Monday, 10 October 2011

Whatever happened to Baton One


Dear Skot,

The trooping the colour for the ceremony in conjunction with the Royal Highness DYMM the King's birthday, saw the Air Force helicopters make a fly past carrying the flag of Malaysia and of the tri-services of the Armed Forces and the recently crashed of the Air Force's Hawk Jet, remind and prompt me to write this war romance novel like episode which hopefully will also draw sympathy and in remembrance of those fallen heroes. Events from an account of a miserable Second Lieutenant serving in the front line and should someone be interested to write a book, do a film or documentary from these true inspired stories then research for detail info should not be that difficult to acquire however it must be from the Kor Perkhidmatan's point of view as this is their story...

The year 1976, during Ops in Gubir, Kedah and I was assigned as the Composite Platoon Commander. Soon on arrival, while my men were busy unloading pack rations into the makeshift store in the MT garage, I walked to the nearby Brigade Tactical Head Quarter's Ops room and saw an Air Force Colonel, chairing an Ops briefing with Air Force officers and their Pilots, overwhelming their army counterpart and the 6th Brigade Commander, the then Brig Gen Arul Pragasam was seen sitting beside him and just listening. This I thought is going to be an Air Force's war. While this is going on, for the past few days, troops from the infantries have already been flown and inserted along the Malaysia Thai border. So numerous, that they were so close to each other, hand to hand waiting to cut off the approaching enemies.

The entire Ops was mooted and based on an intelligence gathered from an SEP (surrendered enemy personnel) name Abdullah. Slightly dark and seems to be quite cooperative, he claims to be trained by the Communist factions in a camp situated some where in the mountains, close to the border. This camp was said to be able to accommodate hundreds of Communist Terrorist and equipped with power generators and even printing machine. According to him and when he was there, he saw group of couriers came in and out of the camp. So this is the camp that the Whirly Birds were trying to locate and to strike however the Gerak Khas who takes no less than orders directly from the CGS, were in standby and ready to spring into action should the camp be located. Capt Moid who commanded this elite troop got false alarms every now and then.

Few days past and there's still no sign of the camp and whatever secret of the intended Ops from the enemy's view should by now diminished as suspiciously many flights were done in and out around the area, in search of the camp. In the officers' Mess a group of Commandos, commanded by the then Lt Kol Hasbullah aka Col Bond who later becomes Brig Gen and sadly was killed in a helicopter crashed mishap, were hard pressed for more info from the SEP, as to where about exactly was the enemy camp? One of the officers told the SEP that he saw from the air, an area with vegetables farm and if the SEP realises of such a place existed near the camp then he wanted to take him to that location so from the distance, the SEP can point out the direction.

SEP Abdullah admitted to say that there was a similarity of such a place however he declined to go, in fear that he would be exposed. Angry over the SEP attitude at first however they assured him that they will be so high up in the air and that he would also be camouflaged. The SEP agreed, and this later proved to be successful and the next day when I went to the Ops room, there were couple of pictures and only when you look through the magnifying binocular that you can spot zinc roofing from an aerial view of the camp, covered and surrounded by tree canopies. An aircraft flew once over that area and focused pictures at the pinpoint location.

That day I saw, Capt Rahim Saad of the RGKM with his men, mounted a GPMG surrounded by sand bags around the Nuri's cargo door and about to make history, took off in true spirit of a brave warrior as decoy and later Skot Rajasaikaran Komando, with his troop moved in. They were supposed to abseil down, and from the mountain ridge.. to conduct raid downhill where the enemy camp rest slightly below. While the Nuri was making the approach, they were fired upon and they back out and emergency landed in Gubir. Soldiers were seen jumping out of the Nuri copter and limping away injured and also in fear that the aircraft would explode. That was the bad news however the indication was that the enemies were still there. After that incident the Komandos provided two troopers from their Jurulatih Abseiling dan Penyelamat Udara (JAPU) on Nuri during the Ops.

So its back to the Air Force and the next day some scores of Choppers will airborne from Gubir while the jets: tebuan, tigers and what have they, will come and strife the enemy camp. I consulted the BASO, asking him as to how much he required fuel for the Helis during the course of the Ops? He told me to be around 400 drums and when I realised that I have hardly half a dozen drums, stuffed near the bamboo bush, that was when I jumped six feet high and the problem reported to my CO and frantically message flashed for an urgent demand for Avtur fuel. The nearest Supply point was in Sungai Petani but doubt if they can supply that many and it could be that the fuel has got to be delivered from as far as Port Dickson. At one point I felt fighting the war alone knowing if the fuel are not there in time when Copters return for refueling, this could jeopardised their mission. Relying heavily on the efficiency of those executing the orders at all level and quarters within the KP units, the only thing to do is wait and hoping strongly that the fuel will arrive in time.

The next morning after a rough night, I went to the signal room which was situated at the end of the wooden block where the Ops room was. I met and requested a Capt of a Recce Squadron, to radio his men doing the escort in Sik, to see if the transports carrying the fuel are already there. He took my request rather casually however he did instructed the signaler to make the call. I came looking for him again as time marches on. The airborne was to commence at 1000hrs and the time then was already around 0900hrs! When I saw him coming towards me, without saying a word, I just gave him a hand gesture as an indication to know the status of my request. He went inside the radio room and after briefly talking to the signaler, he said to me: "Ada.. bawak minyak ya..? Dia orang tunggu one Paymaster dari Askar Melayu, belum sampai". What..!, orang nak perang, ada pulak yang sibuk nak bayar gaji? That was my impression then, but what a great relief knowing that the fuel are coming. I do not wish to bother him again but discreetly informed the Brigade Major the then Mejor Mohd Haniff Taib on the situation and of course he knows the urgency and immediately instructed the Peninjaus to get cracking.

An hour or so later the beautiful sight of my three tonnes, entered the yellow brick road in the camp and every man I have, bent their back, rolling the 44 gallon drums to the various LPs around the camp. Almost immediately, the S61A Nuris and allouettes’ engines rumbled with dust swirled all over and soon they disappeared over the mountains and into the direction of the enemy camp as gunship and to be aerial OP for the jets to strife. Subsequently one by one came back for refueling and with extreme urgency that most of the AQM were contempt to leave a quarter of the fuel remaining in each drum so not to waste time checking on the water content should there be at the bottom of the drum.

I can only imagine that the aircrafts in action were firing and dropping the 500 pounders, giving hell to the enemies and those who try to escape would eventually met with rain of bullets, and blast of grenades and claymore mines from the infantry wallas, that were ready in position.. waiting for them and so I thought.. Hope and anxiety written all over the face of officers and soldiers and though it was drought in Gubir, the midday sun and the dust did not deter the Air Despatch men's spirit and when the dust settled that day, there were about half of the fuel stock remaining.

The atmosphere of the raging battle in progress did not take the feeling away from something more personal in me and every time the Recce escort party's leading V150 APC entered the camp, I will solemnly hoping to see if any vehicle that follows were from my unit and if so, whether they come with the fuel and rations will also be bringing letters. Young and restless then, I was in romantic mood and contemplating to receive the SWALK letters from her. When night falls, looking over the lovely silhouette of the mountain and like scenes in a Malay movie, I sang : Rintihan dijiwa Ku, membawa derita.. merana dan kecewa.. Dikau bulan., tinggi nian.. tak tercapai tangan..' and imagine she will response to continue with the next verse.

Engkau orang mana tahu ini semua..

To be continued..

 
Subject : Whatever happened to Baton One Pt 2


Skot,

In any Ops the troops that are directly engaged with the enemy are those that are in the limelight with the supporting arms follow suit but the Air Force, they were in the class of their own and the Pilot, well… you know. The logistics units and guys like me are seldom recognised and I just go about doing my job as I see best and I take pride to say that my 'driver air loaders' got my commendation on their good job that day considering the constraints and lack of decent equipments. We don't have call sign assigned to us or even walkie-talkies to go around with. Using improvised discharge conductors and sharing goggles and at times operated obsolete rotary pumps and in those days you don't dream of wearing bulletproof vest. Believe me, there was on a different occasion, a driver came back from his routine sending rations, was fired upon and with bullet holes to his vehicle without the escort armoured cars even realised what was going on and I don't remember we make a fuss over this. If you have been in an APC you can imagine how it sounded from inside.

Having clear advantage and with the harassing fire power over the enemy camp still on, I look upon this Ops as to get on level term with the Communist Terrorists. On the 7 of April 1975, that was exactly a year before and during a battalion roulement between 13 MTA and the 7th Ranger Regiment, returning back from Mong (or Nong) Gajah towards Gubir, two of the three vehicles in a convoy carrying a Platoon from 7th Ranger with Skot Syed Ikmal Hashim, as the Platoon Commander was ambushed, killing over half a dozen soldiers including one of my drivers, Pemandu Hussain from C Platoon, 20 Transport Coy. However I am proud to say that this transport unit has been the most combatant during that time where I was the Platoon Commander.

The Ferret scout car escorting from the rear, raced towards the ambushed zone was however disabled with its gun and radio antennae destroyed. Miraculously a bullet from the enemy fires went through the barrel of the armored car Browning machine gun. It was a tense and dramatic moment when the daring enemy, a woman bandit came down from the slope of the road cutting and trying to finish off those soldiers with some already wounded that went for cover under the vehicles and just then when the Ferret arrived. Both trucks stop along side each other, probably in certain sense provided wider shelter for the soldiers. One of the Rangers died in an assaulting position still clutching on to his weapon which has the empty casing stuck to its chamber. The few seconds needed to do the TSM may have cost his life. 

 Morning first parade task. On the extreme background is one of the 3 tonnes that was ambushed by the Communist Terrorist in Gubir. It was riddled with bullets and gaping holes, fired from grenade launchers

 The young Second Lieutenant Ali Hamzah pointing at the gaping hole fired from a grenade launcher at the 3 tonnel involved in the first MT ambush by the Communist Terrorist that killed the driver Pmd Hussain and six others from the 7 Ranger Regt. See the laminated windscreen rolled down riddled with bullets holes

Three days later in pursuit of the above incident, when 6th Brigade was just about to mount a major Ops, the Brigade Intelligence Officer, Capt Hardev Singh, leads an advance party in a Land Rover, followed with convoy of trucks carrying a company from the 17 RMR. Hardly just few miles further up Gubir camp, the advance column was ambushed killing him and several soldiers including the Corporal of the armoured scout car. Two of the 20 Transport Coy drivers were shot and seriously wounded however survived. Pathetic, and just about everything went wrong for the 17 RAMD Coy including reason for the Brigade IO to be there. Already seriously wounded he can only afford to verbally challenge the bandits before they gained control over him. It was a rampage and among other things the enemy took off with them were some weapons and a radio signal set and as such every set of that model has got to be re-crystallized. So having suffered with all those tragic loses, it was time to retaliate or at least get even.

However the event that follows in the next few days and throughout the Ops, to say the least was horrific. The nearest of the bombs hit was some 200 yards away from the enemy camp and the worst bloody part was that the assaulting ground troops especially the Commandos were halted during their advance assault by enemy's booby traps and mine explosions. Almost daily, scenes so devastated, soldiers with legs, arms blown off and some blinded, were Medevac out of the location. So many were the mines and booby traps surrounding the camp, some real, some dummies, that the troops were practically neutralised and eventually set based in that area that was code named Target Bravo.

The enemy camp was sophisticated than once thought. There was an escape tunnel leading out of the camp and it was when the bomb disposal unit came to clear it that a mine exploded killing the L/Cpl and injuring others including the Officer who by this incident was later honoured with the Pingat Gagah Berani. That was the first heavy casualty in that Ops and the days that follow are nothing but despair. There was still no enemy insight and the Liaison Officers representing the various Battalions were repeating the same tactical sitreps during morning prayers chaired by the Brigade Commander. 'Berikut adalah kedudukan sub unit sub unit 3 Melayu Di Raja..' predictably that was how they make their intro however non was so amusing than Skot Alias ‘Navy’ of Engineer when he related in detail how he and his men were greeted when they conducted search operation in a suspected Chinese village by demonstrating the sound of their alarm: 'Ting ting ting ting., Tong tong tong tong', full heartedly and with suspense however that was about all to it of his achievement in that search.

The Nuri that was grounded after been shot upon earlier on, rested at the side of the field in the middle of the Gubir camp and crewmen shuttled from Butterworth Air Base daily, repairing the damage. Before sunset, the Arty fires their 105mm into the mountain behind the camp and an Allouette flew around spectacularly, firing at the forested mountain. You'll hear two explosions, first when the shots bursting from the gun followed by another slightly bigger explosions when the 20mm cannon balls hitting the trees and the branches seen fallen off. This routine firing perhaps intended to scare away the enemy or wild animals, elephants maybe, so we can sleep well during the night. One day the copter’s firing stop abruptly and they landed when the gun exploded inside the aircraft and quite seriously injuring the AQM cum gunner. There was also an incident where the Arty shell fell short just behind the Officer’s Mess but luckily it did not explode and saw some officers in their towel scrambled out of their room.

Around the second week of the Ops, its show time again for the driver air loaders, as it was time for the Re-Supply and it was massive considering the amount of troops to be supplied in the forward line. Coordinating meeting and sorties schedules were handed, the night before, to QM and RQMS of the various units. In the morning the camp looks like Pasar Tani with fresh and pack rations in boxes placed around the LPs ready to be air lifted into locations. There's no substitute for good planning and executions and like pros we go about doing our tasks without a flaw. If the sorties are done to more than one call signs at one go, you must know how to load with the exact number of rations i.e. the under slung with the cargo net to the first location and the next will be loaded nearest to the cargo door and so on. So when the Nuri approaches, the L/Cpl will marshal the aircraft into the LP and when rations of heavy boxes are loaded on board, the aircraft will hover few meters, then a discharge conductor is touched to the pod for static electricity to flow out and the cargo net is then hooked to the aircraft. The hectic process repeated through out the day with refueling in between. At the end of the day the Air Despatch men walk dragging the cargo net from the shoulder and with the probe on one hand, looks like victorious gladiators coming out of the arena.

The down thrust wind sometimes blows the raga ayam away and with chickens strewn all over. However one thing about this long service bad conduct chickens, was that they don't run away and the men just simply pick and put them back into the baskets. At times I went on board to see for myself how the rations were delivered. The first impression was like fun fare or nowadays opening of supermarket's sale when I saw vibrant of so many marker balloons projecting out from the jungle canopies and as the Heli approach you'd see the marker sign with one or two sloppy men dressed in celoreng waving anxiously. While some pilots took effort to land their aircraft some depending on the situation, hovered some meters up and when rations were ‘free dropped’, they burst and scattered to the ground on impact, a sorry sight to see and then as the Heli climbs away you see more men dashing out from the undergrowth, picking up the broken up rations.

Almost all the ground units put up great effort with an impressive DZ and took trouble to fell trees with the G 1098 store issued parangs so they can be easily spotted and if that's not enough, they fired very light flares and that’s how hungry they were. I can't help feeling pity for one particular unit where they could have just easily laid their x-ray one bar marker sign if they could have realised that there was a big jungle clearance just few yards away, of course hidden by trees if one is standing from the ground. Also it was not surprised, due to break down in communication and problems only best known to the pilot, to see the Copter returning back with the under slung net still dangling, unable to find the location. One such incident was when the ground troop wrongly fired red very light flares instead.

As days gone by, there were still without any positive development during the Ops and the only very good thing was that during this time, I received a letter from my sweetheart with her picture some more.. a morale booster indeed. 'Jauh jauh menyemai padi’, tidak lalang tumbuh sebendang. Harap harap kasih menjadi, dua jiwa berpasangan'. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder so they said and to me she is stunning as like Helen of Troy, 'the face that can launch a thousand ships'. Hey., nak buat filem mesti lah ada cerita romance sikit with actress cantik macam Siti Nurhaliza, kalau tidak, siapa yang nak tengok. Anyway this Helen of Troy of mine is what soldiers refered as in those days and is now.. my Mak Andeh. Let’s dedicates the attachment IF to our Mak Andeh.

To be continued..



Subject : Whatever happened to Baton One Pt 3

Greetings Skot,

At this stage of the Ops, some of the high-ranking staff officers were no longer around and so was SEP Abdullah who had long gone. Those officers manning the Tactical HQ that were staying in the Offices’ Mess, occupied time playing scrabbles. I had not seen such keen adults competing each other just to form words to score as many points. However the long days took the toll out of them when four officers who were playing and those behind them were unable to realise or contest the word wolves, in plural is spelt wolfs instead. The Re-Sup was still done occasionally but not as hectic as the first one and more often aircrafts were not available. The BEME officer, Chan Wan Yeong who 'acted' also for the BSTO, Capt Nor Shahid KP informed me that the fresh rations laying the whole day on the field will have to be written off, as the aircraft will not be available again the next day.

I went to the MT garage where my men are. Most drivers slept in their respective vehicle using the curve windscreen metal IS net and turned it into a hammock while the AD and Supply men take refuge between the ration boxes. Being a KP, one of them who they called him Ismail Capoi, can make a serunding out of canned 'beef or mutton halal' and I like to join and have dinner with them for a change. I hinted to the Supply Corporal what Chan had mentioned and he said, "Itu apa susah tuan.. ration tu kita issue kat Kem dan yang Kem punya yang datang esok, kita ganti dan letak lah kat padang". I ate my dinner in double quick time and went back to the Officers’ Mess anxiously looking for Chan. I said to him, "Chan, what was that.. you mentioned about the fresh ration just now?". When he repeated it, I told him the info I got from the Corporal and seemingly with a proud impression that I initiated the idea. Chan pause for a moment however as expected he then replied, ‘yeah I already thought of that also’. Lack of positive progress and uncertainty on the situation at that moment during the Ops, I must say that I was somewhat losing the gung-ho even to think and come out with a simple solution like that, though I am a trained AD officer. Honestly no one seems to be able to think straight anymore and no wonder the Medical Officer, a seasoned look Major Sethuraman, an expatriate doctor from India who smokes with his cigarette clutched between his middle finger, proposed to the Brigade Commander to provide beer to the Mess. Another old-timer was Major Ong of Signal who was the 6th Brigade Camp Commandant who looks like a towkay, once took Chan and me for makan at the rest house and we went there in a Signal Land Rover and with him driving without escorts.

I shared the wooden plank room at the Mess with Capt Sulaiman, the Brigade G3 (Ops), who by his maturity, presumed was already a substantive Capt however he didn't mine my antics whenever we teased each other. Of late, I observed that he was always to himself considering being away from his beloved family for quite sometime. In the Ops room, the Brigade Major was discussing a message received where Thai villagers near the border were picketing in protest, where they claimed that our soldiers violated their area and damaging crops and slashing their rubber trees during the insertion of our troops along the border. The BM however dismissed that as the work of the Communist sympathisers.

That weekend saw Capt Sulaiman smiling as he took his haversack out as he was allowed to RTB to Sungai Petani with the Nuri which en-route to Butterworth which by now Chan, who was responsible for the manifest called it Sunshine Airways because Pilots were always giving the weather as excuse when unable to fly. That Sunday, together with a team of AD, we flew to Weng and conducted Re-Sup for the 16 RMR. I spent time enjoying the much said about Weng's crispy goreng pisang with Yusof, a Sandhurst trained Brave Mohicans while waiting the Nuri to return each time doing the sorties. Half way through, the Copter landed and the AQM gave a hand signal for me to get my team onboard. When we reach Gubir and asked the TUDM liaison officer what’s going on, he gave me another of the TUDM famous excuse.. no more flying hours!

The next morning I was awaken by Sulaiman entering the room however I do not have the chance to speak to him as he had to rush back to the Ops room for the Monday morning prayer. I considered myself as the 'heard but not to be seen type' and of late, seldom attend the meeting and further more I get instructions from the BSTO. While having my breakfast, I saw a group of officers walking out from the Ops room towards the helicopter that was parked in the middle of the field. I can easily recognise Sulaiman and the two Pilots who I regularly worked with during Re-Sup that are coming to take away the grounded Nuri that was shot earlier of which has been repaired and made serviceable. The other two Pilots who would be flying the aircraft were noticeable with their flying helmets on, however there was one officer walking among them which I have not seen before.

When they took off, I went to the Tactical Head Quarter’s block, which was just a distance away from the Mess and just hanging around at the corridor. The new BASO, Major Chin and his assistant, Capt Wahab was talking near the radio room. It looks to be like any other day when suddenly the radio signaler on duty burst out from the radio room and immediately informed, "Tuan., ada two Mayday (distress) calls from Baton One". Wahab rushed into the room and took control of the set and tried communicates with the Nuri, call signed.. Baton One. Everyone around the room tried listening hard for any response and Wahab continue and this time I heard him giving instructions and echoed words that I will never forget. "hello Baton One., if you cannot make it to Gubir, please land at Green Patch.. repeat.. please land at Green Patch"

Green Patch, the name that you are now familiar with, was a code name of an area designated for emergency landing for helicopters during the bombing attack on the enemy camp. Hoping that the Nuri may have just experiencing communication breakdown, they radioed Mong Gajah informing and asking if the aircraft is in their vicinity. Mong Gajah is a camp situated further up Gubir camp with TA posts along the way. There was an observation post at its main entrance where a beautiful carved wooden Bren gun was mounted and from a distant, the thing looks real. There was an incident in another occasion where an officer from the 3 RMR lost his leg and partially blinded in a mine explosion when pursuing the enemy. The incident they said was from much earlier contact with the enemy who was spotted and presumably coming for the dummy gun on the OP that was left unmanned and the mine being near to the camp rightfully could be of our own. At other times when I said to my drivers, "OK, saya mahu tiga orang untuk pergi ka Mong Gajah", I see some of them turning their faces sideways or pretending looking down to the ground but with their eyes still glancing at me in anticipation who I would be selecting to go and nobody wish to be picked as the hilly and winding road to Mong Gajah, to describe it simply, was bloody dangerous even with escorts. With a stern voice I added, "Saya pun akan ikut sama" and I'm happy to see them smile in approval. Most of the drivers of C Platoon, 20 Transport Coy was about our age and I can imagine that while we were in Sebatang Karah during Pre-Cadet days, they were at PLR doing the recruit training.

The Nuri where Sulaiman and Co boarded was scheduled on routine flight to Target Bravo sending water in Jerrycans to the stranded troops. It was situated down the valley like terrain with fallen timber trees presumably by the bombing. I have been there once, piloted by Capt Choo who maneuvers the copter expertly with the guide of his AQM, avoiding the tail rotor from slamming into the protruding timber trunks and he was also one of those on board. It will be a disaster if the aircraft is not either in Gubir or Mong Gajah within the next 20 minutes. When that moment past, Major Chin ran down the field and took off with an allouette copter. About not more than half an hour later we heard his voice over the radio, "see smoke billowing from the border and approaching..” Then we heard him saying the inevitable, "confirmed its our aircraft and chances of survival nil.!"

I glanced towards the Brigade Commander to sort of wanting to see his reaction in that rare situation, when he walks into the Ops room. Soon the allouette return and all eyes focused towards Major Chin who hurried into the Ops room to report to the Commander. The time was around 1100hrs and everybody went about busy facilitating each other with info and Chan was desperately trying to recall who was on the ill fated Nuri for him to prepare the manifest. Prior to Target Bravo, the aircraft landed and unloaded mortar bombs at Mong Gajah and picked up three paxs including a Lieutenant from 3 RMR who was to RTB to attend a course, his batman together with a Sergeant and two Komando’s JAPU personnel on board, a total of twelve officers and soldiers. Later we found out that the Private soldier was infact left behind, making the final total of all in all, eleven perwira negara yang telah gugur, adding the AQM, the four Pilots and including the one that I did not recognise earlier, who was a Major, coming from RBCO Songkla, as advance party to prepare a joint meeting with the Thai counterparts in regards to the picket and rallies by the Thai villagers.

The first body bag arrived was that of the Sergeant whose body was intact as he was thrown away from the burning wreckage. After a short prayer the body was flown out of Gubir and soon the gruesome task of extracting the burnt bodies begin. I saw two body bags with the letter P marked on both bags indicating that there were the Pilots and knowing the Pilot Capt was a Chinese and the Co Pilot a Malay, I sensed that there will be a problem in identifying them and that goes to each of the body. Soon more brightly painted Nuris came, as they were the VIP aircraft, bringing the top brass officers including CAF. One person who dressed differently from the others as he was in bush jacket and wearing songkok was non other than Dato Mokhtar Hashim the then Deputy Minister of Defence. Capt Mohd Isa of Signal, successfully managed to erect dia-poles or what have they to enable the GOC, Maj Gen Dato Mahmud Sulaiman to speak directly to the PM. "Yes Sir, Yes Sir.. I will do that Sir.. Yes Sir", that’s about all I can mostly hear him saying as I walk away from that block that has become congested with other senior officers and with due respect I don’t see any reason for me to make myself busy there.

I can relate events that goes on but it has no bearing to the role of Kor Perkhidmatan, me and my men that we have rendered and served full heartedly in that Ops Gubir and let just say the rest is history and everybody has their story to tell. So whatever happened to Baton One? Did anyone ever said that we lost the battle that left an ugly scar to the history of the Armed Forces or did anyone in that Agong's birthday ceremony and those conferred with Tan Sri and Datuk later in the istana that day, realised and remember when seeing the helicopters that make the fly past with the flags.., years ago there were men who perished to make what Malaysia is today. There was no flag when the last Nuri makes a fly past of honour that rattled the roof of the Ops room on the last day of Ops Gubir and few days later, when the KP with empty fuel drums and left over rations roll out from the 'Yellow Brick Road' of Kem Gubir, I look back sadly thinking of Sulaiman in that 'joy ride' of that dreadful morning of 26 April 1976 and whatever happened to Baton One.

The End


A Nuri helicopter and inset is the late Brig Gen Dato’ Hasbullah Komando

Ferret scout car




Skot Rajasaikaran Komando




The late Capt Choo and Allahyarham Capt Mustaffa Kamal ex KP. Both died in Baton One


Skot Syed Ikmal Hashim (extreme right), Skot Brig Gen Shahbani (second from left) and officers of 7th Ranger Regiment in Gubir camp. Jagathisan, a much junior officer on the left was later drowned during a riverine Ops in Kanowit, Sarawak

Unsung heroes. On the background is the Gubir camp Ops room

 Capt Hardev the 6th Bridage IO that was killed in the second MT Ambust in 1975

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