I received a call this morning from one of my Section Commanders ( a Corperal then). He seeks a Panglima Gagah Berani (PGB) gallantry medal for a contact he made in Sarawak's First Division where he and the section he led killed 2 CTs. That was in 1973.
I was astounded. Why only after 38 years he dug up and brought up the issue?
It is unthinkable to claim such a prestigeous award when the incident had happened 38 years ago! And not every skirmishes with the CTs deserved a gallantry award. If we go by that yardstick, then, I would have been awarded 4 PGBs. The situations, circumstances and how the battle was fought by the deserving individual will play a big role in determining whether he deserved to be given a gallantry award. To me, that skirmish he fought was simple and almost without any resistance as the 2 CTs were poorly armed with a home made shot gun.
In any case, what can I do as the final authority rested with the Commanding Officer then? If the then Commanding Officer saw that he didn't deserve the PGB, should he change his mind after 38 years? Can he now write a citation and recommend him for the award?
Can somebody in authority give me the feed back?
So far I have came across 2 such claims. Why suddenly the fuss now? Most possibly, the publicity given to the homecoming of the Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers the last few years that culminated in the reburial on 27 July 2011 was one factor. The handsome amount of allowance the PGB receipients receive is another. Thirdly, he must have thought I can do miracles - after my successful role in bringing back the remains of the Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers.