The firer shouted, “Clear the back blast area!” Suddenly, there was a loud whooshing sound. I observed silently 20 meters away from the firer. Whoosh! The sound of the bazooka roared like thunder. Wham! The blast echoed around the firing range. Smoke and dust were all over the ground then silence. Damn! It was a thing of beauty. I felt a light satisfaction inside me. My confidence was getting higher. I wonder how any individual could survive a direct hit. I thought to myself, this ultimate weapon would make our enemies hide in their Mama’s undergarments.
The 90mm Recoilless Rifle “Bazooka” is a light-weight tube artillery weapon designed to destroy tanks. It is normally used in the Southern Philippines to counter Muslim secessionist group’s Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG). Unlike RPGs, a bazooka needs an ammo bearer to insert the ammo at the weapon’s rear before firing. There’s no recoil but the back blast could injure anyone standing directly behind the firer. Your face will burn like barbeque. That’s the reason why the firer warns everybody to clear the back blast area. He doesn’t want to produce a ranger barbeque. Of course, it’s not part of his diet.
After few hours of weapons training, it seemed that everything was in a hurry. We went to the bleachers. The RI’s talked to us. Consequently, it became an informal briefing. They’ve told us that they will go with us to Jolo. It would be an honor to be accompanied by our respected RIs. Some RIs who were formerly assigned in that battle zone told us that it would be a bloody battle. They shared their experiences. They told us that Abu Sayyaf terrorists were fearless. “Never leave anyone behind. They will decapitate the dead or worse, they will mutilate his genitals.” These words struck fear in our hearts. Imagine what they can do to you if you were captured alive. They hated Scout Rangers. I will always leave one bullet for myself. We listened to our RIs like there’s no tomorrow. It was a firm instruction. It’s all clear to me. Our Scout Ranger training will be put to the final test.
Unfortunately, there would be no Scout Snipers joining us.
Scout Snipers are the meanest of all snipers in the Armed Forces of the Philippines. You must be either a member of Special Forces or Scout Ranger in order to be qualified to take the Scout Sniper Course. They move by buddy- the sniper and the spotter. They can also switch position. They are a perfect killing machine. They use .50 Cal Barrett Sniper rifle. They are also equipped with automatic rifles. There were stories that a legendary Scout Sniper killed at least five enemies using only one bullet. The enemies he killed were in a file formation. The first man’s body was almost cut into half. Perfect killing machine!
How I wish we could still have a Scout Sniper buddy.
Scout Ranger’s organization is different from the Philippine Special Forces or the usual Philippine Army Infantry Squad. The smallest unit is composed of a 7-man team. Each member of the team is highly specialized on skills designed for his position. For example, the Contact man is the demolition expert of the team. Scout Rangers are trained to stalk on their prey like a Black Panther then move swiftly like a hunter, killing its opponents in one destructive blow.
My mind was floating again. There was a sudden urge for me to learn past combat debacles of the troops in the South. Shit! I don’t have time for this. I have to prepare everything including my men.
Then I asked myself, “Are we really prepared for this?”
(To be continued)