moja polska zbrojna
Od 25 maja 2018 r. obowiązuje w Polsce Rozporządzenie Parlamentu Europejskiego i Rady (UE) 2016/679 z dnia 27 kwietnia 2016 r. w sprawie ochrony osób fizycznych w związku z przetwarzaniem danych osobowych i w sprawie swobodnego przepływu takich danych oraz uchylenia dyrektywy 95/46/WE (ogólne rozporządzenie o ochronie danych, zwane także RODO).

W związku z powyższym przygotowaliśmy dla Państwa informacje dotyczące przetwarzania przez Wojskowy Instytut Wydawniczy Państwa danych osobowych. Prosimy o zapoznanie się z nimi: Polityka przetwarzania danych.

Prosimy o zaakceptowanie warunków przetwarzania danych osobowych przez Wojskowych Instytut Wydawniczy – Akceptuję

Straight to Assault

Green and black tactics, live-fire exercises and demanding trainings. Volunteers from the voluntary basic military service work hard to start their professional career among special operations forces troops.

We meet several days after the end of selection to Jednostka Wojskowa Agat (JW Agat). Candidates had been preparing for this exhausting exam organized in the mountains for the last few months, so it is no surprise that the ones who succeeded rejoice. It had not been easy, and each day of the specialist training at JW Agat was a challenge. Morning fitness exercises, no less than three trainings a day, plus classes on topography and navigation, long-distance marches, live-fire and tactical trainings. “It was tough at times. But was it worth it? For sure,” they declare.



Plan for Life

Mikołaj’s eyes sparkle. He does not try to hide his happiness and talks with pride about successfully completing the selection process and about the dreams he tied with the special operations forces. He is only 21, but he was already thinking about army service several years back. It is not surprising, since his father served in JW GROM for over two decades. His great-grandfathers also wore military uniforms. One of them saved Jews from the ghetto in Piotrków during WWII, whereas his great-grandmother was a courier. “In our house, there was a lot of talk about my great-grandparents’ merits, but not much about my father’s service,” recalls Mikołaj. “For some time, I even thought my dad was a plumber. He told me that the military uniform he had at home was there because of his interests and hobbies, such as AirSoft Gun,” he adds with a smile. Mikołaj’s first serious discussion with his father concerning military service happened several years into primary school. He then learned not only that his dad was a soldier, but also that he served in a formation about which a child should not know, let alone talk, too much. “One day, I saw a badge on his uniform that read GROM. I didn’t ask him what it meant, I looked it up myself. I searched the web in the IT room at school and read about Polish special operations units. And suddenly I came across the name – GROM. Wow! It was something!” recalls the 21-year-old. This set the ball rolling.

He read more and more, and absorbed the information on Polish special operations forces like a sponge. “When I was in technical school, my dad explained the difference between conventional and special operations forces. He told me about the feeling of duty and responsibility, about people with passion, their readiness to make sacrifices. I think it was then, still before my final school exams, that I decided I wanted to serve in the special operations forces,” he recalls. However, the path to fulfilling his dreams was not easy. As a young sportsman, Mikołaj suffered some serious injuries. He had an operation and was forced to undergo a long rehabilitation process. Soon after recovering, he applied to Centrum Szkolenia Wojsk Specjalnych (Special Operations Training Center) to become a military student at the Jata course. Unfortunately, he failed the qualification process. “Later, my mum passed away. Before she died, I had given her my word I would become a man she could be proud of. I had also promised her that I would become a soldier,” says Mikołaj. He chose not to relive his father’s life, so he purposefully concentrated on special operations forces units outside Warsaw.

He applied for voluntary basic military training (DZSW), which he commenced in January 2023 at the 6th Airborne Brigade in Kraków. “During the training, we met the recruiters from JW Nil. It is undoubtedly a very interesting unit, but I dreamed of combat teams, high-risk special operations. And then someone suggested Agat,” he recalls. He filled in a questionnaire, submitted it, and several days later he received a phone call from Gliwice with an invitation for qualifications.

Path to Special Operations Forces

Voluntary basic military service was introduced in April 2022 under the Homeland Defense Act. According to the law, volunteers undergo one month of basic training and, regardless of their place of service, learn the basics of tactics, communications, handling weapons, battlefield medicine, they familiarize themselves with military regulations and drills. After 27 days, they take the military oath and may (but do not have to) continue their adventure with the uniform during specialized training, which can last up to 11 months. During this time, soldiers are either offered professional service, or join the reserves at the end of the period. Under the regulations introduced last year, specialized training can also take place at special operations forces units. However, the interested candidates must first undergo verification. They pass a physical education exam and are interviewed by a psychologist who assesses their pre-disposition for service in the special forces.

DZSW volunteers at Agat train according to a uniform program that applies to the entire armed forces, but they also learn about the unique characteristics of service in special operations forces, the equipment and armament of the operators. “We teach them the basics of green and black tactics, topography, navigation and shooting," enumerates the commander of Assault Team C. It is within this particular Agat subunit that training groups for DZSW volunteers have been created. Currently, about 30 soldiers from voluntary basic military service are being trained there.

Each recruit begins his training with handling weapons. In special operations forces, soldiers are assigned a short weapon – the HK USP pistol, and a long weapon – the HK416 rifle. “Under the guidance of experienced operators, they train manual handling activities for hours. Only when they have mastered them, they can go to the shooting range. They shoot a lot, certainly more than soldiers in the land forces,” says an Agat officer. It is not uncommon for DZSW volunteers to use several hundred rounds of ammunition in a single day. “Say what you like, but we definitely turn them into pretty good shooters” he admits with a smile.

Kamil, 21, comes from Będzin. He is shy and a bit intimidated by the interview. He admits he got into the army service somewhat by accident. His attention was attracted by a poster that read “Become a soldier of the Republic of Poland.” He applied for enlistment, and a few days later began basic training within the DZSW at the 5th Chemical Regiment in Tarnowskie Góry. Special operations forces recruiters persuaded him to undergo specialized training at Agat. He was not sure if he could handle it without experience, and whether he was in good enough shape. Eventually, however, he applied for specialized training in Gliwice, and passed the internal qualifications without any problem. He has been at the unit for nearly 11 months now. Has the training been intense? He just smiles in response, then adds, “Well, it's hard sometimes, but I'm not complaining. I had trained judo and rugby before. I like discipline.” He adds that he was particularly looking forward to the live-fire training, especially since the instructors teach them to use weapons in different positions, to change weapons from long to short, to shoot with both the right and the left hand.

Live-fire exercises are only a small part of specialized training. DZSW soldiers also learn tactics, battlefield medicine, practice command signals, moving in formation, navigation and topography. They have classes during the day and at night. They train on training grounds, at the unit and at adjacent training sites.

Kilometers in the Legs

“Almost every man in my family served in the army. I knew that someday the time would come for me too. And so it did,” says Dawid, 23. He is a professional photographer, but three months ago he swapped his Nikon for an HK416. He applied for voluntary basic military service. He underwent basic training at the 6th Airborne Battalion, and has already started specialized training at Agat. “I have been here for three intensive months. I've learned a lot and reinforced my conviction that this is the unit I want to connect my professional future with,” admits the private. However, in order for his dreams of serving among the special operations troops to come true, he must successfully complete the selection process. This condition should be met by all candidates who dream of serving in combat subdivisions of special operations units. Daredevils who decide to pick up the gauntlet and take this path will not be left alone. “Specialized training is aimed at preparing candidates for selection. Therefore, in addition to core curriculum classes, each DZSW volunteer systematically practices running, swimming and strength sports. Soldiers take part in stamina-building camps and demanding trainings in difficult terrain,” says the commander of Assault Team C. “Some turn their noses up at voluntary basic military service, but we consider it one of the best ways to get valuable candidates for service in special operations forces. The people who come to us are volunteers, motivated people, so all we really need to do is train them appropriately and prepare them mentally. It's up to us what kind of operators they will grow into,” he adds.

Both sides benefit from the training. Special operations troops build the volunteers' stamina, transfer knowledge, provide tips on how to train, how to recover after physical effort, what to eat, and even how to compile equipment useful during the selection. “They teach us how to work with a map, pack our backpacks, how to prepare for long-term effort in adverse terrain and weather conditions. These are not just theoretical tips. We go to the mountains, we march in the wilderness with our backpacks, we camp in the field and test our equipment,” says Mikołaj.

All the effort pays off. Most of the soldiers from the DZSW who entered the selection process in the spring or fall of 2023 passed the test successfully. Dawid found himself among the unlucky candidates. “I poorly planned the meals during effort and I was eliminated by my hyperglycemia. I know what I have to work on, and I won't give up. I have one more chance and next spring I will definitely pass the selection,” he promises. Kamil and Mikołaj have already received a ticket to Agat and an offer of professional service. Both admit that they were not stressed before the selection, because they felt they were well prepared, and approached the challenge like any other training. “I felt that I had the support of my loved ones, and that somewhere up there my mother was watching over me,” admits Mikołaj. “As soon as I passed the selection, I called my girlfriend, who was very supportive of me from the beginning, and then my dad. He was very touched, and I finally heard that he was proud of me. It was worth it.”

Magdalena Kowalska-Sendek

autor zdjęć: Arch. JW Agat

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