On Saturday, December 1, 2012, Indonesia lost one of its most outstanding sons with the death of Laksamana (retired) Urip Santoso in Jakarta, after a brief illness, aged 89.
Born in Brebes, Tegal, Central Java to an upper-middle-class bureaucrat’s family, Santoso acquired an elite education available only to a privileged few in colonial Indonesia. Following the declaration of Independence on August 17, 1945, the young scholar joined the physical struggle for independence by enlisting as an officier in the fledgling Indonesian military, commissioned in the field as a Captain.
While working in the intelligence section of the People's Army, Urip Santoso was arrested by the Dutch in July 1947 and imprisoned for two years and nine months until his release in 1950 when the Dutch government formally ceded control to the indigenous Indonesian government. Released from imprisonment, Santoso was awarded the Bintang Gerilya Medal for his contributions to the struggle for national independence.
Forsaking the his rank of Captain in order to seek further formal military training, Santoso, who spoke fluent Dutch, accepted the chance to undertake a degree program at the Koninkklijk Institut Voor de Marine in Holland where, in August 1953, he graduate and returned to Jakarta with the rank of Second Lieutenant, a level mandated by Indonesian military regulations at the time.
In 1958 Urip Santoso travelled abroad again to further his military education, joining a U.S. Navy Deep Sea Diving and Salvage Officer Course in Washington, D.C. followed by a another course in Underwater Demolition conducted by U.S. Navy Seals in Florida.
Armed with extensive knowledge needed for the assignment ahead, the Indonesian Navy placed Santoso in charge of cleaning up ports and seaways across Indonesia, still littered with sunken ships and other hazards to shipping.
He also established and personally led an elite division of Navy frogmen, soon deployed to Irian Jaya in the battle at the time with Dutch to secure Indonesian control of that region.
In 1972 Santoso was sent to Monterey, California to attend a program in Defense Management. Returning from the U.S.A. he helped establish the Indonesian Defense Management Program (Lemjemen Hankam).
Retirement from active service, Santoso's extensive maritime experience and a deeply-felt belief in developing the nation through sea tourism propelled the retired admiral into a role as a national spokesman for sea tourism and a variety of management roles in seminal cruise tourism projects.
John M. Daniels, President Director of Bali Discovery Tours and a friend and acquaintance of Urip Santoso for more than three decades, recalled a man who, despite his advanced years, was actively planning and participating in plans to advance yacht and cruise tourism in Indonesia, lobbying his government to deregulate the marine sector and reap resulting benefits he felt certain to accrue to a nation spread across more than 17,000 islands.
The growing number of regulations promoting sea tourism in Indonesia and a heightened awareness among Indonesian officials of the rich potential of fostering this sector, are due in no small part to the untiring efforts of Urip Santoso.
Sail on old friend.
God speed your on you voyage!
Discovery Tours. Articles may be quoted and reproduced
if attributed to http://www.balidiscovery.com.