Reconsideration Report on the 1st Batangas Regiment, FAIT - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Reconsideration Report on the 1st Batangas Regiment, FAIT

The Fil-American Irregular Troops or FAIT was organized by the retired US Army officer Hugh Straughn after the surrender of American forces to the Japanese in 1942. The FAIT would become a large organization with various units operating in many parts of Luzon, including Batangas. The 1st Batangas Regiment was one of these, supposedly founded by one Major Gutierrez in 1943. Upon the major’s capture by the Japanese, command of the unit was assumed by one Maximo Bool of Pallocan in the then-town of Batangas. In this document1, a Lt. Bruce Bromley of the United States Army’s Philippines-Ryukyus Command filed a report after he was tasked to re-investigate the 1st Batangas Regiment after it filed for reconsideration after being denied recognition.
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RECONSIDERATION REPORT ON THE 1ST BATANGAS REGIMENT, FAIT

7 Nov 1947

RECAPITULATION

On 26 Aug 1945, 2nd Lt C. P. Middleton investigated the Batangas Unit under the nominal control of Maximo C. Bool. His investigation resulted in an unfavorable recommendation (See Tab A).

Lt Middleton’s recommendation was approved and a letter was dispatched from Headquarters AFPAC on 27 Sep 1945, informing Bool that his unit had received unfavorable consideration (See Tab B).

On 30 Jan 1946, Bool requested reconsideration of the 1st Batangas Regiment and submitted altered rosters (Tab C). Originally, the unit had a strength of 594 officers and enlisted men. The new request was accompanied by rosters totalling 934 officers and enlisted men. The name was changed from the Batangas Unit to the 1st Batangas Regiment.

On 4 Jun 1946, 2nd Lt G. S. Wilcox investigated the 1st Batangas Regiment, FAIT, still under the nominal control of Bool. Lt Wilcox recommended that the unit be not favorably considered (See Tab D).

On 12 Jun 1946, a letter was despatched to Bool from Headquarters AFWESPAC informing him of the unfavorable decision (See Tab E).

On 29 Jun 1946, Bool requested a reconsideration of the unfavorable decision (See Tab F).

On 27 Jun 1947, Mr Florentino R. de la Peña, the Commanding Officer of the 2nd Bn, 1st Batangas Regiment, requested reconsideration of the unfavorable decision rendered by Headquarters AFWESPAC, dated 12 Jun 1946.

On 12 Mar 1947, a letter from Headquarters PHILRYCOM was despatched to Mr de la Peña informing him that his request had been accepted and appropriate action would be taken at the earliest practicable time (See Tab G).

On 7 Nov 1947, 2nd Lt Bromley Jr undertook the investigation for reconsideration of the 1st Batangas Regiment, Fil-American Irregular Troops, to determine whether the original decision of non-recognition should or should not be sustained.

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FINDINGS:

a. Two investigations had been conducted for the determination of the status of the 1st Batangas Regiment, FAIT. After the first unfavorable decision, the commanding officer, Bool, was successful in changing the name and increasing the strength of the unit to such effect that this Hqs considered the second investigation as an initial investigation of another unit (See Tab H). Lt Wilcox, the second investigator, discovered this anomaly and revealed the same in his report of investigation (See Tab D). The original rosters and histories are the subjects of this reconsideration report because that which subsequently occurred is, in fact, an attempt to defraud the Government of the United States.

b. The investigation by Lt Middleton considers the original Batangas Unit, whose strength was 594 (See Tab A). Briefly, the history is of the following content: the unit was organized under the overall command of the FAIT in February of 1943, although Bool alleges to have had an organized group prior to this date; the original commanding officer was one Gutierrez who surrendered to the Japanese together with 50 of his men in Sep 1943; Bool assumed command of the remnants although there was great disorganization and no existence as a unit; in early 1944, a small radio transmitter was placed in operation and contact was established with Mindoro; the station was later raided and disorganized; however, Bool stated to Lt Wilcox that the unit had no radios for broadcast (See Tab J); he, therefore, has directly contradicted himself; he further contradicts himself in an early questionnaire by admitting that he surrendered to the Japanese (See Tab K) with Gutierrez; the unit was instructed to “lay-low” when contact had been established with GHQ; FAIT; these instructions were admirably accomplished; the unit had three radios available for reception and news broadcasts were distributed to residents in the area; the Japanese detected this disturbing influence and succeeded in capturing Bool in April 1944 and releasing him shortly thereafter; a semi-attachment was effected with PQOG and served for the exchange of minor and unimportant intelligence.

c. During the liberation, the unit alleges to have been attached to different organizations of the U. S. Forces. Photostats of commendations and record of services are attached as Tab L. The three letters signed by Capt. Philip J. Lawrence, S-2, Sub-Base R, are the most definite statements of services rendered by the unit. However, all are dated after the end of the war, and they specify neither strengths nor activities of a recognizable nature. None of these papers indicate regular attachment of a military unit. Some members served as guides and interpreters but services were accomplished

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individually. Unit members participated in several small patrols in mid 1945 for the purpose of tracking down Japanese stragglers. The only alleged incident describes a poorly organized and effected combat plan in which strengths and success were left undetermined. Several of the unit members continued throughout 1945 in the employ of the US Army at Sub-Base R.

d. Lt Wilcox’s investigation considered one new battalion and a different history introducing on Florentino de la Peña. Peña, Bool subsequently alleges, inducted him into the FAIT in Jan 1943. Activities of the now designated 1st Batangas Regt were similare to those of the Batangas Unit although the alleged accomplishments are described more vividly and written in a heroic strain.

e. Interviews conducted by both investigators revealed the ignorance and inadequacy of unit members. A detailed report of interview was made by Lt Middleton and is attached hereto as Tab M. The undersigned officer has conducted several investigations in the Province of Batangas and has never heard of the subject unit. Approximately 50 members were recognized with the Blue Eagles. Civilians interviewed have stated that they know Bool to have been a guerrilla but they are unable to furnish any specific details concerning the 1st Batangas Regiment.

f. Evidence submitted consists of alleged histories, certificates signed by American Officers previously discussed, and orders from GHQ, FAIT, directed to all FAIT units and available in great quantity (See Tab M). There are no intelligence reports, service records, or original appointments. Copies of the news sheets printed upon reception of Allied broadcasts are not available as it is alleged that all such records were destroyed when the radio station was raided by the Japanese.

POLITICAL ASPECTS:

The 1st Batangas Regiment, FAIT, has no apparent political affiliations nor aspirations.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

It is recommended that:

1. The original decisions of this Headquarters, dated 27 Sep 1945 and 12 Jun 1946, not favorably considering the 1st Batangas Regiment for recognition, be sustained.

2. All casualty claims be not favorably considered.

3. All individual non-casualty claims be not favor-

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ably considered.

4. This report constitutes the final action by this headquarters on the request for recognition of the 1st Batangas Regiment, FAIT.

[Sgd.] BRUCE D BROMLEY JR
2nd Lt., Infantry


Notes and references:
1 “First Batangas Regt, FAIT,” File No. 110-60, online at the United States National Archives.

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