By INS Contributors

PORT DICKSON, Malaysia-It was like going back to 'school' after four decades, since graduating as Armed Forces commissioned officers.

These were the men and women who had boldy put their best feet forward to serve the nation in the various branches and corps of the army, navy and air force at the height of the communist terrorist insurgency in the 1980s and other external enemy threats thereafter.

Hence, the squadmates of the combined short-service commission 'Intake 43' (army and air force men), 'Intake W3' (army women) and 'Intake 26' Royal Malaysian Navy cadets went down memory lane as they held their 41st reunion with their families at the Segenting Camp in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan recently.

The reunion at the former Officer Cadet School (better known as Sebatang Karah camp) was held to commemorate the entry of 167 cadets into the Armed Forces on Dec 1, 1981 as young servicemen and women - many of whom blossomed into generals and colonels.

Event organising chairman Col Kadir Mohd Ali said the reunion was all the more nostalgic and tremendously enjoyable as almost all had not stepped foot at Sebatang Karah after being commissioned there as second-lieutenants on Dec 18, 1982.

"Most of our previous reunions were in Kuala Lumpur.

"Many of us can still recall how we ate, played, slept, trained and fought battles together locally and abroad when serving in the various corps, regiments and units," said Kadir, after a barbeque dinner at the PD Blue Lagoon at Batu 10 Port Dickson.

The coursemates had earlier played golf at the Dickson Bay Club followed by a luncheon visit the next day to Sebatang Karah, which has since been transformed into the Army Graduate Officers Training Centre and Armour Training Centre.

Kadir added that some of the coursemates had opted for early retirement, while a good number continued to serve until compulsory retirement till the year's end.

"Only a handful are still serving their last months out, with (Malaysian National Defence University vice-chancellor Lt-Gen Datuk) Hasagaya Abdullah expected to be the last one to ‘check out’ by November this year.

"It has been a long journey for all of us to renew our acquaintances after four decades.

"It was also a good occasion to wish each other Merry Christmas and a 'Happy New Year 2023'," said Kadir, the former Army Western Field Command Signals director.

Hasagaya had previously served as Army deputy chief and is the most senior ranking among his coursemates.

The other prominent coursemates are former Malaysian Armed Forces Headquarters Logistics Department assistant chief-of-staff Major-Gen (Rtd) Mohd Tamam Jamioon, former Armed Forces Headquarters Human Resource Department deputy assistant chief-of-staff Major-Gen (Rtd) Datuk Suriakala Suriabagavan, former Army 3rd Division artillery commander Brig-Gen (Rtd) Datuk Noor Sazali Puteh, Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) operations centre chief-of-staff Brig-Gen Datuk Paduka Azhar Tahir, National Security Council's National Operation Management Centre director Brig Gen Nazaruddin Nazir, Malaysian Armed Forces Strategic Communications Regiment commanding officer Col Izhar Zakaria, Malaysian Armed Forces Provost Marshal's Branch planning director Col Abdul Nazar Abdul Hamid, former Royal Military Police Corps criminal investigation director Col (Rtd) Huzaire Jantan and businessman Capt (Rtd) Datuk Taufik Mohd Akhir.

Meanwhile, Octagon Maju Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Capt (Rtd) Datuk Azme Dollah described his coursemates as a close-knit family who always had the hearts of their less fortunate brothers and sisters in mind.

"I pray that we remain hale and hearty to continue reuniting for a good many more years to come.

"A good number extended their short-service commissions to become regular-service officers and we thank the Armed Forces for grooming us into credible citizens.

"Many others have successfully ventured into other vocations upon completion of their short-service commissions, in their second careers," said Azme.

He cited Major (Rtd) Azman Md Ali as a fine example in the corporate world as the CIMB Bank Berhad's regional security director.

Azmi explained that of the 167 coursemates, 111 were from the Army, 16 from the Royal Malaysian Air Force and 27 from the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN), who trained alongside 22 women (all from the Army).

After three months, the naval cadets continued their training at KD Pelanduk at the RMN base in Lumut, Perak.

Similarly, RMAF cadet pilots later continued their flying training at the RMAF Base in Alor Star, Kedah, while others served in various RMAF units.

A handful are still serving airlines as commercial pilots.