The Philippine Army reactivated its Armor Division’s 1st Tank Battalion, further boosting its capability to deal with current and emerging security threats. The Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Romeo S. Brawner, Jr., led the reactivation ceremony of the 1st Tank Battalion and the deactivation of the 8th Cavalry Company at the Armor Division’s Headquarters at Camp O’Donnell, Capas, Tarlac on April 21, 2022. Following the activation of the 1st Tank Battalion, the 8th Cavalry Company was deactivated to provide the nucleus of the new unit. The tank battalion traces its roots to the organization of the 1st Cavalry Regiment under the Army’s 1st Infantry Division in 1935.
“Looking at the future operational landscape, the Philippine Army has reactivated the 1st Tank Battalion to provide our infantry and mechanized infantry forces with advanced firepower capability and enhance the standards of protection, especially in conducting contingency missions and combined arms and joint operations in the country. The Army Chief added that the tank battalion’s reactivation will bolster the armor units’ operational capability in conducting ground operations against current and emerging threats,” Lt. Gen. Brawner said.
Lt. Col. Don G. Frivaldo assumed as the provisional battalion’s acting commander during the reactivation ceremony highlighted by the unfurling of the battalion’s color. Personnel of the deactivated 8th Cavalry Company— which provided cavalry support to the 103rd Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry Division whose area of operations covers Lanao del Sur and parts of Lanao del Norte—will form the “nucleus” of the reactivated tank battalion. It can be recalled that the said company played a vital role in the military’s victory against ISIS-inspired terrorists that attacked Marawi City in 2017.
The Philippine Army officially activated its first tank battalion in September 1958 with assets that included M4 U.S. Sherman tanks. The original tank battalion was deactivated three years later due to the high cost of tank maintenance. The battalion, which is foreseen to play a key role in the defense of the country’s land domain, will be composed of newly acquired and upcoming assets such as 18 Sabrah ASCOD light tanks, 10 Pandur 8×8 wheeled light tanks, a command vehicle, a recovery vehicle, and a tank gunnery simulator acquired under the AFP Revised Modernization Program’s Horizon 2.