Survivors of the Battles of Bataan and Corregidor, and the Bataan Death March, will gather at Hotel Stotsenburg, April 7 – 10, on the 70th anniversary of the fall of Bataan and the beginning of the Bataan Death March, for the annual meeting and reunion of the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society.
These soldiers fought the first battles of World War II, and the United States Army awarded its first three Congressional Medals of Honor of the war to Philippine Scouts: Sgt. Jose Calugas, Lt. Alexander Nininger and Lt. Willibald Bianchi, for their heroic actions on Bataan. Ultimately, all 80,000 Filipino and American soldiers in the Philippines became Prisoners of War, and more than half of them died in Japanese custody.
The Philippine Scouts were a unique organization within the U.S. Army, consisting of highly-trained Filipino soldiers, and American and Filipino officers, who formed the backbone of General Douglas MacArthur’s United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE). USAFFE included the Army of the Philippine Commonwealth, the U.S. Army’s Philippine Scouts and U.S. National Guard units brought from the States shortly before hostilities began, and was ordered to hold back the Japanese advance.
Despite being surrounded on Bataan Peninsula and Corregidor Island, and starved out by the Japanese Army and Navy, these men managed to fight on for more than four months while every other country and island in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific succumbed to the Japanese. They bought America time to repair Pearl Harbor and throw a cordon of defense around Australia at the beginning of World War II.
Today, only about 100 of the original 12,000 Philippine Scouts are still with us, scattered around the Philippine Islands and the United States. This meeting at Fort Stotsenburg, Clark Field, will be the first time they have officially gathered together in the Philippines since the end of World War II.
At their annual reunions, those who can make it are joined by families and admirers for two days of discussions, business meetings, and celebration. As their numbers grow smaller, the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society seeks to preserve their memory and raise public awareness of the heroic role these men played in the early stages of World War II, and their gallant defense of the Philippines.
The Fort McKinley Chapter of the Society hosts their 2012 reunion at Hotel Stotsenburg in Clark Field, Pampanga, Saturday, April 7 through Tuesday, April 10.
For additional information, photographs, interview and photo opportunities with surviving Philippine Scouts and uniformed re-enactors contact:
Jojo Dy, President, Fort McKinley Chapter, PSHS, 0917-8120806, [email protected]
Philip Garcia, PSHS Reunion Organizer, 65-9665-2022, [email protected]
Theresa Romero, Public Relations Officer, 0915-803 9436, [email protected]