DSS and CWVS hosts Book Talk on World War 2 Secret Filipino Unit

DSS and CWVS hosts Book Talk on World War 2 Secret Filipino Unit

The Division of Social Sciences and the Center for West Visayan Studies held a book talk with Ms. Marie Silva Vallejo for her work Dauntless: The 1st & 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments, United States Army at the UPV Performing Arts Hall last February 21, 2024. The event was attended by students, faculty, and researchers on World War II history in Iloilo and Panay. 

Her talk centered around a “special unit” of Filipino soldiers in the U.S. Army that were sent to the Philippines at the height of Japanese Occupation in World War 2. These men were also tasked to keep General Douglas MacArthur, then stationed in Australia, updated with the situation in the Philippines and in preparation for American return. 

These units, Vallejo said, were sent in secret via submarines across major islands in the country, including Panay, sending supplies and weapons to the various resisting guerilla groups to keep morale high. These units also participated in the rescue of Filipino-American prisoners of war in the Japanese camps of Cabanatuan and Los Baños. 

She further recalled how members of these units faced racial prejudice and had to be naturalized as U.S. citizens for them to be given arms. She ended her talk recalling the daunting task of researching and collecting sources across U.S. archives, and how it is important to give a voice to these previously unknown actors in World War 2 history.

By conducting the book talk, the Division of Social Sciences of the College of Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with the Center for West Visayan Studies, remained steadfast in providing avenues to enrich research and public service by carrying out its vision in response to changing local, regional, and global trends in research. This is part of the division’s mandate to enrich the University’s instruction, research, and extension activities in the field of social sciences.

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