SSG Special Services
In 1953-54 the Pakistan Army raised
an elite commando formation with US Army assistance.
To disguise its true mission the new unit was simply
designated 10 Bn. of The Baluch Regiment The battalion
was posted to a new headquarters at Cherat near Attock
City. In march 1964 a Mobile Training Team from
the US Army Special Forces Group (Airborne) went to
Pakistan to set up a new airborne school at Peshawar
for 19 Baluch. The school included basic and jumpmaster
courses. All members of 19 Baluch were airborne-qualified.
The training team also included four riggers, who
helped train Pakistani counterparts.
By this time 19 Baluch was already considered the
SSG (Special Services Group) which was divided into
24 companies. Each company had specialization units,
specialized in desert, mountain, ranger, and underwater
warfare. The desert companies participated in training
exercises with US Army Special Forces Mobile Training
Team in late 1964. The scuba company in Karachi was
renowned for its tough physical training.
In 1970 an anti-terrorist role was
added. This mission was given to the Musa Company,
an independent formation within SSG. The name was
given after the name of Prophet Musa (Moses). The
company was originally formed in 1970 as a combat
diver unit. In 1980 however each company was given
a diver unit. After the Musa company was converted
to an anti-terrorist unit, it received training by
British SAS advisors in Cherat during mid-1981.
In 1986 SSG began a large-scale basic
training program for Sri Lankan Paramilitary militia
forces. Commando and airborne training was given to
members of the Sri Lankan Commando Regiment.
SSG units have also been seconded in covert operations
in Afghanistan during the Afghan war, as air marshals
on passenger airlines and as VIP security. At present,
the SSG maintains its headquarters at Cherat and runs
the Airborne School at Peshawar. Two SSG battalions
are normally rotated through Cherat with a third battalion
divided between the border and other strategic locations
such as the Terbella Dam and nuclear research facilities.
Each SSG battalion numbers 700 men in four companies.
Each company is split into platoons and further sub-divided
into 10 men teams. Battalions are commanded by Lieutenant
Colonels, the group is currently run by a Colonel
SSG officers must have at least two
years of prior military experience and volunteer from
other formations for three-year assignments with the
SSG; NCO and enlisted men volunteer from other formations
to serve permanently in the SSG. All trainees must
participate in an eight-month SSG course at Cherta.
The SSG course course emphasizes tough physical conditioning.
Included is a 36-mile march in 12 hours, a grueling
requirement that was first institutionalized by 19
Baluch. They are also required to run 5 miles in 40
minutes with full gear. Following the SSG course,
trainees must volunteer for Airborne School. The course
last four weeks, with wings awarded after seven (five
day, two night) jumps. none SSG airborne students
only have to complete a the five day jump.
Many in the SSG school are selected for additional
specialist training. A HALO course is given at Peshawar
with a 'skydiver' tab awarded after 5 freefall jumps.
A "Mountain Warfare" qualification badge is given
after completing a course at the Mountain Warfare
School in Abbotsbsd; and a "Combat Diver" badge is
awarded awarded for the course held by the Naval Special
Services Group SSGN at Karachi. three classes of combat
swimmers were recognized: 1st class to those completing
an 18-mile swim; 2nd class to those finishing a 12-mile
swim; and 3rd class for a 6-mile swim. SSG regularly
sends students to the US for special warfare and airborne
training. later on due to Siachen crisis, a Snow and
High Altitude Warfare School was also established.
SSG Weapons and Uniforms
While they were designated
19 Baluch, the Pakistani special forces were distinguished
by a green beret with the Baluch Regt. beret insignia
on a maroon flash. A 'Baluch' tab, black with a maroon
background, went on left shoulder. Combat uniforms
were Khaki. The SSG dropped the green beret in favor
of a maroon beret. A silver metal SSG beret is worn
in a light blue felt square. A bullion SSG para wing
with a black cloth background is worn on the left
chest. A red cloth version is worn by master parachutist
who has at least 50 jumps. SSG "Riggers" wear a wing
with the English word 'Rigger' stitched across the
wing. A distinctive SSG badge featuring a dagger framed
by lightening bolts, used since 1964 by members of
19 Baluch goes on the left shoulder; qualification
tabs and badges such as Skydiver, SCUBA, or Mountain
Warfare go on the right shoulder. A silver metal SSG
insignia is occasionally worn on shoulder straps.