An Army junior officer received on Tuesday the third highest medal for combat for leading the assault against hundreds of members of the Moro National Liberation Front in Zamboanga City last September.
Captain Rolly Joaquin led this year’s awardees at the Scout Ranger’s 63rd anniversary held at the First Scout Ranger Regiment located at Camp Tecson in Bulacan.
The Gold Cross Medal comes the third highest award after Medal of Valor and Distinguished Conduct Star.
The Scout Rangers are part of military’s elite forces. They specialize in anti-guerrilla warfare.
Joaquin was the commanding officer of the First Scout Ranger Company that led the assault against the MNLF in the villages of Sta. Barbara and Sta. Catalina in Zamboanga City in September.
He sustained wounds from the MNLF attack but Joaquin chose to stay with his men.
The junior officer is a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 2004 and finished top of the class.
In 2004, he was sacked from schooling in the United States Army Infantry School at Fort Benning in Georgia and was sent back home for alleged shoplifting. He reportedly stole a compact disc worth $12.95.
Because he was a topnotcher, he earned a study grant from the United States Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG).
He was reprimanded because of the incident and was reduced in rank in the military lineal list.
Another recipient of the Gold Cross Medal is First Lieutenant Patrick Futalan of the 14th Scout Ranger Company. He led his troops in a clash with communist rebels in Mati village in Tigbao, Zamboanga del Sur last January. They were able to seize a rebel encampment despite enemy fires.
The rest of the Gold Cross Medals recipients are Captain Blas Alsiyao of the Scout Ranger Training School, First Lieutenant Loui Talosig and Sergeant Marvin Etao, both of the 15th Scout Ranger Company.
Staff Sergeant Allan Ugbamin was awarded with the Bronze Cross Medal.
Military merit medals were given to Lt Col Freddie Dela Cruz, Cpt Rodrigo Babaran, Cpt Aunor Balansi, 1Lt Russel Bawat, TSg Reyland Lagunero, SSg Reynaldo Esteves, SSg Jungie Cuevas, SSg Sanny Sabarre, and Cpl Michael D Binauhan.
The 1st Scout Ranger Battalion was awarded as this year’s Best Battalion, and the 2nd Scout Ranger Company as Best Company.
Cpt Paul Ramos and SSg Rehum Magno were named as Best Officer and Best Enlisted Personnel, respectively.
A Plaque of Recognition was also given to retired Major Generals Julius J Javier, Gabriel M Ledesma and Jose P Magno; retired Second Lieutenants Samuel C Jomento and Rufo B Guigue; retired Chief Master Sergeant Enrique M Pizarra, and retired Senior Master Sergeant Jose T Paet.
Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle C Salazar of Zamboanga City was also a recipient of Plaque of Recognition.
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