Having started life as NuCOE – Núcleo da Companhia de Operações Especiais (Special Operations Company Nucleus) on January 19, 1978, Rio de Janeiro State Military Police’s famous BOPE – Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais (Special Police Operations Battalion) recently commemorated its 40th anniversary. Since it became a full-fledged Battalion on March 1, 1991, the unit has been well known by its “faca na caveira” (dagger in skull, symbolizing “victory over death”) badge, proudly worn in patches on the troops’ black and camo uniforms.
It just so happened that some time before the 40th anniversary celebrations, a unit’s friend and habitual visitor to its base in the Laranjeiras borough, South Zone of Rio de Janeiro, took a quick to look inside one of the outfit’s armored vehicles, just in from a heavy firefighting operation, and saw its floor covered with empty rifle cartridges. This immediately sparked an idea in his head: to use them – a whole lot of them, in fact – to make a large-size badge and donate it to his BOPE friends.
Duly authorized by “the brass” (no pun intended, but unavoidable…), artist Rodrigo Camacho collected the necessary material, took it to his studio, and had the final product ready in about nine days weighing a hefty 70 kg and being 1.20 m in height. In approximate figures, he used 10,000 cartridges (6,000 7.62x51mm, 2,000 5.56x45mm, 1,000 9x19mm, and 1,000 .40 S&W) mounted on a resin base.
Needless to say, the clever-looking BOPE badge took a prominent display area in the Battalion’s base, and was a major point of attraction during the official 40th anniversary ceremonies that took place there on January 19, 2018. Yes, countless people formed lines to have their selfies taken beside that work of art.
Higher- res pics: https://imgur.com/a/TDfi1