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December 29, 2017

Documents on the Death of Julian Mercado, CO 2nd Battalion

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 page1 are two documents on the death of one Julian Mercado, Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion, in what was referred to as the Bilogo-Talumpok incident.

[p. 1]

UNITED STATES FORCES IN THE PHILIPPINES
FIL-AMERICAN IRREGULAR TROOPS
BATANGAS UNIT
HEADQUARTERS, PALLOCAN, BATANGAS, BATANGAS

4 October 1945
TO


THRU


SUBJECT
: The Commanding Officer
   Guerrilla Affairs Section
   A P O 501, Manila
: The Commanding General
   General Headquarters, F. A. I. T.
   Manila
: Major Julian Mercado, Commanding Officer of the 2nd Bn.
   Killed in Action

1. Major Julian Mercado, Commanding Officer of the 2nd Bn. Batangas Unit, Fil-American Irregular Troops, was killed in action.

Place – Bilogo-Talumpoc River
Date – 2 October 1945
Time – Wounded at 11 o'clock, and died about thirty minutes later.
Cause – Japanese bullet cal 25, hit the deceased on the left shoulder bone.  Bullet deflected downward breaking or cutting some main arteries and passed a portion of the lungs.
Burial – Buried in the U.S. Army Cemetery, under the Base “R.” Ordinary service of army men observed.

2. It is requested that all rights and privileges that belong to army men that Died in Action be accorded to the legal heirs of the deceased.

3. The story of the incident is hereby attached for those concerned.

[Sgd.] S/ MAXIMO BOOL
T/ MAXIMO BOOL
Major, Commanding, Batangas Unit
Fil-American Irregular Troops

A true copy

[p. 2]

UNITED STATES FORCES IN THE PHILIPPINES
FIL-AMERICAN IRREGULAR TROOPS
BATANGAS UNIT
HEADQUARTERS, PALLOCAN, BATANGAS, BATANGAS

4 October 1945

THE BILOGO-TALUMPOK INCIDENT
MAJOR JULIAN MERCADO
KILLED

On September 27, 1945, a report that a Jap in a certain place in Bilogo or Talumpok stole a cow tied in the field to graze at about 3 o’clock PM of that day. The owner, at 4:00 p.m. went to the field to drive the cow home, but the cow could be found nowhere. On the hill, he saw two men from Talumpok pasturing or visiting their rice field. He called on them for his cow. The men answered in the negative and told the owner of the lost cow that there was a big noise in the river below where they were. The owner, knowing about it, hurried down to look for his cow. When he was about to reach the bottom of the riverbank, a few meters from him stood a Jap almost naked. Both stood silently and stared at each other. While in such [a] situation, a shot was fired and, according to the man who was shot and died later, the Jap shot him with a revolver or pistol.

The man called for help. The two men on the other hill were frightened and fled. The relatives of the man, living just a little way off the river, heard the cry. They went to the river in answer to the call and found the owner of the cow sitting with his hand holding the lower part of the abdomen where he was shot.

The other people came for help, but when they saw the wounded man was breathing hard, they were afraid to follow the Jap or to pass the place where the first big noise was heard.

Then a report to my patrol headquarters in Sico was relayed, and the call was responded [to] immediately. Sgt Dominador Catilo, with his men, proceeded to the place of the accident [incident], looked for the cruel Jap and the lost cow. They searched the river up and down and found the cow tied up with bruises and cuts ready to be butchered. The cow was recovered but the owner died later.

Two days after, another cow was stolen and when found was killed, the best part or meat removed or taken. However, no Jap was seen anywhere in the vicinity. A week later, my patrol there decided that they would watch for three nights and three days this particular place to find out those troublesome Japs, and to capture and kill them if possible. Major Mercado, with a number of his men, joined the patrol, and stayed in suspected places for the time set. On the third day, in the afternoon at about 4 o’clock, while going down a bushy hill, they noticed footprints. They followed the footprints and one, the third of the patrol espied a Jap perched on an atis tree reaching for the fruit. After a short but sure aim, his gun exploded and the Jap nearly fell off the tree with only one hand holding a branch hanging. Another shot was fired from the patrol, finished the Jap crashing into the riverbed below, while [the] other patrol now having seen the Jap poured a barrage on the Jap to be sure he was killed.

The patrol hurried down to investigate the motionless Jap, but when they were about to reach the dead body, a volley of shots came over them from a thick foliage not far, and for short of ammunition, they retreated and sent for some from the headquarters. I obtained the ammunition and arms needed and went to the front. I arrived at the place in the middle of the night. With others in my company, we relieved Major Mercado and the patrol. We kept watch on the suspected areas and kept firing from time to time to prevent [the] escape of the Japs until morning.

Dawn came with shots from alternate positions. We observed two

[p. 3]

red flares from the thicket. After breakfast, I consulted the situation with Capt Leongsong of the 9th MP Co stationed in Batangas. His opinion was there was a presence of Japs, but Major Mercado was on the opposite. A report by the neighboring barrio lieutenant made us believe that the Japs had retreated for they said, in that barrio, they espied three Japs hurrying to the forest along the sides of the creek.

With those opinions, we proceeded again to the besieged place, selected a place for our bazooka, and then fired after all the guards were in their posts. Twenty rounds were fired and the suspected places were cleared up. Yet, there was no sign of Japs. We went down the river, I leading the company. We saw a cave on the side of the cliff about 15 feet from the base and 10 meters from the top. At first, we did not see any sign of Japs in the whole place. But after close examination, I noticed worn-out Jap boots at the mouth of the cave. For sure then, I told the company, that there were Japs in the cave and [for] everyone to be quiet and cautious as we approached the cliff below the cave.

[A] Plan was made carefully so that I decided that the hand grenades be thrown into the cave. Our MP companion objected on the ground that throwing grenades might miss the hole and the grenade will fall near us to explode and kill us, instead of the Japs. Another plan was made. Someone I ordered to climb the cliff from the west side. The man who climbed peeped into the cave and fired his revolver into the cave, fearing the cave was not deep, the grenade would be harmful to the thrower. At this moment, a shot from inside was heard and the bullet fell by the side of Major Mercado. He jumped aside but, unfortunately, he slipped and fell into the water. While trying to get up, several bullets were noticed falling near him and one hit him. He fell and more bullets came. I ran toward the wounded to get him away from the place, but many bullets from different directions hissed over my head, back and sides. I withdrew and commanded the rest to keep firing at the cave so that some of us could get the wounded Major. The shots from the cave continued, so that our efforts to get him failed. My bazooka now on the river, I commanded to be taken to the other side for a good position and operation. The MP’s who operated the bazooka were in the front, so I took hold of the big gun while [the] siege was going on near the cave. After a half hour’s fighting, the men below were able to get the wounded Major still alive. I then asked Capt Leongsong to take him to the hospital and report the matter to Capt Lawrence, S-2 of Base “R.” The wounded major on the way to the hospital.

I, with the other men, remained there [and] worked the bazooka until the mouth of the cave was closed with rocks fallen from the cliff upon the bazooka’s action. We left the place at about 3 o’clock when three Americans who came after us went back to town, I told the rest of our men to rest for they were weary and exhausted after four whole days and nights without sleep and told the civilians to watch the cave from a safe place.

At 7:00 PM, I went to the S-2 of Base “R,” Capt Lawrence, to inquire about the deceased and to arrange matters. After calling the hospital section and the graveyard personnel, he learned that the corpse was taken by the sister to her home in Bilogo, Taysan, Batangas. Though I told the S-2 that should the parent approve of the Major’s burial in the Army cemetery, would he permit me to take the corpse back?

The kind officer answered me affectionately and provided me transportation so that I could take the dead back to the Army Morgue before morning. Parents and relatives were accommodated in the ambulance truck and the others were transported in Capt Leongsong’s truck before and after the funeral. The funeral service was held at about 4 o’clock pm 3 October 1945 with most of our officers and enlisted men present.

[Sgd.] S/ MAXIMO BOOL
T/ MAXIMO BOOL
Major, Commanding Batangas Unit
Fil-American Irregular Troops

A True Copy



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Notes and references:

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


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