Sunday, July 5, 2009

Taifib mission in Comoro, Dili

Finally, the Joint Task Force of the Seroja operation decided that Sunday morning, December 7th 1975 as the D-Day to liberate East Timor from Fretilin. To secure beach for the amphibious landing, the Amphibious Task Force Command sending one team from the Marine Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion (Taifib) lead by Marine Captain Arthur Solang.
In pitch darkness of the early morning hours, Captain Solang with five of his subordinates left KRI Ratulangi by a rubber boat and then swam to shore and clears mine and install signs on the beach in preparation for the amphibious landing. They were supposed back to ship. Due to the strong currents that morning, Captain Solang decided to remain on the beach along with one of his team and wait for the arrival of the Landing Team Battalion with which he would hook up with. They did not have prior knowledge that the Amphibious Task Force unit would bomb the LZ, during the bombardments from the warships both of them was hidden out in some secure area of the Comoro beach.
Four other member of the Taifib team who were swimming back to the KRI Ratulangi was swept away by strong currents toward Alor island about 40 km away. Private 1st Class FHA Suyono swam three days and three nights heading for Alor. On the second day, he saw a Dakota from the Indonesian Air Force. The Private who had been floating in the strong currents and in open sea waves for more than 20 hours began to signal by waving his hands for assistance. But the C-47 Dakota was flying too high to spot him.
While swimming his ankles were attacked by fishes several times, causing lacerations. Luckily those wounds on his ankles from which he was suffering did not attract any sharks. Still, smaller fishes were nibbling on his feet, when he tried to fight them off and was buffeted the sea waves. He finally succeeds in making it to beach of the Alor island.
While totally exhausted, his energy drained and still having to defend for himself to survive. The indigenous islanders who surrounded him were hostile. Private 1st class Suyono was suspected of being a Fretilin member who had escaped from East Timor. Seeing the indignant looks on their faces, and realizing that they were planning to harm him, Private Suyono threatened them with a grenade. Finally the misunderstanding was settled in an amicable way when the islanders discovered another stranded Taifib Marine.
Both of them had to travel four days on foot to the nearest military post to report, before he was picked up by a Navy warship that was on patrol. Two others Taifib members, namely Sergeant Major Slamet Supriyadi and Corporal Supardi, who were swimming with them, were declared lost at sea in the official exercise of their duties.
While on the Comoro beach, Captain Solang and one of his subordinates then join with the Marine 5th Landing Infantry Battalion which was landing there and lead by Lieutenant Colonel Ahmad Sediono. After that the Marine moved towards to linked-up with Army unit on the Fatuhada street to the north of the Dili Airport. The Marine forces hold at this position.
Tragically, Marine Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Solang the Marine Taifib commander from 1977-1982 and commander of Denjaka (Navy Special Forces) from 1982-1985 died in the free fall accident in Serpong, West Java on November 22nd, 1985.

Hendro Subroto (Eyewitness to Integration of East Timor, Pustaka Sinar Harapan, 1997)


  1. (ALM) letkol marinir Arthur solangs ,di makamkan di Taman makam pahlawan di daerah kelahirannya yaitu Manado, meninggalkan 1 orang istri dan 1 orang anak yg baru berumur 8 bulan, 15 tahun kemudian ,pada tahun 1999,istri beliau yang bernama,dr.Henny runtuwene Solangs, meninggal akibat kanker rahim yg dideritanya,kini tahun 2012,anak mereka yg bernama David gregory Solangs,baru menyelesaikan kuliahnya di UNIMA, jurusan psikologi," Semoga David dapat berhasil menjadi perwira karier di Angkatan Laut, dan bagi siapa pun yg mengenal orang tua dari David dapat menghubungi pin ‎​. David : 28021028, untuk silaturahmi dan mungkin membantu David dalam hal hal lain. Terima kasih

  2. buat my gregory tetep semangat...
    me2 selalu ada buat ko2...