"There are only two kinds of units in the Philippine Army; the Scout Rangers and the rest" as the saying goes. This is the Army's most celebrated breed of figthing men, the men far away from home, up in the mountains where they roam. They are the men claded in black fatigues, berets and balaclavas (the men in black) depicting the skin of the panther whose image appears in every ranger patch sewed in the shoulders of their fatigues. It is the emblem of the jungle figther, the night stalker, the commie-buster.It is a family circle of a well-trained closely-knit unit delivering the main punch in the counter-insurgency campaign - primarily a strike-anywhere force with troops scattered all over the country.
Their barracks notoreity as a day and night, all weather, all terrain, RANGER all the way figthing force made them legends in the Army. Based and trained in Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal Province, whose gates will emerge "the greatest guerilla figthers of Asia", it is an organization of about 2,500 men and forms the National Maneuver Force (NMF)which can deploy to any active sector to form a strike force or act as a reserve for local commanders.
Established in the 1950's by General Rafael Ileto, known as the "Father of the Rangers" they were the heroes of their time who sealed the fate of the Hukbalahap guerrilas. However, it was abolished when their members became so proud and cocky and went around abusing people with impunity. They hit the fan when rangers abuse military courtesy refusing to salute men even with higher rank who did not wear the patch of the ranger. Then in the 1970's, it was temporarily re-established as part of the Philippine Army Special Warfare Brigade with combined strength of the special forces whom they fought with stiff competition. It was resurrected in 1983 as an independent ranger unit under General Josephus Ramas then the Army Chief and the First Scout Ranger Regiment (FSSR) was then born. Eager to reclaim its rightful title, it proved itself as the Army's best unit through its achievements and colorful combat records and it wasn't too long they became again the elites among the elites. Their commanders, names like Ileto, Sang-laan, Brawner, Blando, Javier are legends in the Army. Their officers are the finest trained and educated ones, schooled in places like PMA, West Point, Fort Benning, PORTSEA and the finest of Philippine ROTC units. The rangers in snappy postures glimmers with medals hanging in their chest like knights in shinning armors. Their units are decorated by the commander in chief and voted as the best unit in the entire Philippine Army. They have been portrayed in Philippine movies with the rangers played by the prominent and celebrated actors Philippine cinema can offer.
As long as the Scout Rangers are there for the day, Philippine democracy is here to stay.
"Rangers makes headlines; Special Forces makes history". Unlike the Scout Rangers, the Philippine Army Special Forces have recieved little publicity. But like the rangers, their exploits in battle, the courage and heroism of their members are the stuff of legends within the circle of the Army. It is a pampered elite unit established in the 1960's who are primarily trained in unconventional and psychological warfare. One of their accomplishments was the formation of an army of militiamen better known as the Civilian Home Defense Forces (CHDF)later re-named as the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU). While the regular army units engaged the insurgents in the field, the Special Forces trains citizens as militiamen to detract communist rebels while at the same time conducting intelligence. They win the hearts and minds of the community population through community work and mobilizing them to defend themselves.
Members of the Special Forces are a though breed. They are trained to live-off the land, experts in guns, knives and their bare hands. Roam around in all terrain with food rations at times consisting of sky flakes soda crackers and a can of sardines ignoring pain and all weather conditions and still can fight with gallantry. When not doing any Special Operations Team (SOT) concepts, they can be called upon as strike forces by regular army units when the communist rebels began giving them the run. They can re-capture places overrun by communist rebels that regular army troops are unable to do, recon the front lines - the no man's land, and destroys enemy bases with stealthy and surgical accuracy. The unit onced a neglected and downtrodden unit has slowly regain its reputation as the best. They have been blown in the water in the 1960's when a national scandal demoralized the troops and led them into ignominy. Today, the unit has been nurtured especially after the Scout Rangers took part in the December 1989 Coup 'd' etat at the side of the rebels that shock the nation in 7 days. A rough - tough take no prisoners figthing force was again blooming , their guts and glory esprit are circulating all over the Philippine Army.
They boast a membership that are stardom in Philippine military history. Men like former Army Chief Gen. Lisandro Abadia, former AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Renato de Villa and even former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos. Their figthing men, names like Ortiz and Granfil have been decorated the Medal of Valor. Ortiz, being the first one to recieved the award during actions in an Offensive operation. "The Best never rest, mess with them and your gone like the rest" is the slogan of the Special Forces, a gesture of bravado by men once afraid of dying and hardened to death. "This Special Soldier" they announced to the world "reigns in the darn jungle" .