In conjunction with Armed Forces Day, the 2nd Malaysian Infantry Brigade honoured 87 former soldiers who were wounded when in harness. The event was held at the brigade commander’s residence along Thompson Road on Thursday, October 13.
Attired casually, the 200-odd invitees had lunch on the lawn with the accompaniment of music and songs from a live band. The Last Post was played signalling the start of the morning event.
“We always assist the Department of Veterans Affairs and governmental agencies who want to help retirees. However, there are many ex-servicemen who have not registered with the veteran department. Tracing them becomes difficult,” said Brig-Gen Mas’od bin Hj Muhammad, Commander 2nd Malaysian Infantry Brigade to reporters.
“We’ve gone on air to get them to register and via word of mouth to spread the gospel,” he added. The affable general made it a point to greet everyone at their respective seats.
Among the 87 honourees, three were from the navy while one from the air force. Some had retired since 1979 while some are still in service. Ipoh Echo spoke to a 58-year-old former air force officer, Captain (Rtd) Yusoff bin Rabaie. Yusoff lost his right hand in a grenade incident in 1978. The hand grenade exploded in his right hand during a grenade-throwing exercise at a range in Terendak Camp, Malacca. He was only 19 years old then.
“I remember the date and time clearly. It was Thursday, March 16. I was critically wounded. The doctor told me that I had only a five per cent chance of survival. I underwent 10 months of treatment with another two years of follow-up treatment. I now have 70 per cent permanent disability,” said the Taiping-born Yusoff. He resumed service in 1979 doing desk-bound jobs and retired a captain in 1991.
Yusoff’s advice to all serving military personnel out there: “Serve with all your heart and do your best. Remember, if we don’t defend our country, who will?”