Somalia Medal The Canadian Airborne Regiment in Somalia
A Soldier's Journals
Tuesday, September 28, 2021  

Somalia '93



Many of the terms and acronyms used in the military will be unfamiliar to most readers, so I have tried to collect together some of these terms here and explain them.  There were also several aid agencies and armed groups of Somalis operating in the country.  They are also detailed here to help you keep them straight.

Military Terms
AK A Soviet made assault rifle.  Also AK-47.
AOR Area of Responsibility.  The area a unit was responsible for patrolling.  Sometimes also referred to as an area of operations.
A Team A small American Special Forces unit.  We had several working with us.
Bison An eight wheeled armoured personnel carrier used by medical and engineer teams in Somalia.
C3 A 7.62 mm sniper rifle.
C4 Plastic Explosives.
C6 A 7.62 mm belt fed machine gun.
C7 A 5.56 mm assault rifle similar to an American M-16.  The standard Canadian rifle.
C9 A 5.56 mm belt fed machine gun.
Callsign Refers to a military unit and is usually followed by a code designation which identifies which unit we are talking about.  For example, callsign 31A refers to alpha section of the first platoon in 3 Commando, callsign 8 refers to the Service Commando.  Sometimes callsign also referred to the vehicle that unit drove or their position.  For example, if a Tango (tank) callsign hit a mine, I am referring to the vehicle.
Canteen A water bottle, but more often a tent where we could by beer and pop and watch TV.
CS or C/S See callsign.
CSM Company Sergeant Major.  The most senior enlisted man in the Commando.
CO Commanding Officer.  The officer in charge of the Airborne Regiment.
Commando The largest sub-unit within the Airborne regiment containing about 120 men.
CQ Company Quartermaster.  The troops that managed the supplies for a commando or company.  Also the Warrant Officer in charge of those troops.
DAG Departure Assistance Group. 
Dragon's Teeth A long row of metal spikes that was placed across the road at roadblocks which would flatten the tires of anyone attempting to run the roadblock.
Cougar A six wheeled tank, often referred to in the journals as a Tango Callsign.
Early Warning A small unit placed out in front of the main unit to provide advanced warning.
GD See general duties.
Garrison Duty The unit that was responsible for maintaining and guarding the camp.  This duty rotated amongst the platoons.
General Duties A work detail.  Each day several men were assigned to do any maintenance work that needed to be done around camp.
Grizzly A six wheeled armoured personnel carrier armed with a 50 caliber machine gun and a 7.62 mm machine gun mounted in a turret.  This is the vehicle we used.
Klick Kilometer.
MRT Motorized Recovery Team.  A recovery vehicle which fixed our vehicles in the field.
MSR Main Supply Route.  A major road or highway.
NGO Non-government organizations
OC Officer Commanding.  The officer in charge of a Commando.
O Group Receiving orders.
OP Observation Post.
Platoon A unit of about 30 men.
PRB-M3 A square plastic Belgian anti-tank mine that is very hard to detect with metal detectors and can be fitted with anti-lift devices.
Psy-op Psycological Operations.
R & R Rest and Relaxation.  Time off out of country.
RAG Return Assistance Group
Recce Reconnaissance, an exploratory mission into enemy territory.
Regiment A military unit of about 650 men.
ROWPU Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Unit.  The system that purified local water for our use.
RCD Royal Canadian Dragoons, the armoured unit that was attached to the battle group.
RSM Regimental Sergeant Major.  The most senior enlisted man in the Regiment.
REMF Rear echelon mother fucker.  A derogatory term for Service Commando and other support personnel.  There was often animosity towards them because they tended to filter off the best supplies for themselves and leave the troops who really needed them wanting.
Ruck Rucksac.  Our backpacks.
Section A unit of about 8 men.
Service Commando

The unit that was responsible for supplying all of the other units with rations, ammunition and equipment.  They also provided medical support, mechanics, communications, etc.

SIU Special Investigations Unit.  A special military police unit.
Tango The code word for armoured units.
TM-46 Soviet anti-tank mine.

Aid Agencies operating in the Beled Weyne area
CARE Cooperative for American Relief to Everywhere. An aid agency.
ICRC International Committe of the Red Cross. An aid agency.
  Somali Red Cresent Society

Somali Political Factions
DAS Democratic Alliance of Somalia.  An alliance of several factions including the SNF, SSDF, usp and  Gabiyu's faction of the SPM.
SDA Somali Democratic Association or Alliance (Demogradiyeed Ururka Soomaliyeed (DUS)) were led by Mohammed Abdallahi.  They were from the Gadabursi (Dir) clan and operated along the Ethiopian border near the town of Boorama.
SDM Somali Democratic Movement (Dhaqdhaqaaqa Demogradiyeed Soomaliyeed (DDS)) were pro-Aidid forces led by Abjukqadir "Zoppu."  They were from the rahanwein clan and concentrated in Baidoa, west of Mogadishu.
SIU Somali Islamic Union (Al Ithihad) Led by independent fundementalist leaders.
SNA Somali National Alliance. An alliance of several factions including Aideed's USC, the SDM, Jess's faction of the SPM, the SSNM and Ali Tur's SNM faction.
SNDU Somali National Democratic Union
SNF Somali National Front (Dhaqdhaqaaqa Jabhada Soomaliyeed (DJS))  Had approx. 1 - 3,000 troops in the south and were fighting Aidid.  They were led by General Ahmed Warsame and General Mohammed Hashi Ganni.  They were from the Marehan (Darod) clan and mainly based along the Kenyan border near the town of Luuq.
SNM Somali National Movement (Midnimadda Dhaqdhaqaaqa Soomaliyeed (MDS)) were anti-UN forces led by Abjulrahman Ali "Tur" in the north.  They had signed a pact with Aidid.  They were from the Issaq clan and located in Somaliland, mainly in the towns of Hargeissa and Burco.  Two factions, led by Kahin and Dhagweyne supported the fundementalist SIU.
SPM Somali Patriotic Movement (Dhaqdhaqaaqa Wadaniyinta Soomaliyeed (DWS))  Were split into three factions in the Ogadeni (Darod) clan dominated south. Their former leader, Ahmed Omar Jess was a hardened guerilla fighter.  Jess's faction was nearly defeated by General Morgan's and Gabiyu's factions which are both pro-Mahdi.  These two factions had around 5 to 7,000 troops of which 2 to 3,000 were loyal to Morgan.  Morgan's troops were almost all ex-military and the best trained in the country.  He is Siad Barre's son-in-law.
SSDF Somali Salvation Democratic Front (Jabhada Badbaadinta Demogratiga Soomaliyeed (JBDS)) were led by Colonel Mohammed Abshir Mousa and based in Bossasso in the north.  They were against the coalition forces and were fighting Aidid.  Their political leader was Abdullah Yusuf.  They were from the Majertain (Darod) clan and had most of their forces concentrated in Garoe.
SSNM Southern Somali National Movement (Dhaqdhaqaaqa  Midnimadda Koonfurta Soomaliyeed (DMKS)) were from the Biyemal (Dir) clan and operated out of Chisimayu.
SYL Somali Youth League
USC United Somali Congress (Golaha Midnimadda Soomaliyeed (GMS)) was divided into two parts under Ali Mahdi Mohammed and General Mohammed Farah Hasan Aidid.  Each comes from different sub-clans of the Hawiye clan of central Somalia.  The split in the USC came about in 1990 when the original founder died.  Ali Mahdi has between 15 and 20,000 troops while Aidid has between 15 and 30,000.  While we were in Somalia, Islamic fundamentalists seized the part of Merka south of Mogadishu and the USC could not take it back.  The Americans retook Merka.  General Habaro was in charge of the USC troops in our area.
USF United Somali Front (Midninimadda Jabhada Soomaliyeed (MJS)) were led by Abjulamen Dual Ali, were from the Isa (Dir) clan and concentrated near the Djibouti border.
USP United Somali Party were led by Abdi Hashi and were concentrated in Northern Somalia.

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