Light Reaction Regiment
The Light Reaction Regiment is the premier counter-terrorist unit of the Philippine Army and the Special Mission Unit of the Philippines. It was formerly known as the Light Reaction Battalion and Light Reaction Company. Due to its specialization in counter-terrorism operations and its formation with American advisers, the Light Reaction Regiment has been sometimes referred to as the Philippines' Delta Force.
|Light Reaction Regiment|
|Active||February 1, 2004 – present|
|Type||Special operations force|
|Part of||AFP Special Operations Command (AFPSOCOM)|
|Garrison/HQ||Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija|
|Nickname(s)||"LRR", "Philippines' Delta Force"|
|Motto(s)||"Tiradores de la Muerte" (Sharpshooters of Death)|
Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation Badge
Presidential Streamer Award
|BGEN Corlito Vinluan AFP.|
|Jose Luntok, Lawrence San Juan, Alexander Macario, Danilo Pamonag|
|AFP Master Parachutist Badge|
|Scout Ranger Qualification Badge|
|Special Forces Qualification Badge|
The Light Reaction Regiment can trace its origins back to the year 2000 when non-commissioned officers from the Scout Rangers and 1st Special Forces Regiment (Airborne) were trained by American military advisers from the 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group.
From February to July 2001, American special forces trained and raised the former LRC with further training during the 2002 Balikatan exercises, whose members were first drawn from the Scout Rangers and 1st Special Forces Regiment. After days and years of training under American instructors, the LRC was officially activated on February 1, 2004 and was tasked to be deployed into Mindanao in order to combat Abu Sayyaf Group terrorists responsible for abducting several foreign hostages, with the unit conducting an operation to rescue Gracia Burnham from Abu Sayyaf terrorists. Further exercises had been conducted during the 2006 Balikatan exercises. The LRB had been involved in a rescue operation conducted on a kidnapped Italian priest by armed men in 2007.
The unit had recently been involved in the aftermath of the Manila Peninsula rebellion, where they had been deployed to Manila to deter any other coup attempts. In addition, LRB forces have been deployed to Mindanao to conduct anti-terrorist operations in the region.
The unit was renamed the LRB from the former Light Reaction Company to adapt to the increase in the unit's manpower and to pursue Anti-Terrorist duties in the Philippines. In 2014, the unit was again renamed into the Light Reaction Regiment due to its heroic stand in Zamboanga in September 2013. Its elevation to a full regiment was formally sanctioned by Defense Secretary Gazmin on January 16, 2014. A further three companies have been authorized to be added to the already existing three, bringing the total end strength of the regiment up to 600 soldiers. This could prove difficult for the unit as it has almost always been understrength. When deployed to Zamboanga in 2013, the LRB was at only 40% strength.
All 3 companies were deployed to Zamboanga City in September, 2013 and led over 3,000 soldiers and police deployed in the siege. The terrain proved tough for the other units used to fighting rebels in the jungles and remote, uphill areas. The Light Reaction Regiment (still a Battalion at the time) consisted of battle tested soldiers recruited from the Army's elite fighting units, the Scout Rangers and the Special Forces. The unit was undermanned throughout the operation, only being at 40% authorized manpower and had to be augmented by 45 SEALs from the navy's Naval Special Operations Group. Despite the setbacks, the operation was a success, but it cost the lives of 9 LRB soldiers with a further 37 wounded.
In 2014, the LRR conducted a trojan horse operation at a drag race to either kill or capture Abu Sayyaf target Sihata Latip, who was wanted for kidnapping 21 people in Malaysia in 2000. He went on to conduct a string of kidnappings in the Philippines over subsequent years, but as the Philippines got better at counter terrorism operation, the Islamists were cut off from overseas international terrorist finance networks, particularly the ones originating in Saudi Arabia and in order to make up for this loss in income, they engage in kidnapping for ransom. The 24 LRR soldiers trained for a week to execute the mission. They dressed up as if going to a Muslim wedding, rented local jeeps and decorated it. Some soldiers dressed up as women to avoid raising suspicion. One soldier with a M249 light machine gun dressed as a pregnant woman, but forgot to shave on the day of the operation and had to loan a hand fan from one of the female soldiers on the base to cover his goatee. On the way to the drag race one of the jeeps broke down. The commander of the operation decided to go on with the mission with only one jeep and 13 men. When they arrived at the drag race, the LRR operators identified their High Value Target from about 50 civilians and terrorists, approached and drew weapons. A firefight ensued in which the target was killed, but at the loss of a LRR operator who got shot in the neck. The operators loaded up the two bodies and made their getaway, while being shot at by Abu Sayyaf and Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
- Light Reaction Regiment "Tiradores de la Muerte"
- Light Reaction Company 1 "Eximus Peratus"
- Light Reaction Company 2 "Nasiglat"
- Light Reaction Company 3 "Way Kurat"
- Light Reaction Company 4 "Perdigones"
- Light Reaction Company 5 "Mandaragit"
- Light Reaction Company 6 "Dares Against Odds"
50 members of the unit, including 3 officers, were suspended on 9 February 2008, when elements of the LRR came under investigation for the possible killing of innocent civilians on 4 February 2008 during operations in Mindanao against the MILF. The investigation subsequently linked the killings to misinformation provided by an informat.
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