Really am proud of these young and brave marines who fought it with Janjalani's group. I know how tough their trainings as I have witnessed it during my P2Lt's 45days survival training at Fort Magsaysay. Training, Camaraderie and the heart to do their job played a big role. I salute these marines and I hope the government will NOT forget the dedication and heroism of our Marines and combatants they send in the battle field. -MRV- Outnumbered Marines recall clash that killed Janjalani By James Mananghaya And Roel Pareño The Philippine Star 01/24/2007 Retreat was never an option for the platoon of Marine troopers who, despite being outnumbered, repelled a vicious counterattack by the Abu Sayyaf in the jungles of Jolo which ended in the death of the terrorist groups chieftain Khadaffy Janjalani. The Sept. 4 pre-dawn clash in Barangay Tugas, Patikul, Sulu left six soldiers and close to 70 other terrorists killed or wounded. The gun battle began when 27 men of the Marine Force Recon Class 12 led by 2Lt. Romulo Dimayuga stumbled upon a group of Abu Sayyaf bandits camped out in the jungle. When they found out that Janjalani himself was with the group, the soldiers opened fire, unaware that they were dealing with a vastly superior force. Dimayuga said it turned out that they were battling 150 terrorists. "I ordered my men to hold the line. I couldnt withdraw because I could not leave a wounded or fallen Marine behind," he said. "As Marines, we must not allow a fallen comrades body to be desecrated by the enemy. Thats why in that encounter none of my men was mutilated," Dimayuga told a press conference at Camp Aguinaldo yesterday. Pfc. Juvelito Manalili, the platoons compass man, got hit while trying to drag a wounded comrade out of harms way. Dimayuga himself was wounded in the encounter. "The Marines were bloodied and 16 were wounded but we kept on firing. Our will to fight was strong and our troops displayed unmatched courage," the 24-year-old officer said. He said he believed the Marines had a better chance of survival by defending their position than by retreating. "We knew they were fierce fighters because they wouldnt be able to put up a fight for three hours, but we were better than them," he said, adding that the realization that they had run into the enemys main group even fired up their courage. He said a smaller terrorist group would have easily disengaged. The Marines three night vision goggles helped them pinpoint Janjalani himself and the exact positions of his men. But the soldiers actually had to wait for first light to come out before they launched the attack. Grenades and a volley of machinegun fire caught the bandits by surprise. "Having been together for nine months in training, our camaraderie is strong and the deaths really pained us," Dimayuga said. "But they did not die in vain." For lead scout Marine Private First Class Dante Advincula, penetrating Janjalanis lair was like going through the proverbial "eye of the needle." Advincula, who was interviewed in Zamboanga City, said they suspected the terrorist had night vision goggles themselves and a retreat would have taken a heavy toll on the troops. "Sure enough they will detect us and tenderize us with volley of assaults because we suspected they were also equipped with night vision goggles," he added. He said some of the bandits even managed to get too close to them - or some three meters away. Private First Class Nicholas Polmo, a Marine sniper, said that in the din of battle he saw someone who looked like Janjalani mount a horse and bark orders. Polmo was wounded in the thigh and abdomen. He noted the tremendous firepower of the counterattacking Abu Sayyaf who scrambled to drag away their dead and wounded. After recovering from his wounds, Dimayuga was reassigned as executive officer of the 64th Marine Force Reconnaissance Company based in Cavite, while Manalili was transferred to the Marine Headquarters at Fort Bonifacio where he serves as an administrative clerk.