IN MEMORY OF

THREE SPECIAL FORCES

AND 32 BATTALION SOLDIERS


Staff Sergeant Francisco Daniel Roxo HC

(1/2/1933 - 23/8/1976)

 

Francisco Daniel Roxo was born on the 1st of February 1933 in the village of Mogadouro in the Tras os Montes province of Portugal. In 1951 he settled in the Portuguese colony of Mozambique and after a short period with the Civil Service became involved with hunting in the Niassa province of Northern Mozambique. It was during these years that Daniel honed his skills and learnt the moods of the bush that were to be put to use in the war against insurgents in later years. Daniel was to lead the Militia Forces in the Niassa province with great success and for his actions in combat, was awarded 2 x CRUZ DE GUERRA ( Portuguese Cross of Honour) as well as the MEDALHA DE SERVICOS DESTINTOS ( Medal of Merit).

Daniel left Mozambique shortly after the Portuguese revolution of 25th April 1974, and joined the South African Defence Force. At the age of 41 was to pass the tough selection course to join 1 Reconnaissance as a Special Forces Operator. Soon after qualification he was seconded to Charlie Coy of Bravo Group as a platoon Leader. Soon after his arrival Operation Savannah starts, and Daniel’s actions in combat against Cuban and Angolan Forces at Bridge 14 Angola in December of 1975 had him recommended for and awarded the HONORIS CRUX Decoration. S Sgt Daniel Roxo was the first non - South African to receive this decoration! On the 23rd August 1976 Daniel was killed in combat during an ambush. Daniel was also awarded the PRO PATRIA MEDAL with the Cunene Clasp as well the Southern Africa Medal (posthumously).

Daniel left behind a wife and 6 children.

 


Staff Sergeant Ponciano Gomes Soeiro

(21/4/1941 - 23/8/1976)

Ponciano Gomes Soeiro was born in Portugal, where he joined the Portuguese State Police. He was transferred to Angola, early in his career with the DGS, and was stationed in the Uíge Delegation with the rank of Agent 2nd Class.

S sgt Soeiro, joined the SADF after the Portuguese revolution of 1974. Soeiro completed the Special Forces selection course in September of 1975 together with Roxo, Robbie Ribeiro and Mourão da Costa to became an Operator with 1 Reconnaissance Commando. Like Roxo, Ribeiro and Mourão da Costa, he was deployed to Angola during Operation Savannah as part of a Special Forces team. On his return to South West Africa, like his Portuguese colleagues, he remained with the group of Angolans they had fought alongside in Angola, the core of whom were to form 32 Battalion. Soeiro’s experience as a former policeman was put to good use many times during Ops Savannah.

Soeiro was killed in combat on the 23rd August 1976 with Daniel Roxo on a operational mission on the way to Dirico in Angola. Unlike his friend Roxo, Soeiro did not die at the scene, but while being evacuated by road back to Woodpecker.

S sgt Soeiro was awarded posthumously the PRO PATRIA (Cunene Clasp) and the SOUTHERN AFRICA medals.

Ponciano was married and left behind his wife and a daughter.


Sergeant José Correia Pinto Ribeiro

(24/12/1948 - 25/8/1976)

José Correia Pinto Ribeiro, nome de guerre "Carnaval" was a native of the former Portuguese Colony of Guinea Bissau. Carnaval became a parabat serving with the Portuguese Paras in Guinea with the rank of Sergeant. José Ribeiro went on to make a name for himself as an exceptional Para in Guinea. When his former OC in Guinea, Colonel Costa Campos formed the GEPs (Grupos Especiais Pára - Quedistas) "Special Para Groups" in Moçambique, he arranged for a transfer for Sgt José Ribeiro to join the GEPs in that former Portuguese territory. In Moçambique while serving with the GEPs, Sgt Ribeiro became a specialist in Pseudo insurgent operations, where he and his men operated on the terrain as "insurgents".

Shortly after the Portuguese Revolution of 1974, José Ribeiro joined the South African Defence Force. Ribeiro completed the Special Forces selection course and became an Operator with 1 Recce. In South Africa Carnaval was known to his friends and colleagues as Robbie Ribeiro.

During Operation Savannah, Robbie was deployed into Angola on deep special operations as part of a Special Forces team. On their return to South West Africa, Roxo, Robbie, Mourão and Soeiro remained with the group of Angolans they fought in Angola with, and 32 Battalion was formed.

Sgt Robbie Ribeiro was recommended for the HONORIS CRUX decoration for bravery and excellent leadership under combat, but the decoration was not approved, a decision Col J Breytenbach, Ribeiro's OC did not agree with!

Robbie Ribeiro was killed on the 25th August 1976, while evacuating battle casualties to a hospital in South West Africa. Robbie's brother also served with the SADF, and as Robbie was also tragically killed while doing his duty to his newly adopted country.

Sgt Robbie Ribeiro was entitled to wear the PRO PATRIA medal with the Cunene clasp and the SOUTHERN AFRICA medal, medals which are belived not to have been issued.

Robbie Ribeiro left behind his wife and a daughter.

The Astronaut and the 1 Recce Operator.

Only the dead see the end of war.

 

É grande a admiração que deixaram. É maior, forçosamente, a paz das suas almas.

 

Ons sal julle nie vergeet nie.

LINKS:

Booklet for the Homage Ceremony

Newspaper Clippings about the Homage Ceremony

Photos of the Homage Ceremony of the 23rd August 2005

Tribute by Adelino Serras Pires on the 23rd August 2005

Tribute by Lt Col Sybie van der Spuy on the 23rd August 2005

Tribute by Barry Roper on the 23rd August 2005

S Sgt Roxo’s HC Decoration and Medals are handed over to his Family on 17th November 2005

L CPL CARLOS ALBERTO CORREIA PINTO RIBEIRO

S SGT ALMERINDO MOURÃO DA COSTA PMM

31st August 2006: 30th Anniversary of the death of South African Special Forces soldiers S Sgt Roxo, S Sgt Soeiro and Sgt “Carnaval” Ribeiro.

L Cpl Carlos Alberto Ribeiro ("Little Robbie")


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