Monday, May 14, 2012

North Korean Commando team & Myanmar Army Soldiers

In the early morning of October 11 we had to report to the No. 1 BOC (Base Operations Command) inside Cantonment Park and we were asked to fall in. Only ten including me was selected as a special commando section and they drove us in a Hino TE21 truck to No. 502 Airbase at Mingaladon. The truck had no roof tarpaulin and we all got really wet as it was raining heavy.

We ten kamikaze had to fall in beside two helicopters on the runway. Our section leader was Second Lt. Maung Maung Aung. A group of senior officers then arrived. Colonel Myo Nyunt the Deputy CO Yangon Command, Colonel Nyi Sein the CO BOC (1), Lt. Colonel  Ohn Myint the Battalion CO, and  Captain Kyaw Soe the Battalion IO.

They wrote down our names, PSNs, addresses, parents’ names, and blood groups. They also asked our preferred next of kin for our benefits if we were killed. Then Colonel Myo Nyunt gave us the last speech ordering that we must find the enemy, diligently search every inch of that land they were hiding in, and capture them alive to redeem our country’s pride.

He ordered that to get enemy alive not even wounded we must sacrifice our lives if we need to. The enemy must be captured alive. After that they in one helicopter and we in the other we flew to the area where the North Koreans were last seen. On the way the Huskies circled the Shwedagon Pagoda three rounds for us.”
Only when we arrived we knew the place was Thakhutpin Village in Kawmhu Township of Yangon Division. Near the village was a long embankment along the Rangoon River and since the helicopters couldn’t land in the paddy fields or on the embankment we all had to jump down from the hovering Huskies.

We then cleared the village. The enemy was no longer in the village as he’d fled into the paddy fields just outside the village. Only then we were told the whole story.

Two North Koreans had been found wandering just outside the village and the villagers reported them to the police detachment at the village monastery. The policemen chased the two, captured them, and brought them back to their camp.

The two had Myanmar-style bag on each of them and the policemen tried to search the bags. The North Koreans pretended to cooperate with the police and Zin Kee-Chu started pulling stuff out of his bag. First a pile of money came out and while the policemen were temporarily distracted by the cash he then pulled out a hand grenade and detonated right there.

Their hand grenades had short 1 second fuses unlike our M-36 hand grenades with the longer 4 seconds fuses. So the explosion was immediate and some policemen and Captain Zin Kee-Chu himself were killed there. Kang Min-Chul escaped with a grenade in one hand and a pistol in other hand into the nearby paddy fields while firing back at the chasers.

The policemen radioed our battalion and now we were there to catch the North Korean Commando.
The day was October 11. We ten went in the rice paddy and trampled every inch of the field and searched for the North Korean the whole day. At dusk we had to stop the search to rest for the night and we resumed the search again at dawn.

It was the early morning of October 12 when we found him. He was hiding in a naturally-formed large ditch draining rain water down from the fields to the Yangon River. He was sitting in the water completely filled with floating water-hyacinths and we found him anyway even though he was out of sight and hard to be seen.

Once we found him in the ditch we ten had to line up abreast on the bank close to him and reported back to the officers waiting behind us. According to our platoon leader Second Lt. Maung Maung Aung the immediate order from Col. Nyi Sein the CO BOC (1) was to wait for the arrival of the elephant gun so that we could shoot him with tranquilizer darts, of course with reduced drugs in it.

So we just waited there for about ten minutes till another order came in again. This time it was direct from Col. Myo Nyunt the Deputy CO Rangoon Command and he ordered us to rush in and manhandle and overpower the North Korean as the army top brass was now waiting by the radio and they were getting real impatient.

So our Cho Oo the most senior private and the deputy section leader ordered the leftmost three men of our line to prepare for the immediate attack. The three were Nyunt Han the married one from the HQ Company, and Than Htwe and Thein Naing the bachelors from our Third Platoon First Company.

They dropped their G3 rifles on the ground and moved up one step ahead towards the North Korean. Cho Oo then clapped once and yelled out ‘Start’. The three shouted ‘Tiger’ aloud and ran to the North Korean who immediately threw a hand grenade at them. With the loud noise of explosion the area was suddenly covered by a huge smoke ball and we could clearly see our three were dead on the ground as the smoke disappeared in the river breeze.

Then Cho Oo ordered another three to prepare for the second attack. The three now were me, Myo Naing, and another one I can’t recall his name now. We laid down our rifles and stepped forward as the three before us did. When the order to attack came we yelled out ‘Tiger’ aloud and rushed forward. Luckily the North Korean was already wounded and he had no grenade left in his hands when we jumped him in the swampy waters of the ditch. So we got him alive and breathing.

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