On the 14th September 1971 during Operation Ngayau (Iban War Cry) 3 in the Binatang / Sarikei district (Sri Aman), Third Division Sarawak, the First Battalion Royal Rangers which was based at Camp Pagar Ruyong, Sibu was involved in this particular operations. A Company which was commanded by Captain Welther Wong ak Tedong was tasked to conduct a search and destroy operation in the Bravo 1 sector which was at Sungei Garan.
|Sergeant Joseph Mileng ak Kilong|
Platoon 1 of A Company under the command of Sergeant Joseph ak Mileng was tasked to carry out operations in the sub sector of Bravo 1. Members of the platoon were :
1. 901289 Cpl Dajai ak Anggie
2. 901055 Rgr Unggek ak Antin
3. 901175 Cpl Malang ak Sabar
4. 901147 LCpl Berawi bin Jaraee
5. 901625 LCpl Liman ak Japok
6. 901005 LCpl Ukar ak Belit
7. 901230 Rgr John ak Unjang
8. 901636 Rgr Nyambong ak Bansa
9. 901614 Rgr Josing ak Nakid
10. 207594 Rgr Arshad bin Shahrin
11. 901680 Rgr Sandom ak Embin
12. 901505 Rgr Balau ak Jalong
13. 901290 Rgr Rimau ak Buda
14. 19337 Rgr Simahbut bin Subikan
15. 901126 Rgr Nyuak ak Kuyat
16. 901723 Rgr Linang ak Ngumbang
From the Tactical Headquarters these soldiers boarded trucks moving along the route Sarikie -Sri Aman, to be inserted into the Sungeu Kedup area.They had received information that the enemy was moving in that area. The soldiers got off at Scheme Meradong, a rubber plantation scheme run by the state development authority. Quietly they moved into this area. That particular area was mainly populated by the Chinese and there were long houses further into the interior.
|Corporal Dajai ak Anggie|
Even though information was received from members of the long house that the enemy was sighted by them, it was always too late, when these kind of information were received by Sergeant Joseph's group. After 6 days of searching for the enemy they had nearly exhausted their supplies of rations, they were instructed to move to the road which ran from Sri Aman - Sarikei, to meet up at the junction of Jalan Pakan, Julau in the Sungei Kedup area.
Related by Corporal Dajai : On the 27th October 1971, we came out of the operational area, to rendezvous at the pre - designated place to collect the resupply. The designated place was beside a road, we decided to look for a suitable place to spend the night near the place of resupply. As I was a Section Commander, I was instructed by Sgt, Mileng to do this. I went out on a reconnaissance with Rgr Unggek and Rgr Balau, in the direction of Sri Aman along the road where we found an abandoned hut around 500 yards away on the right hand side of the road. The time was around 1700 hours. It was made of wooden planks, with zinc sheets for a roof, the flooring was raised to about 4 feet.
Behind this house was a small stream, 300 meters in front of the house were some houses owned by the local Chinese. After checking out the hut, we decided that the hut could be used as a temporary shelter. Once the rest of the platoon arrived it was decided that the 15 of them would oocupy the hut in any available space., two of them Rgr Arshad and Rgr Simahbut would camp outside the house. After sentries were posted, cooking for dinner was allowed. The Muslims were about to break their fast in the group. At around 1800 hours I distributed the sentry roster and passed the message that the resupply would take place between 0900 - 1000 hours the folowing day.
Ranger Unggek relates : From the beginning I was not happy with the decision to use the hut as a resting place, I started feeling uncomfortable, afraid and anxious about the hut. I was breaking out in cold sweat, my discomfort about the place was making me too uncomfortable. According to my elders in the long house this feeling would be translated as "danger". I related this to my friends, to which they responded by saying, "If you are that afraid why did you join the army, go home and wear your wife's skirt". As I was only a lowly Ranger I decided to shut my mouth, anyway at that time I was not married.
Corporal Dajai : Rgr Nyuak who was on sentry duty near the window of the hut facing the stream at around 2000 hours reported seeing the eye of a deer, to which I replied , how on earth can you see a deer's eyes without shining upon it. He said what he saw was true and requested permission to shoot it. I disallowed him. After some time all of us not on duty fell asleep.
Ranger Unggek : I was awoken by Rgr Simahbhut who was on duty form 0300-0400 hours. I was to replace him for duty until 0500 hours. During the handover of duty he told me that he heard some dogs barking . I told him that it was probabaly because of the enemy. Whilst I was on duty Rgr Simahbhut, Rgr Arshad and Lance Corporal Berawi started cooking to prepare for the fast. After they ate they went back to sleep. Everyone seemed to be in deep sleep. At around 0545 hours a very loud explosion shattered the morning silence. At first I thought it was probabaly an artillery unit firing accidentally into a wrong area.
Corporal Dajai: What the hell !!! I exclaimed as I awoke with a shock, most of us were on the ground as the floor had collapsed due to the explosion. The only place where the floor did not collapse was around the kitchen where Sgt Mileng and several people were. Our ears were still ringing with the sound of the explosion. After a moment we started hearing the sounds of shot guns and automatic fire. It was virtually raining bullets. Only then did it hit us, that we were being attacked, trapped and the enemy was all around us.
Everyone was stunned, there was no talk amongst us. I heard Rgr Nyabong who was on sentry duty, saying,"I am dead". Rgr Arshad and Rgr Simahbhut who were outside the hut also were hurled by the explosion to the ground along with the radio sat with them. I yelled at Arshad above the sound of heavy gunfire to find out if he was alive. Arshad relied that he was alive. I yelled back, asking about the radio. I shouted out to Arshad to relay our position to the Tactical Headquarters, I was in control of my faculties as I managed to read out the Grid Reference to Arshad to be relayed to the Tactical Headquarters.
I shouted that our position was GR 790251. He immediately relayed that information to the Battalion Headquarters in Sibu, saying that the platoon was under attack. Afte that information was relayed a few rounds from th enemy slammed into the radio, making it useless. The rest of the platoon were desperately looking for their weapons and crawling in the dark looking for cover from the hail of gunfire from the enemy.
I requested permission from Sgt Mileng to take some members of the platoon to assault one of the enemy position, I has already located. Sgt Mileng turned down my request. He told me to instead, position the soldiers in the proper firing positions. Before I could even rearrange my men, we heard the enemy shouting for us to surrender. The calls for surrender were repeated several times. I rallied my men by shouting, "Agi Idup Agi Ngelaban". Not one of my group replied to this battle cry. I yelled again, this time there was a resounding "Agi Idup Agi Ngelaban" from the platoon. It raised the hackles amongst us. The battle cry brought out the warrior spirit in them.
Mean time Sgt Mileng, who had jumped down, took cover in a corner was responding to the enemy fire vigorously, by laying down suppresive fire. A few of the men with Sgt Mileng responded by throwing hand grenades at the enemy forcing the enemy to keep their heads down. The enemy was surprised and stunned at this response as they thought that they had the upper hand.
As the firefight was becoming more advantageous to us, we heard the enemy shouting to one another to withdraw. The enemy wounded were being dragged by their comrades. When Sgt Mileng saw that the enemy was withdrawing he directed me and Rgr Unggek to head off the enemy by taking up cut-off positions on the enemy's probable withdrawal routes. The rest of the platoon were ordered to take up defensive positions around the hut.
At around 0615 hours Sgt Mileng, Rgr Unggek and me assaulted the enemy position. This resulted in the enemy fleeing in chaos. We followed up on the fleeing enemy along a track beside the road heading towards Sri Aman.
Ranger Unggek : I took over Cpl Dajai's position in the front as he was out of ammunition and he had to return to replenish his ammo. Along the road Sarikei - Sri Aman I found a group of enemy in a defensive position. I opened fire on them and moved forward to conduct an assault on them.They started witdrawing. I continued moving forward to look for a male and female terrorist I had spotted earlier. They were fleeing towards a hill.
The male enemy turned around and let loose two rounds in my direction, failed to hit me. Now , it was my turn, I opened up, the rounds connected with the female, she fell. The male shot at me again with two rounds, I dived for cover into a ditch beside the road. I returned fire, this time I killed him. I continued pursuing the rest of the terrorists, I spotted one of them escaping using a motorcycle, another was running towards an adjoining hill, whilst firing at me, as I was still in pursuit. One of the enemy's round hit my left hip, causing me to fall, the fall caused my weapon to be flung onto the ground.
I rubbed my injured side, which was numb and crawled to my weapon. After retrieving my weapon I continued towards the fleeing enemy who had shot me. Seeing that I was still in pursuit the enemy took up the prone position taking a bead on me. Unfortunately for the enemy the weapon failed to fire. I closed up to the enemy and thrust the barrel of my self loading rifle into his chest. The enemy was still defiant not realising that he had been defeated at will, without hesitating I pumped a few rounds into him, killing him.
After that I tried to drag the enemy's body to the road, even before I reached the road, Sgt Mileng, Cpl Dajai, LCpl John, Rgr Rimau and Rgr Balau were coming towards me. I asked Sgt Mileng permission to chop off the head of the enemy, I killed. Sgt Mileng told me that I was not allowed to do so. He also said, "Well done." I felt happy and proud that I did not let down my team.
The following morning at 0645 hours reinforcements arrived headed by the Officer Commanding A Company, Captain Welter Wong assisted by Warrant Officer 2 Malang ak Alu in two 3 ton trucks escorted by two Ferret Scout cars. They immediately conducted the follow up operations following the blood trails leading towards Scheme Meradong. The search after the fire fight recovered the body of a female and male enemy.
Sgt Mileng : I directed Rgr Nyuah to help LCpl Malang who was injured on the left leg, where his calf was injured, Rgr Unggek was injured on the left hip and Rgr Arshad injured in the face. Rgr Nyambong was dead, shot in the head during the initial fire fight. All of us were evacuated to the Tactical Headquarters in Sri Aman. We suffered hearing problems for a week. The total number of the enemy killed was 5 in this action. A lot of enemy equipment was captured in this engagement.
For their outstanding valour and courage in the highest traditions of the Ranger Corps, displayed by Sgt Joseph Miling ak Kilong, Cpl Dajai ak Anggie and Rgr Unggek ak Anting, they were bestowed with the Pingat Gagah Berani by The King Al-Sultan Almu'tasi billahi Muhibbuddin Tuanku Al-Haj Abdul Halim ibni Almahrum Sultan Badlishah on the 23rd December 1971.
Sgt Miling was born in Ketalit, Kapit, Third Division, Sarawak. He first joined the Sarawak Rangers(Federal Unit) on the 1st January 1958 and on the 1st April 1960 transfered to the Sarawak Rangers (Far East Land Forces). He served in Brunei during the Brunei Rebellion, the forerunner to "Confrontation" until the middle of 1963. He was involved in many operations against the Communists along the Malaysian -Thai border. He was also involved in the 13 May 1969, racial riots. He left the service as a warrant officer after 25 years of service on the 31st August 1983.
Cpl Dajai was from Rumah Penurin Betong, Seribas, Simmangang, Sarawak. He was the second child of Angi ak Assim and Timai al Pungga who had three children. He was born on the 15th August 1945. He got his early education at Saka school and St Augustine School, Betong until Standard 6. On his own he joined the army as a recruit in 1964. He was trained by the Gurkhas at Camp Sungei Petani. He was tasked to serve in the 1st Ranger Battalion after his training, whilst still being under the management of the British.
During the Confrontation, fighting against the Indonesians, he was involved in operations agains the Indonesians in Batang Ai, Lubuk Antu, Sarawak. He was promoted to Corporal only after a few months as he displayed outstanding qualities. He has fought the Tentera Nasional Indonesia along the Sarawak-Kalimanatan border, the armed wing of the Malayan Communist Party in the Peninsular and the North Kalimantan Communist Party in Sarawak. He served for 21 years. He married Lemenkai ak Tamat, they were gifted with 4 children. He is now in Kuching enjoying his twilight years.
*I had the honour of commanding Cpl Dajai, who was one of my Section Commander's during operations in the Lembah Klau area of Pahang in 1984.
Ranger Unggek was from Rumah Engkang Sungei Paku, Ulu Mujng, Kapit, Sarawak. He was the 6th child out of ten in the family of Anting ak Ngelamabai and Isah ak Nyanda. As a son of a farmer, he was deprived of any kind of formal education as he was deep in the interior. His, was a life of challenges. He was born on the 12th October 1945.The life of challenges made him into a tough person. He joined the army on the 22nd October 1963. He was an excellent soldier, a dream of commanders.
He operated in the Batang Ai area of Lubok Antu fighting gainst the Tentera Nasional Indonesia. In one incident as a memeber of A Company, First Ranger Battalion, fought the Indonesians for 2 hours killing many of the Indonesians. The incident at Sungei Kedup was the second contact he had with our nation's enemies whilst serving. He left the service after serving for 21 years as a Corporal. He is married to Bintang ak Telajan, they have been gifted with 6 children. He is currently staying in Rumah Bunyau, Ulu Mujong, Sungei Paku, Kapit.
Unfortunately there is no photograph of Ranger Unggek ak Anti .