September 28, 2019

Dinner Dance

Fundraising Gala

To support the

FILIPINO VETERANS FOUNDATION

OBSERVANCE of the LEYTE LANDING

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In the News

We had a wonderful evening with many of our friends and contributors -

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October 12, 2019

75th Anniversary

of Leyte Landing

The Return to 

the Philippines

Bob Hope Patriotic Hall

1816 South Figueroa Street

Los Angeles, California

From 1 to 3 Pm

Honoring those who landed  in Leyte 75 years ago.

 

"We remember and we thank you for your service".

Filipino Veterans Foundation

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Judge Wilford Ross, Historian, the Landing on Leyte on October 20, 1944, Gen. MacArthur announces, “People of the Philippines, I have returned!”

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Veteran Juanito Piamonte, receiving the medal from Gen. Ruth Wong

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Songstress, Becca Godinez, greeting the awardees, L-R, Leonides Crook, Paul Cohen, Hy Arnesty and friend, Evelyn.

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Dr. Jenny Batongmalaque acknowledging with deepest gratitude to all the

supporters and participants of this momentous occasion of gathering the

survivors of Leyte Landing and the liberators of WWII in the Pacific.

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At the Registration, Lilia Bravo and Charlie Batongmalaque, CEO of ERB Foundation.

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Laying of the Wreath Thomas Ruck, Director of the L.A. National Cemetery and Gen Ruth Wong, Director of Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs.

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Gen Wong, presenting the medal to Veteran Adelaida Samson.

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Councilman Jim Dear awarding a Certificate of

Appreciation to Veteran Al Altig.

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Dr. Jenny Batongmalaque accepting the Proclamation and Certificate

of Appreciation from the Supervisors of Los Angeles County,

presented by Mario Betanco.

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October 12, 2019, Presentation of Medals of Honor and Appreciation to the Liberators of the WWII Pacific Campaign, at the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall.  Superintendent Michael Romero of LAUSD encouraging the schoolchildren to learn about the history and the legacy of the Greatest Generation.

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The lovely Lavender Ladies, hostesses of the Event.

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Awardees of the Medal of honor and appreciation: L-R:  Emeterio Corpuz, Rogaciano Dagdad, Felecisimo Dologuin, Ildefonso Quibin, Eliseo Tomines, Berdoz.  Back row:  Dr. Jenny, Judge Will Ross and Tom Ruck

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Lt. Cmdr. Ernest Cowell, acknowledging with thanks to the Filipino Veterans Foundation and the E.R.B. Foundation for sponsoring the 75th Anniversary of Leyte Landing at the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall and the City of Carson on a triple event. 

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At home, during an interview, Veteran Herbert Bounds, recounting the Battle of Samar, with the picture of St. Lo, an aircraft carrier when it was struck by a kamikaze, and he was on the deck with his friend seaman, the Filipino chef of the Captain of the ship.  Miraculously he was not hit but his friend, Norbert Pasamonte lost his life.

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October 20, 2019

End of WWII

 in the Pacific

Was held at:

 International Sculpture Garden

     at the Carson Civic Center

       Carson California 90745

75th Anniversary of Leyte Landing observed in Carson

October 20, 2019, was a profound gathering of the Liberators of the Philippines and the third and fourth generations listening to their histories unfold, with supporters in rapt attention and respect.

Owning their legacy were the sons and daughters who remembered their father’s histories and sorely missed their verbal stories and physical presence.  All those who served, living and gone to the ages   were celebrated for their service to country, freedom and democracy, on this sunny Sunday of October.

This event was pre-emptied by the awarding of medals to those who landed in Leyte  at the  Bob Hope Patriotic Hall Auditorium in Downtown Los Angeles on Oct. 12. Five were American GIs who recounted their war experiences when they were seventeen to 23 years old and still full of vitality retold  their stories.   

Thomas Ruck, Director of the Los Angeles National Cemetery gave the invocation.   

Dr. Jenny Batongmalaque, Executive Director of the Filipino Veterans Foundation and the Erasto R. Batongmalaque Foundation introduced the distinguished guests and noted that the legacy of the WWII Veterans cannot be forgotten and “this day, on the 75th Anniversary is an opportunity to thank them for their service.”  

Historian Judge Wilford Ross gave a historical perspective of Leyte and described  the map of the greatest naval battle in WWII, the Battle of Leyte Gulf.  He received the posthumous medal for his father who landed in Leyte when he was 17 years old.  He died two years ago.

 Councilman Jim Dear presented a Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Carson to all the Awardees for promoting this milestone event in the City of Carson, the equivalent of D-Day in Europe.   

 The Keynote Speaker was Gen. John Harrel, who spoke emphatically that in October 20, 1944, we were all Americans.  And even through time and tide we cannot deny the lasting relationship of America and the Philippines.  He recounted his cousin, whom he never met, was one of those who landed in Leyte and gave his young life to service.  When he attended his family reunion just before this event, he visited the gravesite of his cousin, who died in 1944 as a result of his landing in Leyte.  The Retired Maj. Gen. Harrel started as a Marine for 10 years then shifted to Infantry for 32 years.  His ribbons on his chest attested to the many heroic acts while in service. 

Gen Ruth Wong, Director of the Military and Veterans Affairs of the County of Los Angeles presented the Awardees who received the medals of Honor and Appreciation on Oct. 12, 2019 at the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall.

The Americans who landed in Leyte were Herbert Bounds, Hy Arnesty, Paul Cohen, and Ernest Cowell.  Absent in this event was Al Altig.  The posthumous medal for Wilford Ross, Jr. was received by Judge Ross. 

The Filipino guerrillas of WWII who participated in the liberation of the Philippines were:, Felicisino Berdoz, Emeterio Corpuz, Leonides Crook , Rogaciano Dagdag, Julian Dologuin,  Marcelino Gawat , Juanito Piamonte, Ildefonso Quibin,  Adelaida Samson, Leonardo Samson,  and  Eliseo Tomines.  Added to this list was Alfredo Bocatija.      

 The Color Guards on October 20 was led by Major Frank Quiambao, who presented the 26th Cavalry Support Attachment of the State of California.  The Parade of Supporters were the Fleet Reserve led by Romeo Galleon, the Achievers, led by Lilia Bravo and Romeo Bejo, the Lavender Ladies led by Linda Clark, the Carson Lion’s Club led by Dorothy Ross, the Carson Adult Day Care Center led by Paz Velasquez, and the Winners of the Essay and Poster Contest of the 75th Anniversary of Leyte Landing contest. 

Alex Cainglet, Chairman of the Filipino American History Month opened the Program, assisted by Arlene Bocatija as EMCee.  Delia Harvey sang the National Anthems.

Judge Wilford Ross gave a historical perspective of the landing in Leyte 75 years ago, where 200,000 ground troops, 700 ships including 157 warships, transported the landing force.  The difference with the D-Day of Europe was that this did not have air support during the landing.  As the troops landed, one shouted “follow me” and that became the battle cry.  Judge Ross pointed at the famous poster of the landing in Leyte.  Oct. 23-25 was the greatest Sea Battle of Leyte Gulf.  He pointed at the famous sinking of the aircraft carrier, the USS. St. Lo, struck by the Kamikaze and the survivor, Herber Bounds is here to tell the story in first person. The event was likened to the” David and Goliath” story, with U.S. winning because the Japanese Imperial battleships made a U-turn and left the battle scene.

 Dr. Jenny asked a rhetorical question.  “Where do we go from here?  When will be the next milestone event?  “Maybe on the 80th Anniversary? “  Then she called to the stage the participants of the Essay and Poster Contest commemorating the 75th Anniversary.  “The legacy continues when we get the young to get involved and participate in these remembrances and commemoratives, and we will all remember and thank the Veterans for their service. 

The winners of the contest were called to the stage, namely: Gabriella Tapia, 5th Grade,  Jalyn Ward, 8th Grade, Jasmine Ranches -8th grade, Jezalyn Ranches -10th grade, and Alyssa Suba, collegiate.  Special award went to Lydia Ty, 82 born in Tacloban, Leyte, who wrote a poem , to pay tribute to the 75th Anniversary of the Leyte Landing. It was read by Paz Velasquez, the coordinator of the contests.

A wreath was laid to those who lost their young lives at the altar of freedom and those who have gone ahead, by Gen. Wong and Gen. Harrel.  Maj. Frank Quiambao spoke about the 26th Cavalry Color guards and its commitment to honor those who served in occasions such as these. 

A special Guest was Serry Osmena, the granddaughter of President Sergio Osmena who appeared in the iconic picture of Gen. MacArthur’s wading on the shores of Leyte.  She acknowledged that as she was listening to the history and meeting the survivors of Leyte Landing on stage, she is compelled to return home and tell her children of the significance of this legacy, and urged all to do the same to their children.

With that last word, everyone sang a rousing “God Bless America.”

A group picture captured the momentous event.  Then the block party started to celebrate the living, thanks to those who served and gave us our freedom and our democracy.

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Distinguished guests in the 75th Anniversary of Leyte Landing in Carson, CA on Oct. 20, 2019

First Row (seated): L-R:  Alex Cainglet, EmCee and Chair of the Filipino-American History Month, WWII Filipino American Veteran Alfred Bocatija, American WWII Veterans who landed in Leyte 75 years ago: Herbert Bounds, Hy Arnesty, Paul Cohen and Ernest Cowell (standing). Second Row L-R: Serry Osmena , granddaughter of Phil. Commonwealth President Osmena who waded the shore alongside with Gen. MacArthur, Arlene Bocatija, co-EmCee, Councilman Jim Dear, City of Carson, Gen. John Harrel, Keynote Speaker, Dr. Jenny Batongmalaque, presentor of the Program, Gen. Ruth Wong, Director of the Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs of the County of Los Angeles, Thomas Ruck, Director of the L.A. National Cemetery for Veterans, Major Frank Quiambao, CO of 26th Cavalry Support Detachment of the State of CA, Color Guards (right of Vet. Cowell): Evelyn Andamo, VP of Board of Directors of the Filipino Veterans Foundation, and Judge Wilford Ross, Historian of the Leyte Landing, and son of Wilford Ross Jr., who landed in Leyte and died two years ago. 

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75th Anniversary of Leyte Landing Observance October 20, 2019 Carson Community Center

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                                                 WWII Veterans who landed in Leyte 75 years ago

L-R:

  • Herbert Bounds, 94, was in the Navy and the aircraft carrier he belonged was initially called USS Midway.  This was later changed to USS St. Lo.  It was one of the two ships among the 18 aircraft carriers which was sunk by a Kamikaze.  On that fateful day, Oct. 25, 1944, he and his friend seaman, a Filipino chef to the Captain were at the deck after breakfast when a kamikaze exploded where the armory was.  His friend was hit on his leg.  Seaman Bounds dragged him 30 feet away from the burning flame.  Then the second explosion came from the armory which was much worse, and that blew his friend away. Then the ship began to sink. So he jumped ship. A few hours later he was saved by a lifeboat full of survivors.This was the Battle of Samar, the famous Taffy 3 against the giant battleships, likened to the “David vs. Goliath” story, and he miraculously survived. For a long period of time he couldn’t recall the name of the seaman, until two years ago he drove by a church with the name “St. Norbert”, then it all came back

  • Hy Arnesty “When I landed in Leyte, our ship was just one among hundreds. I belonged to the 24th Infantry division.  “I was only seventeen”, recounted Hy Arnesty. Then he added, “Arnesty is the best policy.”

  • Paul Cohen, 98, “I was there in the first wave, when MacArthur ashore in Leyte, digging a foxhole when I saw boots coming towards me. When I looked up it was Gen. MacArthur. I straightened up, but couldn’t salute for it was against rules in combat.” Then he said, “Carry on.” and walked away with his entourage.

  • Ernest Cowell, 94, started in the infantry at age seventeen, landed in Lingayen Gulf in December 1944 at age 18.  He was deployed to the Luzon Mountains. After the war in the Pacific, he decided to join the Navy and rose to the rank of Lt. Cmmdr. He was past President of the National Cemetery Board of Los Angeles and is very active in the Board today.

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WWII Veterans who landed in Leyte with the 3rd Generation winners of essay and poster contest on the 75th Anniversary of Leyte Landing, held at the Carson Community Center on Oct. 20, 2019

Seated: L-R: Veterans Herbert Bounds, Hy Arnesty, Paul Cohen, and Ernest Cowell.

Standing: L-R: Paz Velasquez, Lydia Ty, poet, Jasmine Ranches, Jalyn Ward, Gabriela Tapia, and Alyssa Suba

Background:  Romeo Galleon, Fleet Reserve, Councilman Jim Dear, and Historian, Judge Will Ross.

 

The Filipino Veterans Foundation is offering any student who wants to join in a year long Essay and various media outlet to tell the story of the LEGACY of the survivors of WWII in the Pacific.  See www.erbfoundation.com for details.

In Honor and Appreciation

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               Wreath Laying to the Fallen

 

Saluting: Gen. John Harrel, (Maj. Gen. Ret.), and Gen Ruth Wong, Director of the Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs, County of Los Angeles.  Dr. Jenny Batongmalaque, Executive Director, Filipino Veterans Fondation and Erasto R. Batongmalaque  Foundation.

The Medal of Honor and Appreciation

 

Is awarded to those who survived 75 years since they landed in Leyte.

So far, only six medals have been awarded. The year long search of survivors nationwide is the format of a scholarship prize offered by the Filipino Veterans Foundation to any student, K-12 through College, Get details from www.edbfoundation.com. “We remember, and we thank you for your service.”

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The Speakers

Thomas Ruck, Director of L.A. National Cemetery, gave the Invocation.        

 

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Historian, Judge Wiford Ross, whose father landed in Leyte, gave the historical perspectives of Leyte Landing.                                      

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Councilman Jim Dear, gave the Welcome to the City of Carson Address.

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Gen. John Harrel gave the Keynote Address, “On Oct. 20. 1944, we were all Americans.”

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Gen. Ruth Wong, presenting the awardees of the medals of honor to the liberators of the Philippines in WWII.               

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Serry Osmena, granddaughter of Philippine Commonwealth, Sergio Osmena, who waded with Gen. Douglas MacArthur. She spoke on reaching out to youth  promote the Legacy of WWII veterans.    

Proclamations and Recognition

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Certificate of Recognition, City of Carson

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Fleet Reserve of Carson    

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The Achievers Association

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26th Cavalry Special detachment of CA

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Lavender Ladies

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Proclamation of the 75th Anniversary of Leyte Landing, State of CA. Promoted by Assembly member Michael Gipson

Carson Lion’s Club

Dr. Jenny buying a book of Jay Wurtz, author of 2 volumes of “The Pacific.”

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L to R:

Stage Set Director Henry Ward, Gen. Ruth Wong, Arlene Bocatija, and Delia Lopez.

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National Anthems sang by Rose Bueta