Valour and Courage: 2Lt Mahammad Basri bin Din - Pingat Gagah Berani
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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2Lt Mahammad Basri bin Din - Pingat Gagah Berani
Friday, October 07, 2005
When Captain Shanmuganathan and Rgr Mat Isa were killed, life for 2Lt Basri was never the same again. As he could not reach and give support to Captain Shanmuganathan , he was villified. It is very easy for "pen pushers" and arm chair generals from Mindef to comment on his performance, they were not there. They could be easily ignored. It was very painful for him when his own brother officers considered him useless. Over and above that he had a Commanding Officer Lt Col Harchand Singh (200022) who was twice decorated for valour in the Congo. He was twice mentioned in despatches (Keputusan Perutusan Keberanian). The CO's expectations were very high and he was bitterly disappointed with the loss of Capatain Shan and Rgr Mat Isa. Any Commanding Officer worth his salt would feel that way, when they lose men in battle. 2Lt Basri was there to be a punch bag. The CO warned that 2Lt Basri's application to extend his service would not be approved if he failed to bag any enemy before his run out date, meaning the last day of his contractual service. He was a Short Service Commissioned Officer. Life was indeed tough those days.

The CO expected 2Lt Basri to prove otherwise, before his run out date. The 5th Battalion Ranger Regiment was extricated out of the operational area on the 7th March 1974, where tragedy befell No. 6 Platoon. After which the Battalion was redeployed to The Kinta Forest Reserve, Ipoh in Perak. In October the Battalion was rushed to the East - West highway. This was when the communists blew up around 69 heavy plant machinery which were being used the construct the highway. The rest of the machinery which were rigged with explosives failed to explode, the majority which was the 69 were successfull destroyed by the Communists. This was one of the greater successes of the Communist Party of Malaya. The losses ran to millions of dollars.

In October 1974, the battalion returned to it's old playground in the jungles of Pahang. This was Operation Indera 1V. In this ops the Tactical Headquarters was located at the Bentong Camp. B Company was placed as the Brigade Commander's reserve, for deployment on an immediate notice. This Company was commanded by Captain Abdul Ghani. A contact had taken place on the 6th December 1974, between a platoon of the Police Field Force and a group of Communists in the area of Sang Lee Estate at around 1445 hours. The Police platoon was ambushed by the enemy. After that brief conatct the enemy withdrew. There were no losses. The Brigade Major, Major Ahmad bin Ibrahim ordered the Company Commander to deploy B Company. 2Lt Basri, was tasked along with 2Lt Muhamed Affandi bin Mustaffa (411144), their mission was to search and destroy the enemy in the Sang Lee Estate area.

They were ready to move in 30 minutes.Insertion into the area was by trucks.The trucks had to pass through the town of Karak, they were debussed at the 3rd mile of the Karak - Telemong road. 2Lt Basri and his men entered the rubber plantation beside of the road, they started looking for the enemy. He was supported by two combat tracker teams. The Combat Tracker teams had tracker dogs.

The CTT started tracking, with one leading, in case the trail split. Platoon 5 was tasked to follow on the right trail. 2Lt Basri who was commanding No.4 platoon was on the left trail.The Company HQ was with the late Capt Shan's platoon, No.6 platoon. 2Lt Basri was given the leading task of tracking down the enemy, even though the Company Commander was in favour of giving the task to 2Lt Affandi, he wanted to give an opportunity to 2Lt Basri to redeem himself.

2Lt Basri led his men tracking the enemy to the initial place where the Police made contact with the enemy, whilst the rest of B Company tracked parallel to the Karak -Telemong road. Basri was with 20 of his men and two combat tracker teams. One team was headed by 901672 Sgt Jali ak Kuleng and the other by Sgt Likau. they moved cautiously following the tracker dogs through the rubber trees until they reached a secondary forest. There they met up with the Police Field Force platoon that had a conatct with the enemy. It was around 1630 hours when they met up. After getting a briefing from the Police Field Force guys and also seeing the equipment captured from the fleeing enemy, 2 Lt Basri informed the Police that he was going to track the enemy down. He told the Police to go back as he did not want them to follow him. This was to prevent confusion as the Police were in olive greens whereas the soldiers were wearing cams.

After half an hour of tracking they found themselves on a flat and level ridge. They were separated by two two terraces of rubber trees to reach the peak of the hill. Sgt Jali with all his experience informed 2Lt Basri that they were very near the enemy location. He immediately ordered a halt and told everyone to discard their packs, to allow easy movement. He split the platoon into two groups, one group to be commanded by his platoon sergeant, who was 13966 Sgt Halip bin Itam Mamat. Sgt Halip was directed to move on the left of the axis whilst he himself led on the right of the axis. This direction he led was supposedly the suspected location of the enemy. He ordered an extended line formation, to which Sgt Jali the CTT commander disagreed, Jali wanted the formation to be in a single file. The rationale of Sgt Jali was that a single file formation would give speed to the pursuit.Basri disagreed with him and told him to form the extended formation whilst Basri and his men came at the rear of the CTT. Even after agreeing Sgt Jali was reluctant in following the decision of Basri. To inspire confidence in the Combat Tracker Team and it's commander Sgt Jali, Basri himslef alone, led them directly in front. The CTT started following. Basri seeing that the track led directly to the peak of the hill detoured to the left, on arriving at the second terrace. Whereas Sgt Jali continued staright towards the last terrace. 2Lt Basri followed behind Sgt Jali at a distance of 10 feet. On reaching the peak of the ridge, a shot was heard breaking the silence of the day.

The shot that rang out was about 30 feet to the front and from the left. The shot found it's intended target, it hit Sgt Jali, he fell shouting that he was hit. He grimaced and bore his pain when down. Basri could not locate the enemy as the enemy was a highly disciplned one well concealed. He could not returen fire blindly for fear of hitting Sgt Jali who was in front. He heard Sgt Halip yelling at him saying that Sgt Jali was hit.. Basri continued observing for the enemy, there was still no movement. As there was no response from 2Lt Basri , Sgt Halip ordered the men in his group to rescue Sgt Jali and move him to the rear. A few of of the men in Sgt Halip's group came forward and moved Sgt Jali about 30 feet behind, started attending to his wound.. Sgt Halip, from the location where Sgt Jali fell opened up with his rifle on automatic fire expanding a magazine of ammo, in the general direction of the enemy. This action raised the spirits of his men. The enemy did not react by returning fire. Sgt Halip then moved behind to the left and took cover behind an ant hill. Anothet shot was heard, this time the enemy shot 30054 Rgr Mohd. Noor bin Ahmad.

Rgr Mohd Noor relates : After a moment, another shot was heard coming from the left. I was with Basri's group on the right. We were trying to move close to the left to get some cover. Above the shots and the richochet of bullets, I heard someone call out for help. From out of, I don't know where, I heard someone call out ,"Support the left ! Support the left ! Hearing that call 2 Lt Basri immediately got up from his position and ordered us to move to the left, befeore we moved he reminded us to be careful. I was ordered by Basri to follow him After short dashes at a sprint, under a hail of bullets and richochets, I saw a few of my mates attending to Sgt Jali, who was critically wounded, the round having hit his chest. Basri ordered first aid to be administered to Sgt Jali.

After that Basri continued moving straight towards the front, followed by Rgr Mohd Noor, to support Sgt Halip who was in contact with the enemy. Mohd Noor who was following Basri moved towards a tree stump to take cover.His ammunition pouches (load bearing gear) got stuck to some roots above the ground, He could not move forward. As he was trying desperately to get his pouches unstuck, he was shot from the front. The round penetrated his cigarette packet in his left upper pocket of his camouflage blouse, causing it to open..The round that nearly hit his chest, miraculously hit his upper right arm, the arm broke at that point. He could not hold his rifle anymore, that's when he called out for help. One of the soldier's, Rgr Ahmadol who was beside him, sighted the enemy, he opened up with automatic bursts of his rifle.

2Lt Basri who heard the shot that wounded Rgr Mohd Noor ,estimated that the enemy was close, real close. He immediately took cover behind a big rubber tree. In front of him he saw some shrubs shaking as if someone was moving amongst them. Without any hesitation 2Lt Basri opened fire with his rifle. After that there was no more movement. He could not continue firing as the HK 33 rifle was having stoppages (malfunction).

Left : Panhard Mk 3 Right : HK 33

*The HK 33 rifle was not the choice of the soldiers to replace the FN Self Loading Rifle, it was the choice of corrupt people who made the purchases without stringent tests. It was a definite waste of public funds and put soldiers lives in much danger. It was purchased along with the French Panhard Mk 3 Vehicles, which emitted sounds like they were constipated pigs when moving, over an above that, they looked like pigs. The HK33 was eventually replaced after two years with M16 rifles and the French Panhard was replaced with the German Condor Armoured Vehicles which were more reliable. Most of Panhard Mk 3 vehicles were shipped to the Asahan life fire range in Malacca to become targets. I cannot seem to get a picture of the Panhard that was in the Malaysian inventory. I am sure there are some old timers who would like to comment on this, anyway the purchase of these equipment, I believe were done shadily and some palms were greased. Someone was advised to leave the service.

Anyway he ordered the rest of his men to open fire. The enemy was actually under the cover of a stump that Rgr Mohd Noor was heading towards to. After that a few of the soldiers recovered the enmy's body and the whole of the platoon took up the defensive position, that meant they went into all round defence. They recovered the enemy's pack with a .303 rifle with a round stuck in the breech and quite a number of rounds.

Left : The .303 Rifle.

At around 1900 hrs (7pm) in the twilight, 2Lt Basri reported to his Company commander Captain Abdul Ghani that he had a contact. That they had killed an enemy and two of his men were wounded and one badly. He requested for help. The OC ordered Platoon No.5 commanded by 2Lt Affandi to move and link up with Basri's platoon. They arrived that night itself.

As they were attending to the wounded and awaiting the arrival of No.5 platoon they heard the cracking of twigs which were being stepped upon. In the dark and the silence of the night they heard the sound of a flying striker lever. That was the sound of grenade being hurled at them. Rgr Ugak who heard the sound yelled out "Grenade!" Everyone dived for cover. It exploded, followed by the sounds of someone fleeing. Luckily for everyone, no one was hurt.

* A hand grenade after the pin is pulled out will not explode if held firmly, holding the lever which holds back the striker. When it is thrown, the lever is released allowing the striker to hit the cap, which in turn causes the fuse to activate, detonating the detonator which causes the grenade to explode.

2Lt Basri ordered that Sgt Jali be carried up the hill whislt awaiting the arrival of Platoon 5. Sadly Sgt Jali could not hold on to his life, he passed away at around 2000 hours ( 8 pm ). Platoon 5 at that time was just at the foothill. That night after the linking up there was no movement of any sort as the most important purpose for moving was no more, that is, Sgt Jali had passed away. All throughout the night the enemy exchanged fire with the soldiers. No one was injured. They were also calling out to one another in the dark.

As dawn broke in the morning 2Lt Basri along with 2Lt Affandi took ten men each to conduct a search. From the ridge they went to the boottom of the ridge. They failed to find anything. As they were returning someone shot at 19968 Lcpl Joni bin Amat from a very close range. The enemy was wounded and had opened fire as the sodiers were heading toward his way. LCpl Joni returned fire. 2LT Basri immediately ordered 931987 Rgr Yusof to lay down covering fire from his Light Machine Gun, while Basri attempted to close up with the enemy. As he moved towards the enemy he saw an enemy leaning against the terrace, not knowing for sure that the enemy was dead, he hurled two hand greandes. The enemy was dead, he wa a male armed with a pistol.

After that Rgr Mohd Noor and the late Sgt Jali were carried form the area of the firefight. Two of the dead enemy were tied up, their hand and legs and a ploe thrust between their arms and legs to carry them. They werer carried to the Karak-Telemong road. Rgr Mohd Noor and the body of the late Sgt Jali were airlifted from Camp Bentong to the Armed Forces Hospital in Kinrara. Rgr Mohd Noor recovered from his wounds after 3 months. Rgr Mohd Noor left the service after 10 years.

The success of Platoon 4 in eliminating two of the enemy on the 6th December 1974 was unique. It was so, as that was the first time since the first emergency that enemy activity was confirmed in the state of Pahang. This enemy belonged to the 16th Assault Unit of the CPM, an elite unit commanded at that time by Chong Chor. Many Army Units have exchanged fire with this particular enemy whenever on operations. Before that after the end of the first emergency no enemy was detected until that fateful day when Captain Shan and Rgr Mat Isa were killed. 

For that tragedy Captain Abdul Ghani and 2Lt Basri were blamed and condemned as not being effective Officers. This resounding success in killing the enemy, washed away that stigma. After that a string of successes were enjoyed by the 5th Battalion Ranger Regiment. 2Lt Basr not only managed to erase the stigma he was bestowed with the "Pingat Gagah Berani" for valour in the highest traditions of the Ranger Corps, in face of the enemy by His Majesty the King on the 22nd July 1975.

2Lt Basri was the eldest in a family of 3. He was born in Kampong Putat, Batu 29, Kodiang, Kedah. His parents were Din bin Wahab and Yam bte Saad. He derived his early education from the National School Siputeh, Padang Sera, Kodiang and after that continued his education in the Malay Special Class at the Tengku Bendahara School, Kodiang. He completed his Form 5 there in 1968. He got a Grade 3 for his Malaysian Certificate of Education and a GCE. He applied to join the Navy and Air Force as a recruit. He was successful on both his applications but choose to join the Air Force. He reported to Kinrara for his recruit training. 

He was advised by the Officers at the Air Force Recruit Training Centre to apply to be a Cadet Office. His attempt to join intake 19 of the Short Service Commissioned Officers failed. He was successful on his secind attempt with intake SSC 20.He reported for training at Camp Sebatang Karah, Port Dickson on the 5th january 1971. He was commissioned on the 14th April 1972. He was commissioned into the 5th Battalion Ranger Regiment, which was at that time located at Segenting camp in Port Dickson. At that time it was commanded by Lt. Col Aziz bin Hj Saif (12099), He was given command of No.4 Platoon, B Company under the command of Captain Abdul Ghani bin Othman (410112)

*Most Operations last for a period of 2-3 months.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 5:00 AM  
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