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  • Jacobus Kotze

"SIERRA WHISKEY – An Operator’s Story in 1 Reconnaissance Regiment"

A new book is coming!

It is seldom that you get to meet genuine South African Army Special Forces Members. They are a secretive bunch of people. More so than any other Special Forces Unit I know about. Unless part of them they will not trust you and that what they do reveal in books is always 20 years out of date (if not more) and highly selective. They simply dislike any type of publicity and no man who feels different will make their Selection.

I write “Selection” with a capital S in all my books including those under my pseudo name for the reason of respect. The statistics are testimonies that no other Special Forces Unit can match. In their history, South African Army Special Forces tested more than 100,000 dedicated men. A mere 432 made it to receive their coveted beret and operator’s badge. The Selection takes one year with all its phases and then another three years of training cycles. In the meantime, they go on operations, almost always far behind enemy lines and without any friendly air cover or ability to be extracted quickly. They can do whatever the more famous units do, static line parachuting, HALO, HAHO, combat diving, small unit warfare at an expertise level never seen before, demolitions, sniping and above all, their first and greatest love, reconnaissance.

To put the Selection criteria in contrast - the Selection failure level for the renowned Western (NATO) Special Forces Units are around 64% (SAS, French Army Special Forces, and US Green Berets). The US Navy SEALs will fail 80% of those that try out. The South Africans, well, they increased the selection criteria after initial training at the British (there are others, i.e. New Zealand, Australia) Special Air Service (SAS) and never had a failure selection rate of 90%. One Selection had a 100% failure rate and most are at 94%. This is the highest in the world and they are extremely particular in what they want and look for. And they don’t accept failure. To them, what I saw, failure is worse than death. Most of their members are black men. They have not one female. It is an entirely closed club where those on the outside seldom gain entry. But when they start talking it is a new world opening. In Africa, the new battleground, there simply is no better Special Forces Unit.

We are working on a book, the life story of one such man. He was a sergeant major, highly decorated, and one that served between 1979 and 1989. That means he saw everything worth seeing during that time. Much will be revealed, I am sure. The name of the book, and it is not cast in stone, is his callsign at Cueto Cuanavale. That is a small town in Southern Angola where the biggest tank battle in Africa took place since World War Two. Two entire FAPLA (Angolan & Cuban) tank brigades were destroyed with the assistance of air and artillery strikes called in by Special Forces lying right next to them. For those doubting what happened, the hundreds of burned-out tanks and vehicles are still there. Go and look and mind the landmines.


I am really looking forward to bringing this book to you. It will be vastly interesting, nay, fascinating. With some luck, SIERRA WHISKEY will be available in August 2020. Keep watching this space.

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