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Friday, April 16, 2010

Hostile Action Report

Readers...In my 3rd posting entitled "Pengalaman Ke3" on 21 June 2009, I related my experiences at being shot by the communist terrorists (CT) while at an LP. My AQM was slightly injured. One kind soul has kindly e-mailed this "Hostile Action Report" extracted from No 3 Squadron Scrap Book. Captains of aircraft, especially Nuri captains of my era, were so familiar with these reports. 

Flight details of the day...3 March 1979...

~ Tasking - OD463...BW-Sintok-LPs-Gubir
                - OD473...Gubir-Zulu-Kroh-BW 
~ Crew     - Self/Lt (U) Ng/Sgt Mohsain
~ Aircraft - 1726
~ Flt Time - 4 hours

I was on my flight back to Base upon completion of the task, OD463, when my Flight Commander, Maj (U) KL Chong, came over the air asking me to assist him and the other Nuri in troops withdrawal from an LP somewhere in Kroh area.  Well...I was one pilot who never declined any offer to fly...No problem and changed heading, and informed Base Ops Room of the diversion. My call sign was changed from 'Cepung 463 Juliet' to 'Cepung 473 Juliet Three'.  Why worry...should something happened to me, my action was authorised and futhermore there was no objections from higher authority, meaning Air HQ. You see, all communications on HF radios were logged and monitored by Air HQ and all the Bases. 

Well...back to the story. When the Nuri was on the LP, the AQM informed me of the familiar 'thud' sounds...sound of bullets hitting the skin of the fuselage. When I told the gunships of the likely location of the CTs, he informed me that it could not be because it was the location of one of the picketing parties (PPs). On landing safely at Kroh, a sergeant confirmed that all the troops were at the LP and there were no PPs at all!!

To put it mildly...I was very 'sore' indeed. Why was the Company Commander not truthful? During the briefing at Tac HQ, Kroh, the IO briefed the aircrew of Juliet One, Juliet Two and the 2 gunships of the locations of the PPs. If he was honest enough to inform that all his merry men were at the LP, then those trigger-happy  gunships aircrew could have blasted the suspected location. When told of his name...I was disappointed because I knew him. We were commissioned together. I used to ask him to sing every morning during the 'orientation' period at RMC. Whenever I hear "Lagu 3 Kupang", it will remind me of him. Regrettably, he was no longer with us...he was killed together with the late  Maj Gen Dato' Mustaffa Awang and Brig Gen Dato' Hasbullah Yusof  and 13 others when a Nuri crashed in Sungai Lundu, Sarawak, on 18 December 1989....... Al-Fatihah.  

On completion of original task, OD 463J at Sintok, the aircraft was required to assist OD 473J for troop lifts from various LPs in Echo Sector of Ops Selamat Sawadee 792 to Kroh. The particular LP involved was Marker ZULU, GR QT 572472, located on the slope of a hill and the suitable approaches were from the west and the east. The aircraft approached from the west and faced easterly on the ground to pick up 12 troops on the first sortie. When the last soldier was on the seat step shots were heard coming from a hill in the north, about 500 yds away. The soldier was hit on the scalp and the AQM sustained abrasion on the left forearm, but he still managed to pull in the casualty with the help of another soldier.

 Immediately took off for Ban Chan Tharats airfield, about 3 minutes away, escorted by 2 gunships. The aircraft systems indicated normal. The aircraft was shut down and on investigation, 6 bullet holes were found on the port side. The casualty was transferred to another Nuri to be flown to Penang. After ascertaining no serious damages the aircraft was flown to Kroh.

L to R: Sgt Mohsain Hashim, me, Lt (U) Ng Kong Chiew
Both the gunships were unable to engage fire on the suspected enemy position since it came from the area of supposed-to-be own troop picketing party. Before the flight the aircrew were briefed on the locations of the picketing parties to secure the LP during troop lifts. One of the locations was at GR QT573471 where the shots were suspected to come from. On questioning the casualty he informed there was no picketing parties whatsoever sent out to secure the LP, and all the troops were at the Lp.
The casualties were:
a. 703504 SGT MOHSAIN (AQM) - sustained abrasion on the left forearm and was treated at CRS Kroh.
b. 27885 PTE MAT ROS (12 RAMD)  - sustained 2 small puncture wounds on the scalp and was flown and admitted to Penang General Hospital.
Readers...Frankly, we, the aircrew, never talked about all those shootings. 'You OK?'... That's all. No big deal...after all, it became a routine to be shot at! I was back flying the next day for SAR off Penang Island. It involved a boat named "Whistler".  The Nuri aircrew were eveready to face challenges.

Xxx Xxxxxxx...Once again, Thank you and I really appreciate your cooperation in sending the report.

10 comments:

Capt's Longhouse said...

nor,

,,,we aircrew had this silence code of conduct, never to disclose to the public about the many daily hazards that we face at the frontline then. In fact, many aircrew refused to write down their own citations cos. to most of us it was just our duty for king and country. However, now its an issue with recognition that we are talking about, not really about the money involved as some people might think!. We/they deserved better and that is all yaa !. Guess everyone is a WIRA-lah but some WIRA don't see it that way ?. What can i say more !. Nanti orang ingat kita nak jadi HERO Bollywood pulak hahaha !. Kapaswood pun dah o.k. kot ?. hehehe

Mej (B) Nor Ibrahim Bin Sulaiman said...

Dear Sharif,

Thank you. One thing for sure, I never knew that I was nominated for PTU until I received the letter from JPM.

Capt's Longhouse said...

nor,

,,,its just the principle behind it and what you are doing is very right but the existing RMAF top guns are just blind or deaf from the looks of it !. Are the Air Force awards really that worthless ?...they should be sitting next to us in the bloody sweaty cockpit apparently to really appreciate it ?. Geez !!
i rest my case.

Mej (B) Nor Ibrahim Bin Sulaiman said...

Dear Sharif,

You're very right!!

By the way, I received an e-mail from Arkib Negara regarding the date of the tragedy. According to them, the date was 27, NOT 26. It seems MINDEF PR confirmed it. I called Ketua Staf 6 Bde just now and he confirmed that it was on 26 Apr. I relayed his sms to ANM. Can you please reconfirm since you 'mandi pagi dengan depa before they flew to Gubir' at the mess before the tragedy.

It's a real pity that the Air Force has no time to recognize the aircrew of the workhorses of RMAF...NURI. Come to think about it, we were at the mercy of those damned communist terrorists without the opportunity to retaliate....we were simply defenceless!!

Anonymous said...

No prob sir!!!
I'll always be cooperate with u.
i really appreciate the sacrifice that u and all nuri aircrew have been done in comunist era.
Memang tak terbalas segala jasa2 kalian.

by the way,another 10 days to go 26 april.

i'll be wait,some gud news from you,insyaallah.

Xxx Xxxxxxx

Arunzab said...

It is a shame that after reading about your brave exploits that this Wira fellow remarked in Pakshad's blog,..... No point discussing it in public lest such senitized areas as eligibility and credibility rear their ugly heads.This guy actually thinks these stories are all made up and not true. Sheeeh!!

Capt's Longhouse said...

nor,

,,,i have to dig my old log book from the thousands of books in boxes yet to be opened after my retirement from Shell !...it must be somewhere in one of the boxes hehehe.
,,,it was 'mandi darah' on that day indeed but the old memory is still very clear to this day !.
,,,what still disturb me is that why Lt (U) CHUNG was not given the higher award since he was in command of the Nuri that was shot down ?. Both his crew and Capt. Choo took over my detachment duty at ops Gubir since i had busted my flying hours limitations and that recovery and support flight was taken over by them, they both insisted that they will be o.k. after our early morning shower briefings together. Until today, i kind of regreted not showing them the way b4 leaving them there at the ops. Gubir area since both crew were new. Capt. Choo/Mustapha was supposed to help ferry back Capt Murad's badly shot-up Nuri that been field patched up by the ground crew at Gubir and they piggy back on Lt(U) Chung/Munsif chopper to ops. area to familarize themselves. But unfortunately their chopper got hit by the darm CTs...almost same area CAPT. MURAD CHOPPER WAS SHOT AT. WE KNEW THAT THE CTs WERE shooting at us from high above the trees, where they will climb up. I normally would fly so low just above the tree leaves, hoping to blow them down with my downwash !..but you have to be very familier with the LPs to navigate to it from such a low height. I wound recce the area from 5000 ft to 6000 ft initially and plot into my map the various special aids features b4 coming in very very low for my approach and landings. Plus I never/seldom approach from the same flight path to confuse the enemy. Thank God, I was never hit but indeed they were shooting like crazy. But my Alouette gunship buddies are always clearing the path way as and when requested plus be well co-ordinated with the ground troops.
,,,the problem started when we were operating across the thai border areas, where the CTs had the advantage.

Mej (B) Nor Ibrahim Bin Sulaiman said...

Dear Xxx Xxxxxxx,

Thank you for ever ready cooperation.

Dear Arunzab,

One won't appreciate anything that one has not experienced. The so-called "Wira" is entitled to his opinion...so do I. Don't expect people like him to appreciate our soldiers, eg, Pte Abdul Rani, who had to appeal in the mass media to seek financial aid. Only we, ex-service personnel, could understand their predicaments.

Dear Sharif,

CTs main targets were none other than the Nuri itself. They even built platforms on trees with the LPs in sight. However, they never shot the ground troops simply because their objective was the defenceless Nuri.

Mokhzani said...

Assalamualaikum Mejar, great inside. You and your brothers has great stories about the 'silent war' you and your ground brethren conducted.
Its a shame that not many was made known to the public who enjoys the blood tears and sweat that your bothers toiled.... And the thing about real heroes is that they don't want to be known as heroes, thus the silence in the knowledge that they have done their part... Although perhaps you could shed the light on the struggle of your brothers, the ultimate heroes who paid the ultimate price.....

Mej (B) Nor Ibrahim Bin Sulaiman said...

Waalaikumussalam Saudara Mokhzani,

Thank you for your comments. These are the untold stories kept unknown to the general public for more than 3 decades. In fact, most of the new generation of RMAF personnel themselves are not aware of what we had to go through during those days.