By Napoleon D. Valeriano Colonel, AFP, Retired
Counter-Guerrilla Seminar Fort Bragg, 15 June 1961
Gentlemen, for the purpose of my, discussion covering military combat contributions to the final subjugation of the Communist movement in the Philippines, I have divided the operations into four phases.
The first phase covers the period from 1945 until early 1947. This was the period when the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines, which was in exile in the United States during the period of the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, returned with General McArthur. This transition government was not too well prepared to face its problems, especially the problems of national security. It was informed about the subversive movement in Central Luzon, but it did not understand fully the implications of the Hukbalahap movement. After it became the government of the Philippine Republic in 1946, these same people still refused to accept the intelligence reports repeatedly and consistently furnished. But, since this movement really was Communist inspired, the military policy during this period was inadequate, and proved most costly to the country from 1946 up to 1955.
The Hukbalahap movement as discussed by today's speakers so far has concerned military organizations called regional commands. These commands have varied strengths. But for my discussion, I will speak about the fighting units called the Hukbalahap squadrons. These squadrons varied in strength, varied in armament, varied in the quality of their leadership. Some of these squadrons were led by blood-thirsty types. That is quite common in guerrilla warfare. Some of them were lead by such inoffensive leaders that we did not give them operational priorities until much later. However, during the Japanese occupation period, under the cover of being anti-Japanese guerrilla units, they all were able to accumulate armament and equipment.
Now, in this transition period the armed forces of the Philippines were being demobilized slowly to peacetime status. We started organizing units to take over the functions of the pre-war Philippine Constabulary which was a military organization with national police functions. The new post-war organization was called the Military Police Command, Philippine Army. During this period, General McArthur's headquarters authorized the organization, training and equipment of some 13 military police companies, with the necessary headquarters organizations, in order that these companies when deployed would be properly coordinated, supervised and controlled.
Again, the attitude of the Commonwealth government was reflected in the training of these units, in the equipment of these units, in the armament of these units. Most of the units, as I saw them in the field, were armed with patrolmen's billies and whistles to be policemen. They were issued white painted helmets, white painted jeeps, and the heaviest weapon that I saw for these military police companies were carbines. They were pitted against experienced Huk guerrillas who were armed with the heaviest infantry armaments available, including bazookas. So that in several incidents in 1945 and 1946, we found military police companies or formations either being beaten back or overrun by Hukbalahap units. Again in 1946, the total number of government formations actually deployed in the field with semiconstabulary combat missions had an effective strength of about 11,000 officers and men.
The second phase was from 1947 through 1949, beginning at the time the young Republic had already been responsible for its own defense for about a year. By this time, we in the field had been able to convince several key members of the government in Manila that the Huk movement, and the Huks themselves, were mistakenly dubbed agrarian reformers or persecuted peasants, that they were actually guerrillas with Communist inspiration and direction. Accordingly, a reorganization of the Military Police Command in the Armed Forces of the Philippines was effected. It was redesignated as the Philippine Constabulary and the strength was increased to 17,000. This, they believed at the time, would be more than adequate to destroy the Huk guerrilla formations which were then practically controlling the rural areas of Central Luzon.
During this period, we in the field who saw the Huks at close range were impressed not only by their military capabilities but also by their non-military activities which were well integrated with their military program. Specifically, we were impressed by their efforts and success in cultivating a closer liaison with the villages or, in other words, in building a guerrilla support base. Quite a few of us made lengthy reports about these developments to GHQ (General Headquarters, Armed Forces of the Philippines). Unfortunately, we were reporting to military men who clung too stubbornly to the ideas of conventional warfare which they had learned in staff schools there and here. Naturally, civilian leaders in government were influenced by the attitudes of the Army brass in Manila, and our reports were often ignored.
During this period, normal operations of the Philippine Constabulary were largely routine patrol and constabulary missions. Too often, patrols were sent out to execute purely constabulary duties, such as serving search warrants or warrants of arrest, and accomplished nothing else. Constabulary groups were dispersed in zone and provincial commands and further broken down into small village garrisons of platoons or less. In actual fact, these detachments either established a more or less tacit modus vivendi with the Huks in their area, or were forced to devote most of their efforts to supporting and protecting themselves.
A few large operations were mounted. I would like to discuss these operations from the standpoint of their motivation, their execution, and the results obtained.
A task force operation was usually initiated after some Huk outrage had prompted headlines in the newspapers claiming that the Philippine Constabulary was asleep. The Chief of Constabulary would answer the headline with an announcement that already the Constabulary was planning an operation, which he would personally command, that would end for all time the Huk menace.
Plans would be made, troops assembled, from the provincial and zone commands (leaving those areas virtually unprotected) and a thoroughly conventional "sweep" of an allegedly Huk infested area would be underway. The operations were well planned in accordance with conventional doctrine. We had lines of departure, we had phase lines, we had zones of action, and we had priorities of support. The results were usually no hits, some runs (non- scoring) and many errors. The troops would be exhausted, our gasoline supply for the next month would be exhausted, but the Huks themselves would scarcely be tired by the effort necessary to draw out of the path of the sweep.
Once the previously announced objective had been reached, the operations would be considered successfully terminated and the troops would return to their normal stations. The guerrillas would also return to the area which had just been swept, confident that they would be free of molestation for some time to come.
However, during this period, being a very curious individual, I started germinating a few ideas of my own on how to meet these Huk guerrillas on equal terms. Time prohibits me from describing to you the organization of a team from Headquarters consisting of four officers and 50 enlisted men, known in the Philippines as the Nenita unit. We found out many things that we did not learn from text books. We learned the Huk technique of getting supplies, the Huk technique of getting information, the Huk technique for ambuscades, for raids, interrogating captured government personnel. As we learned, in this period of 1947 to 1949, we tried in our small way to evolve useful counter-measures. One case history concerning these, I will describe later in this period. Before discussing our efforts, I would like to give you additional information about the tactics and practices of the Philippine Constabulary and of the Huks during this period.
I have already mentioned our Constabulary patrol missions. These patrols often were ambushed or would be forced into meeting engagements with guerrilla formations. Sometimes the patrols were deciminated, sometimes they were able to force the guerrillas back. Despite occasional setbacks, the guerrillas gained strength throughout this period. Campaign analysis reveals that these patrol actions did not seek to cultivate the sympathy of the people in the area. As I recall those days, it was very normal for a company commander in the field to dispatch a patrol from squad to platoon size to serve a warrant of arrest in an isolated village. This patrol would reach the village, locate the individual (if he were surprised and found there) and would return to town without further action. Junior leaders of these formations did not attempt to stay long enough in this village to get friendly with the people, find out what were their problems, and if their patrol could assist them in any manner.
The guerrillas were doing exactly the opposite. They would sneak into these villages, stay with the people, play with them, work with them, but at the same time in a very subtle method indoctrinate them in Communism. This was the secret of the whole thing. Another important factor which entered into our failure, and which I still cannot forget, was the poor support we received from higher echelons. Particularly significant was the inefficiency of our logistic system. Support was so poor that troops in the field were often forced to live off the country. As you know, gentlemen, when there is no other way for the troops to eat, commanders are virtually forced to tolerate troopers going to the villages and demanding food. It's either they go hungry or we go hungry. That was the theory of the average government trooper in the field. This, of course, worsened matters.
As the troops lived off the people, the Huks naturally exploited the situation. Their propagandists hammered constantly at the theme that these practices were an exact reflection of the attitude of the government in Manila towards the "persecuted masses." That general situation was bad enough. Even worse, there were, as might be expected, instances of officers involved in matters definitely unworthy of one who is by definition an officer and a gentleman by the act of our Congress. Instances, including demanding bribes for the performance or non-performance of duty, occurred in all ranks. Each, of course, was magnified by Huk propagandists and their sympathizers. Few of the offenders were punished appropriately and publicly. We had quite a few big scandals in Central Luzon during this period. In a general statement, we can say that troop behavior was so low that it cultivated an antipathy by the masses for the man in uniform.
The third phase of the operations against the Huk is what I like to call the "phase of enlightenment." This is the period of the new approach which started in 1950 and lasted into 1952. The turning point of the whole campaign occurred in 1951, right in the middle of this period. This, as General Lansdale stated, was the election of 1951. In 1950, the situation in the Philippines and the representations of the Philippine Government awakened and invited the concern of our American brothers. Philippine President Quirino installed as Secretary of Defense a vigorous new man, a man of the people, Ramon Magsaysay. He had adequate guerrilla background; but, more important, is the fact that as a man of the people, he understood exactly and instinctively what was happening in the homes and the minds of the people of the villages and the farms. He knew their problems, he knew what the mistakes of the Armed Forces were. As soon as he got into the office of Secretary of National Defense, things started happening so fast that right now it's very hard to recall the exact order or sequence of the actions during this period.
As soon as he took office, we started feeling the punch of new, vigorous, inspired leadership which made its effect felt in every aspect of our fight against the Huks. I well remember his first visit to me, when he said, "I want you to turn out public relations men from every private, corporal, sergeant, lieutenant and officer of your command. I want every enlisted man of the Philippine Army in uniform to serve as a public relations man for the Army and for our government." That was the substance of his statement, and accurately reflected his policy.
In speaking of the new formations and new activities which were strange to the Hukbalahaps, I want to cite first the effectiveness of the Scout Ranger teams that were thrown into the field. These were conventionally trained enlisted men, thoroughly screened personnel of the AFP, who were taken to Fort McKinley and given special instructions on ranger tactics. They formed deep penetration units which went far into the guerrilla redoubts or safe areas in the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Zambales. Mountains. From the accumulation of reports from these Scout Ranger teams, we were able to determine the location of the enemy's long-established refuge areas.
It was largely from the reports of the Scout Ranger teams and from the invigorated Military Intelligence Service in the operational area that the intelligence was secured which was the basis of large, well coordinated, well directed, and well led task force operations such as Operation Four Roses, Operation Omaha, and others. I want to stress that we no longer started large unit operations because of a newspaper headline. We were now in a position that before we attempted a big operation we made sure that we had a good basis for it. Ninety percent of our time in the field was devoted to small patrol operations This time the patrols were properly instructed, properly oriented, and properly prepared. They were not only prepared to deal with the enemy as soldiers should, they were also prepared to talk to the people as individuals from villages themselves and coming to the village as friends and helpers.
The turning point of the whole campaign was in 1951, when the people were dramatically impressed with the desire of the armed forces to have clean elections in the Philippines. You can imagine, gentlemen, the effect of young students from the ROTC units being sworn in on temporary duty status with the armed forces. These youngsters, ranging from the age of 14 up to about 18 at the most, were given weapons, were given AFP insignia and were assigned to guard the polling places, with strict orders to insure honesty and compliance to the letter to the election law. rhe repercussions felt by the people in the rural areas in Huklandia were tremendous. For the first time they were convinced that the government was sincere in eliminating the Communist movement. This operation proved also to every man in army uniform in the field that abuses, misconduct, graft would no longer be tolerated with the new approach to the campaign.
The fourth phase was the consolidation phase. This was when Huk squadron units started disintegrating slowly but surely. This was when the government formations started pushing and pushing, when we applied constant pressure and did not allow the Huks to rest. Within a short time, because they had lost the sympathy of the masses, it was an easy maker to isolate these units up in the mountains. There they ran out of food. and some of them came down from the hills to surrender en masse, in groups sometimes practically dying of thirst or hunger.
This alienation of the people from the Huk was completed when the Secretary of National Defense became our President in the 1953 election, so that he had the whole government under his control and direction, to press his campaigns for the welfare of the people and against the Huk.
The surrender of Taruc was virtually the surrender of the Huk movement. But we did not stop after the surrender of Taruc. We recognized that there were certain mop-up operations that were needed. These were criminal bands disguising themselves as Huks who tried to out-live or escape the notice of the armed forces. We swung our attention to these criminal bands, criminal guerrillas, or shall I say bandit guerrillas. By 1955, even a very critical Congress recognized that after all the AFP, the men in uniform, had done a good job.
At the height of the campaign, the troop build-up of Government formations against the Huk guerrilla finally reached a total of 34,000 officers and enlisted men deployed in the field as combat forces. Of these 34 000, I would say that a good ninety percent were in combat units which had civic and social welfare missions as well as combat missions. During the last two phases of the campaign, we added to our combat units civil affairs officers and civil affairs units and hundred units. These greatly assisted in realizing Secretary Magsaysay's objective of building up acceptance of the Armed Forces by the civilian population.
In my command, which was typical, the civil affairs officer served as the liaison officer of the civil government on my staff. He was the man who was my link with the provincial governor and with the other civilian government officials in that province. He also served as my liaison officer with the civilian armed bodies that we had in my area of responsibility. These included police forces of the local governments and also home guard units, commonly known as Civilian Guards, which were formed in almost every town in the area. Such integration, such cohesion of all government and semi-government agencies was achieved that I was able to accomplish my purpose, which was to separate the armed guerrillas from the local population, and the destruction of active guerrilla units. Actions of all agencies were this well planned, well coordinated, well directed, and well supervised.
I would like now to discuss with you some actual case histories. Time prohibits detailed discussion of every device which we in the Philippines found effective in combatting these guerrillas. Actually, in the various commands which I held, about thirty different ruses, strategems, types of unconventional operation, were found to be successful. Now we will cover one particular activity which was the result of a lot of study on our part and which was successfully used. It is one which I hope may be found useful by some of you. This activity is what we in the 7th Battalion Combat Team called "Large Unit Infiltration." The basic idea was to infiltrate a specially trained counter- guerrilla force in enemy guise deep into enemy territory. This force, it was felt, should be able to fraternize with the local inhabitants, gathering intelligence and making contact with enemy armed units, until the most favorable opportunity arrived for striking with maximum effect, and then withdrawing to friendly territory.
We felt that this activity was one partial solution of the major problem of counter-guerrilla warfare, that of finding and finishing enemy units in large force. Usually, guerrilla enemy intelligence and warning systems are too efficient to permit major encounters.
To recapitulate, the two major objectives of this activity are to, effect surprise contact with the enemy in force and to take advantage of this contact to destroy him by close combat. There are many other obvious objectives. First in importance is to gather intelligence, especially verification of enemy order of battle. Second is the penetration and study of existing enemy systems of security. Third, the study of enemy signal communications and the extent and nature of civilian support and liaison methods. Fourth, is the appreciation and study of enemy supply methods and extent of local area support to enemy units. As a special appendix, there might be added the final identification of local government officials secretly in collusion with the enemy.
The advantages which may be gained from the adoption of this activity, which we call Force "X," are obvious from a recital of its missions. There are also disadvantages which must be considered, problems which must be solved, prerequisites which must be met. Assuming that the personnel are available, they must be screened for suitability and carefully trained until they know enemy procedures and personalities its well as the members of the enemy unit which they are to impersonate would know them. This means that before their training is finished, a favorable situation for their employment must exist and must be known in detail.
What is a favorable situation for the employment of such a unit? It is a situation when communications between enemy units are not yet well developed, or have been thoroughly disrupted for a long period. It is a situation where the enemy to be contacted knows less about the unit to be impersonated by your men than you do. Such situations most often arise when the enemy is expanding his organization vigorously, when there is as yet little contact between different centers of expansion.
Above all, the entire operation must be planned and conducted, from the start to the moment of the final strike, in absolute secrecy. Information must be given only on the strictest need-to-know basis.
I regret to say that several BCT commanders in our Army failed to give adequate consideration to the problems of employment of such forces and learned a sad lesson from their efforts.
Once the tactical opportunity has been determined to exist, an appropriate cover plan must be developed. Most often, we found, the cover for the infiltration unit will be that of being a known unit from a distant area with which communications are poor which has come on a liaison and reconnaissance mission. Needless to say, every man in the unit must know the cover story in great detail, must know more about his supposed unit than any enemy with whom he may come in contact.
To some extent the cover story will depend upon the target, or targets selected for the operation. Targets can be only tentatively designated and assigned priorities in advance. Much should depend upon opportunities encountered. The killing of leading enemy personalities may be far more important than the destruction of a certain enemy unit. A system of priorities may be established, in which the priorities may be: One - the killing of enemy leaders or outstanding fanatics; two - the destruction of enemy elite organizations; three - the penetration and destruction of especially devoted or effective enemy support elements.
The above-mentioned targets may all be found in the area of a single operation deep in enemy territory. Time factors involved in preparation of counter-guerrilla infiltration units are variable. Don't be tempted into throwing in half-trained units. In our experience, four to six weeks of intensive training was usually found adequate. Careful screening and selection of operating personnel is of paramount importance. Based on combat experience and physical condition, selected personnel are segregated in a secret training base. Training should stress physical conditioning and adopting to enemy "personalities" (of enemy units being represented), dress, speech, manners, customs, etc. Divested of any article of clothing identifying your own force, personnel are reissued captured weapons, equipment, articles and other materiel. This is an important item. Where it is possible, captured enemy insignias, uniforms, documents, ID cards, propaganda publications, song books, indoctrination booklets etc., are freely distributed to operating personnel.
Caution should be exercised on the issuance of enemy uniforms, as civilian clothing is normally being more representative of enemy guerrilla elements. There should be no uniformity of wearing apparel, possibly with the exception of the two or three ranking members of the disguised force. Armament and equipment must show signs of wear and tear, or poor upkeep, which is characteristic of guerrilla weapons. Well kept weapons and abundance of ammunition with the disguised force is a dead give-away. However, the newer and gaudier weapons, such as pistols with pearl handles, should be given to leaders. This is common with guerrilla units.
The maximum number of ex-enemy personnel are recruited. Through careful screening and tests to establish loyalties, services of this particular type of individual will be invaluable during the training and operational phases. During the training of the troops, these individuals are useful and instructive critics. With individual cover stories, they are assigned with command, security or advance elements during actual operations. After training, the disguised force should be made to undergo rigid tests with unwitting friendly troop units. These tests will require special precautions to prevent mistaken encounters.
Now I would like to tell you about the first time we employed this device. First, you should know the basic situation at the time, which was in 1948 when the Huks were running freely all over Central Luzon. However, in the Huk ranks we had a division of authority. Those in Southern Luzon had been independent (they thought), but their commander, a Colonel Villegas, had just died. As a result, some of their units were trying hard to establish contact with the more developed forces up in Central Luzon, under Taruc, who was anxious to contact them. This was obviously a very favorable opportunity.
I designated the 16th Philippine Constabulary company as the unit to compose Force X. The Commander, Lt. Marana, after receiving his instructions, quietly screened his entire company, collected 44 enlisted men and 3 officers, and at night moved to a predesignated training base in the jungle around this area here. Force X was in existence and was isolated completely from the day they moved into that base. My three officers from my staff were authorized to go into that secret training base.
The training the men received in that secret training base followed very closely the description I just gave. These men were divested of all items which could identify them as members of the Army. They were dressed in civilian clothes, and when they arrived in camp they received all the captured weapons that had been accumulated by my S-2 section under Major Justiniano. They were given reading material, indoctrination booklets and propaganda publications of the sort carried by Huks. They were given the things generally found on Huk dead, soiled handkerchiefs, love mementoes from girl friends. During the period of four weeks, no rank was recognized except as conferred by predesignated enemy identifications, preassigned aliases and pet names commonly used by guerrilla units. They were addressed as comrades, brothers, members of the proletariat. They were taught Huk songs. They were taught how to deliver speeches Huk-style.
They were taught the descriptions of the leaders of the Southern Luzon guerrillas. Some of them, whose physical appearances coincided with known guerrilla leaders, posed as these personalities. They were required to take on the appearance of hunted guerrilla individuals during those days. They became, and stayed, dirty, unshaven, badly in need of haircuts. Like the enemy, these soldiers were unhappily forced away from bathrooms, shaving creams, and razor blades.
Somewhere about the second week, Justiniano came back from our national prison smuggling in three ex-Huks who were captured in Southern Luzon. These had been tested, screened, and reindoctrinated to our side and were brought to the training base to serve as instructors. They became ardund-the-clock critics of mannerisms, speeches, customs. Huks were taught certain methods of addressing a superior, certain ways to eat, certain general practices for their daily ablutions in the river. These little things were taught to the men of Force X.
While this training was going on, my troops were making a reconnaissance of the area through which Force X would supposedly pass while en route for Southern to Central Luzon. A disguised patrol, led by a sergeant, actually covered the route. It noted the trails, noted the attitude of the inhabitants, and identified the obstacles which were encountered. All this was incorporated in the cover story of Force X to insure that force would be accepted in the proposed operational areas which was called the Candaba Swamp. When everything was set, Justiniano was ordered back to Manila to recruit several walking, wounded men from our Army hospital. He had to go from one bedside to the other and finally found two rugged enlisted men belonging to different commands who wanted to join Force X in spite of their wounds. With the addition of these personnel, the operation was ready to roll, and the operation was launched at 1700 hours, 14 April 1948.
The force almost precipitated a pitched battle when passing near a PC company in another province, while en route to their line of departure for their operational area. The operational departure was taken from a small town, about four miles east of the highway, where they fought a carefully staged sham battle with two of my uniformed PC companies. From this they withdrew in good order, carrying with them their two wounded. Four hours later they contacted the first Huk outpost, which was of course informed of their approach and very curious as to the identity of this unit which had been fighting the PC.
They were carefully interrogated as to who they were, where they came from, where they were going, etc. Their cover stories stood up well, and their wounded lent an invaluable authenticity to their accounts. They were given guides who took them on into the Candaba Swamp until they linked up with Huk squadrons 5 and 17, under Commanders Romy and Vergara. There they were again interrogated, asked about their route from Southern Luzon. Much interest was taken in them, and they were promised that top leaders, possibly the "Suprerno," Luis Taruc, would see them. Force X and the 2 squadrons (estimated strength about 120) fraternized for more than a day and a half, exchanging experiences, boasting of their respective commands. Naturally Force X was talking about the prowess of the South Luzon Huks. Squadrons 2 and 17 were talking of the prowess of the Huk Supremo. During these conversations of individuals, Force X accumulated a lot of information. Preselected individuals deliberately engaged local visitors in lively discussions about local conditions, propaganda and supply systems, etc. They found that most of the town mayors and chiefs of police were in collusion with the enemy. They found there were enlisted men in the PC company on the other side of the swamps who were giving information to the Huks. They found out how supplies were left by women in selected spots along the road to be picked up at sun-down by Huks.
The fourth day after they crossed the line of departure, another two Huk squadrons joined the combined group. These two squadrons, 4 and 21, were special killer groups. One in particular, under Commander Bundalian, was unique in its organization and in its assigned mission. It was called the enforcing squadron, assigned by the Huk Supremo to enforce Huk justice. Actually, it was a band of well trained executioners; their specialty was kidnapping civilian individuals who were suspected of disloyalty to the movement.
By the end of the 5th day, Force X was outnumbered 1 to 3. During all-these five. days, the Huk squadrons showed no indications of suspecting that Force X was other than what it seemed to be. No one detected that they had with them four 60mm mortars, two light machine guns, close to about 200 hand grenades and a complete voice radio, all hidden. How was this equipment hidden? Why, some enterprising enlisted man found that mortar tubes fitted inside bamboo water tubes and so did light machine guns. Others took delight in hiding grenades and mortar shells inside watermelons, papayaas, etc. The radio was in a sack of rice.
About breakfast time on the 6th day, according to the version of the Force X commander, Lt. Marana, they noticed all of a sudden that the Huks, and I'm talking about the real Huks, started getting cool, so much so that breakfast was eaten in virtual silence. Lt. Marana decided that the time to strike had come. On a prearranged signal, the members of Force X unobtrusively segregated themselves away from the Huk groups, and Lt. Marana gave the order to strike.
There was actually a slaughter in the area. Two Huk squadrons were practically deactivated as of that moment. The mortars came into play within the first two minutes when the strike was ordered. The men were instructed to throw hand grenades before using their weapons. And, within five minutes, the radio was in operation and was in contact with me and with three Philippine Constabulary companies that were alerted around the operational area ready to move in.
At the end of the battle, when the Huk withdrew, we counted 82 killed in an action that did not last more than 30 minutes. Among those identified by the town mayor of that region were three commanders including Commander Bundalian, the commander of the assassin group. Two others were commanders sent by the Huk Supremo to make a personal screening of Force X.
Of course, as soon as I received word that the fight was on, I committed my two alert companies and all the other troops I could get. For two weeks the area was saturated with troops. This resulted in 21 Huks killed and 9 captured in seven encounters in the area. Out of more than a hundred local inhabitants detained for interrogation, 17 turned out to be members of the squadrons we had deactivated. As an interesting aftermath, about three weeks later we learned of an intense fire-fight in the middle of the swamp. Investigation disclosed that a Huk squadron from the adjoining province, on a foraging mission, had met another squadron from my province. Each thought they had stumbled on another "Force X" unit, with a resulting casualty list of 11 dead and 3 seriously wounded.
We also learned, later, what gave our operation away to the enemy. The genuine Huks decided that Force X had too much bright shiny new ammunition for a legitimate guerrilla unit.
Gentlemen, there are no hard and fast rules that will guarantee success in an operation of this kind. I told you earlier of some of the things which I think are essential, which if not observed are likely to cause failure. Success, however, can only be achieved through the maximum effort to understand the local situation and adapt to it, avoiding the obvious pitfalls and exercising cunning, training, and ability superior to that of the enemy.
Query: Did the isolated position of the Philippines help or hinder the campaign against the Huk?
Answer: (Col. Valeriano). The geographical situation of the Philippines, an archipelago of 7,000 islands surrounded by ocean, was of great assistance in the campaign against the Huk, only because we realized at the very beginning the extreme importance of securing our boundaries against the enemy. Had we not been aware of this, and reasonably successful, our infinitely long shore lines and our communications difficulties would have aided the enemy.
I realize that you in South Vietnam have the same problem of a long coast line as well as the disadvantage of being situated on the same land-mass as your powerful enemy.