IAF’s Garud Commandos
In today’s blog we are going to discuss the badass of the Indian Air Force, the Garud Commandos. Most of us are well acquainted with the special forces the Para SF and the NSG of Army and the Marcos of the navy. Similarly, we have a dedicated special force in the Indian Air Force. It is named ‘Garud’ after the divine bird-like creature of Hindu mythology.
How the Garud were raised?
- After the major attacks by the terrorist in the Air Force base in Jammu and Kashmir in 2001, there felt a need to raise a special force.
- The initial plans mooted in October 2002, with 2000 commandos called “Tiger force” later renamed to “Garud force”.
- In September 2003, the Govt. of India authorized 1080 strong force to be trained like the Para commandos and the Marcos.
- The Garuds were first unveiled on 6th February 2004, when the first batch of 62 “Air Commandos” passed out training in New Delhi.
About Garud Force:
- The motto of Garud Force is “Prahar se Suraksha” which simply means “Defence by Offence”.
- The Garud personnel are enlisted as Airmen within the Indian Air Force rank structure.
- The entire force is currently under the command of a Wing Commander rank officer.
- The Garud force is organized into fifteen “Flights”- a flight is roughly the equivalent to a company in the infantry.
- The flight is commanded by a Flight Lieutenant.
- Currently, the Garud Commando Force has a total of over 1500 airmen.
- It is decorated with 1 Ashoka Chakra, 4 Shaurya Chakra, and Vayu Seva Medals.
- The recipient of Ashoka Chakra from Garud Force is Corporal Jyoti Prakash Nirala.
Uniform and Insignia:
- The Garud personnel wear the “Airman Beret Badge” on the cap.
- They are also parachute trained so they wore the para jump wings.
- Also, there is a Garud Force patch that is worn on the sleeve.
- They also wore the Garud winged badge which is gold in color and worn on the left chest.
The Garud have diverse responsibilities, besides the base protection force to protect airfields and key assets in a hostile environment.
Some advanced Garud units are trained like Army Para Commandos and the naval Marcos to undertake missions deep behind enemy lines.
Some of the responsibilities of Garud Commandos are:
- Wartime Duties:
- During hostilities, Garuds undertake combat search and rescue, the rescue of downed airmen and other force behind enemy lines.
- Suppressing the enemy air defence.
- Radar busting, combat control, missile, and munitions guidance are some key role during wartime.
- Peacetime duties:
- During peacetime, protecting the air bases and other vital infrastructure from terrorist attacks.
- Hostage rescue
- Aid during natural calamities.
- Garud is not a secret unit, very little is known about its operation and assignment, and maybe because NSG and Para Commando are the primary choice of the Indian government.
- Garud has been deployed to Congo as a part of UN peacekeeping contingent.
- They also operate alongside Army special forces in Jammu And Kashmir to gain operational experience.
- The Garud also took part during the Pathankot attack in 2016.
How to become a Garud Commando:
- Garud personnel are enlisted as Airmen within the Indian Air Force rank structure.
- Unlike the Para SF and Marcos, the Garud commandos are directly recruited through Airmen selection centers via advertisement.
- For officers, the selection is done from the Ground Duty officers.
- The eligible candidates from both Airmen and officers undergo a 72-week basic training course at Garud Training academy in Gurgaon.
- It is the longest training duration among all the Indian special forces but also includes basic training.
- The initial phase is a three-month probation which filters the promising candidates for Garud Force.
- The training is similar to Para SF and the Marcos and the probationers undergo various training schools like Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School Vairengte Mizoram, Higher Altitude Warfare School Gulmarg.