Like so many youths of my generation, I was easily attracted and fascinated, by the prospects of a new beginning with the liberation of the country from the Japanese invaders. My quest for adventure was answered, when a cousin of mine, who was with the Philippines Scout, a unit of the US Army (AUS), brought me with him to the big city of Manila. With his help, I landed a job as a janitor and a shine-boy of a Philippine Scout Company, the security force guarding the vast Base “X” of the US Army, at Quezon City. Under the T/O of the US Army, a Company size is composed of four platoons, with each platoon commanded by a lieutenant, as commanding officer, and one Ex-O or Executive Officer. Overall, there were 102 officers and men whose shoes I have to shine three (3) times a week.
The Commanding Officer of this Philippine Scout Unit, was a Major Dingcong, who was one of the top officers of the 14th Infantry of USAFIP-NL that actively participated in the last war against the Japanese in Ifugao prior to the surrender of Japan. The men of the Philippine Scouts treated me well and considered me like a small brother. It was here also that I met Major Calaguas, the first Filipino soldier who was awarded the US Congressional Medal of Honor in World War II. In his personal recount of the war – he was a member of the Phil. Scouts that retreated to Bataan during the early days of the war as the Japanese Army advanced to Bataan. It was noontime, he said, when their unit was besieged by the advancing Japanese forces that were about to overran their camp. Major Calaguas who was then only a sergeant at that time, despite the ferocity of fire from the Japanese advancing troops stood up, grabbed a machine-gun and continuously fired back, at the Japanese that stopped their advancing towards their camp. The Japanese quickly retreated and the camp was saved.