You might have heard a lot about the Philippine Scout Rangers but here are interesting facts that you might want to know.
1. Let's start with the name Scout Ranger. It was the Father of the Scout Rangers, then 1st Lt. Rafael Ileto, who coined the name based on the two US military units that he served and worked with during World War II, the famed Alamo Scouts of the 6th US Army and the 6th Ranger Battalion which liberated over 500 prisoners of war from a Japanese concentration camp in Pangatian, Nueva Ecija.
The liberated POWs from Pangatian concentration camp in Cabanatuan City. (Photo is obtained by the author)
2. The first training ground for the Scout Rangers was in Fort McKinley (Fort Andres Bonifacio). A marker that was erected in 1950s still stand at the former home of the Scout Ranger Training Unit (SRTU), which is the current location of the Army Support Command (ASCOM).
In this photo taken by Rappler, you can find the marker where the original home of the Scout Rangers used to be located. The photo was taken during fire incident that gutted the EOD Battalion headquarters building in May 2014.
3. The Scout Ranger mascot is the Black Panther (Panthera Pardus) that can be found in Africa and some parts of Asia. Through the years, Scout Rangers have also identified themselves with the Philippine Civet cat (Vivera Tangalung) which is locally known as "Musang". Perhaps, due to the fact that Musang is the closest relative of the Black Panther, our forefathers (and many of the current Scout Rangers) have interchanged the identities of these two distinct animals. In the past, Scout Rangers used to wear the Black Suit with the famous Black Panther unit patch.
The Black Panther is much more fearsome than the Civet cat in the animal world as this photo suggests. Scout Rangers identify themselves with the Black Panther which is known for its stealth, cunning and superb hunting skills. (Photo is obtained by the author)
The 'Musang Patch' that we wear on our shoulder bears the image of the Black Panther and not the Civet Cat.
4. Why the ceremonial outfit was changed from Black Panther Suit to Scout Ranger Distinctive Uniform (SRDU). It was sometime in 2010 when the FSRR changed the traditional Musang uniform from the Black Suit to the digital pattern SRDU. Let me cite some of the reasons:
- Other military units and even some PNP units have started using the Black Panther Suit (and even the Black Beret). It was aggravated by the fact that Security Guards and the members of the MILF started using this outfit too. There were instances in the past that lousy looking soldiers (from other units) and armed lawless elements were mistaken as Scout Rangers.
- The Black Suit is not supposedly used for combat patrols as this violates the basic principles of camouflage and concealment that Scout Rangers are trained for (see photo of Scout Rangers on patrol). Contrary to popular belief that black is the best night camouflage (even among 'old Rangers', the olive drab color is found to be the best outfit for night operations. You better try using a night vision goggle to appreciate.
This is my favorite pet, the 'Musang' which used to guard the Scout Ranger Training School in Camp Capinpin, Tanay Rizal. Our Musang was relocated at the present home of the SRTS in Camp Tecson, San Miguel, Bulacan when both SRTS and the First Scout Ranger Regiment were transferred to this new location in 1996. I am wearing the new Scout Ranger Distinctive Uniform which replaces the old Black Panther suit (Black Suit) that was popularized by the Scout Rangers led by then Major Gabriel Ledesma in Zamboanga Peninsula, Basilan and Sulu.
The latest version of the Black Panther, the new fave spot for selfie addicts who visit the Scout Ranger Training School.
5. Five years after the establishment of the First Scout Ranger Regiment, the unit produced its first national hero in the person of Cpl Weenee Martillana who was awarded the Medal for Valor for his combat actions against the Huk rebels. Here is the description of his combat exploits:
"Master Sergeant Camacho together with CORPORAL MARTILLANA, posed as civilians and befriended Eddie Villapando, notorious Huk Commander who terrorized Cavite and Batangas for many years. These enlisted men, after establishing contact with Villapando in September, 1955, skilfully managed to win the confidence of Villapando and his bodyguards. On or about 2200H, December, the opportunity to bring success to their project came when Villapando, Commander Guevarra, two (2) Huk bodyguards, Master Sergeant Camacho and CORPORAL MARTILLANA were riding in a jeep. MASTER SERGEANT CAMACHO, while driving the jeep, stopped at Barrio Tabon, Calauan, Laguna on the pretense that the jeep needed some oil. He got out of the vehicle to pour oil on the engine, while Corporal Martillana followed presumably to help him. At a pre-arranged signal they immediately opened fire on the Huks instantly killing Commander Guevarra and one Huk bodyguard. However, one of the Huks managed to shoot back, hitting and killing Master Sergeant Camacho".
To know more about what we do and how we are trained, follow this link:
Special Forces: Philippine Army Scout Rangers (Discovery Channel)
Lone Target by Ex-Navy Seals Chris Lambert