Captain Rober Rizal Bin Abdullah and Ranger Ahmad bin Adnan - Pingat Gagah Berani
Thursday, October 13, 2005
On the 4th October 1973, D Company, 3rd Battalion Ranger Regiment commanded by Captain Rober Rizal (200733) was flown by a Nuri from Serian Camp to the Operaion Jelaku 1V area. From the landing point at Peninsular Nonok, the Company moved to the target area. On the 5th October 1973, Captain Robert split his Company into 3 groups, to enable the search to cover a bigger area and to be more effective. Company Headquarters of D Company and Platoon 11 were directly under his command. Platoon 10 was commanded by Sergeant Zakaria bin Mat Seth, whereas Platoon 12 was commanded by 2Lt Zainal bin Ariffin. Each Platoon started the search in their respective sectors on the 6th of October 1973. On the evening of that day a sub unit of Platoon 12 made contact with the enemy. In this firefight 930266 Rgr. Mohd Salleh bin Mohd Yusof, who was the Leading Scout fell for his country. The enemy managed to beat a hasty retreat. The enemy was relentlessly tracked after that contact. Towards the evening a large enemy camp was discovered, which could accomodate 60-70 people, unfortunately the enemy had fled. On the 7th of October 1973, Captain Robert had all his men of D Company regroup in the abandoned enemy's location. The tracking continued along a a footpath in an Easterly direction. From the forward scout it was reported that the track was recently used. Captain Robert at that moment decided to follow up with his whole Company intact. On the 8th Oct,the order of march for the tracking was led by Platoon 12, followed by Company Headquarters with Platoon 11, 1,000 meters behind and finally Platoon 10, around 3,000 meters behind. From the signs observed it was assessed that the track was frequently used. On the 9th Oct the tracking was continued until late into the evening when the troops came across an enemy resting place. The relentless pursuit of the enemy paid off when on the 10th Oct at around 1000 hours in the morning Platoon 12 managed to sink their fangs into the enemy. Two of the enemy engaged Platoon 12 in a firefight, they died, being killed by Platoon 12. Captain Robert quickened the pace of the tracking, by joining up with Platoon 12 which was leading at around 1100 hours that day. Platoon 12 was told to prepare a winching point to extricate the bodies of the dead enemy. It was done in the quickest time possible. The helicopter came and took off with the enemy dead. It was after that, the tracking was continued. Captain Robert redoubled his efforts into getting into grips with the enemy main force, they stopped at 1900 hours late in the evening. At that moment the main force of D Company was at the Sungei Batang Sadong. He was worried that the enemy main force would slip through by crossing the river using long boats. He also assessed that they were not very far from the enemy's location. As Captain Robert felt uneasy and the fear that the enemy would escape by crossing the river, he decided to continue tracking the enemy at night. He allowed his men to rest and have their dinner before moving. At around 1930 hours Captain Robert with 15 men continued the tracking of the enemy. All their packs were left behind with 6 men guarding them, this was to enable speedy movement without being weighed down by their load. They stepped up their pace tracking the enemy. They used three torchlights as the going in the night was difficult. The darkness of the night was pitch black. Many times they lost the trail of the enemy and sometimes they drifted off the trail. At around 2200 hours, the 3 torchlights ceased functioning as the batteries had run out. They got lost many times, placing him in a dilemma whether to continue forward or backtrack to the place where they left their packs. He however decided to continue, at that moment it also started raining, it was a drizzle. At midnight the Company Sergeant Major who was with him, WO2 Norizan bin Bakri approached Captain Robert to inform him that the men were very exhausted and very cold. The Company Sergeant Major suggested that the chase be postponed to the following morning. Captain Robert responded to the CSM by telling him that he would continue the tracking for another hour and if in that hour nothing comes up he would turn back. They continued moving feeling their way through the darkness, guided by the shiny barks and leaves that were strewn on the trail. It was not yet the the completion of the promised one hour, when 928523 LCpl Peter Bat Wan ak Wan Lejau informed Captain Robert that he smelt mosquito repellent. Captain Robert made his way to LCpl Peter, he too could smell the mosquito repellent. After that Captain Robert moved forward feeling his way to scout far forward. At that moment the rain started coming down in torrents. As he was carefully observing the darkness in front of him, his unbelieveing eyes caught the shine of a light. It was the light of a flickering candle in the forest, in the dark and in the rain. It was not far from his location. Quietly Captain Robert ordered his men to move back a 100 meters to the rear, to discuss, appreciate and give out his attack orders. Captain Robert broke up his men into two groups, the assault group which comprised of seven men with him leading and the cut-offs of eight men led by CSM Norizan. After his attack orders had been given. Captain Robert ordered the cut-offs to take up position on the right of the enemy position at 0200 hours in the morning. Whilst his group of seven men took shelter under a tree while the cut-offs were moving to their position. They took shelter there until 0300 hours. At around 0300 hours in the morning it was observed that the enemy was getting up from their rest and starting fires. They were only around 30 meters from the enemy's location. At 0330 hours Captain Robert moved his men to their respective positions in pairs. The rain at that time was slowing down. At 0400 hours the Rangers were at the edge of the enemy camp. Captain Robert himself crawled very slowly towrds the burning fires until he was 15-20 meters from them. He took up position behind a tree with his Signaller 302457 Rgr Mohd Desa bin Hj Mohd Hashim. From his location he observed the enemy warming themselves and trying to dry their clothing. They were also moving around using their torchlights. 0615 hours was the H-Hour on the 11th October 1973. There were not many of the enemy around the fire when dawn was breaking. Captain Robert hurled a hand grenade into the enemy camp., the grenade landed in a puddle of water, failed to explode, the sound of the distubed puddle alerted the enemy. Captain Robert opened up with his Beretta rifle towards the enemy, who were around their camp fire. A Beretta Rifle 5.56 mm. Country of origin, Italy. With the burst from Captain Robert's rifle, it signalled the assault. The rest of the Rangers poured into the assault. The enemy being startled, started fleeing. They were calling out the names of their comrades shouting for them to escape. Captain Robert left his Signaller behind and started pursuing the enemy, firing in the general direction where the splashing of the water was heard, the area was a swamp. As Captain Robert was pursuing the enemy he saw the muzzle flashes of the enemy's automatic weapons, pointing in his direction. Rgr Mod Desa his Signaller caught up with him, the Signaller was shouting at the enemy to stay and fight. Left : Pingat Gagah Berani After the firing had died down Captain Robert came back after trailing the enemy for some distance. There was no movement of any kind in the camp except for swirling plumes of white smoke. Captain Robert yelled for his Company to regroup, "D Company regroup" ! No one answered this call to regroup. He was suddenly worried, thinking that all his men might have perished in the assault. He yelled out three time for his boys to regroup. Still no one answered. He decided to look for them, he found 281184 Rgr Md Said bin Saad and 930239 Rgr Rasul bin Ahmad behind a log. They with Captain Robert conducted a search, they found 7 of the enemy dead, 4 women and 3 men. The Company Signaller Rgr Mohd Desa fell, killed in action for Malaysia. 929901 Rgr Ahmad bin Adnan was wounded in the head during the assault, who rallied the assault too. Captain Robert immediately ordered for an LP to be constructed (landing point) for a helicopter. This was to facilitate the extrication of the dead Rgr Mohd Desa and the wounded Rgr Ahmad. The Commanding Officer of the 3rd Battalion Ranger Regiment, Lt Col Phillip Lee informed him, that the Brigade commander of the 3rd Brigade, Brig Gen Hassan bin Hj Mohd Salleh wanted to meet him. Captain Robert moved on foot for three map squares (3 kms as the crow flies) with 6 of his men to meet the Brigadier, who came to meet him in an Alouette helicopter, just to congratulate him. After which he returned to the enemy camp. By that time all the casualties were evacuated. The rest of the Company and Captain Robert himself were evacuated after 3 days by Nuri.
Right : A Nuri, Sirkosky family. For valour in the highest traditions of the Ranger Corps, Captain Robert Rizal and Ranger Ahmad bin Adnan were bestowed with the Pingat Gagah Berani on the 17th January 1974. They were presented their awards by the Minister of Defence, Tengku Ahmad Rithaudden. Captain Robert as born on the 6th October 1948 in Kampong Lachau Dua, Simanggang, Sarawak. He started his career as a Cadet in the Royal Military College, Sungei Besi. He was the son of Sarawak, the third from Sarawak to be commissioned as an officer in the Armed Forces. He was commissioned into the 3rd Battalion Ranger Regiment. He is an ethnic Iban, who embraced Islam, marrying a girl from Taiping, Raja Noriah bte Raja Sharome. They have two children. His only regret..... that he did not take a bigger force during the contact on the 11th October 1973. As this would have resulted in a bigger enemy body count and there might not have been casualties on his side. After that incident he was involved in operations with Thai forces against the Communists in the Betong Salient, Southern Thailand. He was successful in locating an enemy camp in 1976, unfortunately the enemy abandoned it before an attack could be launched. Some of his men were injured by booby traps during this opertaions. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and commanded the 10th Battalion Ranger Regiment, which was involved in numerous operations. This was from 1984-1988. The operation he and 10th Rangers participated in were in the First, Third and Fourth Divisions of Sarawak. Even though there were no enemy kills during his command, many of the enemy surrendered due to the continous domination of the ground by the 10th Rangers. 10th Battalion Ranger Regiment has been disbanded, it does not exist anymore. This was a trimming exercise, where the Ranger Corps became a victim. Rgr Ahmad bin Adnan finished his service after 22 years as a Warrant Officer 1. He became a Regimental Sergeant Major, He served with excellence and I had the honour of knowing him. Lt Col Robert, I got to know him when I was in Sarawak. 10th Rangers was in Camp Bau and 7th Mech was in Camp Simanggang, Sarawak about the same time.