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Friday December 6, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday December 6, 2013 MYT 7:13:20 AM
by sheila sri priya
Paying tribute: The book, edited by Villanueva, contains memoirs of reservists during World War II.
SOME may not have heard of our naval reservists during World War II and Confrontation, but to ensure the legacy and contributions of these veterans are remembered, the book Naval Reservists in Action World War II (Far East) and Confrontation (1963-1966) was published.
A first of its kind, the book recalls how locals, mostly those with a full-time job, would sacrifice their free time to train as reservists.
After the training period, they served in the armed forces, be it in the army or the navy.
Reservists provided extra military capabilities for the nation
and they did this out of love for the country.
Adrian Villanueva, 73, was among the reservists who served in the navy in the early 1960s.
He is also the editor for this book.
“During my schooling years, I was part the school’s cadet army. I just loved everything about the army. I also liked the fact there were ranks to climb and this gave me a great sense of accomplishment.
“When there was an opportunity to serve the nation, I joined the reserve unit,” said Villanueva.
He added that his family was supportive and so was his wife.
“However my children, who are adults now, said I was insane to join to the navy then,” he joked.
Villanueva was trained as an army officer however he was transferred to serve the navy.
“When I was mobilised to serve the navy, I was excited because the country had a new navy team,” he said.
He added that he underwent a short crash course and he was posted to Tawau where he served in the front lines.
“I am the sort that likes to see action, I do not like to stay in the ambush position and wait.
“When we were patrolling the Tawau boarder, we saw the enemy with their red bandana -staring back at us. We knew the enemy meant business, and so did we. We called Tawau the tense boarder,” he said.
When asked if he was afraid that he may have died, Villanueva replied, “I had bravado then.”
Villanueva were among the few to be awarded the General Service Medal by the British government for his service.
He advised the younger generation to serve the nation in any possible manner.
He said the younger generation is tech-savy and they could contribute their knowledge to the arm forces.
“The modern navy ships are incorporated with high-tech devices, seniors like me would not so well-versed with the technology. However the younger generation could become reserves and share their expertise,” he said.
Villanueva said the book is the legacy of reservists during the World War II and Confrontation.
“Most of them died. However some of the reservists wrote memoirs and their families had shared them with us. It has been included in this book,” he said.
The 1st Malaysian Royal Navy Chief of Navy (Dec 1, 1967- Jan 1,1977) Tan Sri Datuk Seri K.Thanabalasingam, a former said the book is an interesting read.
He said the book was not just for naval and armed forces veterans but also for those who had an interest in the naval and of the military historical events.
The events mostly took place in Malaya and Colonial Singapore. Some of the events also took place during the formative years of the country.
Royal Malaysian Navy deputy chief of navy Datuk Seri Ahmah Kamarulzaman said the book was a good reference for the younger generation.
Naval Reservists in Action World War II (Far East) and Confrontation (1963-1966) is available at local book stores.
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