39th Infantry Battalion
The mission of the 39th Infantry Battalion is to conducts internal security operation in its AOR in order to promote an environment conducive for progress and development.
The 39th Infantry Battalion, Smash 'Em, was first organized as a provisional battalion assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division on 16 February 1975, pursuant to General Orders 343, Headquarters, Philippine Army, dated 17 February 1975. The 39th Infantry Battalion was formally activated pursuant to General Orders Number 146, General Headquarters, Armed Forces of the Philippines, dated 26 August 1975, remaining assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division.
Though part of the 3rd Infantry Division, the 1st Infantry Division organized and trained the Battalion at Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City on 1 May 1975. The nucleus of the personnel came from the different units of 1st and 3rd Infantry Divisions. The training was focused on the Kamagong Concept.
After completing its training the unit unit deployed to Mindanao, arriving at Parang Port on 15 November 1975. Immediately, the unit was dispatched to relieve the 4th Infantry Battalion, an element of the 1st Infantry Division, at Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao and Pigcawayan, North Cotabato. The unit immediately found itself engaged in operations.
Central Mindanao Command (CEMCOM) tasked the unit as the operating arm of Cotabato City garrison command and as a striking force within its operational jurisdiction responsible for operations against anti-government groups in the city and neighboring areas. The unit conducted hostag rescue operations, provided security to various facilities, and oversaw various checkpoints. During 1975, the Battalion was deployed on operations in Cotabato City, Dinaig, Maguindanao, Balut Island, Sapu Pedidu, Malapatan, Barira, Campo Cuatro, Villa Rosario and Pigcawayan. The operations resulted in the neutralization of enemy forces, as well as the capture of weapons and documents.
Starting in late 1978, CEMCOM deployed the Battalion as part of different tactical brigades as the assault unit in offensive and other strike operations. The unit spearheaded 5 other infantry battalions to clear Pata Island of rebels and destroy the remaining MNLF forces responsible for the destruction of the 31st Infantry Battalion, resulting in the capture of the MNLF stronghold there. Between 1978 and 1981 the unit gained a reputation as one of the busiest combat units in the Philippine Army. Between June 1981 and the beginning of 1983, the Battalion had 10 major engagements with anti-government forces. The unit recovered weapons and sought the surrender of rebels. The latter efforts resulted in the surrender of at least two MILF commanders. In the end the unit had 28 encounters with anti-government forces in 1983, recovering weapons adn equipment and neutralizing 62 enemy combatants.
On 21 February 1984, the 39th Infantry Battalion moved to Pagadian City in order to conduct combat operations in Region 9 as part of SOUTHCOM. The unit was placed under the operational control of the 4th Infantry Division. B Company remained at Malatunol, Palimbang to safeguard the battalion's previous AOR. The rest of the Battalion operated in and around Pagadian City from late February 1984 to mid-September 1984. After the deployment SOUTHCOM reassigned the unit to the Zamboanga Internal Defense Command (ZIDC). This was in order to help subdue the unrest resulting from the assassination of Mayor Climaco.
On 21 May 1985, the unit was sealifted back to its original AOR in Sultan Kudarat, reuniting with B Company. On 17 March 1987 the unit redeployed to a new AOR in Davao del Norte. The unit initially launched a battalion operations in Panabo and Monkayo Complex, sweeping Davao del Norte and Oriental. In 1987 the unit's operations resulted in enemy combatants neutralized and weapons and equipment recovered. In early 1988 the Battalion deployed to provide sercurity for local elections in Cotabato Province and some areas of Maguindanao. Later in 1988 the unit became the first Battalion to launch a Special Operations Team operation in Cotabato, which had become the unit's AOR.
The unit continued in its AOR in Cotabato until 15 February 1991, when it took over for the 35th Infantry Battalion, which had been inactivated. The unit moved by motorized convoy to Taviran, Dinaig, Maguindanao. The unit actively participated in combat operations in the area of Kabuntalan, Dinaig, Talayan and Upi, all in Maguindanao. Notably the unit participated in operations against MNLF commander Mubarak in Barangay Kidama, Parang, Maguindanao.
In August 1991 the unit was sealifted to Lanao del Sur on orders from SOUTHCOM. While there the unit was tasked to liberate the town of Lumba-Bayabao and restore government control to the area. On 10 October 1991, MNLF leader Manan Caya Tigre surrendered to the 39th Infantry Battalion at Camp Ranao, Marawi City with his 3 field commanders and 129 others. The rebels surrendered various weapons in the process.
In May 1992 the unit deployed to provide security for elections in Lanao del Sur province. On 31 July 1992, the unit recieved the surrender of MNLF leader Saumay Mercado (aka Commander Allan) along with his 3 commanders. Weapons were again recovered in the process.
On 1 August 1992, the unit was ordered to moved to conduct a relief in place with the 27th Infantry Battalion in the municipalities of Makilala, Tulunan and M'lang, all in Cotabato Province. There the unit conducted combat operations against the MILF, particularly along the border of M'lang and Tulunan. In 1994, the unit expanded its AOR by absorbing areas vacated by the 35th Infantry Battalion, along with absorbing personnel from the unit. In May 1994 the unit again provided security for local elections in its AOR. In August 1994, the unit was tasked to secure the Malmar Irrigation Project. The MILF attacked the elements of the 39th Infantry Battalion deployed to the site. The MILF occupied the site until October 1994 when they were finally dislodged.
National and local elections in May 1995 led to the unit being deployed again in its AOR to provide security. On 22 May 1995, the unit redeployed from Carmen, Cotabato in order to undergo retraining with the 6th Infantry Division Training Unit. This training was to last from 30 May 1995 to August 1995. Following the training the Battalion headquarters was moved on 16 September 1995 to Central Dinganen, Buldon, Maguindanao. A Company was located with the Battalion headquarters, while B Company was deployed to Sultan Base Complex, Upper Minabay, Buldon and C Company was deployed to Ar Sitio Ambal, Buldon.
In its new AOR the unit continued to conduct internal security operations. The unit also provided security during a visit by President Fidel V. Ramos to conduct talks with MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari. On 9 September 1996, the unit again was deployed to provide election security in its AOR.
On 7 January 1997, the unit conducted security for the group negotiating panel headed by retired Major General Fortunato U. Abat during peace talks with the MILF in Dawa Complex at Crossing Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. On 15 January 1997, the unit was tasked to implace a CAA Company at Buldon, Maguindanao and establish a CAFGU detachment along the route towards Poblacion, Buldon. On 16 January 1997, while working to establish another detachment at Sitio Garigayan, Brgy Mataya, Buldon, Maguindanao, elements of the unit were engaged in a fire fight by MILF forces, leading to heavy casualties being inflicted on the MILF forces and the recovery of weapons and equipment.
In early 1998 other battalions arrived to take over the municipality of Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, reducing the 39th Infantry Battalion's AOR to Pigcawayan, Cotabato and Buldon, Maguindanao. While operating in the reduced AOR, the unit particiapted in numerous internal security and civil-military operations.
On 12 July 1999, pursuant to an operational directive from the 6th Infantry Division, the Battalion swapped AORs with the 3rd Infantry Battalion, redeploying to Carmen, Cotabato. The unit was placed under the operational control of the 602nd Infantry Brigade and was based at Poblacion, Carmen with the municipalities of Carmen, Kabacan and Matalam comprising its AOR.
In 2000 the unit realigned its area of responsibility based on an operational directive from the 602nd Infantry Brigade. On 26 November 2002, based on same directive, the unit released control of Carmen and Kabacan municipalities to the 40th Infantry Battalion, assuming additional areas in the process. The Battalion's AOR subsequently included 8 municipalities and Cotabato City. The municipalities were: Matalam, Antipas, Pres. Roxas, Arakan, Magpet, Makilala, M'lang, Tulunan and the city of Kidapawan. The unit moved its Battalion headquarters to Poblacion, Makilala, Cotabato. C Company was redeployed to South Dianzig, Brgy Old Bulatukan, Makilala, Cotabato. The unit subsequently began operations in the boundary areas between Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Maguinadanao, and Davao del Sur provinces and in the boundary areas between Cotabato, Bukidnon and Davao del Norte Provinces.
Along with the unit's expanded AOR, the 12th Special Forces Company was placed under the operational control of the unit. On 1 December 2002, the 12th Special Forces Company was removed from the operational control of the 39th Infantry Battalion, while the 6th Infantry Division's 2nd Reconnaissance Company was placed under the unit's operational control.
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