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7th Rangers: The Early Merdeka Years: My Story by Lt Col (R) Tan Siew Soo KAT, KMN, AMT (Armour)
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No Atheists
In A Foxhole

Rudyard Kipling

" “When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

General Douglas MacArthur

" “We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.
“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,
for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God


Which must always come to pass

He hoped his shoes were shining



Just as bright as his brass
"Step forward you Soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?

To My Church have you been true?"

"No, Lord, I guess I ain't


Because those of us who carry guns

Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays
And at times my talk was tough,
And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny
That wasn't mine to keep.
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills got just too steep,
The Soldier squared his shoulders and said
And I never passed a cry for help
Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here.

They never wanted me around
Except to calm their fears.
If you've a place for me here,
Lord, It needn't be so grand,



I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."
There was silence all around the throne
Where the saints had often trod
As the Soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."

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The Early Merdeka Years: My Story by Lt Col (R) Tan Siew Soo KAT, KMN, AMT (Armour)
Wednesday, January 05, 2022

During the immediate post-Merdeka years in the 1960s, there were three events I would categorise as milestones in our nation’s history. While I was involved in all of them, this story is essentially about the third milestone, the involvement of the Malayan Special Force as United Nations peacekeepers in the Congo.

Tan Siew Soo, Lt Col (R)

Background
My relationship with our army began in January 1954 when I enrolled in the Boys Wing, Federation Military College. Three years later in January 1957, I was among 18 ‘Budak Boys’ selected to join the inaugural Cadet Wing Intake One as regular officer cadets. Having graduated on 13 December 1958, I was commissioned into the Federation Armoured Car Regiment (FACR) as a 2nd Lieutenant in C Squadron FACR.

The FACR, like the Federation Regiment, was a major multiracial unit created by General Sir Gerald Templer in 1952. A Squadron was raised in Rasah Camp, Seremban on 1 September 1952. Although only a squadron, it was referred to as the Armoured Car Regiment. B Squadron was added in 1957 and C Squadron in 1958.

I joined the newly formed C Squadron, which had no operational experience, so together we earned our stripes in Kedah and Perak in 1959. Chasing the remnants of Chin Peng’s men across the border, C Squadron FACR was deployed on border operations for seven long months from March to October 1959. It was active service seven days a week, 24 hours a day, but every 40th day, the soldiers were granted four days of operational leave with free railway warrants to return to base in Kuala Lumpur to see their families.

This Squadron was based in Hobart Camp, Gurun, with one troop detached at Titi Akar in Pendang district, and another troop in support of the infantry battalion (4 Royal Malay Regiment (4RMR)) at Kroh on a one-month rotational basis. When back at Hobart Camp, we were often deployed to carry out ambush operations at likely communist terrorist tracks and ‘dead letter boxes’ — the latter were rendezvous points for communists to meet their sympathisers to collect information, mail and, sometimes, supplies. On 1 January 1960, the Federation Regiment and the FACR were amalgamated to form the Reconnaissance Corps (Peninjau); 1 Federation Regiment became 1 Recce, and FACR became 2 Recce (later Cavalry and now Armour).

. Daimler Armoured Car No 1 Troop C Sqn FACR at Titi Akar, April 1959

From a full-blooded Cavalry, we became half-Cavalry and half-Infantry; the big Daimler Armoured Cars were discarded, retaining only our Scout Cars. However, the role and traditions of Cavalry were retained together with our smart ceremonial uniforms.The first post-Merdeka milestone for our country was the passing of the first King, DYMM SPB Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Rahman Ibni Al-Marhum Tuanku Muhammad. His face is possibly the most recognisable face in the whole country; you see it on every ringgit note you carry. He died halfway through his reign.

The Royal Funeral Procession entering Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, 02 April 1960. (The Cenotaph is now located at Tugu Negara.)

I am proud and honoured to have participated in his state funeral procession, the only one of all our monarchs conducted in the British tradition. This involved personnel of the Royal Malayan Navy towing the royal casket on the gun carriage. Right ahead of the sailors, leading the royal procession, was the Recce Sovereign Escort led by Major Zain Hashim while I was bringing up the rear. All VIPs and mourners were behind the gun carriage.

With reversed arms we marched all the way from Istana Negara on Bellamy Road to the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station en route to Sri Menanti. This was also the one and only time that the sovereign escort was dismounted. I still remember it being a hot, sunny morning and beads of sweat were streaming down our foreheads and dripping onto our faces, which some in the crowd mistook for tears. Being the first royal funeral procession, the roadsides were overflowing with spectators paying their last respects.

Read it all here.................

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 10:51 AM  
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