Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Marine Killed in Action in Latest Sulu Encounter A Veteran of Fierce Encounters in the South

Director, Naval Public Affairs Office

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The Marine killed in action during Sunday’s clash in Maimbung, Sulu with the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group had survived fierce encounters in the South in the recent past. Staff Sergeant Eliseo D Salo was known to have risked his own life to rush to wounded comrades in the heat of battle and even save innocent civilians caught in the firefight.

Corporal Cyrus A Talite who served under Salo’s team for five years described his team leader as someone who bravely faced the danger to save others. He recounts an encounter with the MILF sometime in 2000 in Matanog, Maguindanao when Salo crawled under a rain of fire to extract a wounded comrade who finally succumbed to a gunshot wound. Talite also recalls the June 2009 ambush by the Abu Sayyaf to members of MBLT 6 and PNP in Indanan when Salo rushed to wounded comrades.

In 2005 while carrying out Oplan Ultimatum in Indanan, Sulu, Salo rescued two children caught in the firefight in the hills of Bud Daho. A bullet only razed Salo’s shirt but he was unharmed. It was also in the same year, in Luuk, Sulu when Salo singlehandedly disarmed an ASG member of his M14 rifle and bolo during an operation. Salo’s team arrested two other ASG that time and turned them over to the local police in Jolo, Sulu.

Salo, a member of the Marine’s elite unite, the Force Reconnaissance Company (FRC), has figured in the successful operation in September 2006 that killed ASG leader Khadaffy Janjalani in Patikul, Sulu. In 2000, he was awarded the Gold Cross Medal in recognition of his gallantry in action while serving as a member of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 4 (MBLT 4) during the offensive and clearing operation of the MILF’s training center in Maguindanao.

For his part, 1LT CHARLIE CAÑA, who was Salo’s Commanding Officer in the FRC for two years, described his subordinate as “the most trusted”. “He knows how to encourage his teammates to carry out their tasks no matter how risky. He’s whole-hearted, matapang (brave), one of the best”, CaÑa, adds.

Salo, 32, of Misamis Oriental joined the Marines as a trainee in December 1997. He was immediately deployed to Patikul, Sulu upon graduation in May 1998 as a member of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 4 (MBLT 4). As befits soldiers who died in battle, the Philippine Marine Corps will render honors to SSgt Salo who will be awarded the Posthomous Wounded Medal.

Vice Admiral Ferdinand S Golez condoles with the family of Ssgt Salo. He vows the Navy will sustain its Fleet-Marine operations to rid the island-province of bandit and terror groups who continue to sow fear among the local populace. Vice Admiral Golez adds that the Navy remains committed to bringing peace and development in the South with a two-pronged approach—combat operations and humanitarian missions.