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Pilipino soldiers during WW1

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BerichtGeplaatst: 14 Jun 2008 7:58    Onderwerp: Pilipino soldiers during WW1 Reageer met quote

Filipinos WW1 US Military Service

This website is dedicated to all soldiers of Pilipino descent who served in the United States military during WW1. The mission of this website is to reclaim our forgotten military history and heritage in the United States Armed Forces.

Pilipino soldiers during WW1 (April 6, 1917 until November 11, 1918)

Pilipino males who came from the Philippines to work as sakadas (contract workers) in the Hawaiian sugar, pineapple plantations and other industries were nonetheless required to register in the U.S. military drafts of June 5, 1917, June 5, 1918 and September 12, 1918 .While some volunteered, others were drafted, most of them serving in Schofield Barracks, Ft. Shafter and Hawaiian National Guards from the ranks of Privates to 1st Sergeants. They worked as cooks, musicians, mechanics-occupations that we, Pilipinos remain skillful to these days. Almost four thousands Pilipino soldiers had served in the Hawaiian Infantry. Pilipinos residing in other parts of the United States also volunteered or were drafted in the military.

Meanwhile, Pilipino soldiers from the Philippines were sent to the European war theatres. On June 29,1918, Pvt. Tomas Claudio, USMC AEF and a Morong Rizal native, died in Chateau Thierry, France in a battle that became legendary, not only for the heavy number of casualties, but also for the Marines courage under fire.

Pilipino veterans after WW1 war

Many veterans went to the Philippines, Hawaii, California, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, New York and other places to raise families. Other veterans joined the Navy and the Merchant Marines or re-enlisted in the Army, serving once again in WW11 and Korean War, because their "war that will end other wars" failed to deliver the promise of peace. Some veterans who suffered military service connected disabilities (SCD) were entitled to vocational training and $100.00 monthly pension, but the 1933 creation of the Department of Veterans Affairs, stripped these benefits and the 1945 G.I. Bill of Rights did not come soon enough to help them. Additionally, the returnees had to confront the turmoil of the Economic Recession (1918) and Economic Depression (1929), as well as the realities of contract labor employment. Some would die, while others would find themselves in prisons, both for farm labor union activism.

Today, we find the WW1 Pilipino veterans buried in the Arlington, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, the Presidio and other military or civilian burial grounds, unnoticed and unsung. Others were buried with their ships that were sunk by the enemies during the wars, unrecovered and unhonored.

Today, their numerous descendants reside in every corner of the world. Rooted in deep family military traditions, many of these descendants had served during times of peace, as well as during WW11, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq wars.

Undeniably, whether they served in the European military trenches or in the U.S. military support services, these valiant WW1 Pilipino soldiers had served the cause of peace and liberty to benefit all of us.

Therefore, to us remain the sacred task of engraving their names and military legacies in our hearts. Let their memories inspire us, that we may work together to reclaim the rightful place of our Pilipino soldiers in the military history of the Philippines, the United States and the world.

This awareness of our unique history is the responsibility of every living Pilipino. I offer you this website as a limited resource for WW1. It is my hope that my love for the Philippines history and culture overcome my lack of scholarly credential.

I also dedicate this website to WW1 veteran- Ponciano Estrella Del Valle, my grandfather .

The Honorable Linda Lingle

Governor, State of Hawaii

State Capitol

Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

The Honorable James R. Aiona, Jr.

Lieutenant Governor, State of Hawaii

State Capitol

Honolulu Hawaii 96813

Dear Sir/Madam:

On today’s Memorial Day, allow me to relate the story of the Hawaiian Territory Pilipino sakadas (contract workers) who served during WW1 in the U.S. military.

My personal interest in the subject matter began years ago, after reading a one-liner in a news account, that during WW1 about one thousand and five hundred Pilipino contract workers had served in the Hawaiian Territory’s National Guard. However, while doing some genealogical research about my children’s paternal Pilipino Hawaiian sakada heritage, I started to have a nagging suspicion that the number of WW1 Pilipino veterans is actually higher than the number quoted in that article.

After I went thru several thousands of the Hawaiian Territory’s WW1 military service records, I found out that at least three thousand nine hundred sixty Pilipino sakadas had served in the U.S. military. Probably, I could have uncovered more names of Pilipino veterans, had the U.S. Navy database disclosed birthplaces information that the U.S. Army database had done. Although, only an amateur researcher, I do possess an informal working knowledge of the history of my people which had been reinforced by the passionate and active participation of my family in the history of the Philippines. Allow me then, to make the following personal observations regarding the Pilipino WW1 sakada soldiers of Hawaii, after I had randomly cross-matched their WW1 military service records with the veterans burial database of the Veterans Administration, the Social Security Death Index database and other useful sources of information.

WW1 Military Service Records

1) Names:

Some of the veterans in my list share similar names, however because their service record numbers, birthdates, birthplaces and other record information are different from the others, then we could fairly assume that the veterans listed are two or three different individuals and that some names are simply more common than others.

2) Race: the only race classification choices printed on the forms are White or Colored

Pilipino sakadas were classified as: Filipino, Malayan, Mongolian, Colored, White, Caucasian, etc

3) Birthplace:

Although some are with unrecognizable spellings, the name places are definitely Philippine towns and provinces. It is noteworthy, that Pilipino sakadas are more regionally diversified during WW1. The Visayans were better represented in the sakada population then, in contrast to their position now amongst Pilipinos in Hawaii.

4) Military ranks:

all are enlisted personnel, eight became 1st Sergeants, nine are Sup Sergeants and one hundred seventeen are Sergeants, recognizing the fact that when military troops are segregated by race, individual advancement to these ranks are more favorable for racial minorities.

5) Military occupations: many are cooks, buglers, musicians, wagoners


1) One hundred nine veterans were discharged with military service connected disability (SCD) of varying degrees, some of these could be related to the effects of the devastating worldwide late 1918 to early 1919 flu epidemic that had claimed 550,000 American lives in comparison to the 50,000 lives lost during WW1. To those who suffered 100% disability, we could only guess their hardship in the era before the 1945 G.I. Bill of Rights. I have no knowledge if someone had researched the economic impact of WW1 to these Pilipino sakadas, considering the fact that they went to Hawaii as contract workers and ended either as volunteers or draftees to WW1. After the war they also had to cope with the turmoil of 1918 Economic Recession and later the Economic Depression of 1929

2) The sakada veterans had established families in Hawaii, Philippines, California, Washington, Alaska, Oregon and East Coast states like-New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia etc

3) Some sakada veterans continued their military service mostly in the Merchant Marine and U.S. Navy; others re-enlisted in the U.S. Army. Since their war that will supposedly end other wars failed to deliver the promise of peace, many WW1 veterans, found themselves serving again in other wars like WW11; some would even serve in the Korean War. Their descendants continued the tradition of strong military service, especially during war times-WW11, Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf & Iraq.

4) Many of our sakada veterans were buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, others were buried in military cemeteries of San Francisco Presidio and also at the Arlington Cemetery. Some had met their fate when their ships were sunk by the enemies in WW11 or became a Pearl Harbor casualty like one veteran who was a native of Leyte, Philippines

5) Many veterans became labor union activists. Gregorio Anoy would die in the labor strikes, Cecilio Sator Basan would be convicted as a co-conspirator of Pablo Manlapit, while Juan Ephong would play a prominent role in the court case against Pablo Manlapit. I could not locate WW1 military service record for Pablo Manlapit, although he was listed in the WW1 military draft, but then, he got married in 1912 and most likely was exempted from military service.

We should never dismiss as minor, the role that the sakada soldiers had played in WW1. Although they had served in Hawaii without experiencing combat duties in the European military trenches, their wartime services occurred during the period that the United States was desperate for military manpower. Having entered WW1 nearly three years after the war had started in Europe, the haste to build the military personnel was understandably vital. Building the necessary troops tasked the army greatly that three nationwide military drafts were called.

I believe that it is just fitting and proper that the Pilipino Hawaiian community memorialized the military deeds of the sakadas by erecting a plaque or a marker. Likewise, the State of Hawaii and its Department of Education must include in its school curriculum the role that the Pilipino sakadas had played in Territorial Hawaii during WW1

I also believe that as more descendants of the sakadas come forward with their family history, we are going to hear more heroic stories similar to the ones recounted by Shirley Akiaten about Florentino, her father, veteran of two world wars who served in the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, Merchant Marine and was a shipwreck survivor. Perhaps we could also share her enthusiasm that her father would equally be proud of the achievements of his children especially the Akiatens-actor and director of Hollywood movie stardom. We hope to get inspired by Lehua Gaison’s anecdotes about Talino Gaison, an intrepid fisherman and father of several Korean and Vietnam Wars veterans, also the grandfather of Pilialoha, Miss Hawaii 2006 who was part of your 2006 Philippine visit entourage. I am confident that the pride exhibited by Larry Asera, former California Deputy Secretary of State when talking about Lorenzo Asera, his gradfather, are pride similarly shared by the descendants of other sakada veterans like the martial artists descendants of WW1 veteran and professional boxer Buenaventura “Kid Bentura” Lucaylucay.

I would like to thank you for your attention regarding this matter.


Maria Elizabeth Embry

2101 Hamlin Court

Antioch California 94509

Telephone XXXXX

May 26, 2008


Name Lists of 3,960 WW1 Pilipino Veterans:

U.S. Army (3,950)

U.S. Navy (10)

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

John Donne
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BerichtGeplaatst: 14 Jun 2008 7:59    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

WHEN I consider how my light is spent

Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,

And that one Talent which is death to hide

Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent

To serve therewith my Maker, and present

My true account, lest He returning chide,

“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”

I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent

That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need

Either man’s work or his own gifts. Who best

Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state

Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed,

And post o’er land and ocean without rest;

They also serve who only stand and wait.”

John Milton (1655)

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

Written by Don Raye and Hughie Prince

He was a famous (Pilipino) trumpet man from out Chicago (Philippines) way
He had a boogie style that no one else could play
He was the top man at his craft
But then his number came up and he was gone with the draft
He's in the army now, blowing reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

They made him blow a bugle for his Uncle Sam
It really brought him down because he could not jam
The captain seemed to understand
Because the next day the cap' went out and drafted a band
And now the company jumps when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

A-toot, a-toot, a-toot-diddelyada-toot
He blows it eight-to-the-bar, in boogie rhythm
He can't blow a note unless the bass and guitar is playing with him
He makes the company jump when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

He was our boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B
And when he plays boogie woogie bugle he was buzy as a "bzzz" bee
And when he plays he makes the company jump eight-to-the-bar
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

Toot-toot-toot, toot-diddelyada, toot-diddelyada
Toot, toot, he blows it eight-to-the-bar
He can't blow a note if the bass and guitar isn't with him
And the company jumps when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

He puts the boys asleep with boogie every night
And wakes 'em up the same way in the early bright
They clap their hands and stomp their feet
Because they know how he plays when someone gives him a beat
He really breaks it up when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

Da-doo-da da-doo-da-da da
Da-doo-da da-doo-da-da da
Da-doo-da da-doo-da-da da
Da-doo-da da-doo-da-da
And the company jumps when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B!

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