The Regiment - 15 Years in the SAS, Rusty Firmin

The Regiment - 15 Years in the SAS, Rusty Firmin

Rusty Firmin served in the SAS for fifteen years, within a military career that lasted twenty four years. During that time he took part in the breaking of the Iranian Embassy Siege, witnessed the Argentinean surrender at the end of the Falklands War and took part in several tours of Northern Ireland. By the time of the First Gulf War he was working with the Territorial SAS, so missed the war, but we also get his opinions of how the SAS was used in the conflict, with his information coming from friends who were still serving.

Firmin’s entry into the army was somewhat unusual. After a somewhat troubled childhood in and around Carlisle, his father effectively tricked him into joining the Army’s junior leaders programme, designed to educate the future NCOs of the army. Firmin was an unenthusiastic recruit, and if he’d had the money would have bought himself out very quickly, but after a rocky start soon settled in and began to enjoy himself. After a period as a gunner he successfully applied to join the Commandos, then moved on to the SAS. We get detailed accounts of his training, and especially of the SAS selection process, a very gruelling system that really continued for some time after he had been officially accepted for the Regiment.

When Firmin first joined the SAS it was a fairly unknown unit (at least away from its base at Hereford), but he played a key part in the breaking of the Iranian Embassy Siege, where the regiment made a very public TV debut! The only major war to occur while he was still in the regular SAS was the Falklands War. His squadron was sent south, but the mission it was preparing for was cancelled, and they arrived just in time to witness the Argentine surrender. We also get an insiders account of the SAS role in the First Gulf War, coming from his many contacts within the regiment, although Firmin himself had already moved to the Territorial SAS by then. Between these major deployments he was kept busy on training exercises, deployments in places like Belize,

Firmin is a rather sweary and on occasions opinionated guide to the SAS, but he is also a rather likable narrator, not taking himself too seriously. He has some gripes with the way things were done, although is generally positive about the Regiment. He is more than willing to give his views on the senior officers he encountered during his career, not all of which are positive! You can understand the appeal of service in the SAS reading this account!


1 - Childhood
2 - Boy Soldier
3 - Gunner
4 - Commando
5 - Selection
6 - Continuation
7 - New Kid on the Block
8 - Learning the Ropes
9 - First Blood
10 - Back to Ireland
11 - Suicide Mission
12 - Water Jump
13 - Back to Work
14 - Later Years
15 - Swan Song

Author: Rusty Firmin
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 298
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2015

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