GSU (General Service Unit-Kenya) Recce Squad Company – Elite Reconnaissance Combat Unit

Recce “Squad” is a company within the paramilitary General Service Unit (GSU) organization. The headquarters of Recce Company is located in Ruiru. The principal function of the company is to support and reinforce the field companies during combat or security operations. The company can also be deployed independently to perform sensitive and delicate security operations. By virtue of their elite training and combat experience, the company can also be deployed into the theater of war as a wholly functional combat unit. Their specialist Crisis Response training has come in handy during hostage-barricade sieges such as the 2013 Westgate Shopping Mall attack and the Garissa attack (where the company was credited for ending the terrorist siege).

Recce company is composed of well-trained elite soldiers and as such they are highly regarded within the military fraternity. The soldiers are trained both within Kenya and overseas with specialist training taking place in Israel, United States and the United Kingdom. For that reason, the company is considered a specialist unit of Commandos comparable to their peers in the British SAS, Israel’s Sayeret Matkal and America’s Delta Force.

Recce company is made up of three units: Sky Marshal unit, Crisis response team and the Rendition operation team. Sky Marshal unit is a covert counter-terrorism unit whose officers are embedded on board commercial planes so as to avert, and if necessary, counter plane hijackings. The crisis response team serves as the standby unit that swiftly intervenes in situations which threatens to turn either unpredictable or volatile. The officers of the rendition operation team are exclusively trained in the US and Israel.

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Officers of the Recce Company are equipped with the appropriate military equipments including a bullet proof vest with attached magazine pouches which protects the torso from high-velocity projectiles as well as provides carrying space for additional magazines. Recce Commandos are armed with M16 fully automatic (or their semi-automatic equivalent) rifles and additional pistols carried on thigh pistol holsters. The officers also wear sunglasses to conceal their gaze from the public while their chest- or shoulder-fixed portable police radios with attached earphones facilitates smooth communication in the field. For close-quarter combat, the commando is provided with an bayonet knife or a stubby spear-shaped weapon while the knee an shoulder pads provide comfort and protection during combat operations.

The Recce Squad recruits young, healthy and physically fit Kenyans during the nationwide National Police Service (NPS) recruitment drive. The selected candidates then attend basic GSU training at the GSU training school located in Embakasi. The best performers in academics and field operations thereafter undergo a 7 month specialist training in rescue operations, VIP protection, anti-terrorism, critical infrastructure protection, sky marshal and explosive handling. After the completion of their training, the cadets pass out and are deployed to either one of the three units.

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