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Valour and Courage
Death or Glory
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The Courageous
Who Have Looked At
Death In The Eye
Stories Of Valour
No Atheists
In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God

Which must always come to pass

He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?

Have you always turned the other cheek?

To My Church have you been true?"

"No, Lord, I guess I ain't

Because those of us who carry guns

Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around

Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here,

Lord, It needn't be so grand,

I never expected or had too much,

But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Remembering a Warrior of Seventh Rangers - Captain Tong Lye Heng
Monday, September 26, 2022

Seventh Ranger.. Not a lone Ranger... Or Burt Lancaster... But got out of danger.... From the communist onslaught..... But still in last laughter.... For pulling off a battle scarred caper.... 7th Ranger Warrior in heartland of terror..... Has given more to nation, than an Army Commander - Loga

Cpt Tong Lye Heng (left), army veteran and Lt Col Wong Ah Jit, secretary of MACVA.
Out of nowhere, a gunshot came from a distance and hit Captain Tong’s left hip.
“I would come to learn later after the incident from my sentry that the enemy was already walking to a claymore mine, but since it was installed improperly, it did not explode," he recounted being shot by a Communist insurgent. Tong Lye Heng, now a 71-year-old army veteran was reliving the moment when he was fighting the communists in the dense forests of Grik, Perak during the 1970s and nearly lost his life defending his country.
Now a proud member of the newly formed Malaysian Armed Forces Chinese Veterans (MACVA), Captain Tong's story is but one of the thousands of wounded and fallen unsung heroes who have put our nation's security first ahead of their personal life. Throughout the country’s 60 years of independence, the country has survived through many threats thanks to the sacrifices of our warriors, such as the communist insurgency during the 1970s, the Konfrontasi with Indonesia and recently, the invasion of Lahad Datu by the self-styled Sulu Sultanate challenging Malaysian sovereignty over Sabah.
Captain Tong's discharge papers.
In conjunction with Warrior's Day, Malaysian Digest is putting the spotlight on our brave soldiers have been wounded and to honour those who lost their lives in the line of duty throughout the country’s history. Veteran Shares His Experience Fighting The Communist During The Emergency Cpt Tong Lye Heng (left), army veteran and Lt Col Wong Ah Jit, secretary of MACVA.Cpt Tong Lye Heng (left), army veteran and Lt Col Wong Ah Jit, secretary of MACVA.
The trousers Captain Tong wore when he was shot on 10 June 1971. The hole in the right is where the bullet hit him in the hip, while the stains near the hole are blood stains from the wound.
“I was assigned as the leader for 7th Ranger Platoon in the Sungai Petani camp. The 26 soldiers in that platoon were newly assigned to me at that time, so I did not know them very well. “The boys who I was familiar with, whom I spent three months in the jungle, were assigned to other posts,” recalled Captain Tong,” who joined the army on 6th March 1969. On 10th June 1971, his battalion established a base in the forest, and has placed claymore mines and other defenses around the outside perimeter of their base.
After his boys has finished placing the mines and gun placements, Captain Tong decided to conduct some reconnaissance at the south of the base to check whether his boys did them perfectly. “My sentry actually spotted the enemy much earlier, before the enemy shot me, and he tried to shoot him first with his light machine gun. However, he was panicking, and could not realise that his safety catch was on the ‘Safe’ position and not in ‘Rapid Fire’ or ‘Automatic’ position,” the captain shared his brush with death with Malaysian Digest.
Cpt Tong (right) during a training session in Sungai Petan
A safety catch is a mechanism in all guns that is designed to prevent accidental discharge of the bullets. When a safety catch is put in the ‘Safe’ position, a gun cannot shoot. He said he did not know that the soldier he picked as a sentry was an inexperienced soldier, since he was not familiar with the new platoon. Had it been if he was with his old platoon, he would know who would be more suited for sentry and other roles.
“There were two enemy soldiers, one of them saw me first and immediately shot me. The trousers Captain Tong wore when he was shot on 10 June 1971. The hole in the right is where the bullet hit him in the hip, while the stains near the hole are blood stains from the wound.
“We only saw two soldiers, but in the thick of the forest, we could not know if there were more of them behind the two soldiers,” he recalled. The communists often send groups of two soldiers as scouting parties to scout the area before sending in the main fighting force. Captain Tong’s soldiers immediately returned fire and ordered artillery strikes to hit the area around the enemies, while his second-in-command contacted the nearby headquarters and asked for a helicopter to lift the captain out of the forest.
Two hours later, the Nuri helicopter arrived but received heavy fire from the communists. However, an army medic managed to rappel down to temporarily treat Captain Tong, before the helicopter retreated. “The medic gave me shots of morphine and IV, and that helped save my life,” he said. After some time, the Nuri helicopter returned to the scene and this time an Alouette helicopter followed as well, to provide covering fire while Captain Tong was being rescued.
“The whole thing was reminiscent to that of the Vietnam War,” said Captain Tong. He was lifted to Klian Intan and then to a hospital in Penang. He was immediately taken to an operating theatre for an operation. According to the doctor, the bullet missed his spine by half of an inch. Captain Tong was treated at the Penang Hospital for three months, and then spent a month at the Terendak camp. Four months after he was shot, he returned to the Sungai Petani headquarters to resume his duty.
However, he was not assigned to the frontlines and instead handled the administration and tactics of the war effort. “Later on, I was assigned as an intelligence officer and I helped devise an operation to strike the communists in Gunung Bongsu. “We managed to kill some communists in that operation,” recalled the captain, who managed to use that chance to strike back at the enemy who almost took his life from that operation.
Captain Tong did not stay long in the army, and was honourably discharged on 9th October 1976. His disciplined life in the army has taught him incredible lessons that have helped him adapt to the civilian life. Captain Tong's discharge papers. Captain Tong's discharge papers. “After the army, I joined the plantation industry as a manager. When I was in the army, I had valuable lessons in team management as a captain and head of a platoon.
“That experience translates perfectly to managing a plantation,” he said. After 18 years in the plantation industry he switched places to work in the cargo shipping sector. Now, he runs his own cargo shipping company. Cpt Tong (right) during a training session in Sungai Petani.Cpt Tong (right) during a training session in Sungai Petani.
From The Malaysian Digest
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 5:00 AM   0 comments
Tribute to a respected commanding officer By Adrian David - June 4, 2022 @ 5:59pm
Sunday, June 05, 2022

Col Harchand Singh during his service days

New Straits Times
: PORT DICKSON: The late Col (Rtd) Harchand Singh had the distinction of having commanded four Royal Ranger Regiment battalions. Till today, he still holds that record of helming the 4th, 2nd, 5th and 9th battalions.

Harchand, who turned 92 on April 7, died following an illness at his Port Dickson home on May 24 and his remains were cremated at the Sendayan Fairy Park, the next day.

At his funeral, Harchand's former student, Major-Gen (Rtd) Datuk Toh Choon Siang had high praises for his master, someone he has known for 45 years.

Harchand left a lasting impression among his charges, whom he had often described as his 'precious jewels' who fought alongside him in many battles against communist insurgents, the Confrontation (with Indonesia) and the two Emergencies.

"I had known him since the day I joined the Army way back in January 1977, when my Short-Service Commission Intake 31 batch mates and I reported for training at the Pre-Officers Cadet Training Unit (Pre-OCTU) at Sebatang Karah camp in Port Dickson, Negri Sembilan.

"Harchand was the facility's commandant (as a lieutenant-colonel)," said Toh, in his eulogy at Harchand's funeral in Port Dickson, recently.

Present to pay their last respects were Harchand's widow Eva Guest and son Zoraveer Singh, Army Senior Officers Institute commandant Brig-Gen Inderjit Singh and his deputy Col Suthan Venkatachalam, Army Training and Doctrine chief of staff Col Jagjit Singh and its Colonel Doctrine Col Norulhisham Mohd Shuib, Army Infantry Directorate deputy director Col Wan Edenin Wan Mahsin, Negri Sembilan Veterans Association secretary-general Major (Rtd) Sahi Kassim and Harchand's close buddy Major (Rtd) A. R. Ramachandran.

Major-Gen (Rtd) Datuk Toh Choon Siang presenting his eulogy at the funeral of the late Col (Rtd) Harchand Singh in Port Dickson, Negri Sembilan. - NSTP/ADRIAN DAVID
Major-Gen (Rtd) Datuk Toh Choon Siang presenting his eulogy at the funeral of the late Col (Rtd) Harchand Singh in Port Dickson, Negri Sembilan. - NSTP/ADRIAN DAVID

Also there were Toh's batch mates Lt Col (Rtd) Lee Chee Kiat, Capt (Rtd) Loo Choon Chew, Capt (Rtd) Chong Phi Lip and Capt (Rtd) Steven Liew Hon Seng.

They gathered around Harchand's coffin to accord him a final salute as the 'Last Post' was played, before Toh handed over the national flag symbolically to Zoraveer.

Toh, who retired as the Sibu, Sarawak-based Army First Division commander in 2019, said Harchand's appointment to command four Ranger battalions was something anyone could pride himself of.

Reminiscing his earlier service days, Toh said between 1983 and 1985, he had the honour of serving under Harchand again as an instructor at the Army Combat Training Centre (Pulada) in Ulu Tiram, Johor.

"A true officer and gentleman, Harchand was a great commander, leader, father and elder brother to all of us in the Armed Forces.

"He sacrificed a good 33 years of his youth serving the Army with distinction," said Toh, adding that Harchand was among the first group of multiracial officers who joined the Pre-OCTU of the Federation Military College in 1952.

"Harchand was among the early ones selected for cadet training, after the famous 'Templer's 12' (12 young men hand-picked by British High Commissioner, Field Marshal Tun Sir Gerald Templer to form the nucleus of Army officers).

"After six months at Pre-OCTU, Harchand's group of 36 potential officers were initially sent to Eaton Hall, England for a six-month stint.

"He was among 24 who proceeded to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, England for another six months before being commissioned as a second-lieutenant in 1955 into the 1st Battalion Federation Regiment," said Toh.

Harchand was promoted to lieutenant-colonel in 1968 and first commanded the 4th battalion (based in Ipoh, Perak), then the 2nd (Kota Kinabalu, Sabah) a year later, 5th (Port Dickson) in 1972 and 9th (Penang) in 1978.

He was promoted to colonel in 1981 as Pulada commandant and retired in 1985.

"Harchand lived a long and colourful life and we are going to miss him dearly.

"Though we are sad that he has to leave us but we should be happy at the same time, because he need not have to endure anymore pain due to his recent illness.

"On behalf of all his comrades, I would like to thank Eva for having taken such good care of him all these years.

"He would not have enjoyed the good life he had, without you," Toh said.

He thanked the church for organising the wake and the funeral service.

Toh commended the 8th Battalion Royal Rangers Regiment (Parachute), led by commanding officer Lt Col Zahari Affandi Mat Noor, for arranging the pall bearers to ceremoniously send off the Malaysian flag-draped coffin of Harchand's cortege.

"Lastly, on behalf of Eva, Harchand's friends, relatives and former comrades in arms, I will like to bid him a heartfelt farewell and may you have a smooth journey to the better place.

"Rest in Peace Sir!" Toh summed up.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 1:18 AM   0 comments
Lest We Forget: 7th Rangers on the Rebounce, Lundu, Sarawak, 1972 By Lieutenant Colonel Baldev Singh Johl (Retired)
Tuesday, May 03, 2022
On 26th March 2022, I stood in silence for one minute with Lt Col Bathamanthan M, to honor those killed in an ambush 50 years ago due to some major tactical miscalculations. There have been many Whys, no answers.

I prayed for their souls to rest in peace. No one was under my command but we belonged to the same unit, 7th Rangers, one of the most scarred units in our army.

A monument has been built at the site of the ambush but there appears a lack of will to launch it. Do we not feel the pain?

Major Sabdin Ghani as a 2nd Lieutenant in 7th Rangers who should have at least been bestowed with a SP or PGB, when lesser individuals than him were disgracefully honored because of connections

The Ambush, 26th March 1972

The bitterness is still in the mouth and the pain deep in our hearts. Fifty years have passed, the lives lost should not be lost in vain.

It was that un-fateful day on 26th March 1972, that an admin convoy from 7th Rangers, comprising an assorted group of ‘bottle washers’ was ambushed by a group of about 30 - 40 Communist Terrorists (CTs) along the Lundu-Biawak road. At that time, 7th Ranger’s main fighting force was operating in the Serian area in a special operation under 3rd Malaysian Infantry Brigade, Kuching, Sarawak. In the ambush, 15 soldiers were killed, 4 were wounded and the CT group captured a number of weapons and a TRA 906 radio set.

As this news dawned upon the unit’s fighting echelons in Serian, blood boiled past threshold levels. Having lost 15 of our soldiers there was little we could do from Serian, some 150km away from Lundu where 7th Rangers was stationed. Under our breaths we wowed revenge. Operation BELA was launched.

Redeployment, 27th March 1972

In the early hours of 27th March, we redeployed directly into our redesigned Area of Operations (AO). A Company (A Coy) was flown from a landing point (LP) at ferry point (intersection of road Lundu-Bau/Sg Stamin) and off loaded into the swampy area of Kg Mengkudu, some 10kms south of the ambush site. We spent the next 3 weeks searching with no joy. We were too far south. My platoon (No 3 Pl) was in a bad shape – fatigued and badly in need for some fresh cloths. I had returned the previous day from my Company Support Weapons course at PULADA, to be confronted with this tragedy. My Officer in Command (OC), Capt Sabdin Ghani, was on course in Australia. The company was commanded by the Company Second in Command (Coy 2IC), Lt Abdullah Hj Yusuf, a joyful officer but at this time there were no smiles, instead I could see he was breathing fire.


Rest & Replenishment, 15th April to 18th April 1972

On 15th April, A Coy was withdrawn to Tac Hq, at Lundu for some rest and replenishment. I was quick to get my boys their clothing exchanged, cleaned up weapons, ammunitions and conducted a hygiene inspection of the platoon. We caught up with some rest and I took some time to orientate myself to our unit’s AO. There was always a lot of activity going on in the operations room (Ops Room) and I guessed it was on enemy assessments and where we would be redeployed after our short rest.

There was also some time to catch up with the other officers in the unit. Generally, there was a gloom hanging over our heads. A major strike was needed to change this.

CT Signs Emerge, 18th April 1972

On the 18th April, at about 1500hrs, I was informed that a border scout had brought some “information”. We needed that! Lt Abdullah was called up to the Ops Room and when he returned, he called the Coy’s Orders group: “This morning (18th April) a CT group made inquiries about crossing Sg Stamin at a jungle fringe at Kg Perian (about 20 kms south of Lundu). They were dressed in green and carried weapons. It is assessed this group intends to cross Sg Stamin and head to Bau using the track leading to the Lundu-Bau road. Coy Hq and No 2 Pl will investigate this. When we make contact, Baldev, you will do the follow up. Be ready to move from here (Tac Hq)”. I was ready.

The Move Out

At 1800hrs, A Coy Hq and No 2 Pl moved out on 1 x Land Rover and 2 x 3-ton trucks: WO2 Abdul Rahman, also known as ‘Rahman Harimau’, the Company Sargeant Major (CSM) instructed the group “masa kita keluar kem, jangan pandang balik!” Whatever meaning it carried I took it was for good. I bided the group luck and saw them leave Lundu camp. They crossed the ferry point at Sg Stamin and debussed some 8 kms up road at a track junction branching off the Lundu – Bau road to Kg Perian. I geared up my platoon and waited for developments.

Linear Ambush

Under the moonlight Abdullah’s group moved silently along the track towards Kg Perian/Sg Stamin. At around midnight Lt Abdullah decided to stop and continue the move at first light. He set out a linear ambush along the track and carefully laid 2 claymore mines covering the killing area – the track towards the river. Once set, the group waited. The moonlight was bright enough to watch the front.

The Ambush is Sprung

About 30 mins later, four (4) figures (dark shadows) appeared walking slowly along the track heading towards the road junction. The figures suddenly stopped in the killing area. They must have sensed something unusual. The lead figure stamped his foot 4 times on the ground and the figures started moving backwards. Abdullah sprung the ambush igniting the claymore mines. This was followed by a brief fire fight before the peace of the night returned amidst the strong smell of gunpowder. Then it was a long wait to dawn as the ‘fogs of war’ crept it.

Abdullah reported the contact by morse code as there was heavy atmospheric interreference. I alerted my platoon and moved to the Communications Centre and kept myself updated on the situation. Details were sketchy but sufficient for my deployment. By 0600hrs my platoon crossed the ferry point and we deployed to the north of the contact site.

2 CTs Killed, TRA 906 Recovered!

At first light, Abdullah searched and mopped up the killing area. One CT lay dead close to the killing area and another was found a short distant away.

Abdullah reported the findings: “2 CTs KIA!” That was great, we got them! A short while later Abdullah reported the finding of 2 weapons and 4 packs.

A search of the packs was made. To our joy Abdullah found the radio set we lost in the ambush of 26th March 1972. It was neatly packed in one of the packs.

He reported: “We have recovered our TRA 906 radio set!”

At that moment, a voice rang out on the other side: “Golf Oscar Charlie speaking, confirm that you have recovered the lost radio set?”

Abdullah: “Yes! Confirmed it our radio set!”

The voice: “Well done! Keep it up!”

That was all we need, a good result. That day, 19th April 1972, our revenge began! These kills also marked the first operational success for of 7th Rangers since formation. There was great joy especially on hearing the recovery of our radio set. This was a morale booster: the gloom was lifted! The unit’s battle account was opened and we needed to put in more credit into the account.

Blood Trails

In the follow up operation, we found heavy blood trails and bits of human flesh scattered along the track to Sg Stamin where the trails were lost. It appeared another CT was severely wounded. It was later confirmed through other contacts, that the blood trail was that of another wounded CT who succumbed to the wounds. The information was decoded from letters captured during contacts elsewhere.

Charlie Company Scored Too, May/June 1972

The following months were spent on search and destroy just waiting to make the next contact. There were strikes by Charlie Company under Capt Ropee Adnan and Lt Zulkifly Abdul Rahman (late). Two CTs were KIA in the Titiakar area, about 15 kms away from Lundu in May/June 1972. In this contact again, atmospheric interference was heavy and communications difficult. I was deployed to set up a rebro station midway to relay results and instructions.


More Information Surfaces, 24th July 1972

During our next standby at the Tac Hq, there was a similar report to that of our first contact in April. This time my OC, Capt Sabdin Ghani was back in command.

At about 1600hrs on 24th July 1972, Capt Sabdin was called to the Ops Room by the Commanding Officer (CO), Lt Col Hussein Ali Piah. In the Op Room, the unit IO, Lt Dan Yunan and a scruffy looking border scout were waiting. Behind the scruffy looks, the information we needed was splashed: a CT group had been conducting regular visits to an outlaying hut/house (isolated) in Kg Kabong, about 10 kms east of Kg Selampit, a village located along Sungai Stamin, some 50 kms south of Lundu. The group usually stayed long hours till midnight and had been coming almost every night. That was all Capt Sabdin wanted. If this border scout travelled some 60 kms to pass this information, then there was high chance it to be true and an opportunity to be exploited. 

After some detailed discussions, Capt Sabdin returned to the Coy lines. It looked like he had a plan worked out in his head.

“We are going to get this group!”

Capt Sabdin called his Orders Group, selected his light strike team and tasked me as the standby again for follow up. His orders were brief and to the point: “We are going to get this group! Baldev, you will be on standby here at Tac Hq. You move immediately when we make contact”. Capt Sabdin had a style of delivering his orders – short, sharp and he had a very menacing look on his face. I noticed how he gritted his teeth. I saw determination on his face, it inspired me.

Preamble – I Report to 7th Rangers, April 1971

I commissioned on 16th April 1971 at the Royal Military College (RMC), Sg Besi or Iron River as many of us referred it to. I was the lone ranger to report to 7th Rangers at Tac Hq in Kelian Intan, Kroh, Perak. The unit was then on Ops Kota. After a brief orientation to the unit, thanks to the noisy group: the Adjutant, Capt Norman Sta Maria (late), the IO, Capt Soman Selvaraj (late) and our Regimental Medical Officer Capt Dr Yong (Uncle ‘Fangs’- big eater!), I was set to move on. The orientation included initiation of the ‘Rainbow Special’, seven “assorted drinks” to signify 7th Rangers, to be downed in one go at the mess: I do not know how but I did it! Capt Ropee Adnan, the OC of C Coy, had me disappear from the mess during the 2 nights at Tac Hq, into the bunker beside the mess. It was very cold at night and the mess staff were kind to throw me some blankets. Some orientation it was, whatever was thrown at me I took it! But I looked forward to joining the subunit I was meant to be in.

The CO, Lt Col Hussein Ali Piah after welcoming me said: “You will join A Coy in Kg Alai”. It was located some 15 kms down the Klian Intan-Grik road.

I report to Capt Sabdin Ghani, OC A Coy

A Coy was commanded by Capt Sabdin Ghani, a Sabahan with some dashing looks. I was to command no 3 Pl, Call Sign 13 – it was a great coincidence, I was from Regular Intake 13 and my order of merit was 13th at my commissioning! I liked it – 13!.

Capt Sabdin welcomed me to the coy. He was warm but stern and after my interview I felt I had reached ‘home’, after being transformed from a milk-selling schoolboy into a cadet and then a 2nd Lt, the output of our proud RMC.

Capt Sabdin was very uncompromising on op discipline. On my very first op in the Kg Kerunai area in Grik, Perak in May 1971, one of my boys, lost a GPMG 7.62mm link-belt of 250 rounds. He only reported the loss on our return to base at Kg Alai. Naturally I had to report the loss to Capt Sabdin. He was not happy!! Bad start for me! He gave me a pounding and sent my platoon back immediately to recover the ammunition. Luckily, we found the belt at the place we based on the first day. On my return, I got the second dose, a lesson on leadership and responsibility that I never forgot. Capt Sabdin made me go through my first day sitrep in which I should have reported the loss. It was first lesson for me and it came quick on my very first mission.

Over some time, I got used to Capt Sabdin’s style of command. Many of his attributes I picked up and applied them myself. He coached me well and there was always plenty to learn. I walked tall in the unit. Obviously, Capt Sabdin became my mentor. He was a great sportsman too and I was pleased that we were in the unit’s hockey team. We displayed our skills well in local competitions in Sg Petani, Kedah where we challenged some top-ranking clubs, won some lost some.

Critical Considerations, 24th July 1972

Having analysed the requirements for the mission, Capt Sabdin selected a lean group – it was obvious, he wanted to travel light and fast. A vital criterion was the move upstream Sg Stamin at night for about 50 kms in two local boats. This needed experience and sound knowledge of the river especially at night. The Military Intelligence Officer (MIO) staff assisted in identifying two experienced boatmen. They were ready but unaware of the mission ahead.

Group Selection

Capt Sabdin’s strike team comprised Sargeant (Sgt) Lukas, a tough looking Sabahan, who took his orders and kept them in his memory - he was unable to read and write, so he remembered the orders well in his head. Lukas was also a feared sergeant and a disciplinarian. Capt Sabdin had full trust in him. Others in the group included Lance Corporal (LCpl) Rahman Puteh, a lively and very nitty character but at this time he walked around biting his lips. LCpl Ibrahim, my basketball teammate was the medical orderly. There was a radio operator and 7 others – rough and tough looking. Morale was high and they appeared very excited of the mission. I guessed they like it as it broke away from the routine search and destroy stuff.

The Night Move

At 1800hrs, I followed the group down to the Lundu jetty and saw them off in the 2 boats on local hire. The boatmen knew the river well and their night navigation skills were excellent. I stayed at the jetty till they disappeared into the night, again under the moonlight. I got back to the barracks and checked on my platoon, yes, the boys were ready. I found a comfortable place close by, leaned on my pack, felt my weapon beside me and visualised what laid ahead.

The group made steady progress and by 2130hrs reached Kg Selampit. They got off the boats and moved immediately to Kg Kabong, about 10 kms away, led by the border scout. The moonlight was a great advantage as it enhanced movement. The route to the target area was partly over swampy waters connected to dry points by bamboo stilts. Some in the group slipped off the stilts, recovered and made the stilts slippery but the group kept up with the pace moving quietly.

The Target

Just past midnight, they reached the target area, Kg Kabong. From the jungle fringe, some 200 meters away Capt Sabdin saw the two isolated huts with an open platform connecting the huts. And seated around a lighted lamp, the CTs were busy in conversation - 2 CTs were clearly seen while the other figures were mixed of locals.

“Dia akan balik tak lama lagi (they will be leaving very soon)” the border scout said, recalling that the CTs used to leave at around mid-night.

Sgt Lukas to Cut Off

Capt Sabdin called Sgt Lukas as he glanced at his watch: “Cepat, bawa 4 orang, buat cut-off sebelah hujung rumah! Saya akan serang dari sini! (Quickly, take 4 boys, move round the house and form a cut-off on the far side! I will attack from here)”. Lukas went off.

The border scout said: “Saya sini saja Tuan, saya tak mau ikut, takut! (I will wait here Sir, I do not want to follow, I am afraid!)”. That was fine with Capt Sabdin and withdrew him to the rear at the jungle fringe.

The Assault

A little while later, Capt Sabdin and his group of 7 started crawling forward to get closer to the huts. As they crawled forward, they pushed away dried mengkuang leaves - big dry leaves that made a cracking noise if stepped on. The CTs were still in conversation as Sabdin’s group inched forward. Sgt Lukas in the meantime had moved in and taken up his cut-off position.

Sabdin’s group closed in to about 50 meters from the huts. Suddenly house dogs started barking. Surprised was compromised, the CTs were alarmed. They said quick goodbyes and moved hastily to get away. As the CTs descended the stilt steps of the huts Capt Sabdin’s group charged forward firing at the CTs. The CTs returned fire and disappeared into the darkness on the far side. The quiet of the night was shattered as Sgt Lukas also opened up from his cut-off position. As the firing ended the stillness of the night crept in again. Capt Sabdin organised an adhoc defence and reported the contact, as the ‘fogs of war’ reappeared.

I had monitored the reports. I moved my boys down to the jetty ready to deploy with our Riverine Unit in 4 assault boats manned by the unit Assault Pioneers. By 0500hrs we were off.

2 More CTs Killed

At first light, Capt Sabdin and his group searched and mopped up the area in the direction of CT withdrawal. LCpl Rahman led the mop up group, he moved forward and found a dead CT. Some 50m further, he found another wounded and motionless CT, seemingly having suffered some serious injury. “Mati la gua!” the CT said. LCpl Rahman: “Puki Mak! Mati la lu!” and he planted a short burst of 9 mm rounds of his SMC into the CT. Rahman felt a sense of relieve seeking revenge for his fallen friends, he later told me. No wonder he was always biting his lips!

Capt Sabdin reported the 2 kills, morale rose high! We were midway to Kg Selampit in our boats and as I passed the information to the boys in the other boats, there was excitement and joy, we were beaming with great pride. I felt the adrenaline rush in my system and at that moment I felt I could fly!

The Follow Up

By 1000hrs I linked up with Capt Sabdin at the contact site. I got a quick brief and the direction the CTs withdrew. I followed the route, zig-zagging along the track to the Indonesian border. At that point all traces of movement were lost. After two days the follow up was called off and the Kg Kabong area was sectorised into an AO for me to operate, to protect the residents of the two huts in case the CTs returned to seek revenge.


Failed Attempts to Recover Contact Documents

Capt Sabdin Ghani was promoted to Major later in service. He left the army in 1975. In 2002, he suffered a stroke and was half paralysed. I visited him in 2007 and 2008 during some safety training assignments (after my retirement from service) in Kota Kinabalu. He was a pale shadow of the dynamite he once was. It was very hurting to see him such. He was able to recognise me and made many gestures which I could not understand. His wife, Kak Noor Jamilah Bee Binti Abdul Majid Osman, a wonderful lady, explained that Sabdin often recalled the contact he had in 1972, even before his stroke, but was greatly disappointed at not being able to get any documents nor visit the site. I too tried to reach out to the documents of the contact but failed. But I promised him I would get it documented.

RIP Maj Dato Sabdin Ghani, 2015

Major Sabdin Ghani was bestowed Datoship by His Highness the Governor of Sabah in 2014. In 1972 he received a federal AMN award. As fate would have it, Dato Sabdin Ghani passed away in 2015. He remains one of my most admired officer and it was a privilege to have served under his command. He deserved better especially of the contact in Kg Kabong in July 1972 where he displayed great valour. May his soul rest in peace forever.



Reflecting back, the past 50 years has brought about much change. 7th Rangers has changed from the foot slogging infantry to mechanised infantry. Documents and records of pervious contacts are rare to find, not only in 7th Rangers but quite widespread in the army. War diaries are not maintained, if at all only found in a few units which know their value. The old officers and soldiers have faded away into the horizon, and their experiences have gone with them. Lessons learnt that ought to have been captured in Contact Analysis Reports are no longer found, hence the gap between the past and the present generation is quite wide. However, there are intriguing aspects of the late 70s and 80s that are worth recapturing.

Changes in Warfare

Insurgency, more so in the local environment is no longer fought from the jungles. Instead, it has found its place in urban areas which calls for doctrinal reviews in combating urban warfare (scope for separate study).

Combat Intelligence

Intelligence formed the basis for operational deployment. The role of Special Branch (SB) and the MIO was paramount. In the contacts of A Coy, border scouts played a vital role in bringing in the information/intelligence thus enabling the unit to make accurate assessments that led to successes. In particular, the border scout who provided the information in Capt Sabdin’s contact, travelled on his own for some 60 kms to reach 7th Rangers Tac Hq. He graded well as a source and substance/information.

However, why was there no information leading to the CT ambush of 26th March 1972? Was the intelligence assessment in the unit’s AO correctly done before being redeployed to Serian? The planning and execution of an ambush takes days. Surely the presence and movements of the CT group (30-40 CTs) could have been detected. Obviously, there was failure to correctly assess the intelligence situation.

Rear Party

The redeployment of the unit’s fighting-echelon to Serian, meant all four rifle companies were committed to Serian. There were no fighting elements left behind to protect the unit’s line of communication (L of C) at Lundu. Those left behind were some “bottle washers” comprising clericals and left out of battle (LOBs). Was 7th Rangers not given time to clear its own AO and secure its L of C before being deployed to Serian? Was consideration to leave behind a credible force to protect its rear done? Some unanswered questions, could the tragedy have been averted?

Night Operations

Movement at night enables concealment and the achievement of surprise, a vital Principle of War. Both, Capt Sabdin’s and Lt Abdullah’s groups were inserted into their mission areas by night. This paved the way to achieve surprise and success. Small groups travelling light move fast. Capt Sabdin exploited this and was able to reach his target in 6 hours and surprise the CT group.


It is a basic requirement that any attack must be preceded with a plan which includes a detailed recognisance. This requirement is more stringent in a night attack. In both the situations confronting Capt Sabdin and Lt Abdullah, decisions made to attack and ambush were made in split seconds. What had gone through the minds of both the officers is hard to predict but both carried consequences of failure. But their decisions bore success. Some aspects of their courses of actions are:

• Lt Abdullah decided to stop at around midnight and to continue movement at first light. As he halted, he laid the linear ambush on the track maximising on the use of claymore mines. About thirty (30) minutes later, the CTs walked in. Had Abdullah continued his march, it would have resulted in a chance contact, the result of which is hard to predict. Would we have recovered the loss of our TRA 906 radio set? A credit to Lt Abdullah, he may have said his prayers right. Did WO11 Rahman Harimau’s statement as they left Lundu camp have any bearing? Or was the element of luck at play?

• Capt Sabdin’s actions were ‘impulse decisions. He was confronted with a time constraint but he held the initiative, he knew the CTs were present but they were unaware of his presence. His decision to send Sgt Lukas immediately to cut-off while he assaulted the CT group was very commendable – it is just what officers are trained to do – make decisions. Defying principles and basic night attack requirements are normally made by risk takers and Capt Sabdin took this bravely. Some key factors influenced the outcome:

o Team selection, Capt Sabdin knew what outcome he desired and selected a lean team. He knew his boys well and they too were excited.

o The moonlight enabled the team to move at a good rate of advance. On reaching his destination Capt Sabdin had a good view of the target itself.

o The team practiced good fieldcraft to the final moment before the assault. In doing so, the element of surprise was achieved to the last possible moment. Credit.

o Capt Sabdin ‘won the fire fight’. He opened fire first and retained the initiative. Fire was further intensified from Sgt Luka’s group.

o The CTs obviously had been complacent in staying long hours and without posting sentries. Perhaps they did not expect a night threat and were over confident.

Morale, the intangible Element of Combat Power

The 3 elements of combat power: firepower, manoeuvre and morale were visible in both contacts, though morale is hard to identify as a physical entity. Both groups were speedily moved into their operations and exerted enough fire power to win the fire fights. With Lt Abdullah’s opening accounts for the unit morale in the unit rose. Needless to say, at company level it was at peak.


Capt Sabdin and Lt Abdullah displayed highly visible leadership qualities. They led from the front. They saw opportunities open and exploited them. They were clear in their orders. They maximised on natural terrain and used the approaches to the targets well. Capt Sabdin displayed raw courage in deciding to launch a quick night attack and was duly rewarded.

There may have been an element of luck in both contacts, Lt Abdullah deciding to stop and lay a linear ambush while the CT’s complacency gave Capt Sabdin an advantage he exploited. Luck is neutral and, in both cases, it fell to the officers of A Coy.


7th Rangers was badly hit in the ambush of the 26th March 1972. Not having any adequate resources to protect its own AO and operating in another AO had its risks and the unit paid the price. Was it fated or could it have been mitigated, only those in authority can tell. Morale in the unit had seeped low. It was a wakeup call and an expensive one.

Lt Abdullah opened the accounts with the contact in April 1972. It brought about a change in the unit. Morale rose. Capt Sabdin raised it higher with his courageous assault on the CT group, warranting gallantry, did someone forget this deed? A Coy contacts created some momentum against the CTs and this was carried further by C Coy. By the time 7th Rangers returned to Peninsular in December 1972, the account against the CTs was almost balanced. The gloom was lifted but the pain and memory of the fallen remains.

Finally, was there any display of gallant action and is there a need to recognise it? Capt Sabdin never at any time asked to be rewarded. He just did his job and moved on. There is a famous saying by a poet, Rudyard Kipling: “In time of war not before, God and Soldier we adore. In times of peace and all things righted, God is forgotten and the Soldier slighted”.

Today Capt Sabdin is dead and gone but he has left behind a legacy of his deeds, his intangible raw courage and valour that has gone unnoticed. Fifty years have passed, it lives on oblivious to the powers that be.

Needless to say, lessons learnt in any contacts or incidents pave way for improvements in tactics and doctrines. These should be captured, replayed in seminar groups and at training institutions. Organisational and technical developments need to be taken into account in order to be current in dealing with insurgency operations of today and the future. However, the lessons of these contacts are worth sharing and deliberating at various levels lest they be forgotten for good. 26th March 2022, 50th year from the Black Day in Biawak!

Lt Col Baldev Singh Johl (Retired) 

Kuala Lumpur

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 2:38 AM   4 comments
King & Country
Sunday, May 01, 2022

During our service to King and Country we experienced some very proud moments which we cherished forever. This is one of mine.

In June 1962 on a cold Wintry afternoon, 'C' Squadron 2nd Reconnaissance Regiment (2 Recce) landed at Lumumbashi Airport, Katanga to an exceptional warm welcome.

At hand to receive us were Senior Officers of the Indian Brigade. When the door of the DC4 opened, the Brass Band of the Rajputana Rifles struck up some military marches.

Led by our OC, Major Asna Sutan we trooped down the gangway and were immediately garlanded, this honour was extended to all Senior NCOs as well. What a fantastic reception! It is moment like this that made one feel so proud of the uniform and the Regiment to which one belonged!!

Some of the senior NCOs with personnel of 16 Cavalry Squadron who were there to greet us. When India was partitioned in 1947, the Army was split up. 16 Cavalry remained in India while 15 Cavalry went to Pakistan. That was how it waas done, by numbers.

Lieutenant Colonel TAN SIEW SOO (Retired)
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 2:59 AM   0 comments
I Announced 'Buka Puasa' With My Canon TAN SIEW SOO, Lt Col, ARMOUR (Retired)
Sunday, April 03, 2022
My Daimler Armoured Car armed with a 2Pounder and a Besa Machine Gun.
This photo taken at Titi Akar, a Siamese village in Kedah, April 1959.

It was a long time ago, way back in 1959. I was then a proud 2nd Lieutenant, a gazetted Division One officer commanding No 1 Sabre Troop, 'C' Squadron, Federation Armoured Car Regiment (FACR).

We were based at Aboukir Camp, a former British Cavalry Squadron Camp along Circular Road Kuala Lumpur, the present location of PNB and Tabung Haji Buildings, Jalan Tun Razak.

I was tasked to assist with the announcement of 'buka puasa' on the first day of Ramadan, 10 March 1959. From Aboukir Camp, I drove my Daimler Armoured Car up to Bluff Hill (now called Bukit Aman) where I positioned my Daimler facing the Selangor Club.

At the precise and exact time on cue, I let fly one round from my 2 Pounder Gun! That would signify breaking of fast for all Muslims in Kuala Lumpur. That was how it was done during the era of pre-TV days.

After this unique experience, my 'C' Squadron FACR was despatched up north and deployed for seven long months on active service chasing the remnants of Chin Peng's men across the border into Southern Thailand from Kedah and Perak.

That's another story for another time!
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 12:33 AM   1 comments
Obituary Lieutenant Colonel Zulkapli 410707 (Retired) - Royal Military College April 1970 Regular Intake 14
Sunday, March 20, 2022

Lt Col Zul left the service on the 1st of July 1993, there were teary eyes all around when he was towed out in an Armoured Fighting Vehicle, himself included.

He was commissioned into 7th Rangers as a 2nd Lieutenant and after that came back as as the Commanding Officer. He was one of the most dynamic and loved Commanding Officer 7th Rangers ever had. Soldiers of 7th Rangers described him as "my best friend". They loved him.

You will not find an officer like him, on Fridays when the Muslims go for their Friday prayers, he allowed the training wing to be used as a place of prayers and gatherings for the Christians. When the Hindus conducted their pilgrimage to the Maran Temple by foot from all over Malaysia from as far as Kuala Lumpur which is 178 km, he had tents placed in front of the camp, with medics to attend to the pilgrims plus refreshments,  the Battalion Regimental Sergeant Major was a Chinese under him.

Every faith festivals were celebrated on a grand scale  be it Gawai, Deepavali, Christmas and Hari Raya. He was one person who did not look at the color of your skin or faith. He told one officer during the color parade in Ipoh,  "You leave an organization, when you are at the best. That's leaving gracefully". That is the reason he left early.

He led the Battalion converting it from a standard infantry battalion into a Mechanized Infantry Battalion, prepared it for it's mission to Somalia. Under him the Battalion emerged champions for the shooting competition in the Brigade.  The Battalion had more than 270 marksman class soldiers.

His mentor when he first joined the unit in the 70's was Captain Ropee. Sadly the Colonel left us on the 14th of December 2021 at around 1029 hrs. His place of rest is at "Tanah Perkuburan Raudhatul Sakinah, Taman Selasih, Karak". Rest in Peace, sir!
More of his images here............
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 5:47 AM   0 comments
Death in Mogadishu (First Published on the 29 April 2007 at 2156 Hrs)
Thursday, February 17, 2022

MALBATT Commander Colonel Radzi  sending off the fallen to Malaysia

Major Len Olivero and his boys recovered the fallen and the captured some fiction had been created to steal the glory and valor of Major Len and his boys!! Do not believe other BS stories.  Colonel Vezzalini told Major Len : "Your boys were brave". To which Major Len replied : "Then why aren't you dead?" As Major Len was totally pissed off!!! They went in unarmed even while being surrounded by technicals, (armed vehicles).

COL Ferdinando SALVATI : Postscript: I forgot to tell you a few more details that you might be interested in:

- Warrant Officer Hare (NZ) was newly assigned to U2, Captain Sen was an operation staff officer and they were in the patrol to have a familiarization tour of the area:

- Captain Sen was slightly wounded on his face during the fight as Colonel Vezzalini was at his arm;- The day of the repatriation of the bodies of the Malaysian killed during the action Colonel Vezzalini was in the airport to honor the heroes. I was not there because I was in the Pakistani field hospital under surgery for removing one bullet from my shoulder. - The Malaysian troops assigned to U2 duties were daily patrolling in the most dangerous and remote area of Mogadishu.
That was the first time in one year, that our patrol included people that was not from the U2 Human Intelligence Team :
COL Ferdinando SALVATI IT AD/Cos Training and Readiness NATO SOF Coordination Centre Commercial: (+32) (0)65-44-8286 Cell: (+32) 478-677-617
The day was a blistering hot day, the rainy season had just ended, leaving tufts of green mingled with garbage along the narrow streets of Mogadishu, on the 18th of July 1994. It was like any other day. It was a mixed bunch of Italians, a New Zealander and Malaysians. This team consisted of 3 Officers and 10 Other Ranks. They were on a patrol
The Malaysian Commander, Major Len Olivero did not know that this patrol for the Malaysians was not led by an Officer. His explicit instructions were that all Malaysian involvement was to be led by a Malaysian Officer. In this case a Captain Rizal was to be involved, unfortunately for reasons beyond comprehension he did not participate in this patrol.
Major Len Olivero with his boys at K4
There was this Staff Sergeant Azman Mohamad Tahir from the Malaysian Special Forces Regiment from Malacca and Corporal Ghani anak Binjoi from 6th Rangers who was from Kampung Koran Mawang in the district of Serian. There were two companies from 6th Rangers and a Troop of Special Forces guys attached to 7th Rangers (Mechanized). Corporal Ghani had a wife whose name was Dora anak Buki, both of them were blessed with 3 children, one aged 6 years old, another aged 3 years old and the youngest 7 days old, born about 7 days ago on the day Corporal Ghani went on this patrol.
The man who led this patrol was an Italian Colonel, he was Colonel Fulvio Vezzalini, a very experienced soldier. In conducting patrols for information gathering and intelligence there were restrictions; UN patrols could not go beyond Bakara market, the site of “black hawk down”. That rule did not apply for intelligence gathering activities.Beyond that no UN personnel were allowed to conduct patrols as there were many armed militia consisting of the Hawadle and Habar Gidir clans.

Both of them being rival clans, clashed constantly. More so the Habar Gidir clan was jealous that the building rented by the UN for Malaysian soldiers was from the Hawadle. The Hawdle got paid by the UN and the Habar Gidir was not. The convoy moved slowly, it drew the attention of the Militia there. The first group of Militia that spotted the convoy alerted the rest of the militia strong points.It was about 0900+ hrs when Major Len noticed a UN convoy of soft skinned vehicles (non-armoured) passing his location which was K4. He rushed down to check with his sentries whether the boys in that particular patrol were his.

The sentries confirmed to say that they belonged to Bravo Company of 6th Rangers. They could specifically identify Ranger Martin as he had waved to them as he was passing.There were 3 vehicles that made up this convoy. Major Len immediately radioed back to UNOSOM Hq to get some more information on the convoy that went past K4. Lieutenant Sulaiman, a platoon commander of Bravo Company who was on duty at UNOSOM Hq informed Major Len that the convoy was being led by an Italian Colonel, who was the Commander of U1, an intelligence gathering apparatus.

The Colonel had requested for an escort to gather Intelligence of some sort, which everyone thought only he knew. Apart form manning K4, a strong point, Major Len’s men provided escort services for UN contingents. Strong Point 4 was located at a roundabout which was connected to 4 routes Afgooyee -Lenin-Medina-Gesira Street. There were two buildings in K4, one facing the North and another facing South.

Before the Malaysians occupied it the Bangladeshis were the previous tenants. The Malaysian contingent took over duties from the Bangladeshis on the 17th April 1994. The area was secured by two rifle company platoons from 6th Rangers, the Company was later declared to be known as ‘D’ Company. It had two detachments of 106 mm recoilless guns, along with two IFV’s equipped with 20mm Oerlikon guns to support them.The area around K4 was one of the tensest places in all of Mogadishu.

There used to be fierce gun battles around K4 since the 14th April 1994. The Bangladeshis were just not equipped to maintain K4. The increase in tensions was contributed by the increase in the number of Technical’s in that area.This made Major Len reinforce his location. The surrounding buildings were concrete and close. The defence of K4 called for the defence from two buildings. Since taking over that location from the Bangladeshis, many stray rounds and mortar rounds landed in and around the strong point.
On the 18th May 1994 at around 2100 hrs an RPG round penetrated one of the buildings, into the accommodation of Major Len’s boys. Fortunately no one slept early that night, thus there were no fatalities. Staying at K4 is likened to Chinese New Year festivities where huge amounts of fire crackers are lit. Major Len Olivero had the unenvious job of commanding it. Len being in K4 for many months knew that it was against UN Forces Standard Operational Procedures to go further than K4, as the infamous Bakara market of “Black Hawk Down” fame was just a kilometer plus from K4.
That area beyond K4 was very volatile with Militias having a free reign over that area. Major Len did not know that Intelligence operatives were not restricted by this rule.Major Len then thought to himself, that the Commander of the Convoy must really know what he was doing or that he was foolishly taking a big risk. He pushed the thoughts of the patrol to the back of his mind He then went on doing his daily routine without giving further thought about the convoy any more.
After having the normal evening games of football and “sepak takraw”, these were games to keep the boys of Bravo Company fit in a very confined area in a war zone. Soon the games were over, Major Len went to have a shower, he went to his sentries to inquire about the convoy, which was subconsciously lingering in his mind, to his horror, the sentries informed him that the convoy had not returned and the time was already 1730 hrs (5.30pm). Major Len’s instructions to all his boys were that they advise whoever they are escorting, that they must return to base by 1700hrs.
The reason for this directive was that it gets dark early in Mogadishu. The likelihood of ambush towards dusk was a high probability, especially in Mogadishu’s closely built up area.Staff Sergeant Azman was driving the UN white Toyota pickup, he tried avoiding the potholes filled with water, he had to slow down; on the left of them, in front, he passed a Militia strong point when a .50 calibre machine gun belonging to the Somali Militia opened up.
The rounds thudded through the sides of the Toyota pickup (left hand drive) and slammed through Staff Sergeant Azman’s body like a hot knife through butter. He died instantly. Corporal Ghani instantly opened fire in the direction; the .50 calibre machine gun had fired, with his M16, after exhausting the entire rounds in his magazine he took out his M79. He tried to live up to the proud traditions of the Rangers.
There were too many of them and they closed up all around the pickup very fast.The armed militia men started firing from the crowd of old men women and children. Ghani tried, desperately to fight then off, unfortunately the rest of the mixed patrol of different countries were not able to assist him. Ghani hesitated because of this screw-up, one of the Somalis yanked the rifle from his hands and another pumped some rounds into Corporal Ghani’s head. He fell down dead. The Italian Colonel, the two Italian Captains, the New Zealand Army Warrant Officer, the rest of the Malaysians and the sole Malaysian Intelligence Officer were taken prisoner.
The bodies of the two Malaysians were seized. Colonel Fulvio Vezzalini, the two Italian Captains were captured along with the New Zealand Warrant Officer.The women and children started looting the equipment of the patrol. The weapons and the vehicles were seized by the Somali gunmen. In that incident two Malaysians were killed, the wounded were Sergeant Zaidi bin Hanafiah, Malaysian Special Forces (under command of Major Len), Lance Corporal Ahmad bin Ab Rahman, Malaysian Special Forces (under command of Major Len) and Ranger Martin anak Regip (Major Len’s boy).
The other person wounded was Captain Ferdinando Salvati from Italy.The ambush position was well covered. There was an 8 feet wall which blocked any avenue of escape and limited cover from fire. The Colonel and the men were interrogated by the Somalis. They were moved from house to house. The gunmen told the Colonel that he would probably be questioned by General Farah Aided. The reason for the attack upon the convoy as related by the Colonel was that the Somali gunmen had mistaken them for Americans and had opened fire.
The fact was all Americans had withdrawn on the 31st March 1994, leaving a token few amounting to a platoon plus (30+ men) to take care of the American Embassy in Mogadishu. The Americans had actually stopped patrolling the streets of Mogadishu since after the “Black Hawk Down” incident on the 3rd/4th October 1993. Patrolling was done by Malaysian Forces only.Meanwhile Major Len, who was feeling very uneasy by then, radioed back to his Company Hq (University Mogadishu compound), hoping that his boys were back.
HQ informed him that his boys were not back. He then got into touch with his Platoon commander, Sulaiman who was on duty at UNOSOM Hq, who also happened to be the Duty Officer. He instructed Lt Sulaiman to find out about the status of the patrol from the other UN resources. His next avenue of information was from Bravo Company of 7th Rangers (Mechanized), via Major Christopher Joseph who was the Officer Commanding, after a short conversation he was instructed to cease all discussions by a pen pushing senior officer, as the senior officer felt irritated, that it was idle chatter.
Lt Sulaiman meanwhile was frantically contacting officers from other contingents who too were on duty at UNOSOM11 Hq. It was of no avail, no one knew anything about the patrol led by the Italian Colonel. Lt Sulaiman after much trying, radioed back and reported that he could not get anything on the patrol to Major Len Olivero.As no information was forthcoming Major Len resignedly went for dinner and told his boys in K4 to say a prayer for all the UN guys in that particular patrol.
He visited the sentries before retiring to bed, as he was exhausted physically and mentally. At about 0010 hrs a sentry knocked on his door saying that there were some Somalis that wanted to talk to him. He dressed up and went down, there he saw the Italian Colonel. The Italian Colonel informed him that his patrol was ambushed and that two Malaysian were dead, two seriously injured (stretcher cases).
Along with the Italian Colonel was the Malaysian Intelligence Warrant Officer. Major Len who just awoke was in a state of confusion, his mind was reeling with the words of the Italian Colonel, “we have got to save them”.Major Len then went to meet the Somali Elders who had accompanied the Italian Colonel. The Elders told him that he could take a few soldiers to bring back the dead, the wounded and the prisoners. That they would not be allowed to bear arms, they had to recover their men unarmed.
He considered that they were Rangers and that they did not need fire arms to prove to people how good and fearless soldiers they were. So, after a rough calculation, 2 dead and 2 stretcher cases, he needed 8 for stretchers (good terrain so 2 per stretcher), another 3 to help the walking wounded and himself to command the group. There were no Somalis, there was no information and no feedbacks as the Somalis around K4 had shut down their ramshackle stalls and fled the scene as they were terrified that the Malaysians would indiscriminately retaliate against them.
They walked unarmed towards Bakara Market and as they passed each alley that came to a main road, there was a Technical (a vehicle mounted with a .50 gun), indicating that the Somalis were scared shit of the Malaysians, as they were expecting severe retaliation.On the 19th of July 1994 at around 0300 hrs the bodies of the two soldiers who fell and the captured UN personnel were handed over to Major Len and his entourage of unarmed soldiers.
A casual dining area was cleared in K4 to place the bodies, in the patio of the building. An armoured ambulance along with a heavily armed escort was sent by MALBATT 11 to recover the dead, the wounded and the captured.The men involved in this tragic incident were:
1. Colonel Fulvio Vezzalini - Italy
2. Captain Ferdinando Salvati - Italy
3. Captain Emilio Sen - Italy
4. Warrant Officer Hare Kent - New Zealand
5. Warrant Officer Mohamad Baharom - Malaysia (Intelligence)
6. Staff Sergeant Azman Mohd Tahir -Malaysia (MSSR)
7. Sergeant Zaidi Hanafiah - Malaysia (MSSR)
8. Corporal Ghani ak Binyoi - Malaysia (Rangers)
9. Lance Corporal Bakar Selamat - Malaysia (Rangers)
10. Lance Corporal Ahmed Ab Rahman - Malaysia (MSSR)
11. Ranger Adnan Abu Bakar -Malaysia (Rangers)
12 Ranger Gerry ak Tugan - Malaysia (Rangers)
13. Ranger Martin ak Regip - Malaysia (Rangers)
This was something interesting I found on the net, for easy reading I extracted from this link below as the material in it was very long. I copied only the relevant parts. It is in Malay, my apologies to my “English speaking only“readers.
I will not translate this. If you understand it, ok, well and good. It is for us, Malaysians to ponder on the sacrifices, rewards, promises and politics. Just remember the kind of people you want to vote for during the next election. I do not know what was the outcome of the events below and I do not want to speculate.

The PDF file below will take a long time to download, as there are 217 pages.

Extract Parliament's proceedings in PDF format.

Tuan Richard Riot Anak Jaem [Serian]: Terima kasih, TuanPengerusi. Saya merujuk kepada B.25, Butiran 020000 Bantuan Bersama.

Kalau kita ingat tiga tahun yang lalu, iaitu pada tanggal 18 Julai 1994, dua orang anggota tentera kita yang berkhidmat dengan Pasukan Pengiring Keselamatan Markas Unosom II di bawah Panji Pertubuhan Bangsa-bangsa Bersatu (PBB) di Somalia telah terbunuh dalam satu serang hendap di Mogadishu. Seorang dari dua orang yang terbunuh itu ialah Koperal Ghani anak Binjoi dari Rejimen VI, Renjer Diraja yang berasal dari Kampung Koran Mawang iaitu sebuah kampung di daerah saya, Serian. Saya mengambil kesempatan ini untuk mengucapkan berbanyak-banyak terima kasih kepada kerajaan khususnya kepada Angkatan Tentera Malaysia kerana amat prihatin dan telah mengambil berat akan kebajikan keluarga yang telah ditinggalkan oleh mendiang, iaitu seorang balu berusia 33 tahun waktu itu dan tiga orang anak.

Seorang berumur enam tahun, seorang berumur tiga tahun dan seorang lagi baru sahaja dilahirkan tujuh hari sebelum mendiang koperal Gani meninggal dunia. Bantuan dan sumbangan yang telah diberikan oleh kerajaan seperti Insurans Kelompok, gratuity, pencen termasuk membina sebuah rumah di kampung balu mendiang dan sebagainya telah dapat mengurangkan bebanan keluarga mendiang. Jadi, saya bagi pihak balu kepada mendiang ingin mengambil kesempatan ini untuk sekali lagi mengucapkan berbanyak-banyak terima kasih kepada kerajaan khususnya kepada Angkatan Tentera Malaysia.

Tuan Pengerusi, saya ingin mengungkit satu perkara iaitu satu janji yang telah dibuat oleh sebuah syarikat. Syarikat yang bernama Syarikat Bukit Rambai Development Sdn. Bhd. yang beralamat di 231A, Jalan Merpati of Jalan Raja Laut, 50350 Kuala Lumpur yang telah berjanji atau pledge untuk


memberi sebuah apartment tiga bilik bernilai RM63,000 di Taman Desa Ria, Batu 10 Tangga Batu, Melaka. Jadi, kalau diizinkan saya akan membaca kandungan surat:“22 Julai, 1994.Menteri Pertahanan,Dato' Seri Haji Mohd. Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak. Yang Berhormat Dato’ Seri, Sumbangan Dua Unit Apartment Tiga Blok Kelas G di Fasa II,Taman Desa Ria, Tangga Batu Melaka Kami bagi pihak Pengerusi dan Lembaga Pengarah Syarikat ini ingin merakamkan ucapan takziah di atas kematian dua anggota tentera kita semasa bertugas di Somalia pada 18 Julai 1994. 

Memandangkan hasrat Allahyarham Staff Sarjan Azman Mohamad Tahir untuk memiliki sebuah rumah untuk keluarganya, syarikat kami sukacitanya menyumbangkan satu unit apartment untuk keluarga Allahyarham Staff Sarjan Azman Mohamad Tahir dan juga untuk keluarga mendiang Gani anak Binjoi, di projek kami di Taman Desa Ria, Tangga Batu Melaka. Apartment yang bernilai RM63,000 tersebut mengandungi 3 buah bilik sedang dalam pembinaan dan dijangka siap dalam masa 12 bulan lagi. Kami berharap Yang Berhormat Dato’ Seri dapat menyampaikan hasrat kami kepada keluargaDR.17.11.97178>Allahyarham Staff Sarjan Azman Mohamad Tahir dan keluarga mendiang koperal Gani anak Binjoi dengan harapan sumbangan yang tidak seberapa ini dapat mengurangkan bebanan kedua keluarga ini.” Susulan kepada itu pada 

9 Ogos Syarikat Bukit Rambai Development Sdn. Bhd. telah menulis sepucuk surat kepada Puan Dora anak Buki iaitu balu kepada mendiang koperal atau Sarjan Gani anak Binjoi. Jadi, dalam kandungansurat itu berbunyi:“Puan,Surat ini merupakan pengakuan sumbangan syarikat ini kepada Puan sebuah unit apartment tiga bilik bernilai RM63,000 di Taman Desa Ria, Tangga Batu Melaka sepertimana yang dinyatakan di dalam surat kami kepada Yang Berhormat Dato' Seri Haji Mohd. Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, Menteri Pertahanan Malaysia pada 20 Julai 1994. 

Sumbangan kecil kami ini merupakan penghargaan syarikat ini di atas sifat-sifat keperwiraan yang telah ditunjukkan oleh mendiang Gani anak Binjoi untuk bangsa dan negara. Kami akan memaklumkan kepada Puan sebaik sahaja apartment ini siap dibina untuk upacara penyerahan kunci. Sekian dimaklumkan, terima kasih.”Tuan Pengerusi, hampir tiga tahun telah berlalu, tetapi sehingga kini belum ada berita dari sama ada Syarikat Bukit Rambai development Sdn. Bhd. mahupun dari Kementerian Pertahanan. 

Oleh yang demikian, Tuan Pengerusi bagi pihak balu kepada mendiang saya mohon agar pihak kementerian membuat siasatan atau membuat follow-up tentang janji atau pledge yang telah dibuat oleh Bukit Rambai Development Sdn. Bhd. kepada balu mendiang ini. Dengan itu saya menyokong rang undang-undang ini iaitu di bawah Maksud B.25.Sekian, terima kasih.Yang Berhormat dari Serian tadi membangkitkan tentang perkara anggota tentera yang terbunuh dan mendapat perhatian oleh pihak kerajaan. 

Saya juga ucap terima kasih di atas ucapan terima kasih Yang Berhormat tadi kepada pihak kerajaan yang telah dapat sedikit-sebanyak membantu para keluarga ataupun balu-balu Allahyarham Staff Sarjan Azman bin Tahir dan juga Korporal Gani yang terkorban di Somalia. Kedua, perkara yangdibangkitkan juga oleh Yang Berhormat bersabit dengan dua buah apartment yang dijanjikan oleh syarikat yang disebut tadi, saya telah pun mencatat nama syarikat yang berkenaan, tetapi eloklah juga tulis surat kepada saya dan saya


akan minta pegawai saya pergi menyiasat tentang janji-janji yang telah diberikan oleh syarikat tersebut untuk menghadiahkan dua buah apartment ini kepada waris kedua-dua anggota tentera yang telah pun terkorban demi menegakkan nama baik kedaulatan negara kita. Insya-Allah, kita akan bertindak agar janji mereka itu tetap ditepati.Itulah sahaja Tuan Pengerusi, apa yang dapat saya jawab daripada pandangan, saranan serta teguran Ahli-ahli Yang Berhormat. 

Yang mana perkara yang tidak sempat saya menjawab, saya harap pegawai-pegawai saya yang ada di Dewan ini dapat mencatatkan dan mengambil tindakan seterusnya daripada komen-komen Ahli-ahli Yang Berhormat berkenaan. Seterusnya ucapkan terima kasih.

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 5:36 AM   0 comments

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