On any given day in the Philippines, the front page of your daily newspaper can be treated like the sports pages as the public follows along and keeps score between the various terrorist groups and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. A typical day’s headlines in the Philippine Star read:
“Sayyaf kidnaps soldier.”
“3 killed as NPA, soldiers clash.”
“3 BIFF members die in shootout.”
In April of 2017 a small contingent of Abu Sayyaf terrorists traveled to a tourist destination called Bohol in an attempt to run a kidnapping for ransom scheme. The group was systematically hunted down and killed after failing to secure any hostages.
The newspapers attributed the killing of the Abu Sayyaf terrorists in Bohol to the Scout-Rangers. The Philippine Special Operations troops spent days in the jungle tracking them down. Wearing conventional Army uniforms, the soldiers stalked through the foliage, the point man walking right up on top of the leader of the terrorists. Engaged in hand to hand combat, the point man parried the terrorist’s FNC/M203 grenade launcher away at the last moment, sending a 40mm grenade straight into the air. Only when the entire terrorist cell was neutralized was the ground force commander permitted to bring his men back to their base. Their leader was a long time veteran of the unit nicknamed “Windy.”
The newspapers might have said that Windy and his men were Scout-Rangers, but the reality was that they belonged to another unit, one that will never appear on the parade ground or be openly acknowledged by the government. “You never want the enemy to know where you are or what you are doing,” said Chito Dizon, one of the former commanders of the unit in question.
The Light Reaction Regiment is a unit that abhors publicity, their operations kept away from the public eye. “That is the way we do business,” former LRR commander Ted Llamas told SOFREP when asked about the unit’s recent actions in Bohol. “The Scout-Rangers were not even there.”
To find out what the Light Reaction Regiment is and how the unit came about, SOFREP conducted interviews with current and former commanders and operators who served in the unit. In an exclusive behind the scenes look at the Light Reaction Regiment, the unit’s training and many of its missions will be reported on for the first time.
Read the rest of this first part in my series about the Light Reaction Regiment on SOFREP.com.