Poland’s Marine Special Operations unit “FORMOZA” derives from the Marine Scuba Diving Research Team established in 1974. The team was intended to develop concepts of organization and formation of a special marine scuba diving squadron. FORMOZA was an independent unit was formed a year later, in November 13, 1975. Its first commander was Cmdr. Józef REMBISZ.
In September 1987, the unit changed its name to the Special Action Department, and in 1990 Scuba Diving Special Group was formed. Then, scuba divers operated as Navy Special Operations Sections. In 2006, the unit returned to the previously used name of Scuba Diving Special Group. In October 2007, after transferring from the Navy into Special Forces structures, the entity changed its name to the Marine Special Action Unit (Polish: MJDS). Because of the training, equipment and operation mode, MJDS members are often called “Polish Seals” and are compared to the legendary U.S. Navy Seals.
Due to a lengthy and costly training, the unit is fully professional. To become a soldier of this unit one must undergo several selection stages. They consist of psychological, physical and performance tests. Candidates for the service have to demonstrate impeccable health, hand-to-hand combat skills and they must be perfect swimmers. Recruitment is carried out periodically.
As other special formations, MJDS is prepared to carry out operations in conditions of peace, crisis and war. Due to its specific character it may be used both, in water and land/water operations. Soldiers are equipped with armament typical to world leading special units.
Marine Special Operation Unit soldiers participated so far in actions related to protection of Polish ships involved in Iraqi operations. Most often they work together and cooperate with a marine division of the GROM unit, 1. PSK (1st Special Commando Regiment) and other NATO army units.