The proud members of the All Arms Commando Course 01/16 pose for a souvenir photo after hurdling one of the most rigorous military training in the world. (Photo by Cpt Omar Al-Assaf)
Two Filipino officers have hurdled the physically demanding All Ams Commando Course (AACC) 01/16 that was conducted by the Commando Training Centre, Royal Marines (CTCRM) in the United Kingdom.
Army Captain Omar Al-Assaf, 32, of the Special Operations Command, Philippine Army and 2Lt. Orlando Lictawa of the Philippine Marine Corps were among those who completed the grueling course that lasted 13 weeks.
Al-Assaf, Lictawa, and a Danish soldier were the only survivors out of the five foreign exchange students. Only 45 soldiers out of 105 candidates finished the course and earned the right to wear the much coveted AACC 'Commando Dagger'.
The AACC candidates underwent various tests to qualify for the course. In full combat gear, the soldiers had to hurdle the following tests:
-30 foot rope climb
-Bottom Field assault course within 5 minutes
- Fireman's carry (with equipment for both soldiers) at a distance of 200 meters within 90 seconds
- Full regain over the water tank
- 12-mile (19km) load carry (also known as ruck march) carrying 31kgs and rifle within 4 hours
AACC students undergo rigorous tests during which more than 50% fail to finish the course. (AACC photo)
During the course, the candidates have to complete the Commando Tests such as the Endurance Course, 9-mile Speed March, Tarzan Assault Course, and the 30-miler.
Standing only 5ft 4 inches, Al-Assaf found it very challenging to carry the 45-kg combat pack which was designed for the taller and bigger soldiers from the West.
AACC candidates undergo the ruck march test carrying a 45-kg combat pack and an assault rifle. (AACC photo)
Weighing only 64 kgs, Al-Assaf was required to carry a 45kg ruck during ruck marches. He said that his iron determination that he learned as a PMA cadet helped him overcome the odds.
"I wanted to succeed because I was wearing the Philippine flag on my shoulders. I wanted to prove that Filipino soldiers are among the best in the world," said Al-Assaf, a member of PMA 'Mandala' Class of 2006.
Aside from the Commando Dagger, Al-Assaf has also earned the distinct honor of being granted the Commandant's Certificate as one of the best students in the course.
Cpt Omar Al-Assaf was awarded the Commandant's Certificate for being one of the best students of AACC Class 01-16. (Photo by Cpt Omar Al-Assaf)