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7th Rangers: Lest We Forget: 7th Rangers on the Rebounce, Lundu, Sarawak, 1972 By Lieutenant Colonel Baldev Singh Johl (Retired)
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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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Lest We Forget: 7th Rangers on the Rebounce, Lundu, Sarawak, 1972 By Lieutenant Colonel Baldev Singh Johl (Retired)
Wednesday, May 18, 2022

On 26th March 2022, I stood in silence for one minute with Lt Col Bathamanthan M, to honor those killed in an ambush 50 years ago due to some major tactical miscalculations. There have been many Whys, no answers.

I prayed for their souls to rest in peace. No one was under my command but we belonged to the same unit, 7th Rangers, one of the most scarred units in our army.

A monument has been built at the site of the ambush but there appears a lack of will to launch it. Do we not feel the pain?

Major Sabdin Ghani as a 2nd Lieutenant in 7th Rangers who should have at least been bestowed with a SP or PGB, when lesser individuals than him were disgracefully honored because of connections

LEST WE FORGET: 7TH RANGERS ON THE REBOUNCE IN LUNDU, SARAWAK, 1972 by Lt Col Baldev Singh Johl (Retired), 1971 to 1974, 7th Rangers

BLACK DAY IN BIAWAK

The Ambush, 26th March 1972

The bitterness is still in the mouth and the pain deep in our hearts. Fifty years have passed, the lives lost should not be lost in vain.

It was that un-fateful day on 26th March 1972, that an admin convoy from 7th Rangers, comprising an assorted group of ‘bottle washers’ was ambushed by a group of about 30 - 40 CTs along the Lundu-Biawak road. At that time, 7th Ranger’s main fighting force was operating in the Serian area in a special operation under 3rd Malaysian Infantry Brigade, Kuching, Sarawak. In the ambush, 15 soldiers were killed, 4 were wounded and the CT group captured a number of weapons and a TRA 906 radio set.

As this news dawned upon the unit’s fighting echelons in Serian, blood boiled past threshold levels. Having lost 15 of our soldiers there was little we could do from Serian, some 150km away from Lundu where 7th Rangers was stationed. Under our breaths we wowed revenge. Operation BELA was launched.

Redeployment, 27th March 1972

In the early hours of 27th March, we redeployed directly into our redesigned Area of Operations (AO). A Company (A Coy) was flown from a landing point (LP) at ferry point (intersection of road Lundu-Bau/Sg Stamin) and off loaded into the swampy area of Kg Mengkudu, some 10kms south of the ambush site. We spent the next 3 weeks searching with no joy. We were too far south. 

My platoon (No 3 Pl) was in a bad shape – fatigued and badly in need for some fresh cloths. I had returned the previous day from my Company Support Weapons course at PULADA, to be confronted with this tragedy. My Officer in Command (OC), Capt Sabdin Ghani, was on course in Australia. The company was commanded by the Company Second in Command (Coy 2IC), Lt Abdullah Hj Yusuf, a joyful officer but at this time there were no smiles, instead I could see he was breathing fire.

FIRST STRIKE, LT ABDULLAH HJ YUSOF, OPENING ACCOUNTS!

Rest & Replenishment, 15th April to 18th April 1972

On 15th April, A Coy was withdrawn to Tac Hq, at Lundu for some rest and replenishment. I was quick to get my boys their clothing exchanged, cleaned up weapons, ammunitions and conducted a hygiene inspection of the platoon. We caught up with some rest and I took some time to orientate myself to our unit’s AO. There was always a lot of activity going on in the operations room (Ops Room) and I guessed it was on enemy assessments and where we would be redeployed after our short rest. There was also some time to catch up with the other officers in the unit. Generally, there was a gloom hanging over our heads. A major strike was needed to change this. CT Signs Emerge, 18th April 1972

On the 18th April, at about 1500hrs, I was informed that a border scout had brought some “information”. We needed that! Lt Abdullah was called up to the Ops Room and when he returned, he called the Coy’s Orders group: “This morning (18th April) a CT group made inquiries about crossing Sg Stamin at a jungle fringe at Kg Perian (about 20 kms south of Lundu). They were dressed in green and carried weapons. It is assessed this group intends to cross Sg Stamin and head to Bau using the track leading to the Lundu-Bau road. Coy Hq and No 2 Pl will investigate this. When we make contact, Baldev, you will do the follow up. Be ready to move from here (Tac Hq)”. I was ready.

Read it all here................
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 1:57 PM  
4 Comments:
  • At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Lt Col Fabian Wong (Retired) said…

    A very good account and write-up by Col Baldev.

    The ambush of 7 Rangers is a great lesson that had been learnt.

    The fight back and follow-up Operations by 7 Rangers was commendable. Intelligence played its part.

    Sabdin Ghani was a hero, he had taken risks and done excellently well.
    He was a man of great resourcefulness and one full of initiatives. Baldev described Sabdin’s character as what he was.

    We were poker-playing mates during promotion examinations time, taking exams as secondary.

     
  • At 5:57 PM, Anonymous Sharon Badesha said…

    Wow, Baldev!!! such a riveting account ...had me biting my fingernails with nervous trepidation & suspense!!! Trying to imagine the terrain, landscape, nightime smells & sounds.

    Your detailed account of the heroism of particularly Capt Sabdin (& also Lt Abdullah); deserves to be documented & held in military archives for posterity.

    They led your 7 Rangers through a challenging time with bravery, guts and honour. Both their unique strengths, intuition & heroism shaped the outcome of that successful mission in Sarawak

    Such inspirational men!
    What an honour & privilege to have served alongside them, in particular Capt /Major Sabdin. 

    And yes - lest we forget; the nation owes him a debt... may he rest in eternal peace

     
  • At 10:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Our Sabahan being a hero during communist era.

     
  • At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Mary said…

    Anyway, your article was just awesome. I sat at the tip of the chair, filled with curiosity on whats happening next.

     
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