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Protecting our Nation's Interests

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43 Commando

43 Commando Fleet Protection Group

43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines (43 Cdo FP Gp RM) is based at HM Naval Base Clyde near Helensburgh on the West Coast of Scotland. It has progressed into its current state from the original Comacchio Group formed in 1980 and in April 2012, with a change of name, became part of 3 Commando Brigade.

43 Cdo

The Group is over 500-strong and is made up of three rifle squadrons (O, R and S) plus an HQ squadron.

The Group's core task is to provide military support to undertake final denial of access to nuclear weapons in addition to supporting the multi-agency force that protects nuclear weapons convoys.

Additionally, specially trained teams are deployed at short notice to conduct tasks in support of the Royal Navy worldwide. Tasks have ranged from Force Protection in the Middle East, the Far East and in Africa, through to conducting non-compliant boarding operations in order to enforce UN resolutions in the Gulf.

Royal Marines from 43 Cdo FP Gp RM have recently been deployed on operations in the Northern Gulf and off Africa on counter-piracy duties providing specialist teams to carry out boarding and protection duties.


Matt Pierson

M F Pierson
Royal Marine
Military experience

Colonel Matt Pierson was commissioned into the Royal Marines in 1988. His early career as a Royal Marines Troop Commander included several operational tours in the UK and overseas, in Commando Units and with the United Nations.

His initial command assignments include Troop command in Comacchio Group in Scotland, incorporating an attachment to 45 Commando in South Armagh and as Officer Commanding the Op Interknit detachment in County Down. On completion of training 630 Recruit Troop at the Commando Training Centre, he deployed in 1993 to the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) for 7 months, living with the Khmer Rouge as a military observer. In 1996/7 he was Second in Command of 40 Commando’s combined Alpha and Support Companies as Operations Officer in East Tyrone. In 2002/3 he commanded Delta Company, 40 Commando, which entailed the combined amphibious invasion of Iraq (Op Telic 1) and subsequent close combat operations.

Col Pierson’s initial staff appointment was in 1994/5, as Flag Lieutenant to the Commander British Forces, Gibraltar. In 1995/6 he served on the staff of Commodore Amphibious Warfare, deploying to the Far East with 40 Commando for the retrocession of Hong Kong. He was Adjutant of Headquarters Squadron at RM Poole from 1997 to 1998 and attended French Joint Staff College in 1999. In 2000 he was appointed to the Ministry of Defence in the Directorate of Defence Security, during which he deployed in the support to and aftermath of Op Barras in West Africa.

On promotion to Lieutenant Colonel in 2003 he was assigned to Directorate Royal Marines for regimental duties, then served in Washington DC as Assistant to the Chief of the Defence Staff’s Liaison Officer (CDSLO) to the Pentagon in 2005/6. In 2006 he returned to the Ministry of Defence as desk officer for the Maghreb and as non-residential Defence Attaché to Libya. In 2008 he was appointed to the Development, Doctrine and Concepts Centre, for joint and maritime concept development and was the DCDC lead for the Strategic Defence and Security Review team.

In 2010 on promotion to Colonel he was assigned to STRIKFORNATO as the Assistant Chief of Staff Operations. From March to October 2011 he was the Deputy Operations Director for the NATO operation in Libya, in Headquarters Combined Joint Task Force Operation Unified Protector. In 2012 he returned to the UK to be a member of the Royal College of Defence Studies and completed a MA in International Security and Strategic Studies through Kings College, London. In August 2013 Colonel Pierson assumed command of 43 Commando, Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines.




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Operation Olympics


Operation Olympics is the codename for the massive military effort to provide security and assistance to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Some 2,600 sailors, Royal Marines, Fleet Air Arm and RFA personnel are involved from flag raisers at medal ceremonies to venue security, floating command centres, eyes in the sky and helicopters and boats on patrol safeguarding venues.

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British ships and units are committed to operations around the world. Operations focus on maritime security, reassurance and wider regional engagement to build regional maritime capability.


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