After a month-long joint exercise, the Komando Pasukan Katak (KOPASKA) of Indonesia and the US Navy SEALs of the United States have formally closed the event last week. The exercise was geared towards increasing the capability of KOPASKA members in fighting the threats within Indonesia and throughout the world. It also forges the relationship between Indonesia and the US in the military field.
KOPASKA is the premiere underwater demolition team of Indonesia. Officially established on March 31, 1962, this special operation unit is heavily influenced by the US Navy Underwater Demolition Team and the US Navy SEALs. During its early years, KOPASKA sent its members to the United States to train with the UDT and to Russia to train with the Russian Navy Combat Diver. Until now, they still send a number of personnel every year to join SEAL training in California and Virginia.
The process of recruitment and training is also similar with how the Navy SEALs do it. True to the goal of finding the best men to join this elite team, only a handful can go through the 4-phase training after having passed a rigorous screening process. The first phase will be for physical training (much like the Hell Week of the SEALs), the second phase for basic underwater training, the third phase for commando training, and the fourth phase is for parachute training. They hold recruitment once a year and only members of the Navy can join.
While the team’s main duty focuses on underwater demolition, reconnaissance and counter-terrorism, they can also serve as security personnel for VIPs like the country’s President and Vice President. They have also been part of the peace keeping missions of the United Nations.