Tiradores de la Muerte: The Philippines' First True Special Forces

The elite unit of the Philippines, the Light Reaction Company is considered to be the local version of the Delta Force for a good reason. They are the bane of insurgents and extremists and are responsible for successful operations against various terrorist groups. Their insignia bears the image of an eagle, with the words "Tiradores de la Muerte," Spanish for the "Marksmen of Death." This unit motto perfectly defines the special forces unit, yet it was actually derived from the name of another group of elite soldiers who fought in the Philippine-American War.

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Before the Armed Forces of the Philippines came to be, the Philippine Revolutionary Army served as the armed forces of the First Republic. Back then, after the colonization of Spain, a new enemy emerged. After Spain left the country, another world power took its place. The Philippines were under American occupation, but the First Philippine Republic refused to go down without a fight. In terms of equipment, the Revolutionary Army was inferior. There was a shortage of modern equipment, and so all they had were weapons taken from the Spanish forces. They also had traditional weapons at their disposal, or utility implements turned into infantry blades. One of these was the iconic bolo. But, no matter how iconic or nostalgic a weapon was, it still fell short compared to the superior firepower of the American colonizers.

Nevertheless, General Antonio Luna managed to organize a small group of fierce fighters who helped inflict heavy losses on the Americans despite being outgunned and outnumbered.

General Antonio Luna

Antonio Luna Was No Pushover
Together with Rizal and his brother Juan Luna, Antonio was one of the well-known Ilustrados. And while Juan became a world-class artist, Antonio carved a name for himself in his own way. As a human being, he was by no means perfect. He and Rizal once fought over a woman, and he possessed the infamous Luna temper.