Lt. Col. I Gusti Ngurah Rai

Ngurah Rai was born in Desa Carangsari, Kabupaten Badung, Bali on 30 January 1917. He studied at a Dutch Marga elementary school. He then went to high school in Malang, East Java. After high school, he received Dutch military training at the Military Cadet School in Gianyar, Bali and Magelang, Central Java. He graduated from military training and joined the Dutch sponsored military as a second lieutenant in Bali. 

After the Indonesia Declaration of Independence, the Colonel established the People’s Security Army, the forerunner of the Military of Indonesia for the Lesser Sunda Islands. He then left for the republican capital, Yogyakarta, to receive orders before returning to Bali to oppose the approximately 2,000 Dutch troops that had landed in March, 1946. Ngurah Rai found that the republican forces were divided thus he worked hard to reunite them before organizing the first attack against the Dutch forces headquarters at Tabanan. 

The Dutch located Ngurah Rai’s base and offered negotiation, but the Colonel refused. On 20 November 1946, the Dutch launched a large scale attack on Marga with the assistance of troops and aircraft forces from Lombok. 

Lt. Col Ngurah Rai ordered a puputan, or fight to the death. He died along with all of his troops in the fight, now known as The Battle of Margarana. Ngurah Rai was buried in Marga. 

On 9 August 1975, by a Presidential Decision, I Gusti Ngurah Rai was declared a national hero, Bali’s Ngurah Rai’s Airport is named for him.