The Fil-American Irregular Troops or FAIT was a large guerrilla organization founded by the retired United States Army Colonel Hugh Straughn and had many affiliate units in Southern Luzon, including Batangas. The 6th Infantry Regiment, McKinley Division, which operated in the town of Lemery, was one of these. In this page is a transcription1 of the prose version of the History and enumeration of activities of the 6th Infantry Regiment as submitted to the United States Army with the application for official recognition.
UNITED STATES PHILIPPINE ISLANDS FORCES
FIL-AMERICAN IRREGULAR TROOPS
UNDER COL. HUGH STRAUGHN, 02515
SOUTH CENTRAL LUZON
HEADQUARTERS 6ᵗʰ INFANTRY REGMT.
HISTORY AND ACTIVITIES OF THE 6th INFANTRY
The nucleus of the 6th Infantry Regiment was organized by me with the aid of Perpetuo L. Venturanza and Dominador R. Encarnado, both of Lemery, Batangas, after a secret meeting and conference, with D. V. Baquilar, who came to organize a unit of the Fil-Americans in the Province of Batangas, in the latter part of 1942.
Upon receiving my appointment as a 2nd Lt. from Colonel Hugh Straughn, 02515, retired US Army officer, from his headquarters in the mountains of Malaya, in Jallajalla, Pililla, Rizal, I was instructed to proceed immediately to the Province of Batangas to organize a unit of the McKinley Division, formerly known as the McKinley Brigade, under the command of Col. Hugh Straughn. I was recommended by D. V. Baquilar, who was also organizing another unit in the town of Calaca, to 1st Lt. Antonio of the USAFFE, who in turn recommended me to his two intimate friends, the above-mentioned persons, both residing in Lemery, Batangas. We recruited our members from the towns of Lemery, Taal and San Luis. The expansion of our unit was very rapid that, at about the middle of 1943, we were able to form a regiment which was made by the McKinley Brigade Hq as the 6th Infantry, with headquarters in the town of Lemery, Batangas, and I was subsequently appointed as the regimental commander.
The aim of the organization was to undermine, obstruct and foil every attempt of the Japanese stationed in said town to completely subjugate the Filipino people in cooperating with them, and to pave the way for the coming of the Americans, and to fight with them side by side in the final battle for the liberation of our country. From the time of its organization in 1942 to the landing of the American forces in Batangas, we limited our activities to morale boosting, sabotage, and fought the enemy throughout the period of occupation in sporadic minor skirmishes, characterized by well-timed highway ambushes, and all-around hit-and-run guerrilla tactics. When the Americans finally landed in the Province of Batangas, we joined them in mopping up operations until the surrender of the Japanese forces in the Philippines.
I was very fortunate enough to have the two above-mentioned men as my members for they were the most recognized citizens, and leaders of the town. It is not to give praise to members of my command for what they had done but it is a great tribute to have such men with greater stakes in the war, who believe in the principles of true democracy, freedom, and good government, men who who are willing to abandon the ease and comfort of life and trades in their town, in preference to live in privations, hunger and possible death in the jungles, and in the hands of the Japanese Army, for the cause to which the United States and all freedom-loving countries have been fighting for.
COMPOSITION AND MEMBERSHIP
To provide subsistence to the FAIT and indigent families, and so as not to aggravate the economic conditions of the civilians by depending entirely upon them for subsistence, and because the Province of Batangas has always depended upon Mindoro to augment her rice supply, a fighting supply unit was organized in Mindoro to provide food for the organization.
Discipline within the organization and its relation with the civilians was strictly enforced, so much so that there has not been a single case where civilians had been dispossessed of their material goods, but on the contrary, on their own volition had contributed from time to time to the support of the FAIT. In return for such magnificent [a] gesture from the civilians, the FAIT had avoided skirmishes with the Japanese in places where they might retaliate upon the civilians.
Sometime in 1943, the Blue Eagle Regiment under the overall command of Col E. Alabastro began recruiting men from the towns of Lemery, Taal and San Luis. P. L. Venturanza, one of the organizers of the FAIT in Lemery, was prevailed upon to join the Blue Eagle, without prejudice to his leadership in the FAIT. Since there could be no cause for rivalry and jealousy between the two organizations in the three towns, and because he knew he would be leaving his share in the dual leadership in the FAIT in the capable hands of his co-organizer, P. L. Venturanza joined the Blue Eagle, leaving the leadership of the FAIT to D. R. Encarnado. The two organizations worked and fought side by side towards a common goal – the liberation of the Philippines from the enemy.
1. Spreading of tacks and putting nails on thin boards with points up on provincial roads in places far from centers of population. Quite a number of Jap trucks had been delayed from time to time because of blown-out tires. Incidentally, advising the civilians to wear wooden shows (bakyas), thus boosting the manufacture of same.
2. Sending FAIT men to work as cotton pickers, helpers in cotton plantations in the three towns, to steal and crush cotton seeds, nip the flower buds, steal cotton in small quantities to prevent discovery, and mix ammonium sulphate with the roots which killed the plants in two weeks.
3. With the consent of civilian owners, FAIT men helped in the transferring of work animals, livestock and horses to remote places to prevent confiscation by the Japs, calculated to starve the Japs.
4. By sending FAIT men to work as mechanics and helpers in machine shops and dock yards in Nazareto, Calapan, Mindoro, in order to steal and destroy screws, bolts, nuts and other machine parts, in such quantities that their absence would not be readily noticed, and mix water with gasoline and alcohol that the Japs used in their motors.
5. Advising sugar planters not to plant sugarcane in their fields in order to minimize the manufacture and production of alcohol.
6. Rending barrio roads and byways impassable to Jap trucks, by placing logs, boulders and digging pits and later covered with leaves and small branches of trees to serve as traps for Jap patrols, incidentally warning the civilians of the presence of these pits, and placing the FAIT men near the premises.
7. Advising the civilians to give – because they could not refuse – their sickly livestock and fowls when the Japs demanded their quota of food, which they exacted from the civilians to augment their food supply.
8. By conniving with Filipino helpers employed in Jap kitchens to mix ground glass with the sugar that the Japs used.
9. By dismantling of carts, karitelas, and push carts to prevent confiscation by the Japs, and transferring of those that would be needed for civilian use to places inaccessible to the Japs.
10. Hiding of sails and rudders of sailboats, oars, paddles and outriggers of fishing boats to prevent usage by the Japs in the latter part of 1944, when the relentless bombings by U.S. planes had sunk most of the Jap boats.
11. Ripping open the bottoms of fish corrals in [the] Pansipit River near the lake, to liberate the fish which otherwise would be food for the Japs. This work necessitated work at night by swimmers.
12. Supplying FAIT men to the Japs in the construction of wooden bridges and furnishing them with wooden materials that easily deteriorate under the weather and favorite food for the termites.
13. Advising civilians when demanded by the Japs to give bamboos, to furnish the Japs with inferior-cut out-of-season bamboos palatable to termites.
14. Putting FAIT men in key positions in the Neighborhood Association to facilitate espionage and sabotage work.
15. Advising civilians and FAIT men to eat in the raw sugarcane in excess of the need for the manufacture of muscovado sugar which the civilians used.
1. By sending FAIT men from time to time ostensibly to purchase needed things for the organization but actually to spy on the number of Jap troops, trucks and locations of their camps and headquarters in the towns.
2. By sending FAIT men as workers in the construction of the tunnel in barrio Sinisian, Lemery, so as to ascertain the capacity of the tunnel and general defense work. The tunnel was originally intended by the Japs as a hideout retreat but was never used.
3. By allowing some FAIT men to join the forced labor in the construction of landing fields in Lipa, Batangas, so as to ascertain the general workout, conditions, plans of the airfield, and the number of planes stationed in the area from time to time.
4. By placing FAIT men in key positions in the Neighborhood Association for general espionage and sabotage work, so as to counteract the activities of the associations.
5. Stationing some FAIT men along beaches to spy on the movement of Jap ships in the bay, and helping in the loading and unloading of arms and ammunition in a combined espionage and sabotage work.
6. Permitting some of our intelligence men to enroll in Niponggo classes in order to be able to speak and write Niponggo the better to conduct intelligence and espionage work.
1. When P. L. Venturanza went to Manila in November 1944, to secure the latest news from the United States through shortwave in order to boost the wavering morale of our men and to counteract the insidious effect of the blatant Jap propaganda, he was arrested by Jap MP’s in the Filipinas Hotel. For two weeks, he was tortured in a cell at the Far Eastern University Building in a futile effort to extract information from him anent his connection with the guerrilla movement in Batangas. He was finally released on December 17, 1944, and he immediately injected fresh vigor and enthusiasm into his men when rejoined the organization.
2. On one of the missions when Lieut. Numeriano Almanzor, FAIT Marine officer, and some of his men were in Calapan, Mindoro, trying to load palay for the organization’s supply in Batangas, they were arrested by the Japs in Calapan as guerrilla suspects. For four months, they suffered untold hardships in the Calapan Garrison, and to cap it all, the wife and infant son of Almanzor were also incarcerated in the effort to weaken Almanzor into confession. Failing to get any positive proof that they were guerrillas, the Japs finally released them. Almanzor resumed his work of bringing in palay from Mindoro throughout the occupation.
RELATIVE INCIDENTS (Cont’d)
3. Demetrio Villanueva, a FAIT corporal, was at one night in Lemery on espionage work. At the foot of the Taal-Lemery Bridge, he was challenged to halt by two Jap sentries. He stopped, and whether by design or not, he asked the Japs for a light to his cigarette. The Jap gave him his lighted cigarette, letting go [of ] his rifle to lean against the iron rail of the bridge. The rifle proved to be too much a temptation to Villanueva, who grabbed it and thrust the bayonet into the stomach of the Jap who died on the spot. The other Jap received a bayonet thrust through the leg and shoulder but was able to run away. Cpl. Villanueva, sensing the gravity of his act, fled to barrio Boboy, San Luis. The organization’s staff knew of the incident late that night, and at once met in a secret conference. There were those who condemned Villanueva for killing the Japs in the town, as it might prove disastrous to the civilians, but the act being a fait accompli, the staff decided to send succor to Villanueva by supplying him a boat that would send him to Mindoro to join our unit there. Unfortunately, the proposed help came too late as the civilians in barrio Boboy, threatened by the loss of their homes and perhaps lives, pointed the hiding place of Villanueva to the Japs. Thus was our first casualty – and the birth of a hero as yet unsung.
1. FAIT men under Capt. C. Macalalad had ambushed three Japs near the Baruyan River, in barrio Tubigan, Calapan, Mindoro, and later, after cutting off the legs and arms of the Japs, which they threw to feed the crocodiles that abound in the river, the bodies were weighted with stones and thrown into the sea. Our men bribed two sickly women to bring the rifles to the Japs in Calapan and to explain that they saw the three Japs trying to cross the river but were attacked and eaten by crocodiles. The Japs who came to investigate the place had a field day shooting crocodiles; they killed one and, ripping open the stomach of the croc, they found leg and arm bones of their missing comrades. They ate the croc and released the women.
2. When Capt. Kabayashi of the Calapan Garrison asked for some Filipino guides to lead two squads of Japs to find a shortcut through Mt. Halcon to San Jose, FAIT supplied two Mangyans for the purpose. After two weeks in the jungles, the Mangyans slipped away one night and abandoned the Japs and some Filipino Constabulary men to shift for themselves. The Japs and Filipinos died of starvation, fatigue and exposure. When [a] search expedition was dispatched to locate the missing men, they located some of the men, but cut the hand of Capt. Kabayashi from the wrist and brought to town for burial.
3. When a Jap bomber was shot down in the vicinity of Baco, Mindoro by two U. S. planes in the latter part of 1944, some of our FAIT men were at hand to finish off the Jap crew of the fallen plane. They extricated the Japs from the burning plane, got their pistols and canteen cups and then threw back the Japs to the burning plane.
1. In November 1944, FAIT sent its Capt. H. Encarnacion, who is an experienced radio operator, to Looc, Nasugbu to contact Major Jay D. Vanderpool and to offer his services. For two weeks, he transmitted to and received messages from Leyte, San Jose Mindoro, Cavite and Manila. Through FAIT runners, he furnished our organization with vital and up-to-the-minute information.
2. On January 30, 1945, FAIT received [an] order from Maj. Jay D. Vanderpool to be ready to help unload ships. FAIT men under Capt. H. Encarnacion helped in the unloading of supplies and ammunition the following days.
3. On January 31, 1945, FAIT under Capt. H. Encarnacion, with modern arms helped in the mopping up operations against retreating Japs in the mountains of Wawa; Japs retreated to barrio Looc with [the] FAIT after them.
4. When the 158 American Division [more correctly, the 158the Regimental Combat Team] arrived in Lemery, March 6, 1945, FAIT helped the Americans in setting up their tents and clearing grounds for camp sites. In the mopping up operations in Mabini, Mt. Makulot and Mt. Durungao, FAIT fought side by side with the Blue Eagle Regiment.
5. When the Japs shelled the town of Lemery, FAIT helped put out fires in the town. Lieut. Jose Encarnacion, FAIT Communications Officer, with Capt. C. Arboleda, helped Lieut. Sharkey of the 158 American Division install [a] radio telephone in the tower of Taal Church to determine the range of Jap artillery coming from Mts. Makulot and Durungao, and to direct the counter-artillery fire from the Americans.
6. FAIT was busy helping put out fires in the barrios of Munlawin, Buli, Mahabang Ludlod, Cultihan, Maabod and Pansipit, Taal, where the retreating Japs set fire to the houses. Three Japs who were busy putting the torches to the houses in barrio Maabod were shot and killed by FAIT men and their carcasses thrown to the flames which they themselves lit. Some of our men suffered bruises and minor burns in putting out fires. Job for our doctor.
7. Jose Lualhate, FAIT Intelligence Officer, with his child clasped to his breast, was shot and killed by a Jap while on his way from barrio Maabod, Taal, to warn our men in Pansipit that Japs were on the way.
8. A courier warned FAIT in barrios Subic and Panghulan that two Jap groups were coming in from two opposite directions – one from Pansipit, Taal, and one from Lemery to burn the two barrios. FAIT, in collaboration with the Blue Eagle men, set fire to dry cogon grass and rice stacks piled like hay stacks all around the approaches to the two barrios. The Japs did not proceed, each group apparently believing that the other group had already set fire to the barrios.
9. When the 11th Airborne Division arrived in Lemery on the 16th of March 1945, we answered the call of Lt. A.P. McDonald by offering our services in mopping up operations against the enemy in the towns of Cuenca, Alitagtag, and Lipa, Batangas.
10. After the liberation of the Province of Batangas, and after the surrender of Japan, we were told to return to our Hq. in the town of Lemery and wait for the call for processing. Meanwhile, as we are still waiting for our processing, we maintain our organization intact up to the present date pending our recognition.
[Sgd.] FAUSTINO E. VARGAS
Notes and references:
Lt. Col. Commanding Officer
FAIT South Central Luzon
Infantry Regt, McKinley Division, FAIT,” File No. 275-13, online at the United States National Archives.