Author Topic: AFP-MILF 2000 War in Mindanao Remembered  (Read 29194 times)

darthnbs

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AFP-MILF 2000 War in Mindanao Remembered
« on: August 10, 2006, 11:37:48 PM »
AFP-MILF 2000 War in Mindanao Remembered
Mike Banos

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=8068

March 15, 2006, was the sixth anniversary of the infamous invasion of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Even before that, there was already considerable saber rattling on both sides. After burning a Super 5 passenger bus and taking three employees hostages, Moro rebels strung together a series of attacks on passenger buses beginning on Feb. 25, 2000 in Ozamiz city, Bgy. Rizal, Tungawan, Zamboanga del Norte and Cagayan de Oro city, killing and wounding 36 people and wounding 42 others.

Unknown to the rebels, the 1st and 2nd battalion landing teams of the 1st Marine Brigade disembarked at Cagayan de Oro's Macabalan port on March 14, followed days later by the third battalion.

The stage was set for war in Mindanao.

On March 15, a combat patrol of the Phil. Army's 26th Infantry Battalion stumbled upon MILF guerrillas in Bgy. Inudaran, Lanao del Norte, killing two of the rebels. The following day, 700 rebels of the MILF 303rd Brigade led by Abdullah Macapaar, alias Commander Bravo, swooped down on nine Army detachments in Linamon, Bacolod, Kauswagan and Maigo towns.

On March 17, the rebels occupied the Kauwagan town hall, taking more than 400 residents hostage.

The Phil. Army's 4th Infantry "Diamond" Division under the command of Brig. Gen. Roy Cimatu (now Phil. Ambassador to the Middle East) immediately launched a counter attack.

Cimatu mobilized Task Force Inudaran from the Army 402nd Infantry Brigade and the 1st Marine Brigade under Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Teodosio which recaptured Kauswagan on March 18. The task force also cleared the Iligan-Dipolog highway where rebels had set up several roadblocks, and set up covering forces to protect vulnerable town centers while far-flung detachments were forced to hold their own against the enemy attacks.

On March 21, 2000, then Philippine President Joseph Estrada personally visited Kauswagan and declared an "all-out war" against the MILF. Estrada tasked Cimatu to carry out the offensive against the MILF in the Lanao area.

From March 16 to June 12, 2000, the 4th Division captured 15 major MILF camps, 49 satellite camps, a training base and control tower at a cost of 38 soldiers killed and 196 wounded. MILF casualties totaled 589 killed and 916 wounded.

Cimatu outlined five major operations against the enemy. The first of these was Oplan SOVEREIGN which called for Task Force Diamond III under Col. Felipe Berroya to attack camps and staging areas of the MILF 303rd Brigade near the highway.

"I did not want the MILF to have time to regroup themselves," Cimatu said. "Time was very essential."

Marines overran the MILF camp in Bgy. Inudaran on March 19 and Camp John Mack, headquarters of the MILF 303rd Brigade at Bgy. Delabayen, Kauswagan on March 20.

The following day, Task Force Diamond III captured Camp Bilal, the largest MILF camp in Lanao del Norte, located in the municipality of Munai.

Meantime, the Army's 402nd Brigade under Col. Samuel Bagasin successfully cleared Bgy. Pacalundo after a day of fierce fighting. Apo Hill, the major MILF communications center in the outskirts of Baloi, finally fell to Task Force Diamond III after a month of heavy air and artillery attack on April 26.

Following the success of Oplan SOVEREIGN, Cimatu next moved on to Operation FREEWAY designed to clear the Narciso Ramos Highway of rebels. The 1st Marine Brigade moved on to Pualas, Lanao del Sur while Task Force Diamond moved up to Marawi city. In a classic pincer movement, Task Force Diamond was ordered to clear the hilly portions of the highway, the 1st Marine Brigade the immediate vicinity of the highway while the 6th Infantry Division moved up from the opposite direction in Matanog town.

As the northern end of the pincer closed in, the Army's 302nd Infantry Brigade under Col. Allan Cabalquinto arrived on May 10 to secure the rear areas cleared by Task Force Diamond. On May 15, the Narciso Ramos highway was finally cleared of MILF rebels, in spite of stiff resistance encountered by the 6th Division from rebels entrenched in bunkers and trenches along the highway.

Next on the schedule was Operation SUPREME, aimed at capturing Camp Bushra in Butig, Lanao del Sur, the second largest camp and training center of the MILF. It is also the home of the Lanao Area Command headquarters under MILF Vice Chair Aleem Abdul Azziz Mimbantas and headquarters of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces 3rd Field Division.

Task Force Diamond initially made a feint against MILF camps in Marogong, then moved right abreast of the 1st Marine Brigade which had moved overland from Balabagan. The 302nd Infantry Brigade and the newly arrived 802nd Infantry Brigade under Col. Nagamora Lomodag followed the two attacking brigades. On May 28, Camp Bushra finally fell to the combined air-artillery and infantry attacks of the four brigades.

This set the stage for Operation SWEEPER, aimed at reducing the MILF sphere of influence in Lanao del Sur, particularly in the Basak area around the eastern portion of Lake Lanao.

While the 1st Marine Brigade secured Camp Bushra and re-established government control in Butig, Cimatu ordered Task Force Diamond, the 302nd and 802nd Brigades to clear the municipality of Masiu and eastern side of Lake Lanao. This phase of the operation successfully defeated the rebels capability to wage in sustained a low-intensity conventional warfare in Northern and Central Mindanao.

Up next was Operation SUMMIT, which aimed to destroy all MILF camps north and west of Camp Abubakar. The 1st Marine Brigade and 302nd Infantry Brigade launched the attack on Camp Abubakar from the north while the 6th Infantry Division attacked from the south and west, with Task Force Diamond in reserve.

On July 12, 2000, the late MILF chairman Salamat Hashim called for a jihad against all government forces and installation but few of the Bangsamoro heeded his call. As the rebels forces broke up into smaller, disorganized units, MILF guerrillas went on a rampage against helpless civilians, killing 21 farmers in Bgy. Sumugot, Bumbaran, Lanao del Sur on July 16, 2001 and another 13 workers of the Maranao Plantation, Inc. in Matling, less than a week later.

With the fall of Camp Abubakar, the conventional warfare against the MILF came to an end and the process of reconstructing and rehabilitating the war-torn areas began.

High on the list of priorities was the plight of MILF guerrillas who were tired of fighting and had no camps left to report to. On October 5, 2000 the first massive surrender of 669 MILF mujahideen led by the renegade vice mayor of Marugong, Lanao del Sur Malupandi Cosandi Sarip and seven other battalion commanders, surrendered to former President Joseph Estrada at the 4th ID headquarters in Camp Edilberto Evangelista, Bgy. Patag, Cagayan de Oro city.

They were followed shortly by a second batch of 855 surrenderees led by MILF Commander Sayben Ampaso on Dec. 29, 2000.

The latest and biggest batch of surrenderees formally surrendered to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Tamparan, Lanao del Sur on March 14, 2001, one day to the date from the start of the Mindanao war last March 15, 2000 in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte.

The 931 surrenderees were led by Macabagol Paudak, brigade commander of the MILF Striking Force, 308th MILF Brigade, who also formally turned over some 506 firearms, plus 20 RPGs, three .50-cal. machineguns, three 60mm mortars and two pump boats.


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el_commandante

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Re: AFP-MILF 2000 War in Mindanao Remembered
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2006, 04:34:52 AM »
I remember the late Philstar columnist Teddy Benigno (he is the original proponent of revolutionary government and die hard anti GMA) sneering at the military before the invasion of Camp Abubakar. he claimed in his column before the AFP-MILF war that camp Abu Bakar would be impossible to occupy by the military. That the Military would not be able to expel and defeat the MILF at camp Abu Bakar. He made it look like it is an impenetrable fortress

The events later proved the old man wrong :) Camp Abu Bakar is the Maginot line of the MILF, its collapse led to their defeat.

I am sure the MILF is now studying the tactics of the Hizbollah
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Barber 6

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Re: AFP-MILF 2000 War in Mindanao Remembered
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2006, 05:01:22 AM »
Camp Abubakar had seven layers of defense...so how are you going to breach that defense? Do it one by one and yes the AFP did it and in record time. :2rifles:

mondo bizzaro

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Re: AFP-MILF 2000 War in Mindanao Remembered
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2006, 09:32:31 AM »
It just goes to show that if political will and military will is in the same direction, these insurrections can be quashed. But the momentum is lost and now where did the balls go?

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Red Justice

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Re: AFP-MILF 2000 War in Mindanao Remembered
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2006, 05:00:48 PM »
Does the Marines have more videos of the MILF campaign?
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Barber 6

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Re: AFP-MILF 2000 War in Mindanao Remembered
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2006, 02:42:37 PM »
AFP-MILF 2000 War in Mindanao Remembered
With the fall of Camp Abubakar, the conventional warfare against the MILF came to an end and the process of reconstructing and rehabilitating the war-torn areas began.

High on the list of priorities was the plight of MILF guerrillas who were tired of fighting and had no camps left to report to. On October 5, 2000 the first massive surrender of 669 MILF mujahideen led by the renegade vice mayor of Marugong, Lanao del Sur Malupandi Cosandi Sarip and seven other battalion commanders, surrendered to former President Joseph Estrada at the 4th ID headquarters in Camp Edilberto Evangelista, Bgy. Patag, Cagayan de Oro city.

They were followed shortly by a second batch of 855 surrenderees led by MILF Commander Sayben Ampaso on Dec. 29, 2000.

The latest and biggest batch of surrenderees formally surrendered to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Tamparan, Lanao del Sur on March 14, 2001, one day to the date from the start of the Mindanao war last March 15, 2000 in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte.

The 931 surrenderees were led by Macabagol Paudak, brigade commander of the MILF Striking Force, 308th MILF Brigade, who also formally turned over some 506 firearms, plus 20 RPGs, three .50-cal. machineguns, three 60mm mortars and two pump boats.


Some groups took advantage of the situation and "defected" or should I say went back to the folds of the law. Their primary reason is: there is no more Command and Control in their organization...after the fall of their Main Camps they were left alone to themselves. Alot of them suffered from Ulcer and other ilnesses. They have nothing to eat but "Kopras". The only reason they survived out in the battlefield is because they were constantly moving so the government troops will not find them and avoid engagement. This made them very tired and hungry. They are no longer able to fight even if they are the Striking Force of one of the BMA Brigades. This was the time that they were thinking about the "Balik Baril" program of the Government.  Each Weapon they surrender/turn over have an equivalent amount. The most "expensive" are of course GPMG's and HMG's but the most common one's that were surrendered were the M16 and/or the M14. Some local folks took advantage also of the program and surrendered their personal weapons even if they are not members of the MILF. This was coordinated through their Leaders or Chieftains. One Datu confided that the war in Mindanao would not end as long as there are guns in the hands of the people, it is better to turn over this weapons in exchage of farming exuipment. Aside from the cash they received, they will undergo Seminars and Training for livelihood projects.

After the fall of thier camps, their warriors were scattered all over the place. Alot of them went to Luzon and the Visayas to live a simple life, away from the war. Some peddled diferrent kinds of stuff to sell to people,you probably noticed the influx of Maranaws in Luzon during this time. People as young as 12yrs old (son of their Commander) surrendered with his M16.He even showed a scar on his neck grazed by a Government Forces bullet while defending Camp Abu Bakar. This is a sad truth but the Boy, in front of his father, promised to go back to school and will never hold a weapon again.

This accomplishment was achieved by an Army Infantry Battalion in the Binidayan, Bayang, Lumbatan, Lumbayanague and Butig Area, south of Lanao Lake.  :2rifles:

Cafgu

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Re: AFP-MILF 2000 War in Mindanao Remembered
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2006, 05:50:32 PM »
Some groups took advantage of the situation and "defected" or should I say went back to the folds of the law. Their primary reason is: there is no more Command and Control in their organization...after the fall of their Main Camps they were left alone to themselves. Alot of them suffered from Ulcer and other ilnesses. They have nothing to eat but "Kopras". The only reason they survived out in the battlefield is because they were constantly moving so the government troops will not find them and avoid engagement. This made them very tired and hungry. They are no longer able to fight even if they are the Striking Force of one of the BMA Brigades. This was the time that they were thinking about the "Balik Baril" program of the Government.  Each Weapon they surrender/turn over have an equivalent amount. The most "expensive" are of course GPMG's and HMG's but the most common one's that were surrendered were the M16 and/or the M14. Some local folks took advantage also of the program and surrendered their personal weapons even if they are not members of the MILF. This was coordinated through their Leaders or Chieftains. One Datu confided that the war in Mindanao would not end as long as there are guns in the hands of the people, it is better to turn over this weapons in exchage of farming exuipment. Aside from the cash they received, they will undergo Seminars and Training for livelihood projects.

After the fall of thier camps, their warriors were scattered all over the place. Alot of them went to Luzon and the Visayas to live a simple life, away from the war. Some peddled diferrent kinds of stuff to sell to people,you probably noticed the influx of Maranaws in Luzon during this time. People as young as 12yrs old (son of their Commander) surrendered with his M16.He even showed a scar on his neck grazed by a Government Forces bullet while defending Camp Abu Bakar. This is a sad truth but the Boy, in front of his father, promised to go back to school and will never hold a weapon again.

This accomplishment was achieved by an Army Infantry Battalion in the Binidayan, Bayang, Lumbatan, Lumbayanague and Butig Area, south of Lanao Lake.  :2rifles:

 :bravo: Thanks, sir Barber6 for the info & what you said is very true.  But I just like to point out is that our Maranaw Brothers have distinct characteristic compared to others: Historically & culturally they are into trading business and their leaders' primary concern is always the preservation Maranaw People above all others, that is why they rather surrender than be annihilated.  That is comparing to our stubborn Maguindanoans Brothers who retreated from camp Abu Bakar then regrouped in Liguasan marsh only to be blasted away again.
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Barber 6

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Re: AFP-MILF 2000 War in Mindanao Remembered
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2006, 05:53:35 PM »
AFP-MILF 2000 War in Mindanao Remembered
Next on the schedule was Operation SUPREME, aimed at capturing Camp Bushra in Butig, Lanao del Sur, the second largest camp and training center of the MILF. It is also the home of the Lanao Area Command headquarters under MILF Vice Chair Aleem Abdul Azziz Mimbantas and headquarters of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces 3rd Field Division.

Task Force Diamond initially made a feint against MILF camps in Marogong, then moved right abreast of the 1st Marine Brigade which had moved overland from Balabagan. The 302nd Infantry Brigade and the newly arrived 802nd Infantry Brigade under Col. Nagamora Lomodag followed the two attacking brigades. On May 28, Camp Bushra finally fell to the combined air-artillery and infantry attacks of the four brigades.

This set the stage for Operation SWEEPER, aimed at reducing the MILF sphere of influence in Lanao del Sur, particularly in the Basak area around the eastern portion of Lake Lanao.

While the 1st Marine Brigade secured Camp Bushra and re-established government control in Butig, Cimatu ordered Task Force Diamond, the 302nd and 802nd Brigades to clear the municipality of Masiu and eastern side of Lake Lanao. This phase of the operation successfully defeated the rebels capability to wage in sustained a low-intensity conventional warfare in Northern and Central Mindanao.


AFP at its best...this offensive is a combination of conventional and unconvetional warfare. Our troops displayed impeccable knowledge and skills with warfare. Our tankers, both PMC and PA, provided the support our infantry/foot soldiers needed in advancing toward the enemy's position.Out Artillery guys, even though their only practice was during Parades and Honor Guards, displayed mastery of their craft. Proof of which is when an Army Company Commander requested Fire Support, the coordinates were given and the rounds were released just seconds from the request. The rounds hit the target bull's eye (accuracy is within 1 meter) and never had the chance to say "Fire for Effect"  :D. Our SIGINT guys intercepted a conversation among the MILF Fighters, they were disorganized and scared after that one round blasted their Commander into bits and pieces... :bravo:       This is also the only time that a 105mm Howitzer was used in a direct fire mode. After the capture of Camp Bushra, "Stragglers" (MILF Fighter in very small units) would harass the PA unit in the area at night. They would conduct sniping operations against our Soldiers who are exposed (relaxing). This BN Commander, irritated becasue they haven't slept for weeks, released a small unit (7 man team) to pinpoint the exact location of the Enemy Snipers...after they were able to determine the location, the FDC was ordered to fire at that direction...the target was within 250 meters and were out there like sitting ducks. The FA guys hesitated becasue they haven't fired in that manner...an NVG was given to one of the NCO and aligned the tube manually to the enemy's location and then WAGAM!  :2rifles:
« Last Edit: August 13, 2006, 05:55:15 PM by Barber 6 »

predator

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Re: AFP-MILF 2000 War in Mindanao Remembered
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2006, 06:57:26 PM »
More Barber 6  :thumbsup:

Barber 6

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Re: AFP-MILF 2000 War in Mindanao Remembered
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2006, 07:09:46 PM »
Camp Bushra, Upper Butig, Lanao Del Sur:

An MILF Camp that can be mistaken as a Resort at the foot of the hilly portion of Butig...as you aproach the Camp a gate/checkpoint will greet you right after the School (forgot the name). After around 300 meters you will see another "Guard House".This is the Main entrance to the resort...err...Camp.To the immediate right will be the Motorpool/Generator room. As you walk straight you will see a tower (2 o'clockfrom your position) about 30 feet high on the elevated ground of the camp with a 50cal HMG (at least). This tower doubles as the watch tower (sentinel) and Anti Aircraft Nest. Below it is an unfinished "bungalow" concrete house. Directly infront of you, about 250 meters on the depressed part of the area, you will see a structure that serves as the HQS of MILF Vice Chair Aleem Abdul Azziz Mimbantas. The structure was comparable to Mansions in prominent villages in MetroManila. To the Left is a Mosque that was damage during the bombing runs of our Airforce. A new Mosque was built by our PA Corps of Engineers beside the old one. No, they did not hit it...a bomb was dropped and landed to the right of the mosque hitting the Rectangle man-made lagoon that has water running from a spring (potable and has a sweet taste). The HQs is equipped with Desk Top Computers and Laptops that are hooked to a wireless phone and satellite dishes. There were also several Solar Panels that provide electricity to the structure. The camp is abundant in Vegetables and some fruit bearing trees. There were also flowering plants around the area. The camp is fortified by several layers of trenches and a number of satellite camps scattered around it that serves as their forward security and listening posts. Locals claim that this is not the "real" Camp Bushra...they claim that the real Camp Bushra is on top of the Hills and is impenetrable(?) they say that what the AFP captured was Bushra II.

darthnbs

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Re: AFP-MILF 2000 War in Mindanao Remembered
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2006, 09:22:35 PM »
Damn, those tidbits are very informative, I wish some would contribute more. I remember that during those time I was ill and confined in Camp Panopio. I only saw just a little bit of the skirmishes on tv and the newspapers but personal accounts was the best.


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Red Justice

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Re: AFP-MILF 2000 War in Mindanao Remembered
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2006, 09:48:37 PM »
Yeah, malamang po Sir Barber6 may mga photos ka nito?

How about the NRH, any story?

 :bravo:
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Barber 6

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A tribute to a young Marine
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2006, 06:50:06 AM »
A Brigade was tasked to provide Route Security for the Main Effort of the Offensive. One night, a radio message was received informing the Army Brigade that the Marine Brigade would be harboring for the night in their location (a town south of Lanao Lake)…the Army guys prepared and secured a place for their Marine brothers to stay. Once they arrived the Marines started cooking their meals. The Army guys noticed that the Marines were very hungry and tired, so they tried helping them by providing water and firewood and some leftovers. Some assisted and lent their Gas Burners. Some struck conversations while waiting for the food to cook. A young Marine approached an Army Guy sitting alone wrapped in “Malong” and blanket (it gets cold in Lanao Sur at night) smoking a cigarette. The Marine asked for a cigarette and the Army guy willingly gave him one. A small conversation took place and they discussed things about the ongoing war...the Marine was a new recruit and haven’t been a year yet in the Armed Forces. He said he was scared since a lot of them died already especially in their platoon. They are operating as a skeleton platoon (under manned platoon). The Army guy told him that he is scared too, if not only for one thing he would have broken down due to Fear and stress from the War. The Marine asked the Army what is that one thing that keeps you going. He said that he wants a peaceful place for everyone especially his family. He said he is doing this for his Family. That kept the Morale of the young Marine High…it’s like he was energized. He said that he would think that way from now on just to give him the drive and strength to go on. This conversation was taking place in front of a small gas lamp…the one that gives you black soot inside your nostrils. After a couple of cigarettes they agreed to contact each other after the war to have a round of beer somewhere where it is cold and peaceful. The following morning everyone was prepared early because the Main Effort (Marine Brigade) is advancing while the Army Brigade will provide security to their Flanks. All Officers (Army and Marines) were gathered and were introduced to everyone, then the briefing. After the briefing, a young Marine approached one Army Officer (Company Commander) and gave him a snappy salute and apologized. The Army Officer asked him why? The Young Marine told him that he didn’t know that he was an Officer and he didn’t address him Sir during their conversation last night, and worse he asked a cigarette (well, it was actually 3 sticks). The Officer just smiled at him and reminded him why they were doing this. Both agreed to call (cellphones) each other after the war and meet for that cold beer. A few months passed by after the fall of the main MILF Camps, the Army Officer tried to get in touch with the young Marine…no response from the Marine. Later on he found out that he was one of those KIA. To the Young Marine, the Army Officer still owes you a Cold Beer…Semper Fi!

Red Justice

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Re: AFP-MILF 2000 War in Mindanao Remembered
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2006, 09:54:57 AM »
This is a very touching story Sir.
Everyone likes to change the world but nobody wants to change oneself.

                                          - Leo Tolstoy

Cafgu

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Re: AFP-MILF 2000 War in Mindanao Remembered
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2006, 05:47:22 AM »
Sir, Barber 6, Salamat uli.  Your stories reminds me of hundreds of stories I heard when I was a child in the 70s.  First hand accounts of field stories by soldiers from all over Mindanao who use to conglomerate/hang around our house (for a few cold beer of course or tuba) during R&R, retraining, schooling, or re-enlistment, ETAD, and sometimes there to escort their KIA buddies returning them to their families & hometown.   :(  :(


BTW, your stories are so intimate as if you were there?  Were you??
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