The Special Airborne Group (SAG), formerly known as the 1st Special Forces Battalion (Delta), was the premier special operations force of the Systems Alliance Marine Corps, responsible for special operation (SO) requirements across the special forces battlespace continuum. Special Airborne Group detachments were employed in myriad special forces responsibilities, and were prominently involved in advanced special operations, such as counterterrorism (CT), special reconnaissance (SR), and direct action (DA).
The Special Airborne Group was principally responsible for conducting special reconnaissance operations on planetary surfaces. Special Airborne Groups were attached to Divisions of the Systems Alliance Marines Corps, and provided both the Division and its higher Marine Expeditionary Force with the capability to conduct operational and strategic intelligence. Special Airborne Groups also subsumed the role of Air Naval Gunfire Liasons, and also acted as joint fire observers to direct artillery fires, orbital fires, and air strikes.
2120: African WarsEdit
The Special Airborne Group's genesis lies in 2120 CE, where after lunar colonization, the global politicoeconomic dynamic began to change dynamically in horribly unexpected ways. Africa, formerly a cesspool continent deprived and asphyxiated of resources and stability, suddenly began an exponential stabilization and resource-acquirement phase over the course of two decades since the turn of the 22nd century, and fragmented, weak nations merged into hostile nation-republics that began a tragic, sophisticated, and ruthless war for control of Africa, and the rest of the world. Shocking genocides and liberal usage of nuclear weapons by those African nation-republics, as well as invasions by Europe and Asia, prompted the world to act.
The Systems Alliance Marines were fully deployed to Africa to defuse the gargantuan armies and to neutralize the threat of these domineering and hostile African consortiums. However, a guerilla war couldn't be based on strength; African insurgents battled the Alliance's gross numbers in a war of terrorizing attrition, steadily slaughtering Alliance Marines in brutal killings, and launching terrorist cells at Alliance home countries, weakening the will of the citizenry to support the blood-stained African Wars and the continued deployment of Alliance Marines as Marine casualties mounted into tens of thousands and civilian casualties at home became unacceptable.
After three years of gruesome and unending strife from 2117 CE to 2120 CE, the Systems Alliance High Command dictated that a severe change in Alliance military strategy was necessary. The special forces of the 21st and 20th centuries had been defused because of paranoia; they were small, highly-trained assassins capable of dramatically changing the course of political history forever. However, then, as the Alliance's mass armies of Marines withered and died under the hellish African jungle, there was a renewed interest in special operations forces and special-missions groups.
The Special Airborne Group was actually descended from the 72nd Shock Regiment, the Alliance Marine Corps' shock force, and the closest mimetic to a true special forces group. While the 72nd Shock Regiment had been part of the Marines deployed to embittered Africa, it had been participating in only a conventional warfare role. It took the profound insight and daring of the then-commander of the 1st Battalion of the 72nd Shock Regiment - the legendary Commander Otto Schier - to rejuvenate the Alliance's special forces and to bring the Great African War to a closure.
Commander Schier radically redesigned his rifle battalion, and took great liberty and creativity to shape his shock troopers. Resisting the oppressive and rigid Alliance military command structure, Schier's 1st Battalion was redesigned after the special forces of older days; such as the United States Army's special forces ("Green Berets"), the Navy's SOCOM (SEALs), and the former British Army's Special Air Service ("SAS"). Under Schier's young but spirited leadership, the battalion would drastically evolve from an elite Marine battalion to a war-hardened and brutal scapel, comprised of the Alliance's first new real special forces troops.
Schier's shock marines would begin diverging into the myriad responsibilities of the former special forces of the 21st and 20th centuries, and Schier's soldiers would become low-profile assassins, selectively hunting and assassinating known African warlords and influential personalities, collapsing rebel movements with a single blow. They would wage war with the African guerillas on their own terms, training African civilians to rise up against the jungle guerillas. The Marines of 1st Battalion would refuse to attrit to savage guerilla jungle warfare. With authorization from Battalion Command, they would order air strikes with Hellfire bombs to create firestorms that would burn away thousands of kiloa of jungle, driving back the rebels, or would shell entrenched positions with nerve gas, insidiously killing them all.
Within six months, there were gradual improvements in the Marine war effort, and even the actions of Schier's single rifle battalion would have wide-ranging impact across Africa. As the African troops were swept away by a horde of civilian soldiers, the morale of the hostile African nations began to crumple as Schier's Marines became overwhelming, sapping their will to fight. Finally, in the early winter months of 2121 CE, the 72nd Shock Regiment would launch regiment-scale airborne assaults on the capital cities of the major African states, bypassing the brutal ground warfare that had forestalled the Marines for three years. Led by Schier's Marines, the 72nd Shock Regiment was a horrible power, decapitating key enemy targets and weakening defenses until the Marine cavalry could roll in, razing the cities and forcing the Africans back with every mission. Inspired by these climatic successes, the rest of the Marine Corps would eagerly follow suit in blazing the destruction of African guerillas.
However, it was indeed the 72nd Shock Regiment's loss in the end that it was so powerful; recognizing the fierce strength of these shock Marines, the nearly-defeated African nations would launch a final strike; a cowardly terrorist attack on the headquarters of the 72nd Shock Regiment, and a suicide bombing would result in the loss of the majority of the regiment's senior command officers, including the heroic Commander Otto Schier.
In fury and in honor of their martyred commander, 1st Battalion would urgently and pre-emptively act on a small piece of Alliance intelligence that indicated that there would be a consortium of African warlords in the very south of Africa near Madagascar that would discuss the union of Africa against the Alliance Marines, and how to drive off the now-insatiable attackers. As small mission complications arose, it devolved in a horrible and bloody massive firefight that broke out across cities as 1st Battalion searched for the rebel leaders, and in the process, sustained heavy casualties. Cut off from Alliance Marines, 1st Battalion would fight for its life, and for the warlords it had come to kill. The countryside firefight would span a climatic seventy-two hours as shock Marines were slaughtered, but finally the detonation of an Alliance nuclear weapon and the vaporization of an African city would drive the warlords towards the sea and for extraction. It was then that a small Marine team stumbled across their convoy, and with several rocket shots, ended the Great African War.
The battalion would sustain extraordinary casualties; over seventy percent, and to its own losses - if it had waited upon acting upon the intelligence, it could have staged a far more decisive and successful operation. Review of 1st Battalion's battle record by Alliance High Command led to mixed reactions; Alliance commanders were horrified how Schier had implemented a covert-ops assassination program, how he'd authorized the training of tens of thousands of child soldiers as a mock shock army, how the 1st Battalion had liberally used chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to kill of thousands of Africans at a time. Yet, despite their horror at the friendly casualties and the friendly atrocities of war, it had instigated a new paradigm shift for the Alliance High Command to the Alliance Marines.
The Great African War had shown that a new strategy besides mass-attrition warfare was necessary, and that a special forces group was a plausible solution.
Although the 1st Battalion of the 72nd Shock Regiment was devastated, and its commander, Otto Schier, had been killed, it became a perfect framework to reconstruct a new special forces group for the Alliance Marines. 1st Battalion was detached from the 72nd Shock Regiment, was instituted as an independent command, and became known as the first recognized special forces group of the entire Alliance military - it became known as 1st Special Forces Battalion (Delta), named in homage of the former U.S. Army 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (SFOD-D, "Delta Force").