I am a little hesitant to recount this experience as the mere thought of it still scares me even after all these years. I am not sure if I can fully express here what I went through that day, the fear, the confusion and the embarrassment. Words sometimes cannot fully justify our experience, but here goes.
While serving in the military, I was deployed south of the country, to a place that has seen countless battles against Muslim insurgents. I was initially assigned administrative work at our battalion HQ but was rotated to a company that was often on patrol. It was in one of these patrols that I saw something that still induces fear in me.
We often received intelligence report of enemy sightings. This time my platoon was ordered to verify the report. Patrols would usually take 3 days of "humping" in the bush following any leads and updated reports. It was the second day of our patrol when intelligence came in saying that the enemy has moved out and is possibly en route to another island. We were ordered to pull back. It was very late in the afternoon but not quite dark yet when we received the order to pull out. As our platoon leader radioed for transport, we went about setting perimeter. Then a lone figure was spotted at about 150 meters away. We had to identify whether the figure was friendly or otherwise. Our platoon leader motioned for two squads to flank the figure downrange and investigate. I was in one of the squads.
As we slowly approached, I noticed that the figure seemed to glide rather than walk. I knew then it was something else other than a living, breathing being. Closing in, I saw that the apparition was not only gliding, it was actually floating, about a foot or two off the ground. It was floating slowly with no definite directions, sometimes passing close to our crouched positions. By this time I was really scared, my heart was beating so fast I thought it would pop out of my chest. What made it worse was that we all saw it.
What struck me as odd was that the apparition had no face. The best I can describe it is as if the face was "erased". Its complexion was very pale, almost translucent. At one point it stopped gliding. I looked through my rifle scope and I had the fright of my life when I saw it looking back at me with its featureless face. Every hair in my body stood and I had to fight the urge to run and scream like a little girl. Suddenly the apparition just vanished in front of us. I think every one of us were too flustered to move. We were eventually ordered to withdraw and return to the perimeter. How I didn't soil my trousers is beyond me.
We reported to our platoon leader what we saw and he said he believed us. He ordered us to prepare to move out as transport was en route. Everyone was quiet in the truck on the way back to company HQ, no one spoke a word. We later found out that each of us who were sent downrange had the same experience of being looked at by whatever it was. Our platoon leader ordered us to keep the experience to ourselves. I was silent about this until I got out of the military.