are intelligence and supporting knowledge for intelligence in the field of operation such as disguise, navigation, special martial, Special tools of intelligence and others. Even some selected personnel from this Group are sent abroad to schools of Military Intelligence Education Centers such as in the United States, Germany, Britain and even Israel. Among all types of soldiers in "Kopassus", the most specific form of education and training is the Group 3 / Sandhi Yudha combat intelligence unit.

SAT-81 Gultor Counter-terrorism Group[edit]

Unit 81 / Counter Terror or abbreviated as Sat-81 / Gultor is a unit in Kopassus which is equal to a Group level and is the Best chosen personnel within the Indonesian Army special forces. It is based in Cijantung, East Jakarta. The strength of this unit is not publicly publicized on the number of personnel or types of weapons. The Sat 81 gultor is incorporated in the BNPT Crisis Control Center ("Pusdalsis") which consists of a combination of special units, such as the Denjaka from the Indonesian Navy, the Bravo Detachment 90 of the Indonesian Air Force, and the Regiment I Gegana Brimob Corps of Indonesian National Police. "Pusdalsis" is consisting of a combination of elite units within the Indonesian National Armed Forces and Police which is assigned as a troop handling terror to be sent when the activities of terrorism is conducted such as aircraft hijacking. Special Battalions under this unit are:

  1. Special Action Battalion / Wega Yogya Gabhira
  2. Assistance Battalion / Wira Drdha Ghabira

Recruitment is done by choosing from members which at least have 2 years of active service in the groups of the Kopassus organization.

Command Structure[edit]

Kopassus organization.jpg

Trainings[edit]

Kopassus currently participates in bilateral training exercises with international partners. After resuming military ties in 2003, Australia's special operations unit, the Special Air Service Regiment, conducts an annual counter terrorism exercise, with Australia and Indonesia taking turns to host the event.[6]

In July 2011, Kopassus and Chinese special forces held a joint counter terrorism exercise called Exercise Sharp Knife, held in Bandung, Java.[7] In 2012, the same exercise was held in Jinan, Shandong province, in July.[8]

List of Kopassus Commanders[edit]

Kopassus is currently led by Commandant General or DanJen, who holds the rank of Major General. Below is a list of commanders who have led the special forces.

List of Commanders of the Army Special Forces Command
Name Year Remark
Major Moch. Idjon Djanbi (Rokus Bernardus Visser) 1952–1956 Led from Kesatuan Komando Tentara Territorium III/Siliwangi (Kesko TT) till RPKAD
Major R. E. Djaelani 1956–1956 -
Major Kaharuddin Nasution 1956–1958 -
Major Mung Parahadimulyo 1958–1964 -
Colonel Sarwo Edhie Wibowo 1964–1967 RPKAD to Puspassus TNI-AD
Brigadier General Widjoyo Suyono 1967–1970 -
Brigadier General Witarmin 1970–May 1975 1971 Puspassus TNI-AD to Kopassandha
Brigadier General Yogie SM May 1975–April 1983 -
Brigadier General Wismoyo Arismunandar April 1983–May 1985 -
Brigadier General Sintong Panjaitan May 1985–August 1987 Kopassandha to Kopassus
Brigadier General Kuntara August 1988–July 1992 -
Brigadier General Tarub July 1992–July 1993 -
Brigadier General Agum Gumelar July 1994–September 1995 -
Brigadier General Subagyo HS September 1995–December 1995 -
Major General Prabowo Subianto December 1995–March 1998 August 1996 Brigadier General to Major General
Major General Muchdi PR March 1998–May 1998 -
Major General Syahrir MS 1998–2000 -
Major General Amirul Isnaini 1 June 2000 – 2002 -
Major General Sriyanto 2002–15 February 2005 -
Major General Syaiful Rizal 15 February 2005– 2006 -
Major General Rasyid Qurnuen Aquary August 2006–September 2007 -
Major General Soenarko 4 September 2007 – 1 July 2008 -
Major General Pramono Edhie Wibowo 1 July 2008 – 3 December 2009 -
Major General Lodewijk Freidrich Paulus 4 December 2009–June 2012 -
Major General Wisnu Bewa Tenaya June 2012 -
Major General Agus Sutomo June 2012 – September 2014
Major General Doni Munardo[9] September 2014 – July 2015
Major General Mohammad Herindra 25 July 2015 – 16 September 2016
Major General Madsuni 16 September 2016 - now

Uniform and Attribute[edit]

Uniform of Kopassus with the Darah Mengalir Camouflage Pattern (Loreng Darah Mengalir)

Brief History of Kopassus Attribute[edit]

The Kopassus (then RPKAD) red beret was first used in 1954-1968 designed by Lieutenant Dodo Sukamto. It was first used during a ceremony on October 5, 1954. This emblem consists of a bayonet, anchors representing abilities in the sea and wings as high mobility. The beret emblem used in 1968 until now with slight changes from the initial design, the bayonet is more slender than the Commando knife and the wingspan is more wing coat like the Wing of the Army designs. The iconic Kopassus Camouflage pattern called Loreng Darah Mengalir (Flowing Blood Camo) was used and designed during post Second World War eras. Since the formation of Kopassus, it was used regularly by personnel and soldiers, but during the new era, it was rarely used by personnel and the regular ABRI camo was used, but then post 1980s close to reformation era, the original Kopassus camo was used again until now as it was besought by the then Kopassus commander in chief to the Army and national armed forces commanders. During training, non-ceremonial, and non-special occasions, the regular TNI camo (DPM) is used by Kopassus members as it is also owned by all Kopassus members.

Commando Brevet[edit]

The Commando qualification brevet used since 1966 until now is designed by Major Djajadiningrat. This brevet is used by all graduates of Commando training and Education from Batujajar. Colonel Sarwo Edhie Wibowo in a demonstration of "Show Of Force" at Senayan's parking lot on January 4, 1966 used the new Commando Brevet qualification to show the public of the Corp's new appearance.

Paratrooper Badges[edit]

Jumping Master Wing[edit]

Jumping Master wing badge

The Jump Master Wing is issued to commandos of Kopassus which has achieved and graduated from advanced paratrooper jump master courses conducted by Commando training and educational center.

Free Fall Wing[edit]

The Kopassus (RPKAD) military freefall wing insignia, designed by HH.Djajadiningrat and first issued in 1962 depicts a free fall paratrooper hanging under a circle consisting of small parachutes. Stated by the first free fall instructors of the Yugoslavia: Mladen Milicetic, Stoyan Jovic and Dobel Stanej in Bandung during the first free fall graduation ceremony of Kopassus (RPKAD) in October 26, 1962.[10]

Human rights issues[edit]

Kopassus has been accused by numerous NGOs and Western politicians of human rights violations[citation needed]. Amnesty International and Indonesian human rights groups including the official National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) have cited abuses by members of Kopassus.

In 1975, five Australian journalists, known as the Balibo Five, were killed by members of Kopassus in the town of Balibo during the Indonesian invasion of East Timor.[11] The Indonesian military has always maintained that the men were killed in a cross-fire during the battle for the town.[12]

During the May 1998 riots of Indonesia, renegade Kopassus members were involved in organising and carrying out acts of murder and violence against Chinese Indonesians.[13] This included involvement in mass gang-rapes of Sino-Indonesian women and girls across Jakarta.[14] Kopassus has also been considered responsible for the 1997–98 activists kidnappings in Indonesia[citation needed]. According to the Federation of American Scientists, a number of activists were kidnapped by KOPASSUS troops in the last months of the Suharto regime, and at least 23 government critics disappeared.[15]

In 2001, four Kopassus members were convicted of the strangulation of Theys Eluay, the former chairman of the Papua Presidium Council. They were part of a group which had killed Theys after ambushing him and his driver. The group's leader, Lt-Col Hatono, and another soldier received prison sentences of three and a half years while two others received three years. A further two officers had their charges dismissed.[16] The men were all Kopassus members from Group V (Jakarta) and were not based in Jayapura or West Papua. They faced a court-martial, which found them not guilty on the more serious charges of premeditated murder, because the Kopassus are legally exempt from the jurisdiction of civil law. Indonesian Army Chief, General Ryamizard Ryacudu (2002–05), accepted the men had to prosectuted "because Indonesia is a State based on law" but he affirmed their defence's view that they were heroes who had killed a rebel leader.[17]

Some international partners have severed military ties with Kopassus in response to allegations of human rights abuses. For example, Australia ceased training with Kopassus in 1999 in relation to Kopassus' role in violence in East Timor.[18]

Criminal conduct[edit]

In September 2015, General Mulyono, the Army chief of staff, stated that "There are still soldiers from the Indonesian Army who taint the name of their force and the Army with their arrogant and selfish attitudes by engaging in misdeeds or even acting against the law”, which according to the Jakarta Globe newspaper was a reference to actions by Kopassus members.[19] Examples include:

  • 23 March 2013: Kopassus soldiers forcibly enter Cebongan Prison near Yogyakarta and kill four prisoners awaiting trial for the stabbing of a Kopassus soldier in a cafe.[20]
  • 1 June 2015: Seven Kopassus members are charged for attacking a group of Indonesian Air Force officers, resulting in the death of one person.[21]
  • July 2015: A Kopassus member is arrested for involvement in the alleged kidnapping of a Malaysian businessman.[22]

Equipment[edit]

Fighting vehicles[edit]

Pindad Komodo

Notable members[edit]

See Also[edit]

References[edit]

Notations[edit]

  • Ken Conboy (2003) KOPASSUS Inside Indonesia's Special Forces, Equinox Publishing, ISBN 979-95898-8-6

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Jones, Tony; Griffiths, Emma (12 August 2003) "Al Qaeda claim could be authentic: Howard". (transcript) Lateline, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Retrieved 12 July 2013
  2. ^ Komando Pasukan Sandi Yudha; Sandhi Yudha roughly translated as "secret or covert warrior"
  3. ^ Robert Cribb. Southeast Asia: a historical encyclopedia, v. 3, ed. Keat Gin Ooi, article on Gestapu Affair (1965). 
  4. ^ Prashad, Vijay (2009). The Darker Nations : A Biography of the Short-Lived Third World. LeftWord Books.  p. 167
  5. ^ COMMANDO Magazine, Volume II No. 1 July-August 2005. Jakarta: Gramedia, 2005.
  6. ^ Desy Nurhayati (28 September 2010) "Kopassus, Australia's SAS conduct joint anti-terrorism drill". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 12 July 2013
  7. ^ Luke, Leighton G. (15 June 2011) "China, Indonesia Launch Joint Special Forces Training Initiative". futuredirections.org.au. Retrieved 12 July 2013
  8. ^ Zhao Wei (2 July 2012) "China, Indonesia hold joint anti-terrorism exercise". english.sina.com, Retrieved 12 July 2013
  9. ^ "Lagi-lagi, 59 Perwira TNI Dimutasi". 10 September 2014. 
  10. ^ https://muhammadsubchi.wordpress.com/2011/04/10/kopassus-6-atribut-kopassus-pendidikan-komando-rekrutmen/
  11. ^ McDonald, Hamish (16 November 2007). "Balibo Five deliberately killed: coroner". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  12. ^ "The Balibo five: Among so many dead in East Timor, a few now famous foreigners". The Economist. 27 August 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2013. 
  13. ^ "Ethnic Chinese tell of mass rapes". BBC NEWS. 23 June 1998. Retrieved 16 October 2013. 
  14. ^ "The May 1998 Riot in Jakarta, Indonesia". http://www.esri.com. Retrieved 16 October 2013.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  15. ^ https://fas.org/irp/world/indonesia/kopassus.htm
  16. ^ Moore, Matthew & Karuni Rompies (22 April 2003). Kopassus guilty of Eluay murder. The Age. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  17. ^ Kingsbury, Damien (2003). Power Politics and the Indonesian military. Routledge. p. 280. ISBN 0-415-29729-X. 
  18. ^ Wardhy, Robertus (25 September 2015). "Army Chief Calls on Kopassus to Dial Back Its Misconduct". Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  19. ^ "Indonesian Army Admits Kopassus Members Gunned Down Sleman Jail Detainees". 4 April 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  20. ^ Susanto, Ari (5 June 2015). "Seven Soldiers Charged Over Fatal Brawl at Yogya Cafe". Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  21. ^ "Two TNI Soldiers Among Seven Arrested for Alleged Abduction of Malaysian Businessman". 27 July 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z "Kopassus & Kopaska - Specijalne Postrojbe Republike Indonezije" (in Indonesian). Hrvatski Vojnik Magazine. Archived from the original on 28 October 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2009. 
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z "Komando Pasukan Khusus (Kopassus)". ShadowSpear Special Operations News. 28 January 2009. Retrieved 18 October 2009. 
  24. ^ "Senjata SS2 V5C Kopassus". 24 June 2012. 
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 October 2012. Retrieved 12 June 2010. 
  26. ^ http://garudamiliter.blogspot.com/2012/04/casspir-mk3.html
  27. ^ "Komodo Untuk Pasukan Khusus". 27 April 2013. 

External links[edit]