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January 7, 2018

Report and Findings on the Licopa Unit by Lt. Leonard Aubuchon, June 1946

The Licopa Guerrilla Unit was a guerrilla outfit under the command of one Luis Licopa and operated out of Lemery, Batangas. In this document1, Lt. Leonard Aubuchon of the Guerrilla Affairs Office of the United States Army filed a report, including history and findings, on the Licopa Guerrilla Unit.

[p. 1]

HEADQUARTERS
UNITED STATES ARMY FORCES WESTERN PACIFIC
G-3 Guerrilla Affairs Branch

APO 707
24 June 1946

REPORT ON THE “LICOPA UNIT”

In accordance with verbal instructions from Chief of Section, Guerrilla Affairs, G-3, AFWESPAC, Lieutenants Leonard J. Aubuchon and Eliseo Sta. Romana proceeded to Lemery, Batangas to contact the “Licopa Unit” in order to determine whether or not this organization should be recognized by the United States Army. The following report is a summary of the investigation and basis for the recommendation.

H I S T O R Y

In June 1942, Luis Licopa of Panghulan, Lemery, Batangas, formerly a Sgt in 1st Batangas Constabulary Co, started to gather together the remnants of the 1st and 2nd Batangas Constabulary companies that had been disbanded after the fall of Bataan, and made these men the nucleus of a guerrilla organization. This unit became known as the Licopa Unit and operated in the vicinity of Lemery, Batangas. Since the unit was composed primarily of ex-constabulary men, it devoted its efforts during 1942 and 1943 to keeping peace and order in the sector they occupied. This unit recruited members during 1943 and early 1944, until it gained a membership of approximately 500. In April 1944, their headquarters was raided by the Japs and most of their arms and some of their men were captured. On [or] about 5 October 1944, Luis Licopa went to Mindoro where he contacted Lt. Commander George F. Rowe USNR, who was on active duty as Commanding Officer of the Intelligence Unit operating in Mindoro. From this time until their attachment to the 158 RCT, 9 February 1945, the Licopa Unit worked as intelligence operatives furnishing intelligence to Lt. Commander Rowe.

A Combat company of 61 men was recognized for the period 9 February 1945 to 30 June 1945, a period during which they were attached to the 158 RCT and later to the 11th Airborne Division.



F I N D I N G S

The following named persons were interviewed by the contact team and statements are the basis for the findings:
George F. Rowe
Gerald G. Berg
Vicente Umali
Vicente Noble
Vicente Salazar
Froilan Noble
Chief of Police Atienza
Lt Commander USNR
M/Sgt USA
Overall Commander PQOG
Former Governor of Batangas
Mayor of Lemery, Batangas
Lemery, Batangas
[p. 2]
Mariano de la Rosa
Luis Licopa
Antonio Mayuga
Jacinto Mendoza
Simplicio Catena
Eleuterio Morales
Benito Tolentino
Bonifacia Brotonel
Catholic Priest of Taal
CO Licopa Unit
Co CO, Licopa Unit
Supply Officer Licopa Unit
T/Sgt Licopa Unit
Cpl Licopa Unit
Cpl Licopa Unit
Nurse Licopa Unit
Upon investigating the unit, it was found that it was actually organized in early 1942, since Major Robert S. Kramer (See Incl 1) states that he was in contact with the unit from June 1942 until Ja 1944, at which time he left Batangas and went to Mindoro. Major Kramer further states that during the occupation, the unit was instrumental in maintaining loyalty to the United States and later carried on intelligence work for Lt. Commander George F. Rowe USNR, who had an intelligence unit in Mindoro. Major Kramer considered the work of the unit to be highly commendable.

Contacts made with city officials and civilians of Taal and Lemery disclosed that the Licopa Unit had an excellent reputation during the occupation for keeping peace and order and protecting the towns and barrios from robber bands. Until October 1944, the activities of the unit were confined to those of home guards so the unit cannot be considered for recognition prior to that time.

On [or] about 5 October 1944, Luis Licopa contacted Lt. Commander George F. Rowe (see Incl 2 and 3), who had an American Intelligence Unit in Mindoro and offered the services of his men. Lt. Commander Rowe states that all of Licopa’s missions were successfully accomplished and that he was of considerable value to Rowe’s mission and to the liberation forces. Upon the arrival of the American forces in Lemery, Luis Licopa and 60 of his men were attached, and these men were later recognized for the period 9 February 1945 to 30 June 1945.

The roster of the “Licopa Unit” contains the names of 610 members, but investigation disclosed that only Licopa and about 60 of his men were actively engaged in intelligence work for Lt. Commander Rowe. Rowe states that though he did not know the exact strength of Licopa’s Unit, he believes he must have had about 60 men on active duty at all times.

It is concluded that Luis Licopa and 60 members of his unit began to be of value to the American forces on 5 October 1944, at which time Licopa contacted Lt. Commander Rowe. It is further concluded that the services of this small group continued to be of great value to Rowe’s mission until 9 February 1945, at which time they were attached to the 158 RCT.

Investigation proved that the remainder of the unit, 549 members, were not actively engaged in guerrilla activities, their activities being those of home guards and acting as sources of supply and shelter for the group that was actively engaed.



[p. 3]

POLITICAL ASPECTS

This does not appear to have any political affiliations or aspirations.

RECOMMENDATIONS

After careful consideration of the statements made by the present members; George F. Rowe, Lt. Commander USNR; Gerald C. Berg, and documents presented, it is recommended that the recognition date of Luis Licopa and the 60 men previously recognized for support for the 158 RCT and 11th Airborne Division be set back from 9 February 1945 to 5 October 1944.

It is further recommended that no additional members of the “Licopa Unit” be recognized and that no reconsideration of this Unit be made at any future date.

s/t/ LEONARD J. AUBUCHON
2nd Lt., FA



s/t/ ELISEO STA. ROMANA
1st Lt., Inf. PA

3 Incls:
1. Letter of recommendation from Robert Kramer, Major CE
2. Statement from Lt Cmdr George F. Rowe USNR
3. Detailed statement of Lt Comdr George F. Rowe USNR

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Notes and references:
1 File Number 50, Licopa Unit (GLINT), downloaded from Philippine Veteran Association Office.

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