931679 Ranger Beliang ak Bali - Pingat Gagah Berani
Friday, October 14, 2005
On the 4th October 1976 Rgr Beliang ak Bali joined the Lightning Platoon also known a the "Ngelaban" Platoon of the 8th Battalion Ranger Regiment. This is a platoon which evolved into the Unit Combat Intelligence Squad (UCIS). The Platoon Commander at that time was 2Lt Kuldip Singh. Rgr Beliang was placed in a section commanded by 929390 Sergeant Gandat ak Merdan. It comprised of 931633 Rgr Fredrick @ Akal ak Angau, 931788 Rgr Mathew Bandah ak Ujang, 931815 Rgr Morni bin Mushidi and 931644 Rgr Baru ak Agong. All sections in the "Ngelaban" Platoon, only consisted of 5- 6 men. They are specially trained to operate in small units. Even though Beliang was only a Ranger he was the second in command of the section. The section commanded by Sgt Gandat was deployed on the 2 October 1976 for a search and destroy operation in the Kampong Tembaga area of Lundu, Sarawak. Sgt Gandat directed three of his men, Rgr Baru, Rgr Mathew and Rgr Fredrick to go out on a patrol around the village and also to buy some food. On their patrol they met some villagers and warmly conversed with them. This was part and parcel of "winning the masses hearts and minds". During one of the conversations with a Dayak Selakau, who they came across looking for wood, they asked him whether he knew how to collect honey from a bee hive. As they had passed one big bee hive near their base. The Dayak told them, that he knew the techniques of gathering honey. He promised them that he would come over to their base the following day in the evening at around 1900 hours, with his honey retrieving equipment. After bidding goodbyes to the Dayak they returned to base, as no traces of enemy activity were found. As promised the Dayak came a little bit earlier, at 1700 hours on the 9th October 1976. All the members of the section were in the base at that time. As soon as he arrived the Dayak informed them that he came across a group of men wearing green uniforms. He described the arms that the men were carrying, as one weapon with legs, shotgun and one gun with lots of holes in it. He was not sure who they were. Left : A Cetme Rifle, the "weapon with legs" Right : A Sterling Sub Machine Gun, "the weapon with holes" On hearing this from the Dayak, they straightaway reached for their pouches, where their spare ammo was stored. Rgr Frederick was only wearing a sports shorts, barefooted and shirtless reached for his weapon. Rgr Beliang was another sight to behold, he was in his underwear, shirtless and with his pouches wrapped around him The rest were shirtless and in shorts. They raced towards the location of the sighting guided by the Dayak. They followed the track until to the edge of the jungle. They reached the junction of the track, one trail led to the right and another to the logging railway track. The Dayak further indicated the track used by the men in green to go into the jungle. With all this information Sgt Gandat told the Dayak to go back. Rgr Fredrick, Rgr Beliang and Rgr Mathew started following the trail, taken by the men in green. Sgt Gandat and the rest headed towards the railway track so as not to take any chances, that the Dayak could have been mistaken. Frederick asked Rgr Mathew to lead, there was no reaction from him, in fact, Mathew stopped to take a "leak". Rgr Beliang then took over to lead with Rgr Frederick to provide covering fire in the event they made conatct with the enemy. After following the trail Rgr Beliang took up the squatting position. Rgr Frederick now moved ahead of Beliang, who came up behind him with Rgr Mathew quite a distance behind. After moving for a distance of 200 meters from the point they split with Sgt Gandat's group, they came upon an old tree stump, which had been logged. The trail they were following now split into two, one to the left from the tree stump and another straight ahead to the front. In front a bit to the right, lay an abandoned log which lay across the trail. Whilst Rgr Frederick was observing to the left, his eye caught on to something, there was an enemy around 10 meters away from him The enemy spotted him, who was raising his weapon to kill Rgr Frederick. Rgr Frederick, whilst still standing emptied his M-16 at the enemy, after which he took cover to replace his expanded magazine. Rgr Beliang who was behind, rushed forward , and took up position to the left of Rgr Frederick. Rgr Mathew was still behind. Both of them released short bursts of automatic fire in the direction of the enemy. Then Rgr Beliang shouted out the Ranger War Cry, "Agu Idup Agi !" Rgr Mathew and Rgr Frederick replied by yelling "Agi Ngelaban !". Beliang was outstanding, in rallying Frederick and Mathew. The enemy in front of them fell hit by a hail of bullets, suddenly another enemy from behind the log that lay across was seen raising his weapon. Before he could squeeze the trigger, Rgr Frederick let loose a burst of automatic fire. After that the enmy dropped out of sight. They believed that the enemy was wounded and not dead. They could not confirm the hit on that enemy as the day was getting dark. They continued exchanging fire with the remaining enemy. Rgr Frederick saw an enemy fleeing from his position. After the firing had ceased, Rgr Frederick wanted to recover the body of the dead enemy. Rgr Beliang disallowed it. He further instructed them to move behind to the starting point where they split with Sgt Gandat's group. There, Sgt Gandat was waiting for them. He was given a briefing and that there was a dead enemy. Sgt Gandat left Rgr Baru with Beliang's group and headed back to the base to inform headquarters about the contact with the enemy via radio. The day was too dark to conduct a search. Rgr Frederick even though it was dark suggested that they recover the enemy's body. He asked Rgr Mathew to accompany him to look for the body. Rgr Mathew refused as it was taboo for him to hold a dead body, the resaon being, his wife was pregnant. He asked Rgr Beliang to help him recover the enemy's body. Rgr Belaing refused as he was wearing a talisman, that it was taboo to touch a dead body. Rgr Frederick was totally pissed off with his colleagues for their excuses. This time he asked Rgr Baru to help. He left his two friend angryrily, followed by Rgr Baru. Rgr Frederick was sure that the enemy had fled leaving one of their dead. He followed the trail that they had previously used. After sometime he came across the dead body of the enemy, seeing the enemy's body all the pent up anger in him exploded. He stomped on the dead enemy and emptied two magazines (60 rounds) into the body of the enemy. He turned the body of the enemy over, pulled away the weapon that was with the enemy. He removed the enemy's hand grenad and pouches, before carrying the body. He and Rgr Baru took turns carrying the body, with all the gore trickling down. After three turns carrying the body they reached the the start point. They started using a different route, that was towards the logging railway track, coming across a carriage that used to carry logs. They loaded the enemy's body onto the carriage and pushed it until they were near to their base. Soon they were on the track to their base. They spent the night with the dead enemy. The folowing day the enemy was carried out using a pole. After the enemy's body was taken off their hands they did a follow up. Two days of tracking the enemy trail resulted in a further recovering of two enemy bodies, these were the wounded who fled. Who died of their wounds. The Enemy killed was one of the most wanted in the Lundu District. His name was Lee Lip Pong from the First Bureau of the North Kalimantan Communist Party. The equipment recovered was a Cetme rifle, 60 rounds of 7.62 ammo and American made hand grenade. Some documents too were recovered from the enemy. This group of soldiers from the "Ngelaban" Platoon were high spirited due to the fact that they were in a elite platoon in the Battalion. The other reason was that the Brigade Commander of 3 Brigade, Brigadier General Abdullah Shamsuddin once even questioned the capability of 8th Rangers. That motivated them. The moment they got into grips with the enemy they were a happy lot, this can be understood when they pursued the enemy, only wearing their underwear ! Rgr Beliang after that contact was promoted to a Lance Corporal by his Commanding Office, Lt Col Sulaiman Kudus. Ranger Beliang ak Bali was awarded the Pingat Gagah Berani by the King for valour in the face of the enemy in the highest tradition of the Ranger Corps. On the 26th December 1977 whilst in a cordon thrown around an enemy camp in Gopeng, Perak, Beliang was once again in the thick of the battle. His comrades 931797 Rgr Adenan bin Aini, 931570 Rgr Manggie ak Gengga, 931507 Rgr Thomas ak Semang and his own Company Commander, Major Wong Sing Nang were badly wounded. He left the service as a Warrant Officer 2. He married a lady by the name of Ara. He was born on the 6th October 1953 at Rumah Tumbang, Metong Atas, Sblak, Roban, Simanggang, Sarawak. He was the son of another warrior, his father served with the British as a Sarawak Ranger, who later joined the Police Force, completed his career with the Police with the rank of a Sergeant. Beliang derived his early education at the Metong Atas Primary School. He completed his education until standard 6 in Saint Colombus School in Miri, Sarawak.