Sciathan Fhiannoglaigh an
The Irish Defence Forces
Army Ranger Wing
Neart ár ngéag
Agus beart de réir ár mbriathar
cleanliness of our hearts)
(The strength of our limbs)
(And our commitment to our promise)
Unit motto is taken from an old Fianna poem and
continues the link with which the name is associated.
It is written in the Irish language.
Rangers in training (circa 1970's)
Irish Army Ranger Screen
Download by clicking
in East Timor, 1999 - Photo Gallery
The Unit is officially designated
'Sciathán Fianóglach an Airm' , which is translated
as 'The Army Ranger Wing'. There is no direct English
translation of the term 'Fianóglach' so the designation
Ranger is the accepted version. 'Fianóglach' links
the traditions of the 'Na Fianna' (Legendary
Irish Warriors) with the present day Irish Defence
Forces (Óglaigh na hÉireann). Qualified members of
the unit wear the Fianóglach shoulder flash insignia.
Beginning in the late 1960s, the personnel from
the Irish Defense Forces were sent to take part in
the US Army's Ranger School. Graduates of this program
returned to Ireland and established a new school,
very similar in mission and organization to that of
the US Army. Students on these
courses were selected from among all ranks and all
Units of the Army, the Air Corps and the Naval Service.
These courses proved to be very beneficial in improving
standards of physical endurance, marksmanship, individual
military skills and small unit tactics. By
1980, it was decided that the skill level of the members
had evolved to a degree which warranted the establishment
of an official Army Ranger Wing (ARW). The missions
of this unit are multiple, including long range patrolling,
training of other units, VIP security, anti-hijacking,
hostage rescue, and counterterrorism. These duties,
specifically as they related to CT, are considered
supplemental to Ireland's primary response unit, the
Unit strength is approximately 100 men who are
organized into two assault platoons, a support platoon
with medical, EOD, aviation, etc. Each of the assault
platoons has five assault teams of 3-4 men each. These
men are all volunteers, selected from other units
already serving with the Defense Forces. Training
includes at least three days and one night on the
firing range. Advanced tactics are taught in parachuting,
combat diving, small boat handling, and mountaineering.
Interestingly, ARW members are returned to their original
units after a set period of time, thus ensuring their
expertise will be shared throughout the Defense Forces.
The Rangers have received additional training from
the Royal Dutch Marines and the U.S. Army's Delta
Force. Operational control of the ARW is the responsibility
of the Chief of Staff's Branch at Army Headquarters.
The unit is currently located at Curragh Camp, County
READER UPDATE (May 1, 2001):
The Irish Army Ranger Wing There has been no 'new
developments' in Ireland's outlook on CT/HRT. The
Army Ranger Wing is still the country's premier hostage
rescue unit, not the Garda Emergency Response Unit.
Although both train together closely, the two units
have different roles. The ERU is the specialist firearms
unit of An Garda Siochana ( which actually means 'guardians
of the peace') which is a largely unarmed force. The
ERU provide armed backup to the Gardai in situations
where weapons may be used. Such situations include
dealing with armed robberies, drug dealing, subversive
groups etc. The ERU is a separate unit to the SDU.
Special Detective Unit are primarily an investigative
unit, although they too carry firearms. The Ranger
Wing train with other SOF groups around the world,
including US Army Rangers, British SAS, Australian
& NZ SAS, GIGN, GSG9, Dutch Commandos and the Swedish
Special Forces. They would be logical choice for any
major hostage incident, with the ERU acting in a support
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