The 1st Special Forces Regiment (Airborne) is an elite Philippine Army unit established in the 1960’s by Fidel V. Ramos (first Commanding officer of the Special Forces), primarily trained in both unconventional and psychological warfare.
Like the Scout Rangers, the 1st Special Forces Regiment of the Philippine Army is also highly trained in the art of anti-guerilla warfare. Each member of the SF Regiment may opt to undergo specialty courses as well after finishing the basic SF basic course. This includes undergoing training in demolitions and bomb disposal (EOD), psychological warfare operations (PSYOPS), K-9 handling, prisoner and law enforcement management, riverine operations, combat diving, as well as VIP security training in preparation for a re-assignment with the Presidential Security Group.
“Rangers makes headlines; Special Forces makes history”. Unlike Scout Rangers, Army Special Forces receive little publicity. However, like Rangers; their exploits in battle and the courage and heroism are legendary within Army circles. Similar to the United States Green Berets, they are an elite unit established in the 1960’s who are primarily trained in unconventional and psychological warfare. One of their accomplishments was the formation of an army of militiamen better known as the Civilian Home Defense Forces (CHDF) later re-named as the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU). While the regular army units engaged the insurgents in the field, the Special Forces trains citizens as militiamen to distract communist rebels while at the same time conducting intelligence. They win the hearts and minds of the community population through community work and mobilizing them to defend themselves.
Members of the Special Forces are a tough breed. They are trained to live-off the land, experts in guns, knives and their bare hands. Roam around in all terrain with food rations at times consisting of sky flakes soda crackers and a can of sardines ignoring pain and all weather conditions and still can fight with gallantry. When not doing any Special Operations Team (SOT) concepts, they can be called upon as strike forces by regular army units when the communist rebels began giving them the run. They can re-capture places over-run by communist rebels that regular army troops are unable to do, reconnoiter the front lines – the no man’s land, and destroy enemy bases with stealthy and surgical accuracy. The unit once a neglected and downtrodden unit has slowly regained its reputation as the best. They have been blown out of the water in the 1960’s when a national scandal demoralized the troops and led them into ignominy. Today, the unit has been nurtured especially after the Scout Rangers took part in the December 1989 Coup ‘d’ etat at the side of the rebels that shocked the nation in 7 days. A rough – tough, take no prisoners fighting force was again blooming , their guts and glory esprit are circulating all over the Philippine Army.
Their fighting men, names like Ortiz and Granfil have been decorated with the Medal of Valor. Ortiz, being the first one to receive the award during actions in an Offensive operation. “The Best never rest, mess with them and you’re gone like the rest” is the slogan of the Special Forces, a gesture of bravado by men once afraid of dying and hardened to death. “This Special Soldier” they announced to the world “reigns in the darn jungle” .
- Fort Magsaysay, Palanan City, Nueva Ecija