The Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales (Special Forces Airmobile Group, GAFE) is a special forces unit of the Mexican Army’s Special Forces Corps. There are a total of nine battalions, one High Command GAFE unit and one other group is assigned to the Infantry Parachutists Brigade. Within the structure of the unit there are regular, intermediates and veterans. The regulars usually operate more as light infantry. The intermediates are mainly instructors with medium ranks such as lieutenants and captains, they are also known as the COIFEs, considered by many the Mexican Green Berets. The Veterans are the most hardcore of the Mexican special forces, some of them are the first men who received training from first hand of several special forces around the world. They carry out the most delicate black ops, they are known as the Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales del Alto Mando (High Command GAFEs). The GAFE motto is “Todo por México” (Everything for Mexico).
It was created in 1986 as the “Fuerza de Intervención Rápida” (Rapid Intervention Force) to provide security for the World Cup soccer games in Mexico City. The French GIGN trained the group in special weapon and counter-terrorism tactics. On June 1, 1990 the group adopted its current name.
Eight years later the GAFEs saw action fighting the EZLN guerrillas in Chiapas, Mexico. Nobody knows for sure, except for the army, the operations they carried out. Nowadays the army special forces continue fighting the war against drug cartels in Mexico. They have successfully captured many big drug leaders such as Benjamin Arellano Felix and Osiel Cardenas Guillen of the Cartel del Golfo.
Since its creation they have received a wide variety of training from different special forces groups from around the world. The Army unified all the knowlede by creating in 1998 the Escuela Militar de Fuerzas Especiales(En. Special Forces Military School). Later on changing its name to Centro de Adiestramiento de Fuerzas Especiales (“Special Forces Training Center”), located in the foothills of the Iztaccíhuatl volcano, on 1 May 2002. The basic special forces course lasts 6 months.
- Special Forces Instructors’ Officers Course (COIFE)
- Ranks Officers Training of Special Forces (CACFE)
- Specialized Training for Special Forces Instructors and Officers (CAEIFE)
- Jungle/Amphibious/Combat Diving: Jungle and Amphibious Operations Training Center. Xtomoc, Quintana Roo. Training also takes place in different scenarios in the state of Guerrero.
- Urban/Intervention: San Miguel de los Jagueyes, La Casa de la Muerte(en. Killing House) in Puebla and Temamantla, Estado de México.
- Mountain: El Salto, Durango and Guerrero.
- Desert Operations Training Center: Laguna Salada and Baja California
- Airmobile/Airborne: Air Force base of Santa Lucía, Estado de México and Guerrero.
- High mountain: Nevado de Toluca, Iztaccíhuatl and Pico de Orizaba volcanoes.
- UH-60 Black Hawk, MI-17/8, CH-53 Yassur 2000, MD-530F & Bell 212/412 helicopters.
- FAV Fast Attack/Light Strike Vehicle, HMMWVs , Customized Dodge RAM pick-ups, 4 wheelers, all terrain motorcycles & Inflatable/fast boats.
- FX-05 “ Xiuhcóatl”, HK G3 assault rifles, M4 carbine, HK MP5 submachinegun, BARRET .50, HK PSG-1, REMINGTON 700 & the Fusil de Precisión Morelos sniper rifles, Remington M1100 tactical, Mossberg 500 shotguns, B-300, RL-83 Blindicide & RPG-7 rocket launchers, HK P7M13, Beretta 92F & Colt .45 pistols, HK 21E & M249 SAW light machineguns, MGL Mk-1, and M203 40mm grenade launchers.
Phrases & Marches
“Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales, ni la muerte nos detiene, y si la muerte nos sorprende, bienvenida sea”
(En.)Special Forces Airmobile Group, not even death can stop us, if death takes us by surprise, its more than welcome.