• Slain Army officer conferred Gold Cross

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    A SCOUT Ranger officer killed in the ongoing all-out offensive against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) was posthumously awarded the Gold Cross Medal, the country’s third highest military decoration.

    Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, gave the award to Melanie Auman, widow of Capt. Gromel Auman, during a necrological service at the Libingan ng mga Bayani late Tuesday.

    A PAF C130 flew the Ranger’s remains to Tuguegarao City, Cagayan on Wednesday where he will be interred on March 22.

    Auman led the Army’s 6th Scout Ranger Company tasked to retrieve dead bodies of fallen soldiers in Talaya, Maguindanao.

    He was killed in a firefight with BIFF members at the vicinity of Barangay Lower Katipbuan, Talaya last Sunday.

    Auman was leading his team in a reinforcement, rescue and retrieval operation for the fallen soldiers of Alpha Company, 33rd Infantry (Makabayan) Battalion, 6th Infantry Division, which encountered the enemy in an earlier firefight.

    Part of the Award’s citation reads: “Captain Auman courageously led his platoon to the encounter site to carry out their given missions. Despite being heavily fired upon by enemy mortars, subject Officer disregarded his personal safety and bravely returned fire that resulted to the hasty withdrawal of the enemy and successful recovery of one 7.62 mm, M14 rifle and one 7.62 mm M60 machine gun. Captain Auman valiantly defended his position until his untimely demise. By this gallantry, Captain Auman exemplified the finest tradition of Filipino soldiery.”

    The Gold Cross Medal is a decoration of the AFP that recognizes gallantry in action. It is the third highest military award of the Philippines. The AFP Chief of Staff, or other senior commanders, gives the award to soldiers for gallantry in action not warranting the award of the Distinguished Conduct Star.

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