Today’s SOF “Pic of the Day” highlights members of the Italian Gruppo di Intervento Speciale (GIS). This photo was taken near Herat, Afghanistan, in November 2011, over a decade ago. My, how time flies. These gentlemen were likely members of Task Force 45 (TF-45), operating as part of Operation Sarissa and part of the International Security Assistance Task Force (ISAF).

The existence of the task force was considered to be confidential, and their numbers were not considered when looking at the overall contingent of Italian soldiers in the country at the time, 2011. However, educated estimations put their numbers at somewhere around 200.

Italian SOF Fact of the Day: A “Sarissa,” after which the operation was named, was a type of wooden battle spear used by the Macedonians.

Bonus Italian SOF Fact of the Day: TF-45 was the largest special forces unit fielded by Italy since that used in Operation Ibis in 1992-1994 in Somalia.