Frogmen: 1953 - 1968MJK: 1968- current
|Branch||Norwegian Special Operations Forces|
|Type||Naval Special Operation Forces|
|Role||Special Reconnaissance (SR)
Direct Action (DA)
Military Assistance (MA)
Combat Search And Rescue (CSAR)
Collateral Activities (CA)
|Garrison/HQ||Haakonsvern Naval Base and Ramsund Naval Base|
|Motto||"Prepare for tomorrow's threats, today"|
|Colors||Green beret flash on blue navy beret|
|Engagements||Operation Enduring Freedom
(Task Force K-Bar)
International Security Assistance Force
Operation Ocean Shield
|Decorations||United States Navy Presidential Unit Citation|
|Commander Petter Hellesen
Commodore Nils Johan Holte
(Commander Norwegian SOF)
Marinejegerkommandoen (MJK) is the maritime/naval special warfare component of the Norwegian Special Operations Forces, established in 1953. It is one of two such Norwegian special operations forces, the other being the Forsvarets Spesialkommando, with the MJK being the older of the two units. The unit is headquartered on the Ramsund naval base in northern Norway, with other MJK operators stationed on the Haakonsvern naval base in southwestern Norway.
MJK is employed in the full spectrum of "frogman" operations, including swampland warfare, arctic warfare, special reconnaissance, recovery or protection of ships and oil installations, various counter-terrorism missions, hostage rescue and direct action.
To become a fully qualified MJK operator takes a minimum of two years and is further augmented by specialized courses during the following contract period, such as combat medic training, sniper training and forward air control (FAC) training.
As with any modern special operations forces, the training to become an MJK operator is long and arduous, both physically and mentally taxing. For example, during the selection phase (one of the final phases of MJK operator training), each of the candidates (which at this point of training consists of about 5-8 men out of an original 100-200) must carry a 60 kg (130 lb) rucksack while being hunted by an "enemy force" consisting of Home Guard soldiers, military and law enforcement K-9 units and police officers. At some point during the test, the candidates are captured and must endure 36 hours of tactical questioning.
Foreign maritime/naval special operations forces comparable to the MJK in terms of training, missions, and tactics would be the United States Navy SEALs, South Korea's Navy Special Warfare Flotilla, the Brazilian Marine Corps' Batalhão de Operações Especiais de Fuzileiros Navais, and the Danish Frogman Corps (the Frømandskorpset), among others.
In the autumn of 1940, two Norwegian military units were set up in the United Kingdom. Their mission was to carry out special operations against Nazi forces in occupied Norway. The two units were Shetlandsgjengen (Shetland Bus), who used fishing vessels to transport people and materials to and from Norway, and Kompani Linge (Norwegian Independent Company 1), initially under the command of Lieutenant Martin Linge. Both units were under the command of the British Special Operations Executive.
In 1953 the Norwegian Navy formed a frogman-unit. This unit was under the command of Ove Lund, and is the origin of the modern Marinejegerkommandoen. The mission of the frogmen was to conduct re-con and sabotage against enemy targets above and below water. The frogmen were also tasked with disarming all water-borne explosive devices.
The missions gradually become more comprehensive and different frogman specialities emerged. This led to members of the unit being divided into a clearance diver team and two combat swimmer teams, in 1968. Of the combat swimmer groups, one was based at Ramsund Naval Station in northern Norway, and one was based at Karljohansvern Naval Station in southern Norway.
The two combat swimmer teams were eventually fused into one and based in Ramsund. They later changed names to the current Marinejegerkommandoen. Today the unit has its main base in Bergen, with training facilities in Ramsund.
Marinejegerkommandoen is an integral part in modern warfare operations. The unit carries out missions that require thorough planning, quick reaction, high precision, covert implementation, daring, courage and the ability to work independently. As with all SOF missions, they target objectives of high or critical strategic value.
Marinejegerkommandoen is on national counter-terrorism standby to assist the Norwegian Police if required (alongside Forsvarets Spesialkommando), and is also on continuous standby for international operations.
Marinejegerkommandoen has participated in a number of international operations. The unit conducted operations in Afghanistan in 2002 (Task Force K-Bar), in 2003 and in 2005-2006, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. The unit was also involved in the training of the Afghan National Police Crisis Response Unit around Kabul in 2008-2009, relieving Forsvarets Spesialkommando for a short period.
The unit provided operators for Military Observer Teams (MOT's), as part of the Norwegian Armed Forces contribution in Faryab Province in northern Afghanistan. It was during an MOT patrol on 27 June 2010 that Lieutenant Commander Trond Andrè Bolle was killed, along with three members of the Norwegian Coastal Ranger Command, when the Iveco LMV they were travelling in was struck by an IED. Lt Cmdr Bolle was later awarded the Norwegian War Cross with Sword for his actions commanding the Norwegian Special Operations Force Task Group II in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan's Helmand province from October 2005 to February 2006.
MJK’s contribution in Afghanistan has largely been kept secret, but from what little information is available, its missions have included DA (direct action), Forward Air Control (FAC) and SR (Special Surveillance and Reconnaissance), and cooperating with other coalition forces in the fight against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
Following Afghanistan, MJK has deployed twice aboard Norwegian Navy frigate HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen (F310) off the coast of Somalia, conducting anti-piracy operations as part of Operation Atalanta (2009) and Operation Ocean Shield (2013).
Marinejegerkommandoen's participation in Operation Enduring Freedom earned the unit the Navy Presidential Unit Citation on 8 February 2005. The Presidential Unit Citation is the highest unit award given by the United States to allied units and was awarded to all members of Task Force K-Bar.
William H. McRaven, a United States Navy Admiral who previously served as the commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), said in an interview with a Norwegian newspaper in 2007 that he regarded the Special Operations Forces of Norway to be among the top special operations forces in the world and that one of his favourite operations was the Norwegian heavy water sabotage, carried out by the Norwegian resistance forces during World War II.
Weaponry in use by Marinejegerkommandoen
- Automatgevær 3F2 - assault rifle
- Heckler & Koch HK416 - assault rifle
- Colt Canada C8 SFW - assault rifle
- Heckler & Koch MSG90 - sniper rifle
- Accuracy International L115A1 - sniper rifle
- Barrett M82A1 - high-powered heavy sniper rifle
- Heckler & Koch MP5 - submachine gun
- Browning M2 - HMG
- Rheinmetall MG 3 - GPMG
- FN Minimi Para - LMG
- Heckler & Koch USP - pistol
- AG-C - grenade launcher
- Talley Defense Systems M72 LAW - light anti-armor weapon
- Carl Gustav recoilless rifle
- Forsvarets Spesialkommando (FSK)
- Minedykkerkommandoen (Norwegian Navy Clearance Divers/EOD)
- Kystjegerkommandoen (Norwegian Navy Coastal Ranger Command)
- United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (United States Navy)
- Special Boat Service (Royal Navy Special Operations Force)
- Danish Frogman Corps (Danish Maritime Special Force)
- Army Ranger Wing (Irish Special Operations Force)
- Special Air Service (British Army Special Operations Force)
- 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (SFOD-D) "Delta Force" (United States Army)
- Commandos Marine (French Marine Nationale Special Operations Force)
- Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2) (Canadian Special Operations Force)
- Särskilda operationsgruppen (SOG) (Swedish Special Operations Force)
- Jednostka Wojskowa Grom (Polish Special Operations Force)
- Norwegian Tactical Boat Squadron (Norwegian)
- "marinejeger.no". Retrieved 25 December 2014.
- "Rebuilding defense around SOF". Retrieved 25 December 2014.
- From the book: "Our Secret Soldiers"
- TV 2 AS. "Fire norske soldater drept i Afghanistan". TV 2. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
- Tom Bakkeli. "Trond Bolle får Krigskorset med sverd". VG. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
- Forsvarets museer. "Operasjon Atalanta; ”Piratjakt i Adenbukten”". Retrieved 25 December 2014.
- "Hedrer piratjegerne". Bergens Tidende. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
- "Forsvaret har sendt norske spesialstyrker mot Algerie". Aftenposten. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
- Tom Bakkeli. "VG møtte bin Ladens banemann". VG. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
- Ny sjef for hemmelige soldater [New Chief for secret soldiers]
- Forsvaret.no: Marinejegerkommandoen Marinejegerkommandoen's Official Site (in Norwegian)
- YouTube Video Marinejegerkommandoen in the Gulf of Aden
- YouTube Video Recruitment video for MJK
- YouTube Video Video from the annual MJK candidate selection course
- Marinejegerkommandoen gallery Photos of the Marinejegerkommandoen during exercise Cold Response on www.dutchdefencepress.com