By VICTOR REYES
Publish in Malaya.com
TWO Scout Ranger soldiers have been awarded the Gold Cross Medal, the second highest military decoration in combat, for heroism against the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf in Basilan, the military announced yesterday.
The awards were conferred during the celebration of the 64th foundation anniversary of the First Scout Ranger Regiment in Camp Tecson in San Miguel, Bulacan last Tuesday, according to AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc.
FSRR Commander Brig. Gen. Eduardo Davalan pinned the medals on Capt. Franco Baylon and Sgt. Neil Silos in honor of the “outstanding members” of the elite unit.
Baylon, the commander of the 13th Scout Ranger Company, was given the award “for gallantry in action” during a firefight with about 100 Abu Sayyaf terrorists last April that resulted in the death of 11 Abu Sayyaf mean.
“Despite being wounded after exposing himself to enemy fire, he ably led the 13th Scout Ranger Company to counter the enemy, thereby neutralizing 11 and wounding eight others,” Cabunoc said of Baylon.
Baylon’s citation said he “exposed himself to enemy fire in order to coordinate and maneuver his troops to take advantageous positions to counter the enemy” and chose to stay behind, though wounded, and continued the fight “while facilitating the evacuation of his wounded.”
Silos was given the Gold Cross Medal for leading his men in a fight against 50 Abu Sayyaf in October last year.
“Despite having two wounded personnel, he inspired his men to hold their positions, preventing the enemy from penetrating their sector during a five-hour firefight without reinforcement,” said Cabunoc.
“His leadership saved the lives of his men and led to the neutralization of one Abu Sayyaf member and wounding of two others,” Cabunoc added.