Sailors form integral part of anti-terrorist unit
sailors are now part of a crack anti-terrorist unit set up in Sydney
to protect eastern Australia.
Maritime Commander, CDRE Les Pataky (left) and head of the
Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving FEG, CAPT Mike Angus talk
with an Incident Response Regiment member wearing his splash
suit at Holsworthy.
of TAG/East go through their paces for Minister Hill.
Incident Response Regiment
The Minister for Defence, Senator Robert Hill has spelt
out the composition of the Incident Response Regiment.
It has :
- A headquarters element based at Holsworthy Barracks
which commands the unit and provides advice on chemical,
biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive threats.
- A scientific and technical organisation supported by
the Defence Science and Technological Organisation which
is capable of conducting analysis and providing advice
on CBR agents and materials.
- A CBR squadron capable of rendering safe CBR devices,
conducting decontamination and treatment of casualties
and providing advice on CBR agents and materials.
- An emergency response squadron which consists of three
emergency response troops.
The 13, members of the Clearance Diving Group, have for the moment
put aside their diving equipment and are now using their weapons
skills as assaulters and snipers.
They have been with the new unit since January, the
Deputy Maritime Commander, CDRE Les Pataky said earlier this month.
We will be seeking another 30 from the Clearance Diving Group
to undertake the training, he added.
The divers are members of Tactical Assault Group/East (TAG-E) set
up at Holsworthy at the behest of the Government.
TAG/East is part of a much larger umbrella group called the Incident
Response Regiment (IRR).
With about 300 personnel the IRR will be able to respond to chemical
biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive incidents both domestically
and in support of Australian forces deployed overseas in a high
The IRR was formed to protect the 2000 Olympics and enhanced after
the September 11 attacks. It was involved in CHOGM protection in
TAG/Easts primary role will be rescuing hostages taken by
It received $219 million over four years with personnel drawn from
the 4th Battalion (Commandoes) and the Royal Australian Navy.
raising of a second Tactical Assault Group to complement the existing
group bases in Western Australia ensures that we have the capability
to respond to simultaneous and geographically separate terrorist
incidents, the Minister for Defence, Senator Robert Hill
The wraps came off the IRR and TAG/East on Thursday, September
5 when elements of both units went through their paces during
a series of practical and static demonstrations at the Holsworthy
Army Complex in the south-western suburbs of Sydney.
Nearly 40 members of the media were bussed in along with Federal
politicians led by Senator Hill, his assistant minister Mrs Danna
Vale and Opposition Senate leader, Senator John Faulkner.
Senior Navy and Army officers attended.
Representing Navy were CDRE Pataky and the head of the Mine Warfare
and Clearance Diving FEG, CAPT Mike Angus.
With a backdrop of Defence personnel wearing protective clothing,
Senator Hill said: While we dont know of a direct
terrorist threat to Australia at the moment, we dont want
to get to a situation where it is too late.
Its taken a year to build up this capability to its
Senator Hill had said earlier there was no known specific threat
of terrorism in Australia.
However, the lesson of September 11 is that we cant
take any chance.
The potential consequences of an attack are just too catastrophic
to ignore, he said.
CO of TAG/East, LTCOL Greg De Somer said: The Navy is providing
a very critical role in the company.
They are both assaulters and snipers.
We have an evolving capability over time which will draw
upon their unique diving capability, he said.
The personnel then went through a series of demonstrations beginning
with an assault on a training house where terrorists
were holding hostages.
This saw a squad of Men in Black (the assaulters)
blow open a door with a charge and then enter, search, take
out terrorists with gunfire and rescue hostages.
Next came a walk through of inflatable decontamination and medical
CDRE Pataky and CAPT Angus spent some time speaking with a member
completely encapsulated in a splash suit and wearing
a gas mask.
The members role would be to decontaminate any victim or
rescuer hit by life threatening substances or fumes.
Visitors then saw a number of bomb detection dogs go through their
At the firing range, snipers, one Navy, one Army took out
two mock terrorists holding a hostage.
It was not until the snipers stood up in grass and bushland 200
metres away, did the visitors know from where the killing shots
The guests then saw three men in black, using both
machine guns and pistols, show their skills on targets in the
The final demonstration saw a trio of assaulters kill
mock terrorists in a room by room search scenario.