Beaumont's Raiders, officially the 71st Studies and Observations Group, was a legendary special forces unit during the Great War, operating from 2665 to 2670. They were named for their commander, Marine officer Céleste Beaumont. Its members were chosen from existing special operations units and branches, brought under Beaumont as a joint-service task force. Though its mission changed over the years, its membership was highly limited to individuals who were able to pass a rigorous set of qualifications, and who possessed extensive skills in combat, survival, and covert action.
In the aftermath of the Kojima Incident, the special operatives responsible for foiling the terrorist plot were constituted as the core action team of the 71st SOG. As Céleste Beaumont was the ranking officer and possessed command experience, she was given operational control over the unit. They were assigned a large technical support team and were deployed as part of the 9th Joint Special Forces Brigade in support of military operations on the Soviet front. The company-sized Raiders unit took part in several successful missions, most of which are still classified. The primary action team remained the initial four: Captain Céleste Beaumont of the Marines, Air Officer Hervé Morrison of the Imperial Air Force, Lieutenant Junior Grade Damien of the Imperial Space Navy, and Master Sergeant Mariah Ruby of the Army Special Forces.
The unit's exploits in the Great War remain largely classified. However, public data has shed some light on the events of the unit's wartime service. It is known that they were formed in 2665 and deployed in the Soviet front. Extensive victories were attributed to the destruction of Soviet military deep-space infrastructure, likely the results of military saboteurs. The unit was deployed consistently until an incident in July 2667.
On 30 May, the Imperial Army captured a major city on the Soviet-occupied planet Mocny in deep Tauran space. The battle for the planet was nearly over, and the capture of the city established a strategic control over the planet's railways and potable water supply. On 6 July, the commanding officer chose to conduct a hastily-assembled military parade through the city square. The members the 71st SOG, having assisted in the direct fighting and capture, were assigned to the right flank of the parade column in a place of honour behind the staff car. Soviet guerillas attacked the parade using suicide bombers and two machine-gun armed fighters, killing 36 soldiers and injuring 103. Among those killed were Mariah Ruby, who was blown in half by a bomb exploding from inside of a child suicide bomber she was shaking the hands of. Captain Beaumont was severely injured by shrapnel while shielding the staff car from the same blast. Air Officer Morrison and Lieutenant JG Damien took cover and returned fire on the guerillas, dispatching the two gunners.
The team was temporarily headed by Air Officer Morrison for the remainder of the year. After Beaumont's recovery and return to duty in January 2668, Morrison was relieved of command. In March Lieutenant Damien was given command of his own special forces group, the 72nd SOG or "Devil's Sons" field unit.
The unit attained its greatest fame as an elite counter-terror task force, a role they took on in . The unit remained around the size of a company, with a team of field operators and a large support staff.
In April 2668, Air Officer Morrison died. It is still undisclosed as to if he died in combat or during a training exercise. The Raiders were replenished with new recruits from the Imperial Strategic Intelligence Agency, including special agents William McGrady and Zenzi Rothschild, as well as then-mercenary and future State Security leadership figures Xander Vox and Brian Kessar. The unit was placed under the direct supervision of Imperial Strategic Intelligence special agent and National Humanist political commissar Henry Heavenly from April 2667 to October 2669. Heavenly was reassigned to the ISIA operations staff and team member William McGrady was promoted to the rank of Standardier and assigned Heavenly's former position as the unit's "political handler". Beaumont was promoted to Major in June 2668 and Colonel in December 2669. Beaumont and McGrady shared command over the unit, which had expanded to include roughly forty operatives in auxiliary action teams. In January 2670, Standardier McGrady was appointed commander of the 9th Joint Special Forces Brigade, which included the 71st SOG.
In November 2670, McGrady was appointed to head the Field Operations Agency of the newly-minted Imperial State Security Department with the rank of Prefect, equivalent to a Lieutenant General. Colonel Beaumont was reassigned to Emperor Maximilian's personal staff and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General. Brian Kessar was recruited into the State Security forces. Xander Vox joined the civilian-paramilitary Imperial guard detachment. Zenzi Rothschild retired from the security service. The unit continued to nominally exist with its significant support staff and other operational detachments under McGrady's command until it was formally disbanded in January 2671.