I have heard endlessly about the exploits of the Japanese American units during World War 2, the 100th Battalion and 442d Regimental Combat Team, but I had never heard about the 1st and 2nd Filipino Regiments. Here are a few excerpts from a much longer account at the California State Military Museum website.
The Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934 treated the Filipinos in the U.S. as aliens. Although the Philippine Commonwealth Constitution permitted the United States to draft Filipinos in the Philippines to defend American interests there, Filipinos in the United States, quite ironically, were exempt from military service.
Thousands of Filipinos had petitioned for the right to serve in the U.S. military immediately after December 7, 1941. On January 2, 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed a law revising the Selective Service Act. Filipinos in the United States could now join the U.S. Armed Forces and they were urged to volunteer for service. President Roosevelt quickly authorized the founding of a Filipino battalion, which would be organized for service overseas. It estimated the number of available Filipino volunteers between 70,000 and 100,000.
The 1st Filipino Battalion was formed on March 4, 1942 and activated in April 1 at Camp San Luis Obispo, California. Lieutenant Colonel Robert H. Offley, who had served in the Philippines and spoke passable Tagalog, volunteered to be assigned to the unit as its first commander. He assumed command in April 8, 1942. The War Department also directed Philippine army officers and soldiers who were stranded in the United States at the start of the war to report to the unit. An unusual point is the designation of the unit. Previous Filipino units in the U.S. Army had been designated “Philippine” such as the Philippine Scouts. All units raised in the U.S. during the war were designated “Filipino.” Also, it would not be until the end of the war that the Filipino military units would carry the designation “Infantry” in their title although their regimental colors from the very beginning were displayed on a blue field, the traditional color of the infantry branch of the army.
A number of wounded Philippine Army and Philippine Scouts had escaped to Australia from the Philippines on board the USS Mactan in December 1941. Some remained in Australia to form the nucleus of what would eventually become the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, but the rest were sent to the United States for further medical treatment. These men eventually reported to the 1st Filipino Battalion.
Contrary to popular belief, the 1st Filipino Battalion was not established as a result of the American policy of social segregation. Only Filipinos who volunteered for assignment to the unit were sent to it. Many others, such as Eutiquio V. “Vic” Bacho, served with distinction in “American” (white) units in the European theater of operations during the war. Doroteo Vite wrote in a national magazine that Filipinos should take the opportunity to serve in all-white units to educate them so that at the end of the war, white Americans would support the Filipino American agenda of equality….
In April 1942, Lieutenant General John L. Dewitt, Western Defense Commander, ordered the Japanese on the West Coast into concentration camps. Miguel Ignacio, secretary of the Filipino American community of San Francisco, called attention to several American-born Japanese women, citizens of the United States, who had Filipino husbands, and Filipino-Japanese children who were U.S. citizens by birth. Despite the efforts of the American Civil Liberties Union, Dewitt ordered the women and children to spend the duration of the war in the internment camps. Many of these Filipino husbands went on to serve in the 1st and 2nd Filipino Regiments, defending the nation whose racist policies held their families hostage.
In September 1942, the first group of qualified Filipino enlisted men was sent to the Officer Candidate School, Fort Benning, Georgia. Upon graduation, they were commissioned second lieutenants in the U.S. Army. The War Department planned to have Filipino officers eventually command the majority of the combat units in the 1st and 2nd Filipino Regiments. Events beyond the control of the military planners in Washington, D.C. intervened to prevent this from being fully implemented.
So many Filipino volunteers came from all over the United States that the 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiment was formed at Fort Ord, California on November 22, 1942. In January 1943, the 1st Regiment was reassigned to Camp Beale, near Sacramento and the 2nd Regiment to Camp Cooke, near Santa Maria. The two regiments were to be joined by a third regiment consisting of Filipinos from the Hawaiian National Guard. However, the Hawaiian Sugar Plantation Association argued successfully with the martial law commanders in Hawaii that not only was cheap labor on the plantations necessary to support the war effort, the Filipinos in Hawaii were forbidden by the Tydings-McDuffie Act from going to the continental U.S. The men could not leave the sugar plantations and were paid substandard wages for the duration of the war. This would have serious consequences in 1946 when the militant Filipino labor unions shut down the islands until their demands for wage increases and better working conditions were met.
As a result of a May 1942 Gallup Poll showing strong support for the naturalization of Filipinos, the Filipino Naturalization Bill was passed. Pinoy GI’s were urged to apply for U.S. citizenship. A mass swearing in of over 1,000 soldiers was held at Camp Beale on February 20, 1943. Many of the men, however, resisted becoming citizens. T-5 Julius B. Ruiz stated that although he had lived in the United States for many years and was now serving in the U.S. Army, his goal was to liberate his country, the Philippines. by the time the 1st Regiment left for the western Pacific in May 1944, over half of the men in the unit were U.S. citizens….
Before the 1st Regiment departed for the western Pacific in May 1944, Colonel Offley had a major dilemma on his hands. Even though his regimental chaplains were prepared to perform marriage ceremonies between the Filipino soldiers and their white girlfriends, the strict anti-miscegenation laws in California prevented the men from applying for marriage licenses. Colonel Offley solved this by sending his soldiers and their sweethearts to Gallup, New Mexico on chartered buses that soon came to be called the “honeymoon express.”
Meanwhile in New Guinea, the 1st Regiment quickly integrated its first batch of replacements consisting of Filipino Americans from Hawaii. Colonel Offley gave Lt. Col. Leon Punsalan
g, a West Point graduate, command of the 1st Battalion. This was the first time in the history of the U.S. Army that Asian Americans commanded white troops in combat.
128 responses to “The 1st and 2nd Filipino Regiments in the Pacific War”
Great post. Very informative.
I am looking for some info about my father’s (Tirso G Fajardo) time spent with the First Fil Inf. Can I be help?
Your dad was a good friend of my dad who also served in the 1st & 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments during World War II.
There are countless articles and snippets of information regarding your father’s service in the Regiment.
If you have a facebook account, then request permission to join:
I would like to know more about the 1st filipino regiment that my dad was in the battalion . I saw his picture by unit and all the filipinos thats with him . I dont understand why they did not put their names in their picture so everyone who had serve with the 1st filipino regimental should be recognize . for what they had fougth for during the ww2 .
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This article was very informative to me considering the fact that my late father, Ben C. Isla, was a member of the 3rd battalion, 1st filipino infantry battalion, who fought the japanese in New Guinea and the southern Philippines from 1942 to 1946. his place of seperation from the Army was Camp Beale.
Ben Isla jr. My father’s (Tirso G. Fajardo) time frame seems identical as your father’s. He too was processed out at now Beale AFB back in 1946.
I wonder if you or other people you know of may have some info that I may be looking for.
Hi Don, is your mother Diane DeVoult?
My father is your fathers grandson. From pulang lupa las Pinas. Please get in touch w me as soon as u get this.
Ari…my dad doesn’t check this site, you can contact me on Facebook.
it is not Leon Punsalang
it is Leon Punsalan west point ’32
actually, his official name was pantdeleon or something close to that. in some of the documents his name is spelled as punsalang, probably a typo that was not caught in 1943 and 1944.
It looks as if it should be Leon Punsalan, West Point ’36.
You are correct. I interviewed Leon Punsalan in April 1992 in Virginia Beach, VA.
This article on this page was written by me.
Was your father a member of the 1st & 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiment?
No. My father spent 1942-45 on a ministerial deferment at the University of Richmond, and went to Japan as a missionary in 1950, when I was 1 year old.
sorry I had the year wrong a typo
but I got the name right!
he was my teacher in virginia
years later I married daughter of one of his troops
mr. ben isla jr:
i don’t vividly remember, as of this writing, as to the regiment # my U.S. veteran father belongs, but its written in the papers that my mother is keeping under lock. my mother now in in the U.S. so i cant verify which is which, but i’m sure of my father’s membership in the counter-intelligence service. he was in new guinea too, in leyte, cebu, manila and in hokaido. can i have your cell # so that we can communicate further?
where are you located? sounds like your father was a member of either the 1st recon battalion made up of men from the 1st & 2nd filipino regiments. contact me and i’ll show you how to locate your father’s records.
Hello Alex. My Name is Dion and I am trying to learn more about my grandfather and what he experienced in World War 2. His name is Alfonso B. Montero and he was born in 1910. He enlisted in Jan. of 1942 and was assigned to the First Filipino Infantry. He was honorably discharged in Sept. of 1945 making first sargeant while in the 1st recon battalion. Any info you may have on him would be greatly appreciated. I am very interested in learning more about this era because I need to pass it on and keep our filipino roots going strong. Thank you!
I am located in Mercer Island, Washington. A small city just east of Seattle. I sure would like informantion on how to locate info on my dad’s records.
Father served in one of those unit’s. I have written the military before. All records were burned up back in 1959. There is no way I can get a copy of his military records. His name was Leandro T. Quianas and fought in the Pacific and in his homeland the Philippines. I am retired military as of 1977. One thing I want to know is why those filipino’s put there lives on line for the USA and recieve no benefits from the Veterans Administration. He was denied benefit’s. Filipino/american. He passed away in 2005. All his relatives were also denied benefits. This was unfair practice by military & president of the USA. Presently I live in Hawaii.
The Army does not deny benefits to veterans. It’s the Veterans Administration that does so.
In large part, a veteran has to prove that injuries and disease and medical problems are service related. That’s the problem.
There was no fire in 1959 that burned all of the veteran’s records. The fire you might be referring to occurred in 1973 at the National Archives and Records Administration in St. Louis, Missouri.
Your Father’s military records might have been destroyed, however, his medical records might still be intact since most of them had been transferred to the the Veterans Administration if a veteran had requested any type of medical benefit prior to the fire. In addition, entire blocks of medical records were also transferred.
Do a FOIA to the NARA, St. Louis regarding your father’s records. You will need his service number. In addition, also do a FOIA to the VA requesting all information on your father. Sometimes, the VA medical records have copies of the service file in it.
If your father ever applied for any benefit from any state or Federal agency, you can also find possible copies of his military records if he was required to submit them.
It’s a long tedious process but I know several individuals that I’ve helped in the past ten years who have a complete picture of their father’s service.
Hello Alex, my father named Leandro T Quianas served with the second Filipino Inf Regiment and was stationed at Cp Cook. I tried over the years to get a copy of his military records. The retirement military branch stated there was a fire and all military records were burned up from 1909 through 1959, hope I am correct. He was borned in March 1909. Passed away Feb 5, 2005. I am retired military and very concerned. Peter
hello peter , my name is alex burlas lucas jr ., my father name is alex sugui lucas sr He served with Co E 1st filipino regement . I have copies of his dd form 53-55 which is form dd-214 for us . I have his copy of his honorable discharge paper that I had request from the Army of Boards of military records . I even have all his medals that he eraned from world war ll during the battle of the philippines , Oro bay, new guinee back in july 30 of 1942-44 . if you have your fathers serial or RA serial number .,you should have no problem in getting his records . He fought during those campaign in world war ll ., so he should be authorize benefit from the veterans administration .sorry for your condolence . my dad past away june of 1965 when I was young in the philippines when I was 12 yrs old I joined and enlisted in the United states Army Back 1971 and I’m retired also I was a vietnam -era and gulf war desert storm . I retired in 1991 . right now I ‘m disabled recieving 100 % as service connected comp. I lost both kedneys and going thru dialysis 3x a week 41/2 hrs which really sucks I’m also married the girl from my own home town I have 4 children 6 grandchildren. my son right now is in Kuwait right . and he is serving there too.if your mother is still alive she should be able to recieve compensation from your father . so once you gather all your father’s papaer work take to the VA and get help from the benefit for your parent and take care. good luck peter .
Hello Alex, unable to get his service number or ID. His fifth wife will not release any information to any of his sons and grand-children. His wife is as rotten as can be. Prior to my father’s death, his wife had all his medical records sealed so that his family members could not see his medical records. The wife has a sister who works for attorney in the Filipino Congress and the brother in law in Los Angeles, California who works in Health & Human Services fasify her medical records so that she could enter the USA. This woman has TB and the American Counsel in the Philippines let her into the USA, & not knowing her bad medical condition. No attorney in LA would help me out by attaining his medical records. Prior to his death in Kaiser, my nephew, his grandson walked into his room, and the wife stated to him, I did not take off the air-vent from his nose. Right then and there, she runs down the hallway asking for help. When he was at home, before he entered the hospital, she said he fell down. Well, she called her sister and the sister was the one to call 911, EMS to come to my father’s home. Everything my father own, everything went to his fifth wife. Nothing went to his sons or his grand-children. He was swindle out of his life savings and property. Presently his home in Pico Rivera, CA is worth only $38000 dollars. He is buried next to my mother.
hi peter I am very sorry for what you are going thru just getting your fathers records. have you tried to write to the board of correction of military records .
? try to see if you can go to the web site http://www.mbrc.org .this you can give your fathers name and his rank and date of birth . aslo tell them that you do not have any copy of your dad records but his full name and where and what unit that he was in with the Co E 2nd filipino infantry regiment in the year between 03 january 1946.his induction date could be the same as
my father 30 july 1942 and enter into active service 30 july 1942 in ft mcarthur, california . how about going to the veterans administration they should also have copies of your fathers records too . it doesnt mean because they your step mother has seal of you fathers military records I presume that your step mother the 5th is still alive cause rigth now I’m very sure that she is recieving all the benefits your father has left her . the lawyer sister or what ever can’t recieve no bennfits unless something has been kept away from you and your family knowing the whole thruth about the records of your father .anyway call me if you can @ 931 472 9733 .,I’m also retired army and I’m a veteran of the vietnam cold war era and desert shield desert storm veteran . I retired back in 1991 after desert storm right now I’m living here in clarksville tn .
This so called step mother is not my step-mother at all. I am 30 years older than her. Peter
I’m sorry that I have offended you by saying step mother I guess I did not say the right word for you . I apalogies for what I’ve said . anyway ,keep on trying .go to the veterans administration and seek help there and I’m pretty should that they could give you more imformation concerning the problems you are going thru . alexbjr
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I have already found the pertainent papers and it’s the 2nd Filipino Infantry Battalion.
Was your father a member of the 1st & 2nd Filipino Infantry Regimetn or it’s other temporary units?
Paulino B Bersamin
2nd Filipino Infantry Battalion.
U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946
about Paulino B Bersamin
Name: Paulino B Bersamin
Birth Year: 1905
Race: Filipino, citizen (Filipino)
State of Residence: California
County or City: San Luis Obispo
Enlistment Date: 9 Oct 1942
Enlistment State: California
Enlistment City: Hammer Field Fresno
Branch: Branch Immaterial – Warrant Officers, USA
Branch Code: Branch Immaterial – Warrant Officers, USA
Grade Code: Private
Term of Enlistment: Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law
Component: Selectees (Enlisted Men)
Source: Civil Life
Education: 1 year of high school
Civil Occupation: Farm hands, general farms
Marital Status: Single, without dependents
What was your father’s name?
my father belongs to he 2nd FILIPINO INFANTRY BATTALION U.S. Army
I am interested in finding any photos or people who served with my uncle Felix Dulay in the 1st Filipino regiment, contact me !
My Dad served with the 1st filipino regiment during WW ll . Also belonged to American Legion Post in Wilminton Ca. Saw a photo on Filipinopeople.com of unit before going overseas, might help you out.
Hello, my dad served in the Filipino Regiment. Would like to know how to access any pictures of the Regiment, if possible. Thanks in advance.
I have over 1500 pictures of members of the Regiment during World War II. They can be viewed at my home in California. I will not scan nor make them available on line.
Greetings to Bobby and Frank and others who’s father had served in the 1rst FIL REG.
I to am gathering info and photos. The’re story needs to be told on celluloid/film. I sent an email to Alex re photos. I have a group photo of my dad along with the white officers.
The flag has “1 FIL (rifles crossed) 1″Send me your email address and I’ll send a scanned photo of this. My dad,s separation was Fort MacArthur/Palos Verde Penninsula. Looking forward to hearing from ya all.
I recently posted a photo of my father (Tatang) with his Filipino GI buddies at “boot camp” in California during WW ll at this historical marker website: http://www.hmdb.org/Marker.asp?Marker=28040.
You or someone else may recognize the others in the photo. Manny, Las Vegas
Where are you located? In Salinas?
Do you have photos of your father from before the war?
Would you be interested in doing a documentary, “In Honor of Our Fathers”?
Kumusta cabalen Alex,
Regarding “Tatang”, feel free to email me at email@example.com for additional info and photos. I’m looking forward to helping you make the documentary “In Honor of our Fathers”. I reside in Las Vegas. Salamat, Manny
By Direction of the President, Under the Previsions of Executive order 9419, 4 February 1944 (sec II, Bulletin3, WD, 1944), a Bronze Star Medal was awarded by the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Army Forces, Pacific, to approximately 88 named officers and enlisted men for heroic achievement in connection with military operations against the enemy in Luzon, Philippine Islands, The names on this list were all Filipino’s. Can anyone direct me to a site that might shed some light on what action or campaigns these individuals participated in in which they received the Bronze Star…and please correct me if I am wrong, but was it the US Army’s policy of only awarding the Bronze as the highest military award to non white soldiers, (as I have not yet found any Filipinos receiving the Silver Star). As I am not in California anymore, I am unable to come to your home to view any photos. but I know my cousin would love to if able. she is the daughter of Staff Sargent Paulino A Rosales 39396552 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment/1st Reconnaissance Battalion (Special) and one of the Bronze Star Recipients I mentioned above. My Uncle Paul just turned 99 this month. and we are trying our best to obtain all the information we can about his military outfit, and old photos. for our family history of service members.
Bobby, All I can tell you is my Uncle Paulino Rosales then Sargent, was in the 1st Filipino infantry Regiment/1st Reconnaisance Battalion (special). I have a photo of him in my military tribute album on facebook, but so far that is the only photo I have of anyone in the battalion. you are welcomed to view it in hopes that if you come across others and you see him in them, please contact me. thank you.
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bobby you may go to the web site “Co. E 1st filipino Infantry regiment “. I have gather lots of picture from my father of the 1st filipino regiment infantry. I have gather this thru his dischage papers DD form 53-54 this is the old type of form like our DD form -214
I wrote the original article that this excerpt is taken from. It appeared as several articles in Filipinas Magazine from October 1993 – September 1994.
RE: Alex, My father was in the 1rst Fil Reg. and served in New Guinea and so forth… I have a few photos of him and his buddies and the group photo with the white officers in front. I would like to view the photos you have. I am also a filmmaker along with my partner who is also Pinoy we would like to do a doc. about this little known part of U.S. military history. Where is your residence? I had a chance to do something with the movie “The Raid” but didnt’ have the wherewithall to execute. Now a few years older and… If you feel inclined email. Check out the website. My friend is Kevin Lyons. It’s mostly music video type, but we produce all venues. Looking forward to hearing from you.
check on flickr.com for 1st filipino photos
I did a documentary back around 1995 for ABC Hawaii. After getting ripped off by the ones who did the second video I don’t work with others.
I wrote three articles for Filipinas Magazine in 1993, 94, 95 about Filipinos in the U.S. Army. You will find bits and pieces of my work all over the internet where people have ripped off my original research.
Go ahead and scan yours and send it over for me to look at.
Hi Alex, Just wanted to touch base. Been super busy, I will check out the Filipinas Magazine for your articles and check out ABC Hawaii for the doc. I still would like to meet with ya if your in the So.Calif. LA area. Believe me I know what it’s like to be ripped off, used abused and not get any credit off your production.
Seems you are knowledgeable with the subject. Perhaps you may answer my question.
Regarding members of the 1st and 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiment, were members awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge?
The CIB was an individual award and not a unit award.
If an individual met the requirement for the award then he was authorized it. From what I understand regarding the unit, about 99% of the personnel earned the CIB, even the cooks, dishwashers, and company clerks earned the award.
The only ones who did not were the ones who did not leave the US with the Regiment in 1944 and those who were discharged while the unit was undergoing training in the U.S.
Alex, if you say you have photos of 1st Fil Inf and can be view, where are you located. I’m headed to SF on 18Mar11. My phone is 402 650 4112. There could be some info on those photos that might help me. Thanks
“IN HONOR OF OUR FATHERS”
If your father served in the 1st or 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments, I want to talk to you.
I participated fully in one documentary, “Unsung Heroes”, that was produced by ABC Hawaii. The other one I dropped out of but I provided them with many of the contacts they used in their production.
This one is about the Filipino American soldiers who served in the 1st & 2nd Filipino Regiments, 1st Recon Battalion, Philippine Civil Affairs Units, Alamo Scouts, 6th Ranger Battalion, and those who went on the secret missions into the Philippines.
Contact me with your father’s information:
Name (Full name)
Date of Birth
Unit he was assigned to
Your contact information
ALEX S. FABROS, JR.
Hi Alex, Yes I heard of “Unsung Heroes” I have yet to see it. Do you know where I can purchase it? Also I will get that info for you about my Dad. My Uncle Thomas Banez Calimlim also served in the Philippine Army. I don’t believe he was a scout. But I do know he was in the Bataan Death March escaped and saved one of his townmates who had a broken leg. He later was fighting with the guerrilla forces. I’m trying to find info on him. Like my father he was Tech Sargeant. email ya soon. M
My dad was in the 1st Filipino Regiment, 1st RCN BN, SP, Company G during the war. His name is Lorenzo U. Pimentel, 07-29-1909.
My contact info:
He had told me stories of his activities during his time in the Philippines (1943-1945).
My father is: Simion Tomingbang Saguindel, born Sept. 16, 1906, Unit unknown only know he worked with a Mortar unit. joined in California, was sent to New Guine and Leyte with his cousin Eusebio Saguindel. My father passed away in 1991, my Uncle Eusebio is still alive, living in Reno, Nevada. Feel free to contact me by email.
Email me regarding your uncle. I’ll see if I can make it up to Reno this summer. Seems he might be one of last from the unit still living.
Regarding members of the 1st and 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiment, were members awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge?
My father was Alberto N. Capistrano, who served with Co. H, 1st Filipino Infantry, and also with the 5217th Recon Bn. His papers, insignia, and uniform were part of a display on Filipinos in WW2 at the San Francisco Public Library in 2009. I would very much like to see your collection of photos on the 1st Filipino. Wasn’t your father the president of the veteran’s group in Salinas? I recall going to a reunion with my folks around 1967.
Where are you located?
Regarding my dad, yes he was the president of the 1st & 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiment Association in Salinas.
Interesting the display of WWII exhibit at the SF Public Library in 2009. Didn’t hear about it. Wonder what photos were exhibited.
I’ll be in San Francisco next week.
My father was a lieutenant in the 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiment at Camp Cooke in March 1944 (the only firm data point I have for him). I believe he transferred to the 1st Filipino Regiment when the two units consolidated, then shipped to the South Pacific in May 1944. Family stories of him suggest he served with the 1st Filipino in combat on Leyte and Samar, although I also have records that seem to suggest he was with the 112th Cavalry Regiment by Spring 1945. He died in 1954, after returning from the Korean War.
Do you have muster rolls for the regimental battalions and companies?
1Lt Mercer F. Davis
29 May 1914, Albertville AL
2nd Filipino Infantry for certain; possibly 1st Filipino Infantry by May 1944
Elk Grove CA 95758
My father was:
Lt. later Capt. Harvey E. Sweeney
Co. commander of “C” Company, 1st Filipino Inf.
Birthday June 26, 1922
Career Army officer retired 1971 officially after more than 30 yrs. service
Proudly wore the patch on his shoulder throughout his career.
(I sent some items to the folks doing the “Untold Triumph” but received them back)
last line should be:
never received them back
marcello espanto cabus
jan 1 1909
2nd filipino regiment – medic
My Uncle Paulino Rosales Staff Sargent (then Sargent) 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment/1st Filipino Reconnaisance Battalion (Special), Awarded the Bronze Star, Born June 22nd 1912, Entered the US Army 10 Sep 1942. For futher informaton contact my Cousin Lori Ann Yap (Daughter of Uncle Paul) on facebook My Uncle celebrated his 99th birthday this month.
Lori Ann may be able to get additional information as she is very Proud of her Father as I am of my Uncles who served!
alex S fabros where are you from the philippines. my name is also alex but my whole full name is alex burlas lucas jr of san juan alcala pangasinan philippines . in 1969 I have a friend namr dominador fabros . are you related to by any chance ?
hi alex I am interested about the CO. E 1st filipino regiment his full name
is alex sugui lucas date of birth is 25 june 1911 . he was assigned to Co E 1st filipino regiment under captain yancey his co commander . I hope to hear from you cause I my self is interested wiith this when they fought the japanese in new guinea the southern part of the philippines.they desreved their benifits for what they are supposed to recieve for their dependents .
Hello Mr. Lucas, Jr.,
My father, Crispulo Martinez, served in the Co F, 1st Fil Inf. Camp Beale. I just found out recently (Oct. 2014) that he actually serve in the 1st filipino infantry and became a US citizen on Feb. 16, 1943. Unfortunately, no one believes him. Now, I would like to prove to all who belittled him that this was indeed a fact. If you can please help me find any info/photos, it will be greatly appreciated. His serial no. is 36343941. Kindly email me at email@example.com.
In regards to Sgt. Lorenzo U Pimentel, I have just found in my dad’s army belonging a “Philippines Intelligence Guide” 10 Feb 42 issued by General HQ South West, Pacific Area marked CONFIDENTIAL and an original program for the 1st Recon Bn SP deactivation celebration held on 01 DEC 45. This deactavation program listed the names of Officers and Enlisted personnel broken down by rank.
My grandfather was in the First Filipino Infantry. I understand that their insignia was a volcano with a cloud that had three stars in it. As I look at a picture of my grand father in his uniform, he has a patch that looks like it has three colors (I can’t make out the colors because the picture is in black and white)on the top part of his left sleeve. Could the volcano patch be on his other sleeve? What does the three color patch mean? I have seen other photos of other guys in the first that have the same multi color patch as my grandfather. Can yo or someone else help me. Thank you.
A while back you sent posted that you have information on how to look up information on veterans ( Sgt Lorenzo Pimentel) service records.
I live in Mercer Island, Washington and have located some info on my dad.
If you can help with locating more info that would be great.
I have a Gaddang Tribe Genealogy website with my cousin Generoso “Geno” Bulan Velasco (creator). I added my Gaddang Genealogy research onto the website in 2002.
Geno’s father was Sgt. Andres Lumicao Velasco, who was a member of the 1st & 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments. I wrote the “Oral History In the Life of Andres Lumicao Velasco May 15, 1910 – 20__” on the Website in 2002. In the story are the names of my uncles that were in the Regiments with three other uncles that were in the U.S. Army Air Corps, U.S. Army Philippine Scouts, and U.S. Navy. Also a friend U. S. Army Major Jim Cherry (Ret.) who was one of the Training Officers in the Regiment.
One of my uncles mentioned in the story was Sgt. Miguel “Mike” Lumicao Lauagan who also came ashore in the Philippine Liberation. Promoted to SFC he reached Luzon with his Civil Affairs Unit, and was the Non-Com who appointed residents (his relatives) to hold Key Offices in the Municipal Government in Solano. SFC Lauagan also was the Civil Affairs Unit Non-Com in Isabela Province per his letter to me in 1985.
As per my eariler post regarding information I have to offer. Please contact me via my email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank-you
I am searching for photographs of my father and his lifelong buddies he so proudly served with in the 1st & 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments, and more specifically, the 1st Recon Bn. (Special). All of his photographs have been taken or borrowed and never returned, however, I have something to give in return for any photos you may have of these units and of my father.
I have official documents that may be of interest to all those who are searching for information regarding the 1st & 2nd Filipino Infantry, 5217th Recon, 978th Signal Corps, 1st Recon Bn. (Special), etc., etc.
My father (Sgt. Alfredo H. Despy) was a member of 1st Recon Bn. (Special) and a major contributor of information to The Forgotten Heroes exhibit which was presented at the Presidio of San Francisco Army Museum on 8 June 1985.
Before my father passed away on 02 September 1990 and buried with full military honors at the National Cemetery Of The Pacific (Punch Bowl), he presented me with a complete history of all the above units-and more, which he was able to obtain directly from National Archives records. It is my understanding from my father that much of this information and documentation was not available at the time the exhibit was presented, and was either accidently destroyed or lost at the National Archives.
This information I have in my possession includes complete unit rosters, unit histories in Monterey, Ca., Australia and elsewhere, unit citations and awards, specialized training, etc., etc., etc., letters to/from Gen. Douglas MacArthur, The MacArthur Foundation (Mrs. Douglas MacArthur) and more. It is unbelievable, but true.
The majority of this documentation was originally stamped as “restricted”, “classified”, “secret” and “confidential'”, then regraded and overstamped as “unclassified” and “unrestricted”.
Also included in the documents my father gave to me was a November 1945 Readers Digest article entitled “A WAC in Shangri-La”, an extraordinary story of the rescue of the C-47 plane crash victims deep in the jungles of New Guinea by members of the 1st & 2nd regiments. A complete copy of “The Jungle Journal” newspaper dated 20 June 1945 printed up by the Far East Air Service Command (Stars & Stripes of the Pacific?) with an article titled “The Modern Legend Of Shangri-La, another story of the rescue of survivors in C-47 crash. And a copy of “YANK-The Army Weekly” dated 17 August 1945 with two articles titled “Hidden Valley” and “Rescue From Shangri-La”.
If you are interested in this documentation and articles there is about 150 pages total. Please contact me via my email address (email@example.com) and I will be more than honored to try and print up copies.
Finally, a message to all of you out there who had fathers, uncles or family that served with any of these units I have mentioned above:
As I read through all of this information and documentation that my father presented to me, I have realized that the names of 4 of my father’s closest comrades-in-arms, were also the names of the men my father chose to be the Godfather’s of his 4 children. Whether in war-or in peace- the bond of this group of men was unbreakable. I saw the racism my father suffered, and then heard of the racism all of these men endured while serving for our country.
We all owe a debt of gratitude to these “Forgotten Heroes”, and we do that by not forgetting their sacrifices they made for all of us. And we do that by letting others know of their sacrifices.
Dear Richard Despy,
Years and years ago I started a library about former Dutch New Guinea. Now the library contains 42 metres books etc. concerning the west part of the island, now belonging to Indonesia. I read your message of 15-10-2010. The November 1945 Reader’s Digest article entitled ‘A WAC in Shangri-la’ is already in library, but I am very much interested in the orther articles about the rescue you mentioned. Will it be not too much to ask you to send copies of those articles to me by e-mail?
Phia de Groot-Licher
Richard Despy, Is there anything on the records you have that would memtion my father (Tirso G. Fajardo)? I would appreciate any info you might have. Thanks, Don
I am very interested in the documentation and articles. My dad talked about New Guinea. Eusibio Baniaga. is his name.
My grandfather Sgt. Domingo (Don) Ruiz, was a part of the rescue in Shangri la. I also have hundreds of photographs he had saved from his time he spent in the service. Would love to share them
Hello Melissa, If you are on Facebook you can post those pictures on the link “1 st. Fil Inf. Regt”
Thank you and We are looking forward to viewing the pictures.
i just found a record of some men who got good conduct medal
will sent you sanned image if you write me
Here’s a chance for you to tell your story about your dads who served in the 1st & 2nd Filipino Regiments, 1st Recon Battalion, and 978th Signal Service Company.
Contact me at my email address and give me your contact information. If you’re in California, I’ll make arrangements to meet with you and see what you can contribute to a documentary story, “In Honor of Our Fathers.”
I’m going to need photos, stories, documents, and any rememberance that you have of his time in the service and what he did before and after the military.
Let’s get together and talk story.
In looking over this blog, I realize that you tried to contact me back in June 2010. E-mail me directly. I have some photos, documents, etc., that belonged to my father, Alberto Capistrano, Co H, 1st Filipino Inf & 1st Rcn Bn.
Bob Capistrano, Richmond, CA (I work in Oakland)
hi alex , I’m alex burlas lucas jr . and I would ;like to congratulate you for your time of getting us of our unheared heroes during the Co. E 1st filipino
Infantry regiment . my fater served this unit during the japanese ocoupation of New Guine southern philippines , batlle of leyte ., and so far . Igot picture from all of them from each Co . A- V of the Ist Infantry regiment but no name are listed I have looked and recognize my father picture but , its really litle I had to use a magniifying glass in order for know that its him. you may call me if you wish @ 931 472 9733 . I’m from
alcala pangasinan philippines . I also speak Ilocano and tagalog . hope to hear fron you soon thank you .merry christmas and to your family . take
Hi alex you may count me in with your stories my dad used to be with Co E 1st filipino regiment Infantry . if you have bigger pictures with then taken in a group I’m pretty sure I could recognize my father with E co 1st filipino infantry. I’m here from clarksville tn and you may contuct me @ 931 472 9733 or I may call you if you dont mind . I,m from alcala pangasinan and I
speek Ilocano and tagalog .My mom is from leyte and my dad met her from ormoc leyte during the battle of leyte and new guine . hope to hear from you thanks alexbjr.
HI Alex, how are you? it’s nice to know your mom is from Ormoc, Leyte. I am from Ormoc and have done some research on the 1st Filipino Regiment who fought in Ormoc and later, also stationed there after the hostilities subsided. Information from my research will be part of a book that I am writing. I would like to exchange info with you and I might be able to answer some of your questions if needed. You can contact me at 951-834-7849 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks. Mario H.
My father is Hilario T. Patague. I know he served in Leyte in N. G. and Australia. 1st Pilipino Reg. He past away in 1986. Any info on his service would be apprieciated.
Thank You for your time,
I just like to say that I admire all of your responses to this article. It’s so good to see the interest with trying to know who and what their father or relative did to contribute to their family and their country. I think it is very important to let everyone know of this major contribution the Filipino-American has done for America.
Four years ago I started putting together my father’s information while he served with the 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment, US Army. Because of my priorities, I put my research on hold. For a number of reasons I’ve been re-inspired to continue researching for more information about the regiment, which may already be written. One thing I have not yet found is the day by day combat mission reports. There may or may not have been a designated historian for the unit responsible for documenting that information.
An interesting fact about WWII veterans: 900 are dying a day and out of the 16 million vets, there is around 2 million still living.
>I think it is very important to let everyone know of this major contribution the Filipino-American has done for America.
Continue to search for former members or NOK of Headquarters of the 71st Division, Philippine Army, and 3rd Battalion, 1st Philippine Constabulary.
Recently discovered document reveals former members are entitled to the Bronze Star Medal [with] the Combat Infantryman badge.
Theresa please, also contact me, as I am looking for the history of my uncle Paulino Rosales, who turned 99 this month. I dont know if he had any involvment with the 978th but he did mention once that he rode a submarine which had 27 Japanese ship to her credit
question – Larry guzman was landed in lingayan gulf
he worked with major Marcos -Larry’s name is on the monument on the beach
and other info about him?
My father was in the 978th Signal Service Company & wrote the history of his unit. I have his copy of the history & its appendices, including pictures & Mission Reports of some of the men who were sent into the Philippines. I have scanned some of this material.
My father was also a member of the 978th Signal Corps serving Gen MacArthur in his return to the Philippines. Would it be possible for me to get a copy of his history& missions report and pictures? I live near Sacramento, CA. My father’s name is Atanasio L. Alcala. He was a Coporal in the Signal Corps and was with MacArthur in Luzon, where he met and married my mother.
Can you post the manuscript on face book, along with the names?
Theresa, could you please contact me by email ( email@example.com ) or text me at 916.709.3323? I would dearly love to obtain a copy of your father’s written history of the 978th Signal Svc Co. I would gladly pay for any expenses. Thank you.
Theresa, email me please. I have a couple of questions about the 978th. Thank you …firstname.lastname@example.org
This a great, informative article. My baby brother and I are researching our grandfather’s history and discovered he served with the 1st Filipino Infantry. I’d like to read more if I can find it. I used to have a subscription to Filipinas Magazine but probably don’t have the issues you’re referring to anymore. Are they still online?
Sgt. Alfredo Despy was part of the 5217th RCN BN – 11TH AIRBORNE. Also, one of his uniforms is now on display at the Smithsonian.
>and please correct me if I am wrong, but was it the US Army’s policy of only awarding the Bronze as the highest military award to non white soldiers,
That is untrue. I am aware of a recipient of the MOH that was a Filipino.
I am collecting data and photos, on the Filipino Regiments. units, deployments, campaigns, and stories. I just started so the pages are currently white, your help is needed. please go to facebook “1st Filipino Reconnaissance Battalion (Special). and give me your relatives names, ranks, units, and any data you may have on their service. hopefully in time, this page will tell the whole story of the Filipino men who served two countries in the name of freedom. Freedom from Japanese oppression during WWII, and freedom of Filipino Americans for civil rights in the US, by showing that the Filipinos were worthy of being called Americans.
Robert Flores, wasn’t able to contact you. But I checked the 978th Signal Service Co. roster & your uncle wasn’t on it. It’s possible your uncle was in the 5218th Recon Co. The 978th Signal & 5218th Recon companies together formed the 5217th Recon Bn, renamed the 1st Recon Bn (Special) before the end of the war. Both the 978th Signal & 5218th Recon trained at a secret camp (Tabragalba) near Brisbane in Australia for secret missions into the Philippines. There were 13 parties, consisting of about half signal & half recon men, sent by sub to the islands, where they set up radio stations & sent back valuable intel to MacArthur’s GHQ. The 978th History generally lists only 978th men. I assume the 5218th also had a History written. 1st Recon Bn (Special) has a HIstory, though I don’t know how one can get a copy..
Relatives of 978th Signal men seeking info can email me at email@example.com
I am trying to learn more about my fathers service during WWII. Sgt. Frank Leanio. I am trying to reserch into what company he was in and where served. I know he was very proud of his service as he was first in line to march with his unit during Veterens Day.
This reply is to all who have inquired about their Fathers serving in the 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment. I posted some info about my father serving in the regiment from 1942 to 1946. According to his DD214, my father Benigno C. Isla, was inducted(drafted) in 1942. Place of induction was in Alameda. I’m guessing the naval base or a base in Oakland. Seperation place was Camp Beale in 1946. In his DD214, it also stated the theater of operation in WWII. New Guenea and Southern Philippines. His awards included the CIB ( combat infantry badge) Asian campaign ribbon, good conduct ribbon, Philippine liberation medal w/2 bronze stars, national defense ribbon, and a training ribbon. About a year ago, my sister applied through the VA to inquire about death benefits about Filipino veterans who specifically served in the 1st and 2nd Infantry Regiments. Their response was that they had no such benefits. But my family will keep trying. If I can help anyone wishing to find information about Filipino vets serving in the regiments, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
hi ben I’m alex b lucas jr and my late father has passed away back in 65
he has the same awards and decoration when he serve with the Co. E 1st
filipino regiment . could you tell me how many sister and brother you have in the family . and are they all marred? if they are not married then they qualify
for your father benifit. and if your mom is still alive then she may recieve the
benefit that your father has left for her un she remarries then they could not give her ,her tittlements she supposed to recieve from her husband ,.I’m sorry if I have told you these but I donot want you to quit you should go to the nearest veterans administration and seek help and question concerning your fater ben . take care and good luck. alexbjr
Thank you Alex for your concern. Both my parents have passed away, my father in 92 and my mother in 03. I only have an older sister who is married and lives in LA and it was her who went to the VA to inquire about my father’s VA benefits. At this point she was told she does not qualify for any entitlements. But it does not stop her from trying. There is an untold story about these Filipino veterans that I would like to research on given the fact that some of my uncles and friends of my father’s unit served with honor in these regiments. Take care Alex.
does anyone knows the name of family timmy marapao ,vergie marapao
my parents were together 2 the time they were station @ fort mc arthur if anyone knows them or if you are still there toim and vergie please e-mail me @ email@example.com . we all grew up when in our younger
days. or may contact me @ 931 472 9733 . I;m pretty sure that you konow my parents cause your parents and mine were together them . their name s are alex sugui lucas sr. and diosdada Burlas lucas they are now past away . but I sure would like to hear from you if you are all still somewhere around the world . me and my family are here in clarksville tn by the border of fort campbell ky. …..so hope to hear from any one in the family . thank you and please keep in touch with me .
my parents are in facebook and I found their picture with my mom and dad
were together during the japanese invation of leyte . my mom was 14 yrs of age when she got married with my dad . .in their picture yuou an see themon my profile in fb . my father was with the Co E 1st filipino infantry
regimental. anybody can e-mail me if you see their picture .thank you . I also would like to be part of the 1st filipino infantry regimental .
Alex / Joel
What is the website you mentioned?
The National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California will host an exhibit of Filipino American History from 27 April through 28 July 2012.
The exhibit is housed in 3500 square feet of exhibit space. 25% of that space is dedicated to the history of the 1st & 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments and the special units created from it.
On 14 July, 20121, a special two hour long presentation on the history of the 1st & 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments will be presented on the 70th anniversary of the formation of the 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment.
Over 1,000 photos of the Regiments will be on display on the walls or through digital media. Souvenir photos, books, and dvd of the presentation will be made available.
I saw your post about the upcoming exhibit in Salinas. How are you set for exhibits? I have a lot of my father’s original papers both from the 1st Fil Inf and 5217th Rcn Bn, along with photos, insignia of the 1st Fil (atches and distinctive insignia), 5217th/1st Rcn Bn, Parachute Section, & Alamo Scout patches, the 5217th Rcn Bn souvenir pennant, etc. This was previously displayed at the SF Public Library a few years ago. If interested, send me an e-mail. Thanks.
Ref: The National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California. The exhibit is housed in 3500 square feet of exhibit space. 25% of that space is dedicated to the history of the 1st & 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments.
Is there an area dedicated to the history of units involved in the battle of Bataan?
My Dad is Eusibio Baniaga and served in WW2 with the Filipino Infantry.
He talked about New Guinea, New Caldonia, & Leyte. Anyone served with him or have pictures or stories. Would like very much to learn their exploits and what they did to help win the war for our country. We settled in the Wastonville Salinas area. Trying to compile family history to pass on to our younger generation..
Freedom is never Free
The 14 July 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment reunion has been moved to 23 June 2012 in Sainas California at the National Steinbeck Center. Time is from 10 am – 5 pm followed by the dinner & dance as well as reunion activities.
Over 300 photos and images of the Regiments will be displayed either on the main wall or on the viedo displays. In addition, there will be a two hour presentation on the complete history of the Regiments.
When will the next reunion be and where in 2013? I’m looking for Andy Cablar Larrigan 1st Fil Inf. Reg. October of 1942. Just started family history and found my father service with them. EKL
Hi. Professor Fabros… My name is Rena Espiritu and I took one of your Asian American Studies courses at UCSB back in 2000. Fred Cordova came and spoke at one of your lectures and he gave me a CD with photos of my father’s military days. I, unfortunately, lost it through all of my many moves. Is there any way you can help me get any of his records? Photos? His name is Ignacio Ramos Espiritu, Born on February 1, 1910 and died on April 22, 2006. He fought in World War II… not sure of batallian/infantry/regiment???
Looking for filipinos in the 967th antiair craft artillery gun bn. WW2
My Name is Ramon Marzan my father served in the US Army 967th AntiAirCraft Artillery Gun Bn. Between 3Sep42 – 12Oct46. He was a cook in that unit. Asian pacific theatre.
13 November 2012 at 4:17 pm
When will the next reunion be and where in 2013? I’m looking for Andy Cablar Larrigan 1st Fil Inf. Reg. October of 1942. Just started family history and found my father service with them. EKL
Sorry I can’t help you. As you can see I placed this back in November 2012 and I haven’t had any kind of response. Sadly to say!
You might be interested in knowing that I am the author of “Camp Cooke and Vandenberg Air Force Base, 1941-1966” that includes a good deal of information about the 2nd Filipino Infantry at Cooke during World War II. The book is available from the publisher McFarland & Company, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and through bookstores.
Thank you Jeffrey…. I will look into purchasing these books. I haven’t found anything on my father as of today.
I am researching my step fathers history in the 1st and 2nd Battalion (Company B). He trained troops in the first and then in the 2nd Battalion before he was asked to join a group that eventually was flown to Australia and then submarined into the Philippines in 1943 sometime with a group of about 18 to 20 men he says in his short memoir. He was to collect info on Japanese troop strength, shipping, and artillery placements. He talked a bit about this when we were kids but he passed away without us having any paperwork altho I may have his discharge papers. I have his uniform and he mustered our as a master sergeant. Many of his team were killed and he survived the war but came back shell shocked. He landed up in NY where he was last living and came to live with my family until I was an adult. We had him adopt my brother and myself late in life as recognition for his involvement in our upbringing. His name was R J Besid and he was originally from Gubat, Sorsogon, Luzon. I too saw that many records were destroyed in a fire so getting his service records would seem futile. I have been verifying facts he had written in his short memoir and much of it is correct with a few exceptions. He was with Captain Phillips group which I have read was mostly wiped out. He mentioned 2 Filipinos by the name of Captain Galang and a 1st Sergeant Mansano who he knew from battalion HQ. The things he saw and did and was aware of before the US invasion at Leyte was terrible. If you have any knowledge of that group he was with please contact me. Thx.
There are two Facebook groups:
1st & 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiment, and 1st Reconnaissance Battalion (Special). 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment, U.S. Army, 1942-1946
Maj. Alex Fabros, U.S. Army (Ret.), and Sgt. Pelagio Valdez, U.S. Army (Ret.). They are the Admin, and the two Historians of these groups.
I should make a correction. In rereading the memoir he was with a major Smith not Phillips. That was the other group. His memoir of that time is fascinating and exciting. He tells of Phillips being ambushed with some of his men which he had heard from the undergound and of Filipinos he called Japonistas who would basically rat out guerillas and spys. He mentions some other men in each group so if you are searching for someone I can always forward that part of his story. He recollects being brought to Agusan Bay in Mindinao late Dec as they had Christmas dinner on the sub.
Anyone know where to get records of my brother Antonio (Tony) Fragiao? He served with the first Filipino Regiment in the Philippines.He was drafted into the US Army (Hawaii) in 1945 and was discharges in 1946 in California.
Fabian, Look this up on line. (below) You will need to fill out an application form and pay a fee. I used it obtain my Dads records and medals. Good Luck
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Ave.
St. Louis, Mo. 63123-5100
Just a suggestion. Perhaps everyone who knows a name of someone who served in the 1st and 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiment we can start compose a list together. It should help others to get involve if they recognize their family or friends of their towns and cities.
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