The Fight in the Philipines
It can be argued that the defining moment of Douglas MacArthur's life came on
March 11, 1942, when he reluctantly left the Philippines and headed for
Australia. Already a well-known figure, MacArthur's quest to return -- and
free those he had left behind -- would make him into an icon.
Less well known is what happened to the Filipinos and Americans who remained in
the Japanese-occupied Philippines for the nearly three years it took MacArthur
to lead an army back. Despite cruel and often inhuman treatment at the hands
of the Japanese, Filipinos and their American allies put up fierce resistance,
and most never lost hope that liberation would come if they could just hold on
The best way to learn about this extraordinary chapter in history is to hear
from those who lived it. From the battle for Bataan to the infamous Death
March, in which thousands died during a 60-mile forced march; from prison camps
to guerrilla warfare, theirs is one of the least known but most dramatic
stories of the Second World War. The following five men, each of whom appears
in the program, describe the struggle in their own words.
||Leon Beck -- Mr. Beck served as a Private in the 31st Infantry
Batallion, U.S. Army. He was a POW for fourteen days until he escaped from the
Death March. He then fought against the Japanese with several different
guerrilla outfits until American forces returned to Luzon in January, 1945.|
|Alfred X. Burgos -- Along with his fellow ROTC students at
university in Manila, Mr. Burgos mustered into the Philippine Army when the war
broke out. He survived the Death March and was held at Camp O'Donnell until
September, 1942, when the Japanese released most of their Filipino prisoners.
Mr. Burgos then participated in the resistance movement until the Americans
returned. He rose to the rank of Colonel after the war.
||Richard M. Gordon -- Mr. Gordon enlisted as a Corporal in the 31st
Infantry in 1940. Taken prisoner with the fall of Bataan, he, too, survived
the Death March, then was held at Camp O'Donnell before being moved to
Cabanatuan. In November of 1942, he was sent to Japan, where he worked in a labor
camp in Nagano Prefecture until the war was over. Now a retired Major, Mr.
Gordon organizes a group called The Battling Bastards of Bataan.|
|Gustavo C. Ingles -- Mr. Ingles, then in his first year at the
Philippine Military Academy, escaped into the hills and joined the guerrilla
movement in April of 1942. Captured in 1943, he suffered as a prisoner of war
for over a year before escaping and rejoining the resistance. Mr. Ingles, who
eventually became a Colonel in the Philippine Army, is the author of "Memories
of Pain," a book about his wartime experiences.
||Edwin P. Ramsey -- As an officer in the 26th Cavalry, Lieutenant
Ramsey participated in the last mounted cavalry charge in U.S. military
history, in January of 1942. After Bataan fell, Mr. Ramsey made his way into
central Luzon, where he helped organize the Luzon Guerrilla Force under Colonel
Claude Thorpe, and fought the Japanese until liberation nearly three years
later. Mr. Ramsey left the army in 1946 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
His book "Lieutenant Ramsey's War" chronicles his experience in the