Monday 19 February 2018

It's the Power Rangers

Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

With a loud bang from an explosive charge, a window is blown in and masked and heavily armed Army Rangers storm up a ladder and burst into the house.

With German Heckler and Koch MP-5 sub-machine guns at the ready, they rapidly storm the building and take on the kidnappers.

Minutes later they frogmarch tracksuited gang members out the door, knocking them to the ground and trussing them up like turkeys.

Only an exercise, but all in a day's work for the Army Ranger Wing, Ireland's elite Special Forces.

They are the secret weapon of the State and feature the brightest and best of the armed forces.

Chad, East Timor and Liberia have been successful missions for them -- and yesterday they put their formidable skills on a rare display.

Their work is shrouded in secrecy, but 30 years ago they were set up as a result of the rise in international terrorism.

Yesterday on their 30th birthday, they offered a rare opportunity to watch them in action on a wild day at the Curragh training camp in Co Kildare.

At the ARW compound -- usually strictly off limits -- we were shown weaponry and protective clothing, ration packs and and all the equipment necessary for the job, including Ford F-350 armed jeeps, while snipers demonstrated firing rifles from helicopters which can kill at a mile.

Though wearing black masks to conceal their identity, the Rangers are the archetypal "strong and silent" types. Their training is gruelling and only 15pc of applicants make it through to the tests.

A masked sergeant, named "Chris" tells us that the explosion of piracy in recent years has led them to update their anti-terrorism techniques.

As yet, there are no women in the group. "We would welcome women, of course, and we would always encourage them to apply," a spokesman said.

Irish Independent

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