The most recent addition to the legacy of the 1st Scout Rangers is Capt. Jeffrey Buada.
Trained and organized by the late Gen. Rafael Ileto in 1955, the Army’s 1st Scout Ranger Regiment, or ‘Musangs’ (local term for the Scout Rangers), are an elite military force specializing in anti-guerrilla jungle warfare.
Since their activation over six decades ago, the Rangers have continuously produced a long list of heroes; Technical Sgt. Francisco Camacho and Corporal Weena Martillana are legendary warriors from the time of the founding of the regiment.
Through the years, the Scout Rangers continue to live up to the expectations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the country.
Heroes of Marawi: Captain Jeffrey Buada
Earlier this year, in May, a few days into the siege, Cpt. Jeffrey Buada, Commanding Officer of the 15th Scout Ranger Company “Mandirigmâ”, an independent company of the 1st Scout Ranger Regiment deployed to Marawi, was with his troops when they were almost pinned down to a narrow wall during a gunfight. He was lucky avoid the hail of bullets from IS/Maute fighters, except for one bullet which hit his knee.
Forced to spend time recovering away from the battlefield, he is reported to have said to reporters:
“I just hope maka-recover ako agad para makabalik and join my troops ulit sa battlefield.”
In no time at all, Cpt. Buada was back in action.
In the final days of the Battle for Marawi, on October 19, Cpt. Jeff Buada deliberately put his life on the line and risked his personal well-being to rescue hostages held by Maute terrorists.
He removed his helmet, put down his firearm and face-to-face urged the enemies to set free their women and children hostages and allow the soldiers to bring the wounded to the hospital.
He requested all the units behind him to cease fire, to put off the engines of tanks in order not to agitate the enemies, many of whom were in a state of war shock.
From 11:00AM until almost 4:00PM, with the help of soldiers from other units, women and children were moved to safety. After 4:00PM., fighting resumed.
October 19 will go down in history as the day that a living hero made the country very proud for his conspicuous act of courage and gallantry beyond the call of duty.
A Legendary Legacy
In the 1970s, the Scout Rangers were deployed to participate in the government’s campaigns against the secessionist groups in Sulu where they found themselves in the thick of the fight.
During the Battle of Sibalu Hill on Nov. 26, 1972, the Scout Rangers proved their tenacity in combat as they seized the heavily fortified enemy camp together with a contingent of Marines. In Central Mindanao, in 1974, a seven-man team of Scout Rangers, Led by 2nd Lt. Evelio Pugna established themselves as a force to reckon with during a firefight with numerically superior enemy forces, engaging a hundred rebels in the marshes of Libungan town, Cotabato.
The most popular Scout Ranger is the legendary Gen. Julius Javier, a native of Negros Occidental.
Javier had survived at least three ambushes unscathed. People around him believed that he had an amulet that protected him from harm. His daring exploits and unsurpassed combat accomplishments earned for him the moniker “Living Legend.”
In December 1972, Javier and two others repulsed an overwhelming enemy force that ambushed the vehicle they were riding in as they reinforced a unit of the Marines who suffered numerous casualties in a firefight.
He was the only one who was untouched by the bullets whizzing around them.
His two buddies were wounded but were able to provide covering fire as he retrieved the others who were trapped in the middle of the engagement area.
Amid the hail of bullets, Javier carried six of his severely wounded comrades one after the other out of the kill zone. He also retrieved all the firearms despite the continuous hail of enemy fire.
“We leave no one behind. It is a sacred SOP (standing operating procedure) among the Scout Rangers,” said Javier, whose reputation as an invincible warrior was cemented by that heroic feat.
A number of Scout Rangers received the Medal for Valor Award, the highest award given to military personnel for conspicuous acts of courage and gallantry in combat.
Corporal Romualdo Rubi is among the distinguished living heroes. He single-handedly fought at least 100 heavily armed communist rebels that attacked a military detachment in Claver, Surigao del Norte on March 18, 1991.
Undaunted by the overwhelming enemy force, Rubi engaged the communist rebels in a firefight, killing several of them, including the notorious rebel named Commander Lima.
Four years later, then Captain Cirilito Sobejana of the 1st Scout Ranger Company was awarded the Medal of Valor after displaying exemplary leadership and courage under intense enemy fire during an encounter with the Abu Sayyaf rebels in Basilan in 1995.
Though wounded severely in the arm, Sobejana continued to inspire his men to outmaneuver the enemy, thereby inflicting heavy casualties, including 30 dead rebels.
In 1996, Captain Robert Edward Lucero, the commanding officer of the 6th Scout Ranger Company, received the same award while fighting Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels in Carmen town in Cotabato.
Known as “Bakal” (steel) to his subordinates, Lucero was a fearless warrior who dared to confront numerically superior enemy forces on many occasions.
While defending the government’s infrastructure project in the area, Lucero paid the ultimate sacrifice but showed the finest traditions of Filipino soldiery.
Several other Scout Rangers earned the highest military award in the year 2000 onwards. During the attack on Camp Abubakar and the combat-rescue missions in Basilan, more “Black Panthers” gained prominence when they joined the elite list of living heroes.
While there remain hardheaded lawless elements that victimize hapless civilians, the Scout Rangers are there to protect them.
As the cutting edge unit of the AFP, they are regularly sent to every trouble spot around the archipelago.
Source(s): remate.ph, philstar.com