LAHAD DATU: The beaches of Tanduo shook amid heavy aerial and naval bombardment early last Tuesday as elite Malaysian and American commandos made amphibious landing to wipe out the Abu Sayyaf group holding the area.
The real-life action at the Tanduo beach in this Sabah’s east coast district was a military exercise that was part of the Tiger Strike 2017 joint exercise between Malaysian and US armed forces which ends today.
Participating in the exercise were 327 Malaysian soldiers from the Royal Malaysian Air Force, the 22nd Royal Malay Regiment and the navy’s Special Operations Force, or Paskal.
While from the US were 129 members of the US Army Special Forces, or Green Berets, and those from the US Marine Corps (USMC) 1st Regiment.
The aim of the operations was to test “interoperability” between Malaysian and US forces during joint military operations.
The two armed forces also tested their communications, planning and capabilities in implementing an amphibious landing and assault.
“This exercise or training will give a good impact for both the forces in terms of working together in counter-terrorism, particularly along the coast of Sabah’s east coast.
“It also provides the American marines a real feel of soldiering within the forest and swamp conditions in our area,” Malaysian Armed Forces assistant chief staff for operations and training Mejar Jeneral Datuk Sheikh Mokhsin said.
USMC 1st Regiment Commander Colonel Kevin Norton was among those present during the exercise.
Tanduo was the centre of the Lahad Datu intrusion by southern Philippines-based Sulu gunmen in Feb 2013.