|Belgian United Nations Command (1950-1955)|
3rd Paracommando Battalion (1955-1959)
3rd Paratroopers Battalion (1959-)
|Type||Airborne light infantry|
|Part of||Special Operations Regiment|
War in Afghanistan
|Paratrooper Qualification Brevet|
|Commando Qualification Brevet|
The 3rd Paratroopers Battalion (French: 3ème Bataillon Parachutistes, Dutch: 3 Bataljon Parachutisten) is a military formation of the Belgian Land Component and part of the Special Operations Regiment. It carries on the regimental traditions of the Belgian Korean War volunteers.
Corps of Volunteers for Korea
After the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, the United Nations asked the Belgian government for military assistance. Belgium, conscious of the vast cost and logistical difficulties of sending large numbers of men or equipment across the world, elected to put an elite unit under UN command. Since the Belgian constitution forbade sending anyone but volunteers on overseas deployments in peacetime, it was not possible to send an existing battalion, so the Belgian United Nations Command (known as BUNC) was created. BUNC also incorporated a platoon of volunteer from Luxembourg. BUNC soldiers wore Brown Berets with a new cap badge to distinguish them from other Belgian units.
BUNC fought in several of the key engagements of the Korean War from 1951, including the Battle of the Imjin River, the Battle of Haktang-ni and the Battle of Chatkol. BUNC won Presidential Unit Citation (United States) and Presidential Unit Citation (Republic of Korea) for its heroism, and citations for these battles are included on the Regimental Standard. Of the 3,000 Belgian soldiers who served in Korea, over 100 were killed in action between the battalion's arrival in 1951 and the 1953 armistice. The last Belgian forces left Korea in 1955.
In December 1992, 1st Paratroopers Battalion deployed to Somalia as part of US-led United Nations mission Operation Restore Hope. Their role involved protecting UN aid distribution, as well as searching out militants. The 3rd Paratroopers Battalion was later also deployed to the country.
In 1993, two soldiers of the 3rd Paratroopers Battalion were arrested, after a photo apparently showing two soldiers holding a Somali boy above a fire appeared in Belgian newspapers. Two soldiers were put on trial in Belgium, but both were acquitted by a military tribunal through lack of evidence.
Soldiers from 3rd Paratroopers Battalion have been deployed to peace-keep in Lebanon as part of the United Nations UNIFIL mission. The Belgian force, known as BELUBAT (since it is also joint with Luxembourg).
The battalion was bilingual (French-Dutch) from its creation until 1982, but is now Dutch speaking only.
The 3rd Paratrooper Battalion and the 2nd Commando Battalion personnel are all trained identically, and are designated as a Paracommando's on completion of their training, Personnel allocated to the 3rd Paratrooper Battalion are awarded the Paratrooper Maroon Beret, and wear the Paratrooper Qualification Brevet above the right side chest Pocket along with Belgian "Commando Dagger" brevet on the upper right sleeve
The 3rd Paratroopers Battalion comprises:
- Headquarters Company
- 15th Paratroopers Company
- 17th Paratroopers Company
- King Philippe, a member of the battalion in 1983.
- Bud, Guy. "Belgians and the Korean War". Archived from the original on 2014-12-13. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- "Good intentions turned to shame". The Economist. Jul 3, 1997. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- Ammerlaan, Nieck (June 30, 1997). "Belgian soldiers acquitted in Somalia trial". Reuters. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- "3 Bataljon Parachutisten" (in Dutch). www.mil.be. Retrieved 19 November 2012.