Although a new unit, ( created in 1991 ) Poland's GROM has worked hard and diligently at becoming a first class Counter-terrorist unit. GROM operators are pulled from Poland's Special warfare community--both army ( 1st Commando Regiment ) and naval combat diving forces . GROM is very protective of its operators; as such, the units numbers and order of battle are classified.
However, it is believed that they have around 270 members. It is known that GROM operates in four-person teams, each team being a highly proficient and cohesive unit. Women are also present in GROM, but due to security reasons, their functions are unknown ( although it is believed they are routinely involved in intelligence gathering and stakeouts ). All members of a team are fully trained as combat assault personnel.
Realizing the possibility of casualties in an assault, fully 75% of GROM operators are certified paramedics or nurses. In addition, there are several medical doctors attached to the unit.These doctors also act as combat assault personnel, carrying their medical kits along with their assault weapons. In addition, each GROM operator is expected to know at least two languages.
Grom also has fully functioning support teams, ranging from technicians and analysts to EOD ( Explosives Ordinance Disposal ) personnel. Many of the people running these support teams are ex-operators themselves who have been injured enough to lose their assault status or are too old to participate in the assaults but want to continue serving. These former operators bring and maintain experience and skills. Additionally, GROM is supported by a PZL W-3 Sokol helicopter for air delivery. Future plans include acquisition of at least one UH-60 Blackhawk.
All training is done with live ammunition. GROM operators are known as excellent marksmen ( markspeople?? ). Weapons include the HK MP-5 9mm submachinegun family and the indigenous Tantal 5.45mm assault rifle ( a Polish-produced AKS-74U ) as well as the newer Beryl .223 assault rifle. Personal sidearm selection is left up to the individual. Snipers are equipped with either the HK PSG-1 or Mauser 86 7.62mm rifles. In some cases the RPG-76 Komar grenade launcher is carried.
Poland is blessed with a very diverse and changing terrain, because of this, operators train in different settings and locations. Urban as well as alpine and mountainous settings are used. In addition, because of Poland's many ports, GROM personnel are trained in maritime operations and are fully SCUBA qualified. Members of the maritime unit are known to train with the US Navy
and are outfitted in a similar manner.
Because of their dedication and skill ( particularly in the VIP protection arena ) GROM was selected in 1994 to take part in Operation Restore Democracy, the American led invasion of Haiti. Fifty-five troopers were sent to train with members of the US 3rd Special Forces Group in Puerto Rico. There, they were educated in Haitian politics and social systems ad allowed to acclimate to the climate.
Upon deployment to Haiti, GROM operators provided security for several important VIPs, including UN General Secretary Buthros Buthros Ghali and US Secretary of Defense William Perry. One VIP, Lalhdar Brahimi, had a $150,000 bounty placed on his head by groups who opposed Aristede's return.
In one incident, GROM operators were stopped by a mob of slum dwellers; a boy had been taken hostage by a group of heavily armed gunmen. With the help of US. Army Military Police, the operators were able to storm the building ( extinguishing a fire that had started in the process ) and free the boy.
Because of the ability and professionalism displayed by its members, US Major-General David C. Meade awarded Colonel Slawomir Petelicki ( GROM's creator and commander ) the Army Commendation medal; the first time in American history that a foreign unit has been commended in such a manner.
At one point 50 GROM operators were deployed to Bosnia in support of the Polish battalion stationed there. They successfully pulled of a prisoner snatch of a Bosnian national suspected of war crimes in June of 1998.
GROM recently saw a major upheaval. Control was shifted from the Ministry of the Interior to the Ministry of Defense in October of 1999 and many of the senior officers were dismissed. The exact nature of this shift remains unclear; however, it appears that some members of the Polish government were upset over some illegally obtained electronic surveillance equipment. With the new command comes a new mission; in addition to counter-terrorism missions GROM is now tasked with performing guerilla warfare in case large portions of Poland are ever invaded.