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Untold Heroism of WW II Filipino Regiments

The USS Hornet Museum will honor the accomplishments of Filipino World War II veterans at a program on Aug. 18.

From a USS Hornet Museum press release:

The USS Hornet will honor the accomplishments of Filipino World War II veterans during its Living Ship Day series on Aug. 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The day will feature firsthand accounts from veterans and other Filipino speakers as they remember the sacrifices and achievements of this forgotten unit. Many of these veterans served undercover during the war in the Philippines as intelligence agents. Their missions have only recently been declassified.

The keynote speakers’ presentation begins at 1 p.m. and includes:

Corporal Alfonso “Al” N. Lamata

The Bay Area native  was born in San Francisco  in 1924. He was inducted into the U.S. Army in December 1943 and volunteered for service in the2nd Filipino Infantry Regiment. In June 1944, Al left the U.S. to serve in the Asiatic Pacific Theater (New Guinea, Hollandia, Philippine Islands). He returned to the U.S. and was discharged from the Army in June 1946.

After WWII, Al and the other men of the 1st and 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments maintained their silence about the secret missions they carried out. As one of its youngest members, Al wishes to pay tribute to those he served with who are no longer alive to tell their story.

Jesus “Jess” Cristobal Malgapo

Malgapo’s father, Isauro T. Malgapo, was a Philippine Army First Lieutenant who fought side-by-side with American soldiers of the U.S. Armed Forces Far East during WWII. The elder Malgapo was also a prisoner of war and a survivor of the infamous Bataan Death March. Jess Malgapo is a retired Commander, Supply Corps, U.S. Navy and a two-term president of the Filipino American Retired US Armed Forces Association; and President of the Vallejo Veterans Memorial Building.

The 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment was a segregated United States Army infantry regiment made up of Filipino-Americans from the continental United States and a few veterans of the Battle of the Philippines that saw combat during World War II. It was formed and activated at Camp San Luis Obispo, CA.

Initially deployed to New Guinea in 1944, it became a source of manpower for special forces and units that would serve in occupied territories. In 1945, it deployed to the Philippines, seeing combat for the first time. After major combat operations, it remained in the Philippines until it returned to California and was deactivated in 1946 at Camp Stoneman.

The public will also have the opportunity to speak with and meet other Filipino Veterans throughout the day. There will also be re-enactments by “ClockVine Living History.”

The public is invited onboard for an array of special events that will appeal to people of all ages, including families with children. Among the day’s highlights will be a big band musical performance by The Hornet Band from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Living Ship Day aboard the Hornet offers something for everyone. The museum comes to life as an operating aircraft carrier with flight simulations between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. as aircraft are lifted to the flight deck and placed into launch position. Visitors can meet former crew, sit in the cockpit of a fighter jet, and enjoy the sights and sounds of naval aviation.  There will also be a Big Band performance, at 1:00 pm.

Living Ship Day demonstrations are held on the third Saturday of most months. Normal museum hours and admission prices apply. Ample free parking is available across from the pier. The USS Hornet Museum is located at 707 W. Hornet Ave., Pier 3 in Alameda.

The ship is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Regular museum admission is $7-$16 for youths through adults and there is ample free parking across from the pier. For more information, visit www.uss-hornet.org or call (510) 521-8448.

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