Story Discovery Lanudad Gatot Subroto and Role General Hendropriyono

Story behind existence Lanudad Gatot Subroto, which is now officially Airport (Airport) Gatot Subroto, is interesting to look at as  historical legacy nation's figures and fighters for next generation young people. - President Jokowi represented by the Minister of Transportation, Budi Karya Sumadi, on Saturday 6 April 2019, inaugurated use Gatot Subroto Air Force Base (Lanudad) in Way Kanan, Lampung Province, as a commercial airport for benefit community, regional government and business world .

The story behind existence of Lanudad Gatot Subroto, which is now officially Airport (Airport) Gatot Subroto, is interesting to look at as historical legacy nation's figures and fighters for next generation young people.

From book "History Lampung Region" published by Directorate General Culture Republic Indonesia's Ministry Education and Culture, it was revealed that Lanud Gatot Subroto, which in Japanese times was called Way Tuba Air Field, was actually product Lampung people's hard work which was made into a romusha (laborers with a forced labor system) by Japanese.

People's sweat, blood and tears Lampung were blackmailed by Japanese to build Way Tuba Airport, solely for purpose being a Japanese air defense post against Dutch.

However, after World War II ended, this airport was not maintained and its history was forgotten. Runway is covered by a very thick bush, even deliberately made by fallen tree trunks and grasslands, so as to avoid being seen altogether.

Conditions that are closed are of concern to government, especially TNI. Existence Way Tuba Airport was only revealed in 1989, after it was discovered by Korem 043 Garuda Hitam under command Danrem Kol. Inf. I. Hendropriyono, who later retired with rank of four-star General and was known as a national intelligence figure.

Cabbage. Inf. (Ret.) Sutomo, former Commander of the 143th Infantry Battalion / Tri Wira Eka Jaya (Infantry Battalion 143 / TWEJ) who at that time held the rank of Mayor, said that it was Col. Inf. I. Hendropriyono as Danrem 043 / GATAM in September 1989 paid a working visit to Way Kanan.

Danrem brought Danyon 143 TWEJ to walk carrying villages, including Gumuruh Village, Way Tuba Village and Bumi Agung Village. Related to the residence of Major General of the TNI (Ret.) Musannif Ryacudu and the residence of Mangku Bumi, a relative of Ryacudu. Danrem together with group had spent night at residence Head of Bumi Agung Village.

Next day, compilation was moved by Bahuga Koramil and villages in Bahuga Koramil territory, Korem 043 Gatam group under command Danrem Kol. Inf. I. Hendropriyono found traces Japanese runway in Way Tuba.

When found, airfield was in a condition covered with shrubs and fallen tree trunks. Then, Yonif 143 / TWEJ soldiers under command Major Sutomo worked together for days cleaning and opening the airfield.

Until Major Sutomo was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and served as North Lampung Kodim Commander, including in charge of the Way Kanan area, he was still responsible for maintaining Way Tuba airfield.

"Gatot Subroto Airport was once a former Japanese airstrip that was discovered in 1989 by Danrem 043 Gatam Kol. Inf. A.M. Hendropriyono. He was checked by Astra Ksetra Air Base in Menggala, apparently not belonging to Air Force. Then cleaned by our own soldiers who work. Upon this discovery, Sir Hendropriyono as Danrem, then handed Way Tuba lapter to Army through Sriwijaya Regional Military Commander, so that later TNI-AD was expanded and made an army base," Sutomo said.

Former Dandenzibang 4 / II Bandar Lampung Letkol. Czi (Retired) Ir. T. Purnomo added, shortly after discovery Way Tuba Airport, Col. Inf. Hendropriyono as Danrem 043 / Gatam submitted a location permit for construction Way Tuba Airport to Lampung Governor Pudjono Pranyoto.

Governor Pudjono Pranyoto then issued a location permit in 1991. Construction Way Tuba Airport took place in parallel, along with licensing process, in this case initial stage began with expansion runway.

Before operation was inaugurated as Lanuad Gatot Subroto, initial landing test at Lanuad Gatot Subroto was carried out using C-130 Hercules aircraft Indonesian Air Force. After being inaugurated, Lanud Gatot Subroto is often landed by Army Chief of Staff and a group of TNI-AD General Staff (SUAD) for military training purposes, which are incorporated into the Battle Training Center in Martapura.

To strengthen land status Lanudad Gatot Subroto, a process measurement and compensation was carried out by a team under coordination of Maj. Gen. Aqlani Maza (Department of Defense) and Maj. Gen. Kiswantara Partadiredja (Aslog Kasad) in 2004.

Maj. Gen. Kiswantara from his position as Danyonzipur-2 to Kazidam-II / SWJ was directly involved in construction Lanudad Gatot Subroto and even took part in being passengers Air Force Hercules during initial landing test at Lanudad Gatot Subroto.

"Ex Japanese airstrips cannot be used because they are already around 45 years old and the wind direction has changed, so the new runway must be shifted 29 degrees to the right. That is not ideal either. Due to limited land, runways are still being made, with a runway length of 2200 meters and a width of 40 meters, over run at each end of the runway 150 meters. Apron is planned to be able to accommodate 9 Hercules, the carrying capacity for one Battalion. But due to budget constraints, until I finished being Kazidam-II / SWJ the apron was only able to accommodate 2 Hercules," explained Maj. Gen. (ret.) Kiswantara.

In further development, Lanudad Gatot Subroto was used as a base for Squadron 12 / Attack under the control of the Army Aviation Center (Puspenerbad). Now, Lanudad Gatot Subroto is operated by the government not only for the sake of national defense, but also for the transportation needs of the community, local government and the business world.

The people of Lampung, especially Way Kanan Regency, are thankful that after government Lanudad Gatot Subroto was developed into Gatot Subroto Airport, its existence has become increasingly useful in launching community, regional government and business activities. Impact has spurred acceleration regional development in Way Kanan Regency, in particular, and a number districts on border Lampung Province and South Sumatra Province. (Achmad Dzulfiqar)
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