1st Scout Ranger Regiment
Scout Ranger Group
On 25 November 1950 the Scout Ranger Training Unit (SRTU) was formed in the Philippine Army. The unit was devised by Captain Raphael Ileto, who had served with the Sixth US Army's Alamo Scouts during the Second World War, and looked to create a unit that combined the reconnaissance capabilities of that unit with the strike capabilities of the US Army's Ranger infantry units.
Trained at Fort McKinley, Manila, recruits from the SRTU were initially formed into 5 man teams, consisting of one officer and 4 enlisted men, and assigned to regular infantry battalion combat teams. During the Hukbalahap Rebellion were often allowed to operate independantly conducting a deep-penetration reconnaissance mission, and targeting specific Huk leaders.
In 1954 the decision was made to combine all the Scout Rangers into a single unit, designated the 1st Scout Ranger Regiment. This unit consisted of a single battalion and 4 independant companies. Following the end of major hostilities with the Hukbalahap in 1957 the 1st Scout Ranger Regiment was inactivated and the SRTU was disbanded. Ranger training courses were incorporated into the Army School Center.
The SRTU was reformed on 8 December 1971. In August 1971 President Ferdinand Marcos had declared the country threatened by communist insurgents and instituted a major expansion of the armed forces. On 1 July 1974 the SRTU was incorporated into the Army Training Center. As before, Scout Rangers were initially assigned to regular infantry units, and used in sweeps against the NPA.
On 16 July 1978 the SRTU once again became and independant unit, and was expanded into the Scout Ranger Group, consisting of 5 independant companies. It was assigned to the Army Special Warfare Brigade, also created at that time, which included the Special Operations Group and other supporting elements. However, the mission of the Scout Rangers had changed from unconventional warfare to more conventional infantry tasks. Airmobile doctrine was also added to the Scout Ranger training.
On 16 March 1983 the Special Warfare Brigade was inactivated and on 17 March 1983 the Scout Ranger Group once again became the 1st Scout Ranger Regiment. At the time it consisted of 2 battalions with 3 companies each, plus an additional 9 independant companies. The Special Operations Group, an urban commando unit under the Special Warfare Brigade, saw its 3 companies become the 6th, 7th, and 8th Scout Ranger Companies. The 41st Infantry Battalion, also formerly part of the Special Warfare Brigade, was inactivated and its personnel formed the basis for the 1st Scout Ranger Battalion. The 26th Infantry Battalion was also inactivated and its personnel used to for the 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion. The Regiment was headquartered at Fort Bonifacio, Manila. A third battalion, specializing in mountain warfare began training, and a fourth battalion was planned for early 1986.
In February 1986 the Scout Rangers declared their loyalty to anti-Marcos rebels led who eventually brought down the government. The change in government did not change the mission of the Scout Rangers who remained heavily committed to continued conflict against NPA rebels. Around Davao they formed Task Force Panther as part of this deployment.
In August 1986 the Scout Ranger Schhol (the successor to the Scout Ranger Training Unit) was incorporated into the Army Training Command. On 1 December 1986 the unit became a National Maneauver Unit, making it possible for the units to deployed around the country instead of situated in specific regional locations. The Regiment at that time numbered some 2,500 men in 4 battalions (including the Scout Ranger Mountain Battalion) and 10 independant companies. Battalions remained structured as before, consisting of around 500 men, with companies being between 80-100 men. Deployment at the time of the units conversion was two battalions in Bicol, one in northern Luzon, and one in Mindanao. Its 10 companies were spread more widely with 2 in northern Luzon, 2 in the Visayas, one in Southern Luzon, one in Mindanao, and the remaining 4 going through retraining.
In August 1987 members of the Scout Ranger School, led by Colonel Gregorio Honassan led a coup against the government. The coup failed and the fact that the Scout Ranger School was at the time part of the Army Training Command spared the Scout Ranger Regiment from scrutiny. In September 1987 the Scout Ranger School was returned to the Regiment, based at Fort Magsaysay near Palayan. By November 1987 the Regiment had added another independant company and a fire support company.
Scout Rangers participated in 1988 in Operation Red Sphinx, which saw them inserted into Patalungan, Quezon to fight the NPA. Continued engagement with the NPA led to increased demand for Scout Rangers, prompting the shortening of the training cycle from 5 months to 3 months. This was short lived and the training cycle was increased to 6 months by 1989. The Scout Rangers regularly participated in training exercises with foreign forces such as the United States and Australia.
In December 1989 the Scout Rangers participated in a coup attempt, leading to their temporary disestablishment. The demands of continued action against the NPA and subsequently against Muslim extremists led to their revival. One of the leading officers, Brigadier General Danny Lim, who continued operations against the government with an organization called the Young Officers Union, was rehabilitated to his post after the YOU signed an agreement with the government.
In 2001 an element of the Scout Rangers was split off to become the Army's Light Reaction Company (later Light Reaction Battalion), a specially trained anti-terrorism force. By 2002 the Scout Ranger Regiment had expanded to some 15 independant companies and 3 battalions.
In February 2006 the Scout Ranger Regiment was again implicated in a failed coup attempt, along with the Special Forces. The Scout Rangers were also accused of human rights violations. Plans to downsize the Scout Ranger Regiment were put on hold in August 2006.
In 2007 Scout Rangers were deployed to Jolo as part of the increased hostilities with Abu-Sayyaf rebels. The Scout Rangers also deployed as part of the fighting in 2007 in Basilan. The Scout Rangers also continued to be engaged with NPA rebels to the north. In late 2008 Scout Rangers deployed with other units to Negros as part of increased fighting with MILF rebels.
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