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January 5, 2018

US Army Report on the Gagalac Guerrilla Unit

The Gagalac Guerrilla Group was one of the groups operating in Batangas that was given official recognition by the United States Army after World War II. In this 1947 document1, Lt. Raul Diaz de Rivera and Captain S. C. Buchanan file their findings on the guerrilla unit along with their recommendation for the recognition of an additional unit.

[p. 1]

Report on the “GAGALAC GUERRILLA UNIT”

1. Captain S. C. Buchanan and Lt. Raul Diaz de Rivera proceeded to Taal and Lemery, Batangas on 6 May 1947, to re-investigate the Gagalac Guerrilla Unit for reconsideration.

2. ALLEGED HISTORY: (See attached filed unit)

3. FINDINGS:

a. This unit was previously investigated by Major R. L. Otti and M/Sgt Berg, of Headquarters, UTG, Lts. Aubuchon and Sta Romana, Maj V. K. Coates and Lt G. E. Kemper and the findings below are a compilation of all investigations. The following named persons were interviewed and their statements are reflected in the findings:

Col Jaime Ferrer, S-1, Maj Vanderpool’s Hq
Col Eleuterio Adevoso, Co, Hunters Guerrillas
Col Vicente Umali, CO, PQOG
Lt Col Emmanuel Ocampo, Hunters Brlas. [Grlas?]
Gol Quintin Gellidon, FAIT
Miguel M David, CO, Nasugbu, Fil-Americans
Capt Filomeno Gagalac, CO, subject unit
Lt Lazaro Malabanan, Ex O, Gagalac unit
Capt Luis Licopa, CO, Licopa, (Glint) Unit
Ramon M Endozo, 1st Lt, Gagalac Guerrillas
Alberto Panganiban, 1st Lt, Gagalac Guerrillas
Roque N Nobleza, 1st Lt, Gagalac Guerrillas

b. Record of service was substantiated by sufficient acceptable evidence. The evidence presented is in the form of a chronological report of activities which was substantiated by other leaders (Col Jaime Ferrer, Lt Col Ocampo, Cols Adevoso and Gellidon) who knew of the unit’s activities; papers of Capt Schommers, Lt Dennings, Col Ferren, Maj Kramer, and Maj Vanderpool and interviews with other unit leaders and disinterested parties. Mr Jose L Manzano, a property owner in Balayan, Batangas stated that when he visited Licopa and Gagalac in their CP at Bayuyungan Mt, in April 1944, he figured that these leaders had around 500 men with them. He further stated that these men were mostly armed with pistols but that a few carried rifles. It is the belief of Mr. Manzano and Col Adevoso that the recognition of additional men from this unit is entirely warranted.

c. The unit was maintained satisfactorily in the field in opposition to the enemy from the autumn of 1944 until after the liberation in Southern Luzon. It was in September 1944 that the unit learned of the bombings in Manila and vicinity and began to concentrate on Japanese patrols. Every one of the people interrogated agreed that this unit and the Licopa Unit were the most active units operating against the Japanese in lower Luzon. They killed more Japanese and suffered more casualties than any other unit.

[p. 2]

d. That a definite organization was established by this unit was attested to by various guerrilla leaders who operated in the Batangas area. Col Adevoso, CO, Hunters Guerrillas who was the Chief of Staff in Maj Vanderpool’s Batangas Guerrilla Headquarters, was interviewed. He stated that:

(1) he heard of the organization in Oct 1944.

(2) he knew of their participation during the liberation.

(3) he believes that not all attached guerrillas were recognized; that mistakes were made either by untrained guerrilla S-1 personnel or by US Army guerrilla liaison officers themselves. Lt Col Emmanuel Ocampo, CO Ocampo Battalion, attached to the 11th AB Div, commended the fighting ability of Gagalac’s men. Col Gellidon, Guerrilla Coordinator, highly praised the combat efficiency and assistance of the men under Gagalac during the Liberation. Col Gellidon further stated that he believes it to be just and deserving that Gagalac should get an additional recognition.



e. The performance of the unit indicated excellent control by its commanding officer. The unit was small and compact and its leader was able to hold it together with all its arms throughout the Japanese occupation in spite of extreme Japanese pressure. In October 1944, the unit began to concentrate on Japanese patrols and became very active in this respect. In the latter part of November 1944, there was a large skirmish with a Jap force at Bayongon. This unit was one of the best combat units that fought the Japanese during the liberation. Lt D. E. Hutson of the AAA with the 11th AB Div, in a note to Exec O Lt Malabanan, says, “Keep on the trail of the Japs and see if you can’t knock off a few more. Your unit seems to be the only one doing any good.” (See incl #1) It is conceded by most guerrillas in the sector that Gagalac and Licopa were among the best leaders during the Batangas Campaign.

f. The unit maintained constant activity during the latter part of the Japanese occupation and throughout the Liberation period. Up to October 1944, its primary purpose was to patrol the Cavite and Laguna borders for protection against infiltration of bandit gangs. From Oct 1944 on, the unit changed its tactics and concentrated on the Japs until the Liberation when they became attached to the 11th AB Div and worked with them throughout the Liberation period. On company (1st Co, Gagalac Guerrilla Unit) of 136 men was officially recognized by the 6th Army but leaders of other units attached to the 11th AB Div and the S-1 of Maj Vanderpool’s Staff state that the Gagalac Unit had at least another company that was working for and with the 11th AB Div, but were not recognized because they did not happen to be “on the spot” when the processing was done. Leaders of other units and disinterested civilians also claim that the unit had at least two combat companies active during the occupation and Liberation but that the rest of the unit acted as home guards, reserves and supply units.

[p. 3]

g. The records of the unit are rather scattered, consisting of a few promotions of the unit officers until the latter part of 1944 when the unit began to keep rosters of not only the combat men but of the rest of the unit as well. The Exec O claims that that unit kept records prior to Oct 1944, but that they were all burned. Major R S Kramer (then Lieut) was with the unit during the occupation and claims that it was a good organization and maintained itself all during the occupation.

h. The members of the combat units devoted their full time to guerrilla activity, patrolling and having skirmishes with the Japanese. However, the unit maintained reserve forces which stayed at home and aided the combat units in procuring food, supplies and money.

i. From the evidence and facts learned during the investigation, the contact team is convinced that the unit maintained at least two combat companies in the field at all times.

j. Lts Kemper and Sta Romana, both members of the Guerrilla Affairs Branch and both having previously investigated the Gagalac Guerrilla Unit, state that, in their opinion, the subject unit merited an additional recognition.

k. A casualty roster has been submitted to the Casualty Section with a recommendation that it be favorably considered.

4. POLITICAL ASPECTS: This unit does not appear to have any political affiliations or aspirations.

5. RECOMMENDATIONS: It is recommended that the Gagalac Guerrilla Unit be accorded an additional recognition of 163 officers and men during the period 5 Oct 1944 to 30 May 1945. This recommendation includes revision of dates and covers all constructive service to the Armed Forces of the United States. No further revision is recommended. The 30 May 1945 date is determined from interviews with Col Jaime Ferrer, former staff member of Maj Vanderpool, Col Vicente Umali, CO, PQOG and Lt Col E Ocampo, Hunters Guerrillas, who stated that the unit was active through May 1945 in mopping up operations with the 11th AB Div. 30 May 1945 is also the terminal date of the recognition period granted the 136 members previously recognized.
[Sgd.] 2ND LT RAULIAZ DE RIVERA [Sgd.] CAPT S C BUCHANAN

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Notes and references:
1 File Number 278, United States National Archives, downloaded from page Gagalac Guerrilla Unit, Philippine Veteran Association Office.

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