POTD: BOPE’s 40th anniversary badge

    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.

    The famous BOPE patch, as worn on the unit’s 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.

    About 10,000 empty rifle and pistol cartridges were used to make the skull symbol.

    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.

    Rodrigo Camacho proudly poses in front of his work with a quartet of BOPE operatives providing, eh, security. Their rifles (l-to-r): three Armalite AR-10A4s (one with a tan Magpul stock) and an Armalite AR-10 Super SASS, all in 7.62x51mm.


    Higher- res pics: https://imgur.com/a/TDfi1


    Ronaldo Olive

    Ronaldo is a long-time (starting in the 1960s) Brazilian writer on aviation, military, LE, and gun subjects, with articles published in local and international (UK, Switzerland, and U.S.) periodicals. His vast experience has made him a frequent guest lecturer and instructor in Brazil’s armed and police forces.