22 August 1929 (age 82) |
22x20px Nazi Germany (1944 to 1945)|
|Service/branch||Luftwaffe 20px Bundesgrenzschutz|
|Awards||Commander's Cross of the Federal Cross of Merit|
Ulrich K. "Ricky" Wegener (born August 22, 1929) is a retired German police officer and founding member of the counter-terrorist force GSG 9. He was born in Jüterbog, Brandenburg. After World War II Brandenburg became part of the Soviet Occupation Zone, which in 1949 became the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany.
Early life[edit | edit source]
Wegener's first military experience was when he was conscripted into the Luftwaffe as a 15 year old during the final days of WW2. As a result of this he spent a brief period as a prisoner in a US POW camp at the end of the war. In the early 1950s Wegener was arrested for the illegal distribution of dissident pamphlets within East Germany and was imprisoned for one year. In 1952 Wegener moved to West Germany and participated in entrance examinations for the Officer Candidate School of the German Armed Forces.
Career[edit | edit source]
The man tasked with creating the tactics and strategies that would be used by Germany's first exclusive counter-terrorist force, Colonel Wegener was the Bundesgrenzschutz (Federal Border Protection) liaison officer for German Interior Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher at the time of the Munich Olympics. Wegener witnessed the botched attempt to rescue the Israeli hostages held by Palestinian terrorists at Munich in 1972 and was subsequently assigned to create an elite counter-terrorist unit by the West German government after the disaster.
GSG 9[edit | edit source]
Counter-terrorist units were still a relatively unheard of form of combating terrorism and the only truly established groups at the time were Britain's Special Air Service and Israel's Sayeret Matkal. To this end, Colonel Wegener trained with both groups, assimilating many of their methods into the doctrine he would establish for the GSG 9. Wegener’s time with the SAS is well documented, but his training with the Sayeret (and alleged participation in the rescue of the Israeli hostages in the Operation Entebbe) is less publicized.
Raid on Mogadishu[edit | edit source]
Wegener was the GSG 9 commander at the liberation of the hostages of the PFLP on the Boeing 737 Landshut, operated by Lufthansa as flight 181, in Mogadishu, Somalia, in the night from the 17th to the 18th October 1977. Wegener, at the head of one group, blew open the front door of the aircraft as the German commandos stormed the plane. Two terrorists were killed, one was fatally wounded and the fourth was captured alive. For further details of the hijacking see RAF and Lufthansa Flight 181. Having both planned and led the successful operation to liberate the hostages of the Lufthansa 181 hijacking Wegener was awarded the German Commander's Cross of the Federal Cross of Merit (Großes Bundesverdienstkreuz).
Later life[edit | edit source]
After his retirement from GSG 9 Wegener worked as an Advisor for the creation of counter-terrorism units of foreign countries, e.g. in Saudi Arabia. Wegener is currently a member of the KÖTTER GmbH & Co. KG Verwaltungsdienstleistungen Security Committee.
References[edit | edit source]
- Lanning, Michael Lee (2002). Blood Warriors: American Military Elites. New York: Random House. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-553-75647-0.
- Interview with Wegener in NEUE PRESSE, Hannover vom 26. November 2008
- http://www.swatseries.com/Images/C_7-8_06_Suenkler.pdf (German)