Philippine Air Force considered a game changer in Marawi war

UNTV News   •   November 7, 2017   •   8364

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Air Force has played a vital role in the Marawi siege.

The military unit is considered a game changer as it contributed a lot in killing terrorists through air strikes, among others.

“Without them, I believe we cannot really win Marawi City. It’s really a game changer. We saw that the Philippine Air Force played a very vital role in terms of turning tide and stealing the fear and the will to fight ng Maute ISIS ay na-destroy,” Western Mindanao Command Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr. said.

“Kung wala ang game changers ng Philippine Air Force, this siege may take longer, probably another 6 months because it would just be pure ground fighting (Without the game changers of the Philippine Air Force, this siege would have taken longer, probably another 6 months because it would just be pure ground fighting),” AFP Former Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Ano said.

One of the pilots of UH-1H helicopters of the Philippine Airforce refused to face the camera because of security concerns.

He played a significant role in transporting wounded soldiers in the fight in Marawi City.

“Pagka naisakay sa chopper, nasa amin na ang buhay ng isang wounded. So ikaw bilang piloto, nandoon na ‘yung drive mo, hindi lang piloto, lahat ng air crew na nandoon sa chopper, kasama na ang medical team, paano niyo maisalba ang buhay noon na madagdagan pa buhay niya (When the wounded boards the chopper, his life is now in our hands. So as the pilot, the same goes for all the crew and medical team present, your drive should be there — save the wounded and extend his life),” said the UH-1H pilot.

The job of a forward air controller is another sensitive post. He is the direct contact of the pilot regarding the location of their enemies.

“As a controller on the ground, it is more dangerous because, before the delivery of the bomb, we are stationed at the minimum safe distance from the ammunition,” said, a forward controller who declined to be named.

A soldier who asked to be called “Blaster” also performed a crucial task in the fight as an explosive ordinance disposal personnel.

“Ginamit nila kami to reach the wall para sila maka-penetrate sa area. Kasi nagkaroon ng labanan na building to building ang pagitan. Ganoon ka-delikado(They used us to reach the wall to penetrate the area because a fight erupted that was building to building in distance. It was that dangerous),” Blaster said.

“Before papasok ang assault team ng army, kailangan ma-clear muna namin ang dadaanan nila(Before the army’s assault team enters, we should first clear their way),” he added.

The three soldiers were among the over 1,000 Philippine Air Force personnel who fought in Marawi.

Two hundred of the airmen who arrived earlier were given a Heroes’ Welcome in Villamor Air Base Pasay City.

The soldiers were given medals in recognition of their gallantry.

Not single personnel from the Air Force died in the five-month battle.

Meanwhile, the soldiers’ families are so thankful to finally reunite with them.

“Normal sa isang asawa mo sundalo, pangalawa lang kami. Kumbaga, iyon ang first priority niya (It’s normal for a wife of a soldier to take second place in his priorities.  His duty is his first priority),” said Blaster’s wife.

“Nakakalungkot lang ang mga nawalan ng sundalo din, iyong mga namatay (It’s sad that some soldiers have been killed).  Kaya sabi ko, salamat, hindi kasali ang asawa ko (That’s why I thought, ‘Thank God, my husband is not one of them’),” she added. – Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

 

PAF orders safety check, grounds all Sikorsky-76A aircraft after Basilan crash

Marje Pelayo   •   September 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Air Force (PAF) will conduct a maintenance inspection on all of its S-76A aircraft after of one of its units crashed in Barangay Manggas, Lantawan town, Basilan on Wednesday (September 16).

Air Force Public Affairs Office Chief Lt.Col Aristides Galang said they have sent a team of investigators to Basilan to determine what could have caused the incident.

“In response to the unfortunate incident, the PAF will be conducting prompt maintenance inspection of all S-76A aircraft as a standard procedure in events such as this,” he said.

“A team will also be sent to the area to conduct further investigation of the said mishap.” he added.

The bodies of all four Air Force personnel who died in the crash were also transported to Zamboanga City. 

Information from the Armed Forced of the Philippines West Mindanao Command said the fatalities include pilot Major Jessie Miller, his co-pilot Lt. Mack-Ar Ferrer, aircrew Staff Sgt. Miguel Banas and Airman 2nd Class Benedicto Leal Jr.

PAF has extended its sympathies to the families of the victims.

“With utmost respect, the PAF headed by its Commanding General, Lt. General Allen Paredes extends its deepest and sincerest condolences to the bereaved families,” Galang said.

The aircraft crash landed on a rubber plantation owned by Lantawan Vice Mayor Nasser Abubakar, allegedly due to inclement weather.

The team was bound for Jolo, Sulu for an emergency medical evacuation of their comrades who were wounded in the August 24 bombing. They were supposed to transfer them for further treatment in Zamboanga City. MNP (with details from Lea Ylagan)

4 killed in military chopper crash in Basilan

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2020

Four people were killed after a rescue helicopter belonging to the Philippine Air Force crashed in Lantawan town in the province of Basilan on Wednesday.

Authorities said the bodies of the casualties have been recovered by the members of the 4th Special Forces Battalion dispatched to conduct a search and rescue operation at the crash site.

Initial investigation showed that the chopper, believed to be flying from Zamboanga City to an unknown destination, crashed in a rubber plantation in Barangay Upper Manggas in Lantawan around 1 p.m.

Authorities said the chopper went down during a bad weather but investigation into the cause of the incident is ongoing.

They are also verifying the identities of the fatalities and whether they were all Air Force personnel. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Val Villaflor)

PAF confers honors to 4 personnel who died in helicopter crash

Maris Federez   •   July 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Air Force (PAF) on Sunday (July 26) conferred military honors to four of its personnel who died in a helicopter crash in Cauayan, Isabela last Thursday (July 24).

Reports said that four soldiers were killed while another was injured when the UH-1D Hyu-Wey helicopter that they were riding on crashed during a flight proficiency training.

The chopper exploded as it hit the tarmac of the Tactical Operations Group (TOG) 2 Air Station ramp area.

Commanding general, Lt.Gen. Allen Paredes led the full salute ceremony for the four soldiers and extended his sympathies to their families.

The PAF on Saturday conducted the departure orders at the Clark Air Base before they were sent off to their respective provinces.

The Air Force also promised that they will extend help to the bereaved families of these soldiers. — /mbmf

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