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January 1, 2018

Lt. Max Brabson’s Report on the Major Phillips Unit, July 1946

The Major Phillips Unit was a guerrilla unit that was founded and operated in or around western Batangas town of Calatagan. It was commanded by one Emilio Macabuag and took its name from a United States Army intelligence officer from whom the guerrilla outfit took directions until the latter was caught and killed by the Japanese. In this document1 one Lt. Max Brabson filed his report on the Major Phillips Unit’s initial application for official recognition by the United States Army.

[p. 1]

HEADQUARTERS
UNITED STATES ARMY FORCES WESTERN PACIFIC
OFFICE OF THE COMMANDING GENERAL

APO 707

29 July 1946

Report on “Major Phillips Unit”.

In accordance with verbal instructions from Chief of Section, Guerrilla Affairs, G-3, AFWESPAC, Lieutenants Max L. Brabson and Eliseo Sta. Romana proceeded to Calatagan, Batangas to contact the “Major Phillips 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.

ALLEGED HISTORY

The “Major Phillips Unit,” commanded by Emilio Macabuag of Calatagan, Batangas was organized on 13 June 1943. This unit was formed by authority of Major Phillips and the total strength was 146 officers and enlisted men.

During the Japanese occupation, the “Major Phillips Unit” was active in propaganda, intelligence operations, sabotage and in maintaining contact with GHQ, SWPA by means of radio transmitter operated by M/Sgt Benjamin Harder AUS, S/Sgt Roman Vitorio AUS, and Lt. Pascua for Commander Rowe. Some of the men of this unit were also responsible in the transferring of the escaped American soldiers and pilots from Batangas to Mindoro. Of the entire unit, approximately one platoon was actively guarding the radio in the mountains while the remainder of the unit remained in their homes carrying on the normal pursuits of civilian life. During the liberation, the unit did some intelligence and sabotage work and some fighting with the American forces against the Japanese. There were no official attachments to the American Units, however, the members claim some combat operations with the American troops.

FINDINGS

The below named persons are those interviewed by the contact team and their statements are the basis for the findings.

Quintin Gellidon - Col., Staff to 11th AB GA Sec
George F. Rowe - Commander USN SWPA
Gerry Berg - Assistant to Commander Rowe
Emilio Macabuag - Capt CO Major Phillips Unit
Francisco Hernandez - 1 Lt EXO Major Phillips Unit
Jose Caisip - 2 Lt Major Phillips Unit
Lorenzo Galvez - 2 Lt Major Phillips Unit
Vicente Cunanan - Sgt Major Phillips Unit



[p. 2]

Santiago Concepcion - Cpl Major Phillips Unit
Juan Gomez - Cpl Major Phillips Unit
Clemente Pantoze - Cpl Major Phillips Unit
Esteban Torres - Pfc Major Phillips Unit
Esteban Ansaldo - Pfc Major Phillips Unit
Dalmacio Candelaria - Pfc Major Phillips Unit
Pascual Atienza - Pvt Major Phillips Unit
Emilio Balbago - Pvt Major Phillips Unit
Jose Nobleza - Pvt Major Phillips Unit
Eugenio Mendoza - Pvt Major Phillips Unit
Elino Malintong - Pvt Major Phillips Unit

During the investigation by the contact team, very few of the men claimed possession of arms, many did not know their commanding officer nor their duties. Many were intelligence operatives who lived at home and worked at their civilian occupation. A few of the men held public office or were employed by private enterprises.

The two units of Calatagan, Zobel and Macabuag, both overlap in the rosters and in claims of work accomplished. Zobel claims Macabuag was under him and did not have a separate unit, however, Macabuag claims to have had nothing to do with Zobel. Practically the same accomplishments are claimed by both in addition to claims that overlap with units in Balayan, Batangas. Many of the men claim to aid Americans. However, they cannot tell exactly where they were when the Americans were aided.

During the liberation, Macabuag claims to have assisted the troops in combat operations, mopping up operations and patrols. However, he knows no American officer he has aided and he has no orders, documents, commendations or any other form of evidence to substantiate his claims. Due to the scarcity of arms, it is hardly believable that combat operations were attempted. On a unit questionnaire submitted Nov 45, the unit claimed 7 arms and in the present questionnaire, they claim 28 modern weapons.

Francisco Hernandez, with 2 officers and 8 enlisted men, was recognized with the Rainbow Unit of Balayan, Batangas. Hernandez received the rank of Capt. with that unit. The reason for their recognition in another unit was explained by the fact that they were separated from Macabuag and could not get in contact with him so they joined the American liberation forces and were recognized.

Commander George F. Rowe of the advance party of the GHQ SWPA in Mindoro stated that he knew Macabuag personally and that Macabuag himself did good work as a guerrilla, but he was not sure of the Macabuag unit. He stated that he only knew Macabuag and a few men who used to come to Mindoro via banca. He did not know Macabuag furnished security for the two radio sets sent to Batangas by Rowe and previously by Major Phillips. Gerry Berg, who accompanied Commander Rowe, confirmed Rowe’s statement and further stated that his recommendation for the unit would be very small.



[p. 3]

The Commanding Officer of the unit claims approximately 366 members in January 1944. However, 220 of these men were living at home and were just serving as a reserve and actually, they did nothing as guerrillas. He claims that, at one time, all 366 were submitted to Major Phillips for approval but Major Phillips would only approve one company consisting of 146 members. It was stated that of these 146 men, there was one platoon assigned as radio guards and the rest were on outpost guard. It was never made clear just what the outpost guard was.

The Major Phillips Unit claimed to have received valid Philippine money for the use of guerrillas. They were unable to produce receipts, acknowledgement of sale or any other evidence that they actually received more than 2,000 pesos of bona fide money.

Macabuag’s unit was also turned down by HPA upon recommendationof the 6th Army. The 6th Army did not consider his services warranted recognition.

POLITICAL ASPECT

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

RECOMMENDATION

After careful consideration of the statements made by the present members and an analysis of the documents presented, it is recommended that with the exception of those members previously recognized, the “Major Phillips Unit” be not favorably considered for recognition.

[Sgd.] MAX L. BRABSON
2nd Lt. Inf

[Sgd.] ELISEO STA. ROMANA
1st Lt. Inf. PA

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Notes and references:
1 “MAJOR PHILLIPPS UNIT,” File No. 83, downloaded from PVAO.

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