Monday, June 18, 2012

Passing the torch: A family of soldiers

FORT BONIFACIO, Taguig City – As the world celebrates Father’s Day, the Philippine Army salutes all soldier-fathers who managed to be successful both in their professional and personal lives.
For soldier-fathers, one of the hardest challenges that need to be overcome is how to strike a balance between family and duty.
Since the time of the Katipuneros up to the present day, the Armed Forces of the Philippinesis home to valiant and committed soldier-fathers who carry the sense of nationalism and public service.

Some of these soldiers carry the torch of dedicated service farther than the rest as shown by some lineage of soldiers who descend from a family of warriors, as such there exists three generations of military men who have served to defend the country.

Colonel Rizaldo B Limoso, the current Executive Officer of the Army’s Management and Fiscal Office, and retired Technical Sergeant Jose R Nudo are among those who followed their fathers’ footsteps and whose sons, now are treading the same path.

It is also a manifestation that some soldier-fathers have effectively played a crucial role in shaping the mindset and aspirations of their children, despite their long absences.

A family of soldiers

Having grown up in a military environment with his father who served in now defunct Philippine Constabulary, now Colonel Rizaldo B Limoso thought that his fate was already sealed by making his father proud seeing him joining the military service.

“My greatest influence was my father. I can still remember how proud he was when I qualified for the Philippine Military Academy. He found a sense of pride from the respect that he earned from his contemporaries,” said Limoso.

Prior to PMA, Limoso was in his third year taking up BS Economics at De La Salle University in Manila. It had not been easy for him to decide whether or not to give up his college scholarship for PMA, but looking back, it was worth it as the decision also made his father happy and proud.

It was different for retired TSgt Jose R Nudo. His father, who was an Army soldier himself, never wanted him to join the Philippine Army.

“I grew up in Camp Vicente Lim in Laguna in the company of soldiers. At an early age, I knew that I wanted to be like them, but my father had different plans for me,” narrated Nudo.

As a soldier, his father experienced the violent atrocities perpetrated by the rebels.

“He knew how hard it is to be a soldier. He encouraged me, instead, to finish school and look for other career somewhere else,” he said.

Like father like son

Several years after, it was Limoso’s turn to watch his son, Baron, follow his footsteps.

One day, his only son, a 17-year-old young man surprised him with his proposal to join the PMA.
Limoso said that he had never imposed his will on his son whose personal choice to join the military prevailed.
“We gave him the liberty to choose what he likes to do in life. My wife, however, resented the idea of him joining the PMA,” he said.

Limoso however revealed that it was indeed hard for parents to allow an only son to face the dangers that come with the military profession.
“Literally we had to vote, the three of us, eventually Baron and I outvoted my wife. I told her that this major decision will decide the future of our son. Her apprehension comes from the fact that Baron is an only child and that soldiery is a one tough job,” Limoso added.

Since Baron is an only child, Limoso said they worried that he may become overly dependent on them. So they thought that joining the PMA is the first step to teach him how to survive life's challenges in the future.

However, a realization hit them later, that it was not Baron who became overly dependent on his parents but the exact opposite happened.

“We seemed to find it hard to let him go. Our worlds revolved around him. We made sacrifices for him. My wife had to resign from work so that the two of them can join me when I went schooling in Australia in the year 2000. Seeing him enjoying his stay at the Academy told us that we made the right decision and seeing him graduate in 2010 made us really proud,” he said.

Aspiring doctor

Limoso's son, now 2Lt Baron Von Adrian B Limoso of the Philippine Air Force, originally dreamed of becoming doctor during his childhood days. As he grew up, he found motivation from his father to join the uniformed service.

“When I was still a child, my father always brings me to the PMA Alumni Homecoming. The camaraderie between him and other alumni is just amazing. The stories they shared about the success and failure that they endured with unity and teamwork encouraged me. The brotherhood between them made me think that someday I also want to be like them,” said Baron, a proud member of PMA Class of 2010.

Dishing aside his plan of pursuing medicine, he followed what was in his heart, convinced his mother (with the help of his father) that it is PMA for him, and the rest is history.

“I would definitely influence my children to join the military. It is a privilege to join the military. They would learn to be independent, and also they would learn values that they can use for the rest of their lives. They would also learn to be content of what they have and to be resourceful in their everyday lives,” he added.

Asked if he ever held a grudge to his father during his growing up years, Baron said that he never held any grudge against his father for being absent in some events simply because he is always present. He can’t remember a time in his life that he did not see his father in times that he is needed.

“My father is a bit of everything; a man of courage, integrity and loyalty; a man of good humor that always jokes, and a man with great heart that always helps. Most especially, he is a loving husband to his wife and a great father to his son,” Baron said prouldly.

'Batang Mess Kit'

Private First Class Paul Nudo enlisted in the Philippine Army in 2008. Like Baron, Paul grew up in a military environment, in Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal particularly, where his father, a soldier, and his mother a civilian employee, were assigned.

Nudo was among the so-called 'batang mess kit', the term given to the children of soldiers who grow inside military camps.
I was always tagged along by my father in his activities. I watched him at the office or at the field (2ndInfantry Division) doing some drills with the Scout Rangers. Back then, I am always in awe whenever I see soldiers render their snappy salutes. I told myself that one day, I will be like them,” said Paul.

However, unlike Baron who right away received his father’s blessings, he had to convince his father more.

Paul knew that his father’s absence during his growing up years was because of his duties as an Army soldier. His father was assigned then in Mindanao that he only got to see his family every six or seven months.

“I accepted the situation because I am aware that my father had to do his job, and since he had to be assigned in far flung villages, I also know that we had to stay with our mother most of the time. My mother had also been a father to us, but my father never neglected his obligations and he never made us feel less loved despite his absence,” added Paul.

Remembering the roots

For fathers and sons, the environment that they grew up in, the values that their fathers inculcated in them and the willingness to serve the country had been their greatest inspiration.

Leopoldo B Limoso, Rizaldo’s father and Baron’s grandfather, was a good family man. Despite his duties at the Philippine Constabulary, he never neglected his wife and children. He is a good provider and was able to send all his five children in the best schools.

“I remember my grandfather as a good man with many stories about his experience in the war. When I was a child, I always visit him at their house every afternoon. I would listen to his stories about the hardships that he experienced during the war with the Japanese and how he and his comrades fought bravely though they are less equipped and outnumbered,” said Baron.

Paul said that he was always inspired by his grandfather, 2Lt Maximino P Nudo, who served under different Commanders of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, is a man of integrity.

“I am proud that I am his grandson. I owe him everything that I achieved as a soldier,” he said.

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