My house is just a matter of about 5 km from Kolej Tentera Udara (Air Force College) at Kepala Batas. I pass the Base almost every day and I know a few of the serving officers. But not once do I get invited to the official functions in conjunction with the Air Force Day on 1st June every year. That's not so bad... There is a private entity within the Base conducting courses for the servicemen. And...most of the teaching staff are ex-RMAF personnels. You know what? Even they are not invited for the functions. So, there's no ground for me to feel left out since I'm literally outside the perimeter of the Base.
In my earlier postings, I have been expressing my disappointment on the 'refusal' of the Air Force to recognise their heroes. I'm sure by now, most of you readers still remember those aircrew who were Killed In Action (KIA) on 27 April 1976. A Nuri helicopter was shot down at Gubir Ops area by communist terrorists, killing all the 11 'POB' (persons on board), ie, 5 aircrew and 6 Army personnels. As far as I can remember, they were the only RMAF personnels literally KIA; others were killed in aircraft accidents. As a reminder, the fallen POB were...
- Capt (U) Mustafa Kamal - #7 Sqn
- Capt (U) Choo Yok Boon - #7 Sqn
- Lt (U) Chung Ming Tat - #10 Sqn
- Lt U) Wan Munsif - #10 Sqn
- Sgt Leong (AQM) - #10 Sqn
- Maj Haris Rejab - RAMD
- Capt Sulaiman - RAMD
- Lt Ibrahim - RAMD
- Sgt Khamis - RAMD
- L/Cpl Kamarulzaman - MSSR
- L/Cpl Suandi - MSSR
And...how about the recipients of the Nation's Gallantry Awards, namely PGB, PTU and KPK? I mean Air Force recipients. For PGB holders (only 2), their names are documented in a book entitled "Pahlawan Tanahair" by Syed Othman. PTU? Surprise...surprise...Is it a medal awarded to the RMAF personnels by the Air Force Chief? That's how appreciative the Air Force is! I'm not surprised the new breed of personnel are not aware of such medal. By right they should be proud that the Nation recognises the sacrifices of their pilots by creating a gallantry award - Pingat Tentera Udara - as one of the 5 Gallantry medals. The least the RMAF can do is to have their names displayed in the museum. Am I asking too much?
So unlike the Army...to be specific...the individual Corp. Take RAJD (Rejimen Askar Jurutera DiRaja) for example. When I wrote in my blog, 1MALAYSIA, about a dilemma faced by a daughter of an ex-WO of the Sappers, an ex-officer informed the Chief Engineer (CE) at MINDEF of the story. Through Persatuan Ex-Sappers Wilayah Utara, the ex-WO was contacted and appropriate actions were taken to assist him. And the Corp keeps a record of all their personnel who were awarded with the nation's gallantry award; PGB (1 for sure), 2 JPP and 33 KPK. What an achievement...! Sappers... I salute you. Your esprit de corp remain intact even though when you're no longer in service...Out of sight...but still in mind!
I'm proud to have served the RMAF. I am what I am today because of the Air Force. For this I say thank you. If the Army had LT ADNAN as their icon, why not CAPT (U) CHOO, CAPT (U) MUSTAFA, LT (U) CHUNG, LT(U) WAN MUNSIF AND SGT (U) LEONG for the Air Force? Am I wrong to be a bit sentimental?