When I first saw this pic, it jumped out at me and caught my attention. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been fascinated by motorcycles, especially dirt bikes. I got my first one at age five and rode it like a madman, scaring the hell out of my mother.  This would have been my boyhood dream come true…I could ride my dirt bike and blast the bad guys at the same time…childhood fantasy fulfilled.

The cool thing that I see today, as an adult (more or less), is that such a thing exists in the form of the Sri Lankan SOF Combat Rider Unit.

combat rider Sri Lanka
A Sri Lankan Combat Rider, part of the Sri Lankan Army Special Forces Regiment. Note the “Combat Rider” and “Special Forces” shoulder tabs. Image taken 7 OCT 2009 by Chamal N. Used courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

A Brief on the Sri Lankan Special Forces Regiment


The Special Forces Regiment traces its roots to the formation of the Combat Tracker Team in 1985. Over time, due to the escalating conflict during the Sri Lankan Civil War, the unit was expanded and refined to what is now known as the Special Forces Regiment.


Special Forces candidates undergo a rigorous selection process followed by intense and specialized training. The training includes basic military training, advanced commando techniques, airborne training, counter-terrorism, and jungle warfare, among others. The training regime is known to be physically and mentally demanding.


The primary roles of the Special Forces Regiment include direct action, unconventional warfare, special reconnaissance, hostage rescue, and counter-terrorism. They have been crucial in numerous operations during the civil war, including deep penetration missions in LTTE-held territories.


The regiment is organized into several battalions, with each battalion specializing in a particular set of skills or roles. For example, some battalions are specifically trained for maritime operations, while others might focus on long-range reconnaissance.

Significance in the Civil War

The Special Forces played a pivotal role during the Sri Lankan Civil War, particularly in the latter stages. They were instrumental in gathering intelligence, conducting raids in enemy territory, and neutralizing high-value targets.