Air Force graduates 203 Special Forces, CSAR operatives to battle insurgents, bandits

The Nigerian Air Force, NAF, has graduated a fresh batch of 203 Special Forces and Combat Search and Rescue Personnel.

The combined graduation ceremony, which took place on Saturday at the Regiment Training Centre (RTC) Annex in Bauchi, comprised 162 students of the SF Course 7/2020 and 41 trainees of CSAR Course 3/2020.

The graduating SF Course is the ninth set to be trained by the NAF in the last five years, having conducted 7 SF Courses and 2 SF Instructors’ Courses, while the graduating CSAR Course is the third batch, following the graduation of the second set in May 2020.

Speaking during the graduation ceremony, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, charged the graduating participants to bring to bear the professional skills acquired on the ongoing campaign to restore normalcy to restive parts of the country.

According to him, the personnel were graduating at a time when the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, and the country were in need of their special skills.

“Your job will not be an easy one, as you would be required to operate under austere conditions and in hostile environments to ensure that the NAF achieves its objectives,” he said.

He further stated that in order to bridge the capability gap in SF and CSAR operations, the NAF established the Special Operations Command (SOC) with its headquarters in Bauchi and Quick Response Groups/Wings (QRG/QRW) in Gusau, Owerri, Ipetu-Ijesha, Daura, Birnin Gwari, Agatu, Gembu and Lafia, among others.

While acknowledging that the number of QRGs/QRWs was not yet adequate, the CAS observed that the establishment of these SF units provided the desired spread across the country.

This, he said, was in addition to the 205 CSAR Group (205 CSARG) in Kerang, Plateau State.

Speaking further, the CAS noted that consolidating on the gains made, the Service recently activated the 203 Combat Reconnaissance Group in Gombe and 215 Forward Operating Base, Funtua, the establishment of which was approved earlier this month, for enhanced capability in providing timely and actionable intelligence to further contain insecurity.

Air Marshal Abubakar disclosed that the NAF had, subsequently, trained over 1,200 personnel both overseas and locally in its bid to generate SF and CSAR teams to man the established units.

According to him, international training partners were also engaged to train NAF personnel in order to sustain SF training in the NAF.

Since its inception, he said, the NAF SF has been used effectively for force protection, force projection as well as base defence, among others.

“I am happy to note here today that our SF personnel have performed commendably well when deployed in conjunction with other security agencies in various theatres of operation.

“Their performance has proven that enhancing the capacity and capability of our personnel is the best way of ensuring the attainment of our operational goals and objectives,” he said.

The consideration to train CSAR operatives locally, the Air Force boss revealed, was as a result of insufficient training slots and high cost of overseas training.

He further disclosed that the Directorate of Regiment was accordingly tasked to develop a local training curriculum with the objective of ensuring that the NAF has personnel capable of rescuing downed aircrew in all terrains and weather conditions anywhere in Nigeria.

“It is indeed gratifying to note that their training here is yielding the expected benefits.

“More so, it is evident that there is a remarkable improvement in the quality of training with the demonstration I earlier witnessed from both courses,” he said.



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