GRUMEC – The Brazilian Navy Special Forces

GRUMEC – The Brazilian Navy Special Forces

By Dialogo
June 10, 2013

The Brazilian Navy Combat Divers Group, or GRUMEC for its Portuguese name, is a military organization under the Submarine Force Command on the island of Mocanguê, in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, at the headquarters of the Brazilian Squadron.

In its organizational operating structure, the GRUMEC has three special operations units, which are responsible for all tasks aside from those related to the recovery and rescue (reconnaissance assessments of the beach, etc.) and the GRUMEC Recovery and Rescue Special Group, responsible for these actions (GERR-MEC). At the conclusion of the Combat Divers course, the troops join the operative units and, after two or three years of experience, they move on to the GEER/MEC, which requires more experienced soldiers due to the nature of its actions.

Brazil has achieved an important role in the international scenario because of various important milestones, such as having discovered a pre-salt layer, the self-sufficiency of Brazil’s oil industry, its economic growth, the participation of the Navy in international operations (with NATO), among others. Currently, for its preparation and qualification, the GRUMEC can act in different areas where the Brazilian Navy is present. Whether in the patrol and assessment of Brazilian hostile environments, like the large Amazon rivers, the tortuous rivers of the Pantanal, in Mato Grosso, in the Blue Amazon – the oceanic strip of the Brazilian coast – which is under the responsibility of the Brazilian Navy –, or by contributing to the maintenance of law and order in Haiti, maritime interdiction actions, hostage or facilities recovery and rescue actions, the Brazilian Navy Combat Divers are always ready to fulfill their mission.

As a military organization responsible for executing special operations within the scope of the squadron and permanently comprising the Rapid Deployment Force, it is in perfect synchronization with the new paradigm regarding the deployment of the armed forces in the 21st Century, in view of the reduced structure and subsequent low maintenance cost, when compared to the great employment of flexibility and agility in multiple tasks. For over thirty years, the military members of the GRUMEC have been participating in all squadron amphibious operations: supporting torpedo and missile launches; performing attack exercises on ships from both the squadron and as the district force; participating in riverside operations in the Amazon and the Pantanal, in Mato Grosso; and performing the recovery of ships and oil platforms and hostage rescue exercises.

Following the combat diver’s trend from the most developed navies, such as the United States, Spain, France, Germany, Chile, and Argentina, the GRUMEC has been training in land operations overseas. With a special emphasis given to the GERR/MEC, which since 1985, has been focusing on anti-hijacking operations in a maritime environment and contributing to the protection of many terminals, oil platforms, and ships from the area known as Blue Amazon, an area which encompasses the entire Brazilian maritime platform. The GRUMEC also contributes to the security of the Visit and Inspection Group (GVI) of naval ships, as well as providing support to their training. The GVIs are responsible for inspecting ships and vessels in Brazilian waters. The Combat Divers are also ready, if necessary, to be deployed in actions that will ensure law and order, a fundamental constitutional precept in contemporary democratic states.

In addition, occasional exchanges and courses are conducted in similar units in other countries: the Chilean and Argentinean Tactical Divers, the Spanish Combat Divers, the American SEAL, the French Combat Nageurs. The GRUMEC also maintains close ties with other military and police national forces that drive special operations, such as the Brazilian Army Special Operations Brigade, Brazilian Airborne Rescue Squadron, Brazilian Marine Special Operations Battalion, Special Police Operations Battalion of the Military Police of Rio de Janeiro (BOPE), and the Brazilian Maritime Police Special Unit (NEPOM).

In Brazil, their activity began in the 60s, when two officers and two privates successfully concluded the Underwater Demolition Teams course – UDT (currently called Basic Underwater Demolition – Sea, Air and Land – BUD/SEAL), in the United States. As a result of the experience of these pioneers, the Combat Divers Division in the Almirante Castro e Silva Base was created in 1970. Two years later, two more officers and three privates were sent to France, where they received qualification as Combat Nageurs (1972). As a combination of the techniques from the French course, which emphasized on diving operations, with the techniques of the U.S. course, which emphasized on ground operations, and adjusting them to the needs of Brazil’s Navy, by the Admiral Attila Monteiro Aché Training and Instruction Center, CIAMA, the first Brazilian Combat Diver Special Course was held in 1974.

In an attempt to adequately fulfill the increasing demands of the squadron and the naval districts, the Combat Divers Division of the Almirante Castro e Silva Base was transformed in 1983 into the Combat Divers Group that was part of the Submarine Force Command. In 1996, the government determined the creation of the Combat Divers Improvement Course for military officers. The first class was formed in December of that year. On December 12, 1997, by Ordinance No. 371, the Minister of the Navy created the Combat Divers Group. The new military organization, activated on March 10, 1998, has a semi-autonomic administration and reports directly to the Submarine Force Command. After successfully completing one of the most rigorous courses of the Armed Forces, the Combat Divers join the GRUMEC, where they begin the second phase of their education. The Combat Diver is incorporated into one of the operational teams and they join the training schedule specific to that team, participating actively in the very detailed planning and preparation phases for each mission.

Do they have training in the "caatinga" (arid land in northeastern Brazil) or desert? If not, can they at least do the course by paying? How much is the salary of these great Brazilian troops? Yes, grumec has training in the caatinga and the Amazon rainforest, they are able to survive anywhere in the world, including in the desert ... Source: I, I am Brazilian.