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Army March 15, 2012
The Chemical Radiological
Formed by the School of Military
Engineering from instructors who trained
ADF personnel in nuclear, biological and
chemical defence, the team was estab-
lished to respond to incidents involving
chemical munitions, which at that time
mainly involved WWII ordnance. They
developed a limited ability to respond to
terrorist attacks involving toxic chemicals
during the 1990s, after the 1995 Sarin
attack on the Tokyo subway system.
In response to the growing
threat of terrorism the squadron
was raised as the main ADF
reaction force for chemical, bio-
logical and radiological attacks.
The Chemical Radiological
Response Team's responsi-
bilities were transferred to the
squadron in April 2000.
Raised from the Army Fire Service
as a result of the inquiry into the
June 1996 Black Hawk helicop-
ter tragedy that highlighted the
need for deployable land forces
to be supported by an emergency
response capability. Soldiers in the
squadron were trained fire fighters,
as well as specialists in search and
rescue, and could operate in a con-
taminated environment if required.
History of a special capability
THE Incident Response
Regiment changed its name
to the Special Operations
Engineer Regiment (SOER)
at a ceremony at Holsworthy
Barracks on February 24.
Changes to the unit's capabil-
ity and a move beyond domestic
incident response were the reasons
behind the name change, according
to CO Lt-Col Scott Corrigan.
"The previous name reflected a
capability and consequence man-
agement role that we don't under-
take anymore," he said.
"The new name realises the sup-
port we provide to Socomd and
provides an important linkage back
to the corps of Royal Australian
"The change is by no means
an indication that the Incident
Response Regiment was unsuccess-
ful -- in fact it was the success of the
unit that allowed this name change
"SOER is just a better reflection
of our operations with Socomd now
and into the future."
Lt-Col Corrigan said his unit had
already proved itself on operations
across the globe with specialised
"The regiment has grown to pro-
vide agile and highly trained teams
A new name represents new roles and a new era for Special Forces
engineers, Cpl Max Bree reports.
that provide integrated, rapidly
deployable and specialised capabil-
ity to enable special operations," he
"These include neutralising
chemical, biological, radiological or
explosive threats, as well as mobility
and survivability capabilities."
The Incident Response Regiment
has been replaced by SOER on the
Army's Order of Battle and the
change also aims to give a better
understanding of the regiment's spe-
cialist skills among the Army, coali-
tion partners and within the special
The unit remembrance wall
will remain in its current location
at Holsworthy bearing the names
of Sgt Brett Till and Spr Rowan
Robinson, who died serving with the
regiment in Afghanistan.
Photos by LAC Leigh Cameron
Embracing change: Special Operations Engineer Regiment CO
Lt-Col Scott Corrigan, addresses his soldiers during a ceremony to
raise the new unit flag.
In the ranks: Members of the newly raised Special Operations Engineer Regiment stand to attention as
the new unit flag is raised.
Wait your turn: Sappers from the Special Operations Engineer Regiment go
through the process of decontamination after a chemical threat simulation.
On the hunt: A sapper from the Special Operations Engineer Regiment checks
the ground for a simulated IED.
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