Chief of the General Staff of the Navy Admiral Fernando Erice, Deputy Chief of the Navy´s General Staff Vice Admiral Alvaro Manuel González Lonzieme naval and military authorities present, members of the 4th Section of the NACAR Company , Mrs. Hilda Acevedo , family members of the 4th Section, members of the 106 Promotion of the Naval Military School, ladies and gentlemen,
First of all I want to thank the Chief of the General Staff of the Navy to allow me to address my men as Chief of the 4th Platoon.
The last time I did it was a June 15, 1982 in a shed for sheeps at the Estancia Fitz Roy, with two guards behind me pointing their weapons.
At that time I asked for permission to speak, in order to congratulate them on their performance in combat.
What was the 4th Platoon?
It was an heterogeneous group of Marine Corps where many of us didn´t even know each other. We met in mid-April in a mountain called Tumbledown. Our mission was to be part of the first line device of the NACAR Company of the 5th Battalion. These Marines, were not even chosen, were rather, a stew.
We were positioned 1800 meters ahead of the rest of the Company device , away and out of reach of the other fractions to support our flanks and rear. We had in front of us a quaint and beautiful landscape.
With had with the course of events deprivation, discomfort, uncertainty and misery, typical of all wars, from the time of the Caesars to the present day and beyond. Because that is what war is all about.
To this was added gradually, air strikes, naval artillery, field artillery, until we begin to be visual spectators of the first infantry men fighting against our positions.
On June 13rd, I received in my position men from our beloved Argentine Army, passing through Tumbledown retreating from their positions which were already in the hands of the enemy.
We incorporated about 15 of those brave men to reinforce our 4th Section.
These men came from various units and I never knew their names, not even after their death, but henceforth they became part of us.
On the morning of June 13rd, I received my last order to defend our position. We knew that night would be submitted to our most intense test.
With the last light of that Sunday June 13th, I walked the 4th Platoon positions, wondering what it would be the next morning.
That night, at 22 pm we received during an hour heavy fire from British field artillery and from their naval guns in support of the attack and fire as well from an armoured exploration squad.
At 2310 hours, the 40 men who composed the 4th Platoon suffered a bayonet assault implemented by the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards,
There were scenes for which there are no words capable of describing them, and this was one of them. Rifles, machine guns, pistols, hand grenades, anti-tank missiles, bayonets, all furrowed punching the air and exploding everywhere, mixed with cries of orders, requests for support, pain and courage.
This went on until 0130 hours on Monday, 14th June. As the 4th Platoon was overtaken by the enemy in numbers and firepower in this unequal battle we resorted to the use of our own mortar fire on ourselves, in an attempt to collect the enemy dearly for their imminent victory.
This desperate act unexpectedly won the temporary withdrawal of the enemy mixed between the foxholes of the 4th Platoon.
I remember the cries of victory and courage of these men who, few minutes before ,considered themselves lost..
"Long live the Marine Corps ! ",
"Come to us, we are Marines ! ..."
Can anyone forget those voices?
Half an hour later a new British company repeated the previous assault, and a similar battle took place, which lasted under these conditions until just before dawn on June 14th.
At that time the Platoon had no longer mortar ammunition so we required upon ourselves the fire of mortars and from the BRAVO field artillery. Added to that was the Airborne Artillery Group 4 fire from our brother Argentine Army.
The relief was achieved at a high price, but not the victory.
At 0715 hours on 14th June, and by my orders, the few members of the 4 Section that could still maintain their positions, laid down their arms.
The 4 Section fought in an unequal battle with no chances of success.
The 4 Section never retreated.
The 4 Section fell in its place.
We have today in this room of our beloved Argentine Navy, some of those men.
Many remained forever in their positions in the Malvinas.
Some of them are here today.
Today we have Mrs. Hilda Acevedo, mother of Felix Aguirre, known as the 4th Platton´s ´flamethrower´.
Mrs. Acevedo is a teacher. But she also taught as a mother, because she raised a child, in the values of love for the country, the performance of duty and the sense of humanity.
Conscript Felix Aguirre, belonging to the group of Petty Officer Castillo, also KIA, ran to help wounded Second Lieutenant Silva and while trying to protect him was killed by the British infantry.
An example of a soldier, a comrade , a patriot and a man.
God bless you Mrs. Hilda. How many more mothers and teachers like you I would like for my country.
Here are some men today, soldiers yesterday, to be distinguished by their performance during the combat. The then Marine Corps Corporal Second Class Amílcar Tejada, former Provisional Officeholders Ramón Rotela and Victor Julio Gasko, former conscripts Jorge Ricardo Sánchez, Héctor Horacio Chávez and Pablo Daniel Rodríguez.
They will be recognized today by specific actions during combat.
But the merit is not only of them.
The credit goes to each of the men of the 4th Platoon who fought that night, maintaining their position, following orders, taking their own decisions about death.
In West Tumbledown, the 4th Section found the maximum expression of equality among soldiers, which is equality before duty.
And paying tribute to the equality, were downed under fire, regardless of hierarchy or of Forces, Provisional Officeholder José Luis Galarza, conscripts Felix Aguirre, Hector Abel Cerles, Petty Officer Julio Saturnino Castillo , conscript Juan Carlos Gonzales, Second Lieutenant Oscar Augusto Silva, Conscripts Alfredo Gregorio, Ramon Garcia. and the rest whose names I don´t know and I´ll never will.
As a soldier, I would like to express my respect to those against whom we fought and fallen, as the military courage and dignity, did not recognize borders or flags in West Tumbledown.
With these words I reward the homages that were given to the 4th Platoon.
When I was young I was taught that discipline is voluntary willingness to comply with the orders, for the good of the service.
And here I emphasize the words "voluntary willingness to comply with the orders ..."
All these men, the fallen, the wounded, those present and those who are not in this room, all made possible Tumbledown, but did so out of conviction, believing in the country, believing in what they did,
To all these men members of the 4th Platoon, to my beloved and glorious Marine Corps, and our brothers, the brave soldiers of the Argentine Army I ask God to be at their side. That our Navy may forever shelter the memory of all these men who wrote a small page of history for the glory of our Marine Corps and our Argentine Navy.
Long life to our country !