The Special Operations Engineer Regiment (SOER) can trace its history to a number of specialist Royal Australian Engineers organisations – The Emergency Response Squadron was initially formed in 1999 from the existing Army Fire Service in response to the 1996 Blackhawk Helicopter disaster in the Townsville High Range training area. The Chemical, Biological and Radiological Response (CBRR) Squadron was formed in 1999 by expanding the existing Chemical Radiological Response Team.The Incident Response Regiment is based on the Joint Incident Response Unit (JIRU) which was established in 2000 as part of the Australian Defence Force’s security arrangements for the Sydney Olympic Games. The JIRU incorporated the CBRR Squadron and also included a High Risk Search Squadron. When the JIRU was disbanded in March 2001 the CBRR Squadron was retained as an independent squadron.Following the 11 September terrorist attacks the CBRR Squadron was incorporated into the newly established Incident Response Unit (IRU). The IRU was expanded and redesignated to form the Incident Response Regiment in May 2002. This expansion involved the Emergency Response Squadron(ERS) joining the Regiment, though this sub-unit was disbanded in 2006. A specialist Scientific and Technical Support Organisation staffed by civilian and military scientists was also formed and attached to the IRR.Elements of the IRR have seen combat in Afghanistan as part of Operation Slipper.Teams of SOER personnel are integrated into the Australian Army’s two tactical assault groups. The regiment also includes an emergency response section which provides emergency services to Special Operations Command and the remainder of the Army.Formerly the Incident Response Regiment (IRR) the unit was retitled on 24 Feb 2012.
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