Valour and Courage: Discovery of a Ferret Scout Car in the Heart of Africa Lieutenant Colonel Tan Siew Soo
Death or Glory
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The Courageous
Who Have Looked At
Death In The Eye
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Stories Of Valour
Courage
Nuffnang
Miscellaneous
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

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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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Discovery of a Ferret Scout Car in the Heart of Africa Lieutenant Colonel Tan Siew Soo
Tuesday, June 22, 2021

The first ever Malaysian(Malayan Special Force) contribution to UN Peacekeeping operations was in the Congo from 1960 to 1963. The Malaysian Army of that era consisted of only three Federal Infantry Brigades. HQ 1 Bde was located in Kuala Lumpur( Imphal Camp), HQ 2 Bde in Ipoh(Ashby Road ) and HQ 3 Bde in Alor Star(Kepala Batas). Towards the end of 1959 HQ3 Bde was mothballed but reactivated as HQ MSF Bde Congo(Bukavu)in March 1961.
The units that participated in the Congo Mission in chronological order were: 4R Malay plus C Squadron 2 Reece, HQ MSF Bde and 2 Reece, 6 R Malay, 1 Recce, 7 R Malay and finally 2R Malay and C Squadron 2 Reece. Over that period of time several thousands soldiers were deployed to serve the UN. On departure we left nothing behind except thousands of footprints and perhaps a sprinkling of Malaysian Congolese. Nothing noteworthy to show until June 2016 with the discovery of this Ferret Scout Car (FSC) in Kalemie( Albertville).

By A quirk of fate, this FSC has now become a symbol and tangible proof of our presence in the Congo during the early 1960s. Befittingly, it has been honoured and inaugurated as a memorial to our first UN Mission in the Congo jointly by the Governor and UN.When I first received this FSC picture, I was utterly baffled as to its origin. Our involvement with Kalemie(Albertville) dated to May 1961 when 4 R Malay and C Squadron 2 Reece first arrived there from Nyunzu. 4R Malay remained in Albertville until July 61 before departure for home. C Squadron 2 Reece departed Albertville for Bukavu in June 61.


The journey from Albertville I Bukavu was interesting.It entailed a voyage of 2 days and 1 night on Lake Tanganyika and a long road drive on the mountainous road into Bukavu. I experienced three such trips. The first one was most memorable, traveling on a proper ship with stopover at Kigoma, Tanzania before arriving at Usumbura, Burundi the next day. A night stopover at a nice hotel before driving up to Bukavu on a splendid tarmac road in Burundi.

Following the departure of 4R Malay, there were no MSF in Albertville for several months before the arrival of 7 R Malay and A Squadron 1 Recce in February 1962. They remained there until departure towards the end of the year.C Squadron 2 Reece made a second appearance in ALBERTVILLE on 03 December 1962. By then 7R Malay and A Squadron 1 Recce had already exited for home. C Squadron 2 Reece sojourn lasted until 23 December, the last MSF in Albertville when it was ordered to move to Bukavu, having handed over duties to the Indonesian KKO battalion.

The second voyage on Lake Tanganyika was rough unlike the first one. The vehicles were loaded onto a barge and towed by a tug boat. This time we headed for the tiny port of Kalundu, Uvira on the Congolese side. The memory of this trip was sea sickness when we encountered strong winds and rough sea. Up to this point there were no FSC casualty.

On 17 June 1963, the MSF( A and B Coys 2 R Malay) and C Squadron 2 Reece launched a long range operation from Bukavu into the Kongolo area of Northern Katanga.The Third Katanga War had ended on 15 January 63 and this operation under HQ 3 Nigerian Bde was mounted to round up those rebellious Katangese soldiers.

Upon its successful conclusion, the MSF on 04 February 63 boarded a train from Kabalo to Albertville, a distance of about 400km and from there on to the familiar( for me) voyage up Lake Tanganyika to Uvira and thence onwards to Bukavu via the atrocious mountainous Congolese road. During this tour C Squadron 2 Reece possessed a total of 14 FSC s(in 1960 it had 18).

This third voyage was the least remembered by me. Only now can I recall vaguely my OC, Major Asna Sutan, telling us he had no choice but to abandon this SHQ Ferret Z3571 in Albertville. It turned out to be a blessing! After over 53 years it was "discovered" and today is a tangible symbol of our commitment to ONUC in the early 1960s.
Tan Siew Soo, Lieutanant Colonel (Retired)

Armour
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 10:36 PM  
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