A souvenir photo of the present crop of Scout Rangers with the 'living legend', Julius Javier (blue striped polo shirt), during the FSRR's 62nd Founding Anniversary on Nov 25, 2011. Also in photo are our brothers from the Special Forces like MGen Roberto Morales, Col Aminkandra Undug, DND Sec Voltaire Gazmin and a distinguished SF warrior, Lt Gen Arturo Ortiz, a recipient of the Medal for Valor award. (Photo by Major Harold M Cabunoc)
Why is it that Scout Rangers are so proud about showing the finest traditions of soldiery, distinguishing them from the rest?
Let me share some of my personal observations.
I joined the ranks of this elite fighting men after hearing the names of famous warriors like Rafael Ileto, Julius Javier and Robert Lucero.
As a member of the US Army's Alamo Scouts during the war, then Lt Ileto was among those who participated in the Pangatian raid in Cabanatuan, freeing more than 500 prisoners of war from the hands of the Japanese Imperial forces.
If you learn about the heroic feats of these soldiers in combat actions like MV Karagatan, battle in Mal-Mar and Sibalu Hill, you will surely be impressed.
You might be surprised that aside from the successful Huk campaigns, Scout Rangers were also involved in the AFP's missions against Kamlon in Sulu. (Had I not met former Luuk Vice Mayor Marcial Navata in his ancestral house in 2000, I wouldn't know this story)
These are the reasons why even during my PMA cadet days, I was already a die-hard Scout Ranger fan and decided to become a 'musang' upon graduation.
Showing my sincerity to be associated with these elite warriors, I collected memorabilia like patches, tabs and stickers showing my love for the unit.
For that reason, my mistahs address me as Ranger Cabunoc. No, it was not really that I had the complexion or the 'Ranger' looks; I had nothing in mind when it comes to soldiery but the Scout Rangers!
When I was selected as among the few who were handpicked to join the First Scout Ranger Regiment in 1995, I felt like I won a jackpot prize.
It may sound funny but it seemed that everyone immediately wanted to serve in the frontlines when we reported for duty in January 1995.
I was among those who wanted to see action immediately, especially in Basilan.
Because nobody seemed interested to serve somewhere else, then Cpt Glen Paje, our G1 (personnel officer) had to resort to 'draw lots' in order to pick the 'lucky' 2LTs to serve under the Task Group Panther in Basilan.
Since then, we gradually shared some little 'contributions' while performing our mandated tasks in the frontlines, fighting side by side with our idols in various hot spots like Sirawai, Cotabato, Maguindanao, Lanao, Basilan and Sulu.
We are not receiving special remuneration being a Scout Ranger; but, we are always ready to perform delicate missions wholeheartedly.
Why are Scout Rangers different from the rest?
There are two familiar lines that I always heard from both officers and NCOs:
"Sir, dito sa Scout Ranger unit, di bale nang mamatay huwag lang mapahiya!" said Msgt Eugenio 'Bobords' dela Cerna whom I worked with in the 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion.
"Kahit sino pa ang ating makakalaban, di tayo matatakot dahil sa Scout Rangers ay walang iwanan!", said 1st Lt Elmer Suderio, my Company Commander in the 12th Scout Ranger Company in Basilan.
I kept on repeating the same lines everytime I lead warriors in challenging combat missions. I always reminded them this way:
"Wala tayong inuurungan na kalaban kasi tinatawag tayong Scout Ranger. Panindigan natin lagi yan. Walang iwanan!"
The warriors of the 10th Scout Ranger Company whom I led during various combat missions against Abu Sayyaf bandits in Sulu and Basilan from 2000-2002. We never leave anyone behind. I did not have a single combat loss during my stint in the unit. (10SRC photo)
I always reminded the soldiers that the Ranger 'tabak' (dagger) and the 'musang' patch that we wore in our uniforms were not mere decorations but symbols of courage and determination and not simple decorations as what the others are doing.
Because of God's blessings and our consistent skills training, I never lost a single soldier under my command, after all the exciting adventures that we experienced together.
It can't be denied that we had learned so much from our mentors among the US Rangers and also the valuable lessons from our 'godfather' and war hero Gen. Rafael Ileto.
Surely, our 'warrior attitude' is influenced by our mentors.
I am proud that Scout Rangers also memorize and follow principles taught in the US Army's Ranger Creed:
Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of the Rangers.
Acknowledging the fact that a Ranger is a more elite soldier who arrives at the cutting edge of battle by land, sea, or air, I accept the fact that as a Ranger my country expects me to move further, faster, and fight harder than any other soldier.
Never shall I fail my comrades I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong, and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be, one hundred percent and then some.
Gallantly will I show the world that I am a specially selected and well trained soldier. My courtesy to superior officers, neatness of dress, and care of equipment shall set the example for others to follow.
Energetically will I meet the enemies of my country. I shall defeat them on the field of battle for I am better trained and will fight with all my might. Surrender is not a Ranger word. I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my country.
Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission, though I be the lone survivor.