first published on September 11, 2018 by Will
The 1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (1er R.P.I.Ma), also known as the French SAS, is one of three regiments in the French Army Special Forces Command. So, they’re actually not marines at all, but soldiers.
Their “marine” designator can be traced all the way back to 1762, when French Army units were detached to French Navy ships for operations at sea and in far away lands.
The “SAS” designator is an intentional reference to the British Special Air Service. 1er R.P.I.Ma is directly descended from the first Colonial Parachute Commando Demi-Brigade, whose origins date back to World War II. The 1st Air Company was created in England on September 15, 1940 with parachute units of the British Special Air Service (SAS). They were known as the “French Squadron” in her majesty’s Special Air Service.
They even adopted the Brits’ motto: “Who Dares Wins,” and to further honor that lineage they kept the SAS acronym and made it their own as the “Stick Action Spéciale.”
In modern times the French SAS have kept themselves extremely busy. They partook in Operation Desert Shield, OEF and the greater GWOT, to include operations in northern Africa and Syria.