If you enjoy conversations with Special Forces, then this is a conversation you will love.
My team and I have always dreamt of guests from the army background and especially were looking forward to Vijay sir being our first-ever from the Indian MARCOS. He joined the National Defence Academy and was soon commissioned into the Indian navy, where he specialized as a Mine Clearing Diving Officer. He later become part of the elite special forces of the Indian Navy (MARCOS) in 1992. The way Vijay sir commands himself is something I look up to.
“A normal soldier in the armed forces is trained to a certain level of combat. Special force requires steel nerves. In special forces, you will find mentally tough and physically strong people. The training level is high. They are the best people in the armed forces with the best weapons. Marine commandos are the force that operates in three mediums”.
Working Inside Water
“Water is not an easy medium. On land, if you are tired you can stop and maybe rest but in water, you can’t do rest.”
Mindset Of Commandos
“When a baby is born, he is raw. He picks up things later. In all the courses I did, the emphasis is on making you raw. They get you down to such an extent that you have to become a baby. You have to go to the primary level. Humility comes from there.”
“Sea mines are laid under water to destroy a ship which is passing over it. It can be thrown by aircraft or can be placed there by submarines. The clearance diving team is trained to dispose of these bombs. It is difficult to find these and destroy the mines underwater because of the instability of water, and it sometimes gets covered with mud. Our main work is to find those mines and destroy them. It is about 20m-30m deep.”
“Navy is always at the forefront. The American navy is bigger than most of the air forces of the world. Most of the country can’t afford a war because the economy is affected. They don’t want the full fledge war. The Navy gets involved in LIMO. When there are small incidents like piracy or human trafficking.”
“Almost 90% of trading happens through sea routes. To ensure the shipping is not affected, we need a strong navy. We must ensure our sea borders are protected and not exploited by other powers.”
“There are two concepts in Naval warfare: sea control and sea denial. Sea control is when anything that moves around a specific kilometer set by them can be prosecuted and destroyed. The kilometers will vary, but no enemy warship can come in between that. Sea denial means making a red zone of some sort. The best example can be a submarine. It is difficult to detect a submarine.”
“I have seen jellyfish, grouper fish, sea turtles, and small sharks. Moray Eel looks deadly underwater. Sea snakes are the deadliest ones. They have small beaks and don’t bite, but if they do, you will die as there is no antidote.”
“Once when I was diving, I saw a jellyfish, and I tried to get far, but its tentacles caught me, and I was exposed. I had a fever for 2-3 days and a burning sensation. It can make you sick. Healing is faster in seawater, and urine is a cure for jellyfish stung.”
Experience With Death
“I was about 28-29 when I saw death in front of my eyes. He ate cyanide and died in front of me. If it wasn’t for my marine commando course, I would have been shattered. They train you in such a way.”
“Hell week is 96 hours of the no-sleep regime. They give you 1-2 hours for your morning routine. The training includes lifting logs, swimming, and doing obstacle courses. It is all about mentality.”
Attack Of 26/11
“On 20th October, we came to Mumbai. I got an appointment as a directory staff in the naval college. As an instructor, I was trying to manage naval captains. Co-located to our college was the biggest marine commando unit. They have a unit ready at any point and time. On 26th November we saw the attack on T V. and thought it was some gang war. After some time we figured out that it was bigger than that. Some commandos who were retired came and said they were ready to go if there was any requirement. At around 12, they reached Taj, and there was a lot of chaos. Many were injured, people struggling, and the commandos were young. They had no idea of the layout. They still manage to get people out. The Taj hotel staff were brave. They accompanied the commandos as they were aware of the layout.”
“The terrorists were just killing. They had AK-47s. Thirty-Two people entered Taj, and 16 entered Trident. They started searching room to room. The terrorists realized they would be killed by our armed forces. So they started running for their life. Because of the entry of the commandos, the plan of the terrorists was disrupted by the marine commandos. The marine command rescued around 150-160 people.”
“Every profession has got its risk factor. Everyone is working to build the country.”
“Our training pattern is similar to the U.S. navy seal pattern. It is more elaborate. Everyone has to be a clearance diver, commando on land, and trained in air bourne insertion. This intense training doesn’t happen in any other force. The sea is very unforgiving, so the training required is more.”
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