The Polish military has deployed roughly 2,400 soldiers to Iraq and a Polish general assumed command of the Multinational Division Central South (MND CS) in Iraq on September 3, 2003. Multinational Division (Central South) Soldiers: Approximately 9,000 Deployed to: South central Iraq Units: The division is commanded by the Polish military contingent, and has several national contingents under its command. The division includes the following units: Poland: 2,400 soldiers from the 12th Mechanized Brigade Ukraine: 1,700 soldiers from the 6th Mechanized Brigade Bulgaria: Approximately 470 soldiers of the 1st Bulgarian Infantry Battalion El Salvador: 360 soldiers of the Cuscatalan Battalion Denmark: The Danish battle group includes 367 troops and consists of a light armored reconnaissance squadron, a special operations forces detachment, a medical platoon, a mine clearing and explosive ordnance disposal unit, an engineering detachment, and staff and liaison officers for the combined headquarters. Lithuania: 45 soldiers of the Grand Duchess Birute Motorized Infantry Battalion Duties: The division provides security the southern portion of the country between Baghdad and Basra, including the provinces of Babil, Wasit, Karbala, Quadisiyah and Najaf. Other countries that have provided troops include Hungary, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Romania, Slovakia and Thailand. Spain had contributed 1,300 soldiers of the Ultra Plus Brigade but withdrew those soldiers in April 2004. The Dominican Republican and Georgia also have withdrawn their forces. Operational and Mobile Reconnaissance Group (GROM) Home base: Lubliniec, Poland Deployed to: Persian Gulf region Units: Fifty-six commandos from the Polish Army special operations unit were deployed. Formed on July 13, 1990, GROM operators previously participated in 1994 peacekeeping operations in Haiti and in the search for suspected war criminals in the former Yugoslavia. GROM GROM, the Polish acronym for the Operational and Mobile Reconnaissance Group, is the Polish Army's special operations unit. Based on the British SAS and U.S. Delta Force units, GROM commandos specialize in hostage rescue, counterterrorism operations, and conducting operations in marine environments like boats or oil platforms. In the photo at left, GROM commandos are shown at the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr, which they helped secure along with oil platforms. GSP The special operations combat diver unit of the Polish Navy is the Grupa Specjalna Pletwonurkow (GSP), similar to U.S. Navy SEALs. The unit is trained in a variety of marine skills, including naval base interdiction and reconnaissance, force protection, boarding and taking over surface ships and countermine operations. The unit is made up of between 50 and 60 men based at the main Polish naval base at Gdynia-Oksywie. GSP Home port: Gdynia-Oksywie naval base, Poland Date deployed: Unknown Destination: Persian Gulf Units: Jane's International Defense Review reported that the Polish Navy sent at least 12 members of its special operations combat diver unit, Grupa Specjalna Pletwonurkow (GSP), to the Gulf on board the Xawery Czernicki logistic support ship. Jane's also reported the GSP combat divers conducted missions with U.S. Navy SEALs. Decontamination platoon Home base: Poland Deployed to: Persian Gulf region Units: The platoon, with 74 soldiers and equipment, specializes in chemical decontamination. Polish Navy Xawery Czernicki Date deployed: July 30, 2002 Destination: Persian Gulf Home port: Swinoujscie, Poland Crew: 38 Units: The multipurpose logistics ship is capable of ferrying troops and equipment to military and peacekeeping operations. The ship was put into service on September 1, 2001 and is the first new Polish-built vessel into service since 1995. It is named for Polish Rear Adm. Xawery Czernicki.
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