SHAH ALAM: In a previous post previously, Malaysian Defence wrote that one of the users is 5 Kor Armor Di Raja. It is not actually. The Gempita that were pictured in the post are operated by 19 RAMD.
In fact, the Gempita are now stationed with Bravo Company of the 19 RAMD at Kem Sri Kinabatangan, Sandakan, Sabah. The unit remained in ESSCOM AOR though they were previously operating in Tawau, located some 319 km via road to Sandakan where 5 KAD took the picture.
The location of the Gempita in Sandakan was confirmed in a social media post by the Army Eastern Field Command on August 24. The post was highlighting the visit to the camp by newly appointed Eastern Field Command commander Lt Jen Sofi Lepi. The post:
LAWATAN PANGLIMA MEDAN TIMUR TENTERA DARAT (PMT TD) KE KEM SRI KINABATANGAN
SANDAKAN, 24 Ogos 23 – Panglima Medan Timur Tentera Darat (PMT TD), Lt Jen Dato’ Mohd Sofi bin Md Lepi telah melaksanakan lawatan ke Batalion Ke-22 RAMD, Kem Sri Kinabatangan, Sandakan, Sabah.
Ketibaan PMT TD bersama Panglima 5 Div – Mej Jen Datuk Abdul Rahman bin A Wahab dan Panglima 5 Bgd, Brig Jen Mohd Sobirin bin Hj Mohd Yusof disambut oleh Pemangku Pegawai Memerintah 95 UPKAT, Lt Kol Ir. Mohd Shanaz bin Sani dan Pegawai Memerintah Batalion Ke-22 RAMD, Lt Kol Zain Azrai bin Hj Karia.
Bermula dengan lawatan ke Garaj AV8 Gempita, PMT TD dan delegasi telah diberikan taklimat operasi oleh Ketua Kompeni Bravo Batalion Ke-19 RAMD (Mek), Mej Khairi Akmal bin Mohd Nor. Seterusnya PMT TD telah melawat ke hangar PUTD bagi meninjau kesiagaan aturgerak pasukan. Ketua Detasmen Rejimen 881 PUTD Siri 77 (1/23), Mej Norhisham bin Mohamad telah menyampaikan taklimat operasi.
The post also highlighted the PUTD Rejimen 881 detachment to the same camp which operates at least three AW109 LOH helicopters. As with the Gempita detachment, Rejimen 881 helicopters are operated from their own hangar facilities inside the camp.
It is interesting to note that checks on 22 RAMD Facebook page showed that they used the Gempita and AW 109 LOH helicopters as the background during the unit official parades and ceremonies. 22 RAMD used to operate MIFV in the past – following the Lahad Datu incident – but checks on its Facebook page showed no recent pictures of the MIFV. Two soldiers from the unit were killed when an MIFV crashed near Sandakan in 2014. I have no idea where the MIFV have been sent to if 22 RAMD no longer operate them.
As for 19 RAMD, it is likely that it had left one company of Gempita in Sabah following its rotation there since 2016. It is likely that the 22 RAMD will supply the dismounts for the Gempita during operations and training while the crew – driver, gunner and commander – are those from 19 RAMD. As in any operational scenario, I stand to be corrected of course.
The bulk of 19 RAMD remained in Semenanjung though the unit is busy with operational and other duties as well (see above picture). 19 RAMD camp is in Sungai Petani, Kedah although it remained under the command of 4th Mechanised Brigade, based in Kuantan. Previously, it was planned that 19 RAMD will be permanently based at the Kota Belud camp but the Army decided to stand up 5 KAD there instead.
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