ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Joint Task Force (JTF)-Sulu is recommending to award the Bronze Cross Medal to 27 militiamen, who are Tausug natives, for extraordinary bravery in the face of great danger.
The militiamen who belong to the 8th Civilian Active Auxiliary Company (8CAAC) are based at the detachment in Barangay Bangkal, Patikul, Sulu. They are under the command of the 5th Special Force Company (5SFC), 2nd Special Forces Battalion (2SFBn).
Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, JTF-Sulu commander, said Wednesday the militiamen, amid the burning wreckage, rushed to the crash site just seconds after the C-130 aircraft with tail number 5125 crashed in Sitio Amman, Barangay Bangkal, Patikul on July 4.
Gonzales said they ventured into the crash site to look for survivors and took them to safer grounds.
Gonzales noted that being among the first responders, the militiamen’s aggressive and timely actions led to the extraction of about 20 soldiers from the crash site.
“These ordinary men were heroes on July 4, 2021. They will be recommended to be recipients of Bronze Cross Medal—a military decoration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which is awarded for heroism involving risk of life,” he said.
The Bronze Cross Medal may be awarded for voluntary action in the face of great danger above and beyond the call of duty, or other deeds evidenced by extraordinary bravery not involving direct combat with the enemy. Those eligible for the medal are military and civilian personnel of the AFP.
Gonzales noted that a total of 49 soldiers and four civilians were rescued while the remains of 47 military personnel and three civilians were recovered at the crash site past 8 p.m. of July 4 with the combined efforts of JTF Sulu, from the first CAA responders to specialized units, and the local government units.
A total of 96 people were aboard the C-130 “Hercules” aircraft when it crashed around shortly before noon on July 4.
Most of the people aboard the plane which came from Cagayan de Oro City were newly enlisted into the Philippine Army and were deployed to fight the Abu Sayyaf Group bandits in Sulu. (PNA)