The Royal Air Force has its own private pretend Infantry unit called the RAF Regiment: formed on 1st February, 1942. Usually known as the 'Rockapes', its original role was concerned with airfield defence although this is no longer a role that even the RAF can pretend is important. Consequently they have expanded into almost any area which they believe might justify their existence. The list currently includes:
- Manning TACPs (Tactical Air Control Parties) attached to 16 Air Assault Brigade
- Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR)
- 1999-2008 Forming part of the Joint CBRN Regiment with three squadrons from 1RTR
- Training other members of the RAF military skills. [Snigger]
- Ceremonial duties
- Maintaining a parachute-capable Field Squadron (II Squadron RAF Regiment)
- A small number of personnel form part of the Tri-Service Special Forces Support Group.
- Parachuting into enemy territory to rescue hostages. Yes their website does actually claim that.
- Guarding the NAAFI Que (SPAR)
- Pretending to be Special Forces (WALT)
In order to fulfill these demanding roles as the aggressive wing of the RAF, they have every piece of Gucci kit known to man. They also have a lot in common with Walter Mitty, who it is said believed that he was anything he wanted to be - if he just imagined it then it was so!
The 'Rockape' has to do just this - as it gives him a sense of achievement and allows him to justify his existence to himself and (hopefully) others. Unlike most of the adults in the RAF, the 'Rockapes' have an almost religious belief in their own publicity. Usually found either in the bar, at Silverman's or reading Soldier Magazine (or reading Soldier Magazine in the nearest bar to Silverman's) - so he can order all the Gucci kit. Remember, these are the heroes who would have beaten off Spetznaz attacks had World War 3 come to pass... as long as the Russkie SF landed at a participating airfield!
Unfortunately, the amount of training teams they have dispatched around the world seem to have equalled some respect (Good God/Allah/Jehovah [delete as applicable]!). Even though the Ministry of Defence and Army have attempted to replace them, they have a nasty habit of surviving. Rest assured that when the world ends, it won't just be cockroaches and Keith Richards left, but only because the Gucci kit has saved them.
Joining "The Regiment"
Officers and other Ranks follow very different career paths. Officers, are generally failed Aircrew who cannot bring themselves to tell their family they "Didn't get in" so then pretend that actually at aptitiude were found to be Special Forces material "so I'm joining the RAF Regiment mum, as there is no future in Manned-aircraft, it's all Drones Don't-cha-know". Whilst a cut above the average Army Artillery Officer, they are at best 3rd rate Ruperts and Henry's.
Other ranks, come from a variety of back grounds, but share the common characteristics of being easily duped individuals who had reasonable GCSE grades, but convinced themselves they could be elite infantry by playing COD, and passing a basic infantry course and sit around in Airbases in blighty and the falklands.
Can be characterised as the MPGS with a slightly bigger travel budget and some Jackal vehicles.
Ethos of "The Regiment"
When not going out the piss, sleeping in bins and disappearing....All members of "The RAF Regiment" consider themselves one of the "Big 3" which as far as the Royal Marines and the British Army can tell comprises of "The Salvation Army" and nickelodeon's "Paw Patrol". Some members have even been known to consider themselves Special Forces, most UK Military Units agree with their Special designation but not the "Forces" element, but the MOD is very pleased that the "Specials Needs" element as it does help with diversity targets, so they have not yet been cut in a Defence Review.
Battle Honours have included;
BURMA 1945 - Fair enough, well done.
September 2012 Camp Bastion raid - When 15 Terry Taliban flounced into the Airbase at Camp Bastion, killed 2 personnel, wounded 17 more and destroyed or damaged 9 Aircraft. No 51 Squadron and the QRF killed 9 insurgents, and the USMC another 5.
Bearing in mind that their role is to protect the airfield, personnel and equipment, the rest of the UK military attitude can be neatly summarised by the phrase "One-fucking-job"
To become a Marksman in the RAF Regiment you have to do this:
- Pass Weapons Handling Tests (same as the Army).
- Pass the Annual Personal Weapons Test (CI) at Marksman standard (same as the Infantry).