Since it was founded at the height of the Second World War, the SAS has been at the very centre of Britain's elite national defence.
But even some of its most audacious and impressive feats haven't exactly been in the public eye.
With the 1980 Iranian hostage crisis controversially broadcast on TV news in real time, the elite British Army squadron's tactics became better known than ever.
The group's incredible stealth and state-of-the-art combat training – plus a healthy dose of good old-fashioned courage – again showed themselves in the SAS raid on a Taliban-controlled area to rescue 20 comrades just this week.
Yet there's still plenty of incredible SAS missions the public don't know lots about, with unsolved mysteries and still top-secret files locked away deep in the MoD.
Here are just a few of the Special Air Service's most incredible missions.
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Operation Bigamy – 1942
The first test of the special forces squadron established just months beforehand, Operation Bigamy – sometimes wrongly labelled "Snowdrop" – was a mission to destroy the Libyan harbour of Benghazi during the North Africa campaign.
Bigamy failed: an Italian recon unit spotted hundreds of Special Air Service Brigade vehicles, alerting the Luftwaffe who swiftly bombed 70 of them.
Despite the terrible losses, Commander David Stirling was trusted by higher-ups for his risk-taking and the Brigade merged with Free French and Greek sections soon later to become the SAS.
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It has never been known by anything else since.
Operation Nimrod – 1980
The SAS conducted scores of missions between WWII and the 1980s, but it never entered the public consciousness quite like it did on a bank holiday Monday evening in May 1980.
At the tail end of a six-day crisis at the Iranian Embassy in South Kensington in which an Iranian Arab terrorist group took 26 hostages, the SAS were called in to end the siege.
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After just 17 minutes of fighting, all but one of the terrorists was dead – with the last in custody. Not a single of the remaining hostages was harmed.
With TV channels switching from the World Snooker Championships to broadcast the siege in real time, the SAS got more attention than ever.
The regiment didn't like this – having defined itself for its enviable secrecy, it went straight against the squadron's raison d'etre.
But the SAS was swarmed with new, highly skilled applicants.
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And the government began to use it as a well-branded example of Britain's security calibre.
It wasn't quite the role the SAS first imagined for itself, but that newfound fame allowed the organisation to grow larger than it ever thought possible.
Operation Tango – 1997
Two years after the end of the Bosnian War, military operations to track down the war criminals who caused so much suffering were at full throttle.
The SAS were, of course, involved.
In June 1997 specialist soldiers strolled into a hospital dressed as Red Cross health workers to detain Milan Kovacevic, an ex-mayor responsible for concentration camps in his area.
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They also surprised an ex-police chief, who died after a brief firefight with the Brit super soldiers.
Kovacevic ended up at The Hague on trial for war crimes, later dying of a heart attack in custody.
SAS-Delta Force raid – 2015
A rare collaboration between the SAS and an elite sub-squadron of the US military, the killing of ISIS deputy Abu Sayyaf in 2015 was a special moment for the Special Relationship.
Although founded in 1977, Delta Force only became a key part of America's covert defence ops recently, taking on a larger role than ever in the fight against ISIS.
But they still needed the help of the British elite squadron which inspired it.
The Sayyaf scalp was also a huge win for the West.
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Not only did Delta Force and the SAS kill the ISIS deputy leader, arrest his wife and rescue a poor Yazidi girl held hostage by the sick terrorist, but they uncovered a trove of intel on how the group operates and brings in cash.
Sayyaf's killing also put an end to the successful and expanding ISIS oil operation, which he led.
The world may be very different to the one in which the SAS was first established, with cyber-security and tech warfare playing a bigger role than ever.
David Stirling's elite group of soldiers who failed to take Benghazi almost 80 years ago have transformed into quite the unit.
But it's clear the prestige, calibre and world-renowned name of the SAS is going nowhere.
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