Readers, I have been trying to convince Lt Col Frank Chong Keng Lay RMAF (R), my former Flight Commander when I was in No 3 Squadron, RMAF Butterworth, to contribute to my blog on his flying experiences. I was his deputy then. Due to work committments, he could not find the time yet to pen his experiences. For your information, he holds the record of being shot the MOST by the communist terrorists (CTs). Somehow, he seemed to be the favourite of the CTs. Of course, at the expense of 2 lives! I remember very well when a total of 2 Air Rescue escorts from the MSSR (commando) then, were shot dead in his nuri in two separate incidents.
To be frank, those days we seldom talked about being shot by the CTs in the crewroom. In fact, most of the time we were away flying or on 'detachment' at Kroh. To us, it was routine for the CTs to take pot shots at us. After all, the CTs needed a big and bulky 'moving target' for their target practices... and Nuri was the most ideal target! All we had to do then, was to submit 'Hazard Report' to be sent to Air HQ and Department of Air Force (DAF), MINDEF. And a copy for the 'Scrap Book'. I was told recently that most of these reports were no longer traceable in No 3 Squadron....a real pity indeed!
Maybe due to the frustration on reading my posting entitled "Gallantry Awards Of Malaysia", he wrote his comment below - 'as is where is'. This is actually his second comment on this medal issue. I republished his first comment in "Never Ending Story".
renHave they, the decision makers researched how the PTU was won? How many PTU winners/award holders; checked their CITATIONS; ONE WAS NOT AWARDED THE PTU FOR FLYING THE NURI BUT FOR GOING ON RESCUE MISSIONS IN HOSTILE TERRAIN, EVEN AFTER COMING HOME WITH TWO HUNDRED BULLET HOLES OR MORE WITH SHATTERED WINDSCREENS AND HAVING TO GO IN AGAIN THE NEXT MORNING TO THE SAME LANDING PAD AS THE CASUALTY WAS STILL TRAPPED IN THE SAME LP KNOWING THAT THE COMMUNIST TERRORISTS WERE STILL WAITING THERE FOR THE RETURNING NURI FOR THEY KNOW THAT THE NURI PILOT AND SQUADRON WILL NOT REST UNTIL THE INFANTRY CASUALTY IS SUCCESSFULLY RESCUED. tHIS IS VERY IMPORTANT AS THE NURI PILOT MUST GET THE JOB DONE LESS THE MORALE OF THE GROUND TROOPS WILL BE SEVERELY AFFECTED THAT THEY WILL NOT GIVE THEIR 110 PERCENT TO THE OPERATIONS AT HAND. tHERE IS NOTHING WORST THAN FOR A COMMANDER ON THE GROUND BE HE A PLATOON COMMANDER, COMPANY COMMANDER OR A BATTALION COMMANDER TO HAVE A DEMORALIZED UNIT BECAUSE HIS WOUNDED COMRADE IS NOT EXTRICATED FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT; IT CAN HAPPEN TO HIM AND BE FACED WITH THE SAME SITUATION AND BE LEFT IN THE BATTLE FRONT UNCARED FOR WHICH IS WHAT I AM FEELING NOW MY PRIME MINISTER, THE EX DEFENCE MINISTER, THINKS MY CONTRIBUTIONS ARE NOT WORTH A SEN ALTHOUGH MY RESCUE MISSION IN THAILAND COST THE GOVERNMENT THOUSANDS OF RINGGIT MALAYSIA AS I HAD TO TAKE OFF AT FIRST LIGHT ESCORTED BY TWO TEBUANS FIGHTER JETS FIRING ROCKETS AND GUNS WHILE ME AND MY CREW RE-ENTERRED THE SAME LP THAT I WAS SHOT THE PREVIOUS DAY .MY CREW AND I SUCCESSFULLY SAVED THE INFANTRYMAN , A SERGEANT WHO WAS SHOT BY THE CTS THE DAY BEFORE, I BELIEVE HE IS STILL IN A POSITION TO CELEBRATE HIS HARI RAYA HOLIDAYS NOW NOT KNOWING WHO PULLED HIM OUT ON THAT FATEFUL DAY. I AM RETIRED NOW AND I BELIEVE THE SERGEANT ALSO IS AND I AM SURE HE HAS A FEW SCARS TO SHOW HIS GRAND CHILDREN AND HIS CONTRIBUTION TO TODAY'S PEACEFUL CONDITION. DURING MY ENTIRE TOUR WITH NO. 3 SQUADRON I WAS INVOLVED IN OPERASI SELAMAT SAWADDEE, DAOYAI MUSNAH1 AND 2, THE NURI FLIGHT WAS SHOT 22 TIMES OR THEREABOUT AND TWO COMMANDO ESCORTS SACRIFICED THEIR LIVES AND THEY BOTH DIED, ON DIFFERENT OCCASIONS SHOT IN THAI TERITORY, ESCORTING ME AND MY CREW. THE NURI CREW WILL ALWAYS GET HIS CASUALTIES OUT AT THE RISK OF THE CREW'S LIVES AND LOSS OF AIRCRAFT. THANKS TO TUHAN ALLAH I DID NOT LOSE ANY AIRCRAFT AND ALWAYS BROUGHT MY CREWS AND HELICOPTERS HOME SAFELY ALTHOUGH I CANNOT QUANTIFY THE COST OF REPAIR TO THE RMAF.
November 1, 2009 11:55 AM
Chong, here is a comment from a footslogger who remembers you....
Aaahh, Lt Col.Chong, that rings a loud bell. One heck of a man!He was there everytime we needed him. I recall how he was "stranded"in my gun position when his chopper engine failed. We had to open up a new LP to accomodate a second heli land bring in the "rescue". He spent a few nights with us and of course it was always a pleasure to have another officer to chat with. After that incident, we had the odd flight in to drop off newspapers from the Butterworth mess. It was Lt.Col Chong, saying thank you. I do not see why these brave men in their flying machines are not accorded the same accolade?
October 19, 2009 3:21 PM
Source: mind NO EVIL
If I may make a suggestion, RMAF museum should trace those Hazard Reports (1977 - 1980) through the good office of the Inspector General, DAF, and exhibit them in the museum. Those were part of RMAF history. Hopefully, those reports are still available in the archive. Otherwise, a piece of RMAF history is gone forever!
To Lt Col Frank Chong Keng Lay RMAF (R), let it be known to you that I truly enjoyed my tour at No 3 Squadron with you as my Flight Commander and appreciate your support. Those were the most fulfilling years of my flying career even operating under hazardous/hostile environments. The Squadron's esprit de corp remained intact during those trying days.
My regards to Anne and members of your family.