A survivor of the infamous Bataan Death March passed away December 16 in El Cerrito, California. He was 100.
Ramon Regalado, who fought alongside American forces during World War II as a machine gunner, was one of the unheralded Philippine soldiers to aide the United States in the fight against the Empire of Japan, according to Fox News.
“He really embodied the qualities of the greatest generation and love for country,” said Cecilia I. Gaerlan, executive director of the Bataan Legacy Historical Society.
Regalado was born in the Philippines in 1917 and was 22 when Germany invaded Poland, which started World War II. He answered the call to serve during World War II and operated as a machine gunner with the Philippine Scouts.
In 1942, at the age of 25, he and the U.S. Army Forces whom he was fighting alongside was forced to surrender to the Japanese. Their surrender came only after three months of vicious fighting.
He and thousands of others were forced to march about 65 miles to a camp. Several died along the way, and few actually made it to the camp. Most of the troops forced into the Bataan Death March were Filipino.
Regalado survived only by slipping away with two others. All three contracted malaria and were picked up by a farmer. The two other escapees did not survive their flight.
Later in the war, Regalado joined a guerrilla resistance movement and continued fighting. After the war, he moved to the United States and began work in the San Francisco Bay Area to work as a civilian.
Of the 250,000 Filipino soldiers who fought in World War II, 57,000 died. Regalado is among those who survived and throughout his life worked to promote the wartime heroics of his fellow Filipinos.
Several of them were promised American citizenship and other benefits but never saw those benefits materialize, once the war ended. In 2009 those who were still alive received lump-sum payments as part a stimulus package.
And in October 2017 in Washington D.C., remaining Filipino veterans of World War II were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, which is the nation’s highest civilian award. Regalado, who was too ill to make the trip, received his in December while staying in an intensive care unit in Richmond, California.
Regalado is survived by his wife Marcelina, five children and many grandchildren. Please pray for them in this time of loss. In recent news, a power outage at Disney left thousands of patrons suspended on rides.