Sgt. Bernacki’s Sample Interviews with Members of the 1st Batangas Regiment - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Sgt. Bernacki’s Sample Interviews with Members of the 1st Batangas Regiment

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 are a sampling of interviews conducted by US Army personnel with alleged members of the 1st Batangas Regiment at Pallocan, Batangas.
Guerrilla Files jpeg

[p. 1]

Sample interviews conducted at Pallocan, Batangas Aug 28, 29, 30 by T/Sgt Frank Bernacki

1. Rafael Beltran. Capt with Batangas Guerrilla Unit under Maj Maximo Bool, the CO of same unit. He was the executive officer of the organization. He is a former Philippine Army soldier, QMC. He is 28 yrs of age, has a High School education. Jones organization Jan 1943 – Claims he had 15 arms (pistols). Says General Bays is CO of FAIT. He and 15 of his men attached themselves to a unit of PQOG and had a skirmish with Japs on Verde Island. Beltran and his men were never attached to an US Army Unit. Has men working with Base R. Men got jobs individually.

2. Hilarion Makatangay - is the CO of Company A – 137 men in organization, joined Maj Bool Oct 1943 as 1st Lt, is Industrial of Arts teacher, claims 12 rifles (Jap & American). Did intelligence work – did not fight Japs, claims Bonifacio Araullo took command of Fil-American Irregular Troops after Col Straughn was captured. Has no men attached to US Army.

3. Ricardo Santos, 1st Lt – S-4 of Batangas Unit FAIT – Joined organization on Jan 1, 1944 by Maj Bool, military training 2 yrs ROTC. Worked before war with Surigao Construction Mining Co. Did intelligence work and claims he sent them to Hq of Maj Bool. 1st heard of Gen Bays May 1945 thru the newspaper.

4. Macario Bathan, 26 yrs of age – Squad leader of G company, has 50 men and 12 arms (rifles). Claims he had 5 months military training before war and was with the 41st Div Phil Army in Bataan until surrender, Apr 9, 1942. First heard of Gen Bays, Jan 1945. Did help civilian population to evacuate to mountains, also did intelligence work. No men with US Army.

5. Nicolas Bool, 2nd - 31 yrs of age – Doesn’t know what his duties were in organization but claims 60 men, no arms. Claims ROTC military training in High School. Story very faint. During interviews, was coached answering my questions.

6. Nicasio Achico - Executive Officer Batangas Unit FAIT Hq.

7. Eleuterio Magadia, 29 yrs of age – 2nd Lt – Assistant S-2. He was a Sgt in Phil Army and was in Bataan until surrender Apr 9, 1942. Had 1 yr service before war. Worked with American troops but couldn’t tell me what he did or the organization he worked with.

8. Marcelo Cabitac, 2nd Lt, 39 yrs of age, occupation before war was clerk of First Instance, Batangas. Joined organization on April 16, 1943. Claims Maj Lim was commander of Fil-American Irregular Troops and later Gen Bays. Claims command of 20 men, had 2 carbines, 11 Jap rifles & 8 US Army Springfields. Does not claim to of had any combat with Japs. Claims he has the guns in his possession now.

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FAIT
Company E located at Lobo, Batangas.

1. Severo A. Ilagan, 2nd Lt, 33 yrs of age – Platoon Leader, has 36 men, none of his men are ex-USAFFE. Education high school and 1 yr Philippine Arts and Trade School. Was 5th and 6th grade school teacher Adriatico Memorial School in the island of Mindoro. Jointed Batangas Unit FAIT on Jan 20, 1943, recruited by Maj Mercado. Had military training & taught close order drill to his classes at his school. He also claims he taught his men jungle warfare. 1943, he claims that US planes dropped leaflets and propaganda sheets to the people in Batangas, also aided civ to evacuate to mountains, who were scared to live with the Japs in the town.
1944, spread propaganda & kept training his men in jungle fighting. 1945, claims he helped American troops when they landed in Lobo but doesn’t know what units of the American forces that his unit aided, says he and his men loaded and unloaded barges and carried supplies and also guided American troops. Took all orders from Maj Mercado.

2. Vicente Ilagan, Sgt, Supply, 21 yrs of age, joined 20, 1943 Company E in Lobo, Batangas, has 7 yrs of schooling. Worked as a caramita [carromata] driver before war. He did not know the duties of supply and he did not know his CO, all he knows is that he is a Sgt.

3. Rufino M. Carmona, Sgt., Platoon Leader, E Company. Joined organization Jan 20, 1943, his CO was Jacinto Maranan. He is a fisherman, has 4 yrs schooling. Had 34 men, claims he had military training before war, 5 months as a draftee of Philippine Army.

1943 Borrowed guns, rifles from civ cops & then fight Japs at night.

1944 sent intelligence reports on Jap movements to his CO, Capt Jacinto Maranan.

1945, He & his men helped American troops but cannot name the unit or the CO.

After interviewing these 3 men, I cannot see how they could have had an organization.


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

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