The 9th Parachute Assault Regiment is the special forces unit of the Italian Army that has a motto of “Of The Thunderbolt, The Source.” The service is comprised of both professional soldiers as well as volunteers and has been modeled after the elite British Army SAS.
The history of the 9th Parachute Assault Regiment dates back to WWI, although was re-established in 1953 after being disbanded after WWII. They were prohibited from the peace treaty signed after the war to deploy any armed forces outside of the country for twenty five years. They have been participating in foreign missions since 1982.
How To Become A Member Of The 9th Parachute Assault Regiment
The 9th, as it is often called, is comprised of some volunteers, although those on the front lines are professional soldiers who have been recruited from the Italian Army. After a training similar to that of the SAS, those who make the regiment are considered to be part of the 9th.
9th Parachute Assault Regiment Training
There are 700 members of the regiment, roughly, and they train in various terrains for various combat missions. Those who are volunteers can train for five months, although those who are considered the top echelon of this regiment are professional soldiers who train for two years and have already had two years of military service in the Italian armed forces. The training consists of learning to operate in desert, wooded and mountainous terrain.
What Are They Best At?
They are best at hand to hand combat, going into enemy territory, and support of troops in the Italian armed forces. They have been deployed to various countries on behalf of other nations as well as their own troops.
Weapons Of The 9th
The weaponry used by the 9th include The Glock 17 and 19, the Beretta 92 and 8000, the HK MP5, the Colt M4, The FN SCAR-L, the FN SCAR-H, Heckler & Koch G36, Beretta SCP, Steyr AUG, FNP90, Benelli M4 Super 90, Heckler & Kock MSG90, the Sako 338 Lapua Magnum and the Barett M82A1 12.7, among others.
In modern missions, the 9th were part of UN peacekeeping in Lebanon, humanitarian crisis in Iraq, Mafia assassinations, Kosovo, Albania, Afghanistan and are currently involved in the Iraq War.
The units consist of the Command and Logistical Support Company, the Communications Company, the 1st Raider Battalion and the Special Operations Forces Training. Volunteers are part of the 101 Cadet Company.
Are They Professional Soldiers?
With the exception of the volunteers who are members of the Cadet Company unit, the rest of the Italian Special Forces are all professional soldiers with at least two years military experience and two years of training in the special forces.
This Article is written by James Kara Murat, contributor of US Navy SEAL Information Portal.