Text of Important Documents Issued by Col. Hugh Straughn - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Text of Important Documents Issued by Col. Hugh Straughn

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 is text transcribed from documents issued by Col. Hugh Straughn, the retired U.S. Army officer who founded the Fil-American Irregular Troops. While not directly about the 1st Batangas Regiment, these documents are included because of their overall importance to the guerrilla movement in Luzon.
Guerrilla Files jpeg
[p. 1]

FIL-AMERICAN IRREGULAR TROOPS
SOUTHERN LUZON

June 20th, 1943

GENERAL MEMORANDUM:

Owing to the considerable misinformation that has been directly given to a large number of citizens that have been enrolled into the Military Service, as represented by this organization and its cooperative organizations who have been and are still receiving advice, IT SEEMS ESSENTIAL THAT THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION BE ISSUED, i.e.

1. Each and every officer who has been appointed to commissioned rank and to each and every enlisted man that has been enlisted and inducted into the service, there has been an oath administered, sworn to and signed, BE IT KNOWN: That each and every commission accepted by act or deed carries the following positive agreement: to be sworn to loyalty in every respect to the President of the United States; to the President of the Philippine Commonwealth, not to those individuals but to that office, which in time of war becomes the Supreme Commander of all Military Forces of whatsoever nature. FURTHER, the oath swears obedience to all officers, whosoever appointed over you, and that likewise does not mean to the individual but to the office he commands, and reads in part “I swear to obey all officers, appointed over me.”

2. Organizations of the Irregular Troops are based upon the orders issued by the U.S. War Department, and the territory is that formerly known as the “District of Southern Luzon.” From the first beginning of the Guerrilla Units, when they came under the advice of this Headquarters, SECTORS were assigned, within which organizations would recruit, and definitely instructions given that they would not include any other territory, without prior authority. THIS ORDER IS STILL IN EFFECT.

3. TRANSFER OF OFFICERS OR ENLISTED MEN: Can be accomplished by mutual written approval of the organization commanders concerned, endorsed upon the applications of such personnel, if and when approved by this Headquarters and in no other way.

4. Those organizations that have attached themselves by their own agreement, for advice and other stated reasons, are in every respect required to comply with orders, advice and customs of the service. There are, at this time, five (5) such organizations of which only “Markings” appear in written orders. Numerous requests have been received, stating that units of this organization have been discontinued, disbanded, or no longer functioning. It ordinarily would be a Court Martial offense for any person connected with the military service to make such a statement. Information comes from not less than three (3) separate and distinct sources, that organizations are attempting to ruin the morale of some officers and enlisted men and cause them to sign oaths of officers or as enlisted men with the other organization. It seems sufficient to remind those concerned, THAT SUCH AND OFFENSE IS CONDUCT TO THE PREJUDICE OF GOOD ORDER AND DISCIPLINE, and that trial and proof is retroactive, and that the sentence upon conviction is mandatory.

[p. 2]

5. There have been no organizations [unreadable] or those subscribing thereto, that has been discontinued, mishandled or in any way overlooked in the preparatory requirements for Zero Hour.

6. Believing that Organization Commanders or their subordinate commanders and enlisted men have been passing misinformation through ERRORS OF JUDGMENT, due to overzealous desires to as large a following as may be possible, [unreadable] TO ONCE MORE [unreadable] ALL UNITS [unreadable] PAST. Other than to fill existing vacancies. That no outside Units would be taken into our commands without the most careful consideration based upon records accompanying the request.

7. Again, it is most necessary that all Commanders be careful to not commit misinformation, without their taking corrective action. THE TIME IS COMING! and the plans for distribution of all our Troops, are at the present moment in the hands of three (3) General Officers of the USAFFE who have the complete adjustment and assignments from the date they announce as preparation ZERO HOUR. This respect, let it again be positively known and understood, that the undersigned will not be among those considered for Field Command, because of OVER THE AGE LIMIT.

[Sgd.] Hugh Straughn
Colonel U.S.A. 02515

Copies to all organizations FAIT.

MVA
ROT
Mil
Bio
Eng.
I.C. & secret units.

[p. 3]

FILIPINO-AMERICAN IRREGULAR TROOPS June 15th, 1943

GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS MEMORANDUM

THE TIME IS COMING… It is more essential at this time than heretofore for each and every officer to secure all the necessary information and data that will be of aid or use to themselves and our reinforcement troops.

Since it seems inadvisable to place on record the definitely assigned units of organization of FAIT and those belonging under the advice of this command, for military secrecy, it is intentionally left out and must be considered no slight.

THIS WARNING MEMORANDUM is to stress the importance of the real need to get closer together, more prompt reports, accuracy, coordination and cooperation. In fact, we add as an additional reminder: One for ALL and ALL for one. VICTORY.

Clean out the bad feelings, if any, follow the advice that has been given. Eliminate jealous talk and remember THAT no quibbling must be permitted in official circles. Build for one purpose, make your own and your men’s morale the highest possible and spread this throughout your Sectors for our loyal citizens. Our aims are one and the same. Our cause is just and the same, therefore give your brother officers credit for being honest, loyal and efficient, as you wish to be considered your own self. Don’t set yourself up as a critic, THERE IS ONLY ONE PERMITTED and he may be replaced by higher commanders any time. Don’t cherish that which belongs to another command. Don’t infringe and attempt to take or belittle what your brother officers have attempted to build. Perhaps, your own backyard is still unclean. (Time will tell.) If there are any differences, iron them out by a conference, if time permits. If no time, then you must give the other fellow the full considerations, as being just as good as you are and, perhaps, just a shade better. DON’T try to claim these things which are untrue, because there is always a light shining and there are many thousand reports on file, and all of these reports are not talk BUT proof.

Your attention is especially directed to General Orders dated June 14th, 1943.

[Sgd.] Hugh Straughn
Colonel U.S.A. 02515

[p. 4]

FIILIPINO-AMERICAN IRREGULAR TROOPS JUNE 14, 1943

GENERAL ORDERS:

1. Let there be no further mistaken ideas.
The above designation is official, of record in the bureaus of the Government of the United States and of the Philippine Islands, and will not be changed or altered, other than to use authorized abbreviations.

2. For the general information: Marking’s Guerrillas came into existence through the combination of some forty-five (45) residents of Manila, who took vacation out of Manila, when the Japanese took over control of the city. The leader was chosen by his men and acted as a freelance until the latter part of May 1942, when accompanied by eleven men, this leader appeared at my house and made a proposition towards the taking over of the direct handling of this unit, which was becoming larger as days went by. It was agreed THAT I, Hugh Straughn, Colonel U. S. Army, 02515, would take upon my official responsibility the advising and directing by advice the cementing this guerrilla unit, to come within the scope of a military organization but remain an independent unit under its commander. Thus, Marking’s Guerrillas became and has so remained under advice of the undersigned military commander, with it definitely made a part of the agreement that he would operate as an independent Field Commander until the arrival of the reinforcement troops, when at such time, his identity would be that as was this headquarters. Instructions have frequently been issued to cause this organization to operate within the Laws of the United States and the Philippine Islands, both military and civil, and thus making it apparently plain that Marking’s Guerrillas remained and independent unit and the commander thereof, entirely responsible for all the acts of his personnel and command. That all credit for things accomplished by said organization would go to that unit, in due time of happening and that all commissioned officers, appointments or promotions, would be signed at this headquarters.

THIS STILL REMAINS WITHOUT CHANGE.

3. The undersigned, Hugh Straughn, left Manila under a special assignment duty on December 4th, 1941, and proceeded to the designation as per letter dated November 15th, 1941. On December 23rd, 1941, a message was received of a state of war existing in the Philippine Islands. That Hugh Straughn was ordered from retirement status to active duty under rank of Colonel of Infantry and assigned as Intelligence in the Field.

4. FAIT came into existence because of the large number of loyal citizens of the Philippine Islands, who desired to be prepared for future service, all believing in the certainty of the redemption of these Philippine Islands. The ordinary citizenry, from the commencement of organization, desired a name other than Marking’s Guerrillas, and thus voted for Filipino-American Irregular Troops, Southern Luzon (Including Manila and all provinces of the Island of Luzon south, as per former W. D. designation).

[p. 5]

5. No unit of FAIT nor of Marking’s Guerrillas, or other units now belonging to and under the advice and direction of this Headquarters, have ever been given police authority nor assigned to control over any section of the Philippine Islands. No officer can honestly have any such mistaken ideas. Our units of organization are primarily military, assigned to specific duties and preparations for the reinforcement troops AND definitely and fully covered in orders from the beginning that they had no civil functions. That the citizens coming into a military unit was then definitely under orders and subject to be trained under a regulation for a purpose.

Each Unit, however, was given an Area for special work of building an organization and no grant of other powers of any nature.

Unfortunately, some organizations have failed to keep their assignments in mind, and are hereby reminded that they will be the commanders who must answer.

[Sgd.] Hugh Straughn
Colonel U.S. Army 02515


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

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