Yesterday - 30.03.2012 - during diving training in Mrągowo died soldier from JW GROM.
You know what? I think the Poles are all heart. I think they are great. Unlike some of our allies(which will remained un-named for the sake of SOFREP civility) the Poles leave the impression that they wish they could do more. I like their ALL IN attitude.
If somebody is still interested what Polish SOF are doing in Afghanistan - https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=327592320630270&set=a.250737138315789.60502.247556788633824&type=1 (use google translator please it is fresh and still in Polish)
11bwaytobe – It doesn’t make a big difference as it was an opinion of one guy only. Maybe he didn’t like Polish guys.
Both Polish SOF TFs operate under Polish command in Polish AOR – of course as a part of ISAF SOF. As I know they do not conduct common operations with US SOF counterparts.
You wrote about very restrictive ROEs. GROM is one of the few ISAF SOF units which can operate in the whole of Afghanistan! What else – Polish SOF in Afghanistan have one of the biggest contribution to ISAF SOF (2 Task Forces) – as a fourth power after British, Australian and Italian units.
You should not rely only on what someone tells you. In addition, you should not write stupid things you do not have idea about something! In fact, Squadron Bravo was withdrawn to Poland earlier to start preparation with FORMOZA for EURO 2012 but was replaced by Squadron Charlie from the unit! Polish SOF units may be withdrawn from Afghanistan when the Polish Government will decide to withdraw all Polish troops.
My last comment: I do not give unfair reviews when I do not have reliable information. I also wish that you.
I'm not trying to be a dick here, I am just relaying what I saw from working there with the Polish and their American liaisons (and it wasn't just one guy either...) for 10 months. I worked all the time with regular Polish Army Units as well. I really appreciate the Polish contribution to our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I know that they provide way more troops than other NATO countries, and they really did not have too. I'm sorry if there are some of you who think I have no right in posting anything, but I think I can share what I saw firsthand from my 10 months I was there. Do I claim to know everything? No. I'm sure there are some SF ODA's or SEAL teams that are not as good as others, and like I said, maybe the guys that were there when I was there were just not as good as other GROM units. Maybe they could not get dedicated air assets like our guys do, I don't know. I'm not bashing them though, so calm down.
And RogerS -- I don't think you need to worry too much about GROM's reputation being sullied. No one is going to think the unit is made up of a bunch of talentless untrained hacks all of the sudden or discount the vast multitude of reports that state they are outstanding warriors. GROM is held in very high esteem and Poland is widely seen as punching above their weight as an ally in the GWOT. That said, no unit is universally perfect or beyond reproach -- we all know ST6, CAG, the SAS, and the SBS have taken their lumps from those inside and outside the community at one time or another (fairly or otherwise). Maybe that just comes with the expectations associated with being recognized as one of the top units in the world.
I did not serve in the 75th, and no I was not talking about FORMOZA, I was talking about U.S. Navy Seals who were acting as liaisons between the American forces operating in Ghazni and the Polish who were the battle space owners. I know what I'm talking, and yea I know all about TF 49 and TF 50. From what I was told they (the GROM) were actually leaving Ghazni in 2011 to provide security for some high profile European soccer championship or something along those lines and that this was their last rotation. The SEALS were very frustrated working with them. For a unit that is suppose to be on par with some of the best units in the world, they really didn't do much during the time I was there (2010-2011). I'm sure that this is not representative of all of the GROM guys, maybe it was just a bad platoon/section of guys or maybe their higher ups were not allowing them to go out and do the stuff they needed to do. I know for a fact that the Polish unfortunately have very restrictive ROE's. Do I have respect for them? Yes of course, hopefully the guys there were just the JV team.
Apologies for misquoting you, clearly our SEALS that you encountered were unimpressed with them. Didn't mean to give you the impression that I didn't think that you knew what you were talking about. You were there, I wasn't and I will always have regret for that. Hopefully, those guys are getting the training that they need now. Thanks for serving from my family to your's, we really do appreciate you!
Thanks for rocking the boat a little on this subject, it's made for a very informative and lively discussion on Polish SOF troops. Learning a lot.
@JackMurphyRGR They are not, nor never were under SOCOM while they were there. TF49 is part of ISAF SOCOM, thus they are required to fufill ISAF directives. As far as one team being lazy....thats a story for another day, but yes there is truth in that statement.
@LCpl X My sources have told me that GROM (TF-49) was placed under SOCOM while in Afghanistan so if they were being held back from hitting targets it's our fault, not theirs.
@11bwaytobe Again, very interesting as this too suggests a more current picture that is in stark contrast with what has been reported about the unti's activities in Iraq. Assuming both are true, I wonder what changed and why.
Regarding ROE, Arkin and Priest's 'Top Secret America' claims of GROM:
"The unit was allowed to do things the Americans could not, as General Slawomir Petelicki, the blond swashbuckling father of GROM, said as we careened around the streets of Warsaw one afternoon while I held onto the car door for dear life. Someone else told me what he might have been referring to: during the surge in Iraq, GROM commandos were permitted to kill people that U.S. forces could not. At the time, American snipers had to see a weapon in a target's hands before they could shoot. But the elite Polish snipers had more permissive rules of engagement; they could shoot anyone on the streets of Fallujah with a cell phone in hand after curfew, several U.S. military sources said. GROM commandos were considered to be so useful, yet another source explained, that they were assigned to various CIA units in Afghanistan and worked both under the command of the agency's chief of station and the U.S. Navy SEALs…"
(Once again, I do not vouch for its accuracy. Just passing along what has been reported and by whom...)
I'm pretty sure if you type "GROM" into Google is just says, "Sorry, no results were found. Did you mean "Total badass"?"
@BrentSacks For sure you will find some info on web. Even some TV series about GROM and selection process made by TVN Turbo. Just take a look here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uE8oE5y6dSw&feature=related. But as I sad - it is rare opportunity. You can see some photos on official web page of the Unit - http://www.grom.wp.mil.pl/pl/index.html
11bwaytobe – congratulations if your comment is based on the opinion of one probably frustrated guy from FORMOZA („Polish SEALS”)! The guys are OK but there is a kind of competition between Polish main SOF units – GROM (top unit), COMMANDO Unit (the biggest and the oldest) and FORMOZA (narrowly specialized) – sometimes “unhealthy”! Maybe this guy forgot to tell you that FORMOZA was only twice sent to Persian Gulf (2000/2001 and 2002/2003) and spent most of the time on boards of ships – well, it was such mission. A part of FORMOZA was also sent once to Afghanistan without any special acts – as a part of TF 49 together with GROM.
GROM combat missions? Haiti 1994; Balkans 1996, 1999 and 2001; Kuwait 2002/2003; Iraq 2003/2004, now Afghanistan 2002-2004, and permanently since 2007 by now as ISAF SOF TF 49. If you are interested in details you may search the web.
The fact is that GROM had hard times – the unit was created under MoI, later was transferred to MoD. “Hardliners” from MoD tried to issue general military standards in the units, etc. Many valuable operators left but unit was conducting ops in Afghanistan.
That’s my comment for your unfair post.
P.S. Excuse me my English but my native language is Polish.
Dobrze powiedziane! I don't want to be rude to the other posters; I said "Well said". It seems to me 11bwaytobe has operational experience as a member of the 75th so I don't want to come across as though I am here to discredit his "experience". That said, if he had served with those cats before their skills (SEE: operational integrity) started to wain perhaps our Ranger friend would have had a more balanced view of them. I can understand though that 11bwaytobe would take his ally's opinion/assessment of GROM as the operator was Formoza. Like you said more than likely there is a little bit of an interservice rivalry there AND if the article from Dziennik is as balanced as it can possibly be then I would say that the Polish SEAL was spot on. When people don't want to play with you anymore; then it's you, not them.
Just to clarify some things. You will not find correct / relieble info about GROM on WEB sides. Our Polish GROM is not so big like SEALs and not so "old" like British SAS. There is no book written by GROM's soldier about the Unit (Michal Komar wrote something like interview with GROM's creator Gen. Petelicki in book "GROM siła i honor - GROM Strength and Honour"). So you can get some info only serving in GROM or working with them. You can also read some stories of men working with GROM like Chris Kyle.
I can recommend two web pages - http://www.wojskaspecjalne.mil.pl/index.php?ln=en
and this one (but better know Polish) http://www.special-ops.pl/
They were in Ghazni when I was there from 2010-2011 and their SEAL liaisons said they were nothing special, and were a PITA to work with. Coincidentally as I was leaving the 75th ended up coming in and doing the missions that they were suppose to do.
@11bwaytobe Strong comment - I hope you have strong proof for this. Maybe you should discuss it witj Chris Kyle or Chris Osman or Dick Couch - there is no other then best words for GROM in their books. I am Polish so I am not objective. But for sure you know better as you were with GROM going a lot times each night for op...
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@11bwaytobe Interesting. There was a lot of positive talk about the unit early on in Iraq, but -- and perhaps this is related to your experience -- I recall a more recent media report stating that GROM was getting pulled out of Afghanistan as their training had fallen off and their skills diminished due to being over deployed. I don't know how accurate that claim was (or how many squadrons GROM has or how they rotate them), but I'll see if I can't find that story again.
@The Nature Roy Trust media - for sure. Ask the guys down range about opinion. Check what TF-49 & TF-50 is doing on its XI Deployment in Afghanistan...
@Matt2 They also did a hostage rescue in A-Stan about four or five months ago, successfully I might add.
As for 'trusting' the media thing -- it's probably safe to say the same goes for press releases, indeed, they exist to get one's message out. It's a common theme for me in these posts to tread w/caution and repeatedly note that it's always very important to consider the source (and any potential agendas they might have) while also understanding there are bound to be inaccuracies and falsehoods associated with the reporting of such secretive units and classified missions. And along with that, it's probably a bit naive to simply accept any report that you like while automatically disregarding the ones you don't.
The negative report out of Poland concerning GROM that I linked above is a rarity -- I only thought of it/linked to it because it seemed as if it might be in line with another poster's experience. However, the media's coverage of GROM in general has typically flowed with praise.
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@HugeFan @Matt2 @11bwaytobe Maybe we have something like misunderstanding. I am not attacking you - just to want clarify some topics and comment some words. Never ever selection for & training in GROM were on poor level. You can always spend more money on equipment, training, sallery. And it concren all SOF all over the world.
I want to mark one more time. If you want the true do not trust media. Trust men. I hope that we soon will get some comment about 11bwaytobe words directly from down range. As I understand Brandon Webb it is a purpose of this web page - to provide correct information.
BTW - gratuluję znajomości języka polskiego :) (congratulation of your knowledge of Polish language).
Pan Rak, przepraszam ale chyba pana nie rozumia. My comments about these formidable soldiers stem from the reports in Dziennik and comments from 11bwaytobe. Seems to me that you also focused solely on the "party" comments as some sort of insult. I have been trying to keep it light when I know that I am inevitably going to step on someone's toes (Want proof? Check out the responses that I received from JackMurphyRGR after I posted what I thought was extolling the virtues of John Stryker Meyer). Clearly, I have the worst time trying to communicate in these threads as there have now been a few posts in which I have had to defend myself. I know that I am verbose but I am not difficult to read.
@HugeFan @The @Matt2 @11bwaytobe As I understood you well in your opinion Poland should spend more for GROM to be "invited to the party", yes? From 2007 GROM and other Polish SOF are permanently in Afghanistan. Not sitting at the bases but outside - sniper op, HVT op. The only problem is that when politician want to make a lot of noise around himself he is using GROM (that training is bad, commanders are bad, that they are spending to much money). As the consequence you can find such articles in media like this one above.
So GROM, Formaza, JW Komandosów are permanently in Afghanistan - with you!
About selection process. There is no reason to discuss to which unit selection is more taff. If you would like to try and compare you are invited...
@The Nature Roy @Matt2 @11bwaytobe It's unfortunate but I have read about similar problems with our own SOF during certain times in their history having to overcome stagnation that led to some units not performing as expected. I don't want to sound like an apologist for GROM but they are a small unit from a still developing nation (full disclosure: my wife is from Poland and I have a natural affinity for the people and culture). About the USSOF stagnation statement: specifically I was referring to a couple of books that gave some details on the topic. "SEAL!" by Lt. Cmdr (Ret.) Michael Walsh in which he describes the elimination of Hell Week during the Vietnam war so that corpsman could move through faster to the battlefield. "Diary of Navy SEAL" by CPO Gary R. Smith where he described a significant reduction in the training regimen for SEAL units post-Vietnam which led to him "freelancing" as an EOD officer in the LAPD. It seems though, that due to the catastrophe that was Operation Eagle Claw our citizenry and gov't are reticent about any cuts to the SOF/USSOCOM budget. I recently read about how the budget for USSOCOM is one of the partitions of our armed forces that is actually getting an increase despite $480 billion in cuts. Hopefully Poland will recognize that equipment only gets them so far and that healthy work-up cycles followed by the most realistic exercises possible are the only way that their special units will get "invited to the party".
@The Nature Roy Like I said - trust media...
“In the first stage, (GROM) will be moved to the Polish zone in Ghazni province before being sent home. The reason is that the soldiers need serious training, says the daily Dziennik. Representatives of the defense ministry visiting the contingent in Afghanistan heard in spring that the training level of GROM soldiers dropped to such an extent that allies are not willing to work with them.
"GROM soldiers admit that the level of their training is falling as they are obliged to participate in useless training exercise, while a few years ago the troops were learning from the British SAS and US Delta Force.”
Polish military officials disputed the report.
From what I gathered reading Chris Kyle's book, these guys are SOLID operators. Chris also said that running with GROM was his first encounter with '9-bang' flash grenades, which he gladly help himself to a few.....:). Who DOESN'T love new toys. :) Great heads-up Brandon! Keep Pushin'!
THANK YOU! Imagime my delight when after submitting an e-mail requesting some more info on this elite unit, that requested info shows up the very next morning. Domino's ain't got shit on you guys! That's a prompt response, I don't care who you are! Wyszkiego najlepszego! Dziekuje panu bardzo za dobre informacje! Polish for: "All the best" and "Thanks for the good intel". Fan, out...
Very cool. You frequently come across references suggesting that American SOF have a lot of respect for GROM. Seems to be the same way with SASR too.
I recently came across the following blog w/more GROM vids and content:
Dude, I love these guys (GROM) I had the extremely rare opportunity at meeting members of this unit back in July in 2011. These dudes were frosty but professional. Razor's edge and all that.