Philippine Scout Corporal Fernando Baltazar of the 45th Infantry was honored August 14, 2007 at the Arlington National Cemetery by an eight-man military guard/flag bearer, a seven-man firing party, a bugler, and a headstone marker beautifully placed on a gentle rolling slope corner.
Corporal Baltazar survived Abucay but was later killed at Quinauan point 65 years ago. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. It was his grandson Gregg Baltazar Timbol who contacted the National Battle Monuments Commission thru the advice of Maxine McLean a PSHS member and daughter of Corporal Baltazar's commander that made this occassion possible.
The service was officiated by Chaplain Horton and supporting Gregg as he receive the flag and acting as his grandmother was Mrs. Olive Rosen, wife of the late Col. Melvin Rosen (God bless her for coming and her support). The former Philippine Defense Attache and now Veterans Affairs official General Lorenzana and Philippine Embassy Cultural Attache Rico Fos was present, so as ACFV Executive Director Eric Lachica. And of course me and my entire family, my wife Marylou, and my two daughters Kathryn and Kristine who were dressed up in their Naval Sea Cadet whites showed our full support.
After the ceremony, we were all invited by General Lorenzana to the Philippine Embassy were he presented Gregg the Philippine Defense Medal for his grandfather.
It was indeed a very nice day. My thanks to my wife for calling her contacts at the embassy and on such a short notice and made the occassion meaningfull.
Hi Donald, Thanks for the update. I hope you can post some pictures of the solemn event. Here is a re-post of background information about it:
Filipino War Hero to be Remembered at Arlington National Cemetery…
After six years of sometimes frustrating effort, Gregg Baltazar Timbol received an important post card: “This is to inform you that the memorial marker has been received at Arlington National Cemetery.”
Sixty years ago Gregg’s Filipino grandfather, Corporal Fernando Baltazar, was killed in action fighting for the United States at the beginning of World War II. On January 23, 1942 Corporal Baltazar’s unit, the 45th Infantry Regiment, Philippine Scouts, was ordered into the front line on Luzon Island in the Philippines to attack a Japanese regiment that made an amphibious landing on the rocky cliffs of Bataan Peninsula in the dead of night.
The battle raged on in the dense jungle for more than a week and although the 45th was ultimately successful in driving the Japanese force back over the cliffs and into the sea, many men were killed. Corporal Baltazar’s body was never recovered. The Army posthumously awarded him the Bronze Star for his bravery in combat, and the Purple Heart for his fatal wounds.
Fernando’s three young daughters were left orphans and there was no one to arrange a memorial service for him.
Having heard the story of his grandfather’s bravery as he was growing up, Gregg Baltazar Timbol, decided to do something about it. He began in 2000 by applying for U.S. citizenship for his grandfather. Non-citizen soldiers killed in action in the U.S. Army are sometimes eligible for posthumous citizenship, a special honor which does not convey benefits but recognizes the soldier’s personal sacrifice.
The application was first delayed, then denied because a fire at the National Personnel Records Center in 1973 had destroyed Fernando Baltazar’s Army records. Gregg re-submitted the application through Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office and it has again been denied, but Gregg is submitting another appeal.
During this process Maxine McLean, a member of the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society whose father commanded Fernando Baltazar’s unit, urged Gregg to contact the National Battle Monuments Commission to see if his grandfather could be honored at Arlington National Cemetery.
Gregg submitted the application on April 30, and got a quick response. Just after the 4th of July, 2007 Arlington installed a marker commemorating Corporal Fernando Baltazar. On August 14 Gregg, his family, and any others who wish to join them will attend a U.S. Army memorial service at Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, D.C., honoring the bravery and sacrifice of Corporal Fernando Baltazar, more than sixty years ago.
Corporal Fernando Baltazar, right, pictured with his cousin Private Pablo Betones in 1941
Gregg Baltazar Timbol has worked more than six years to honor his grandfather’s bravery
You're right Victor, It's just the headstone. There are a lot of those in that particular section of the cemetery.
I just want to update you guys, the funeral for the late Col. Melvin Rosen will be on the 18th of October. There will be full military honors for our very own (one of the original founder of the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society). He was an officer of the 88th Field Artillery PS who supported Corporal Baltazar's 45th Infantry at the Battle of the Points.
Hi there Philip. No we did not get to meet him, he was not able to come due to his health condition. He was however represented by his son.
Col. Mel Rosen passed away on the 1st of August 2007. A Jewish memorial service was held at Fort Belvoir chapel in Virginia. And as I mentioned previously, the funeral/burial will be on October 18 at 11:00, at the Arlington National Cemetery. I'll be there and Gregg will be trying this best come too. If you notice how distant the date is, it's because of the long list of veterans passing away.
As you can see in the pictures I posted, Mrs. Rosen came to show her full support for Cpl. Baltazar's memorial. I came to know her several years ago while she was taking photographs of the wreath laying ceremony for the anniversary of the fall of Bataan at the World War II memorial in Washington DC. She's a good friend and supporter of the Filipinos and holds a great respect for the Philippine Scouts.
I suggest we start another thread to honor this tough old man, survivor of Bataan, the death march, three hell ships including the Oryoku Maru. A hero to both America and the Philippines.
Here is an article about Col. Rosen: ------------------- As reported in the Washington Post:
Melvin Herbert Rosen, died August 1, 2007. As a captain in the U.S. Army, he marched 65 miles in four days without food or water in the tropical heat of the Phillipines and survived. During his capitivity as a POW of the Japanese he endured crowded, unsanitary and treacherous conditions aboard three Japanese freighters known as "hell ships." The first two unmarked ships became targets for U.S. Navy dive bombers, which sank the ships and forced the POWs on board to swim for their lives. Some POWs died in the attacks. Japanese soldiers rounded up the others.
By the time Col. Rosen was on the last of the ships, the Brazil Maru, the daily death toll had begun to escalate from 20 to 40, Col. Rosen recounted in an oral history for the U.S.-Japan Dialogue on POWs.
"Now we were sailing in the East China Sea with snow coming in our open hatch. Men froze to death, died of starvation, died of thirst, and died of myriad of diseases," he said. "I had managed to keep my West Point class ring hidden, but now traded it to a Japanese guard for half a canteen of oily water."
He was liberated Sept. 10, 1945, at a camp in Inchon, Korea, by the Army's 7th Division.
Col. Rosen, who never forgot his treatment as a POW, was the lead plaintiff in a federal lawsuit in 2001 seeking $1 trillion in reparations from Japan for Americans killed or wounded in the war. He testified in Japan for the suit, though nothing came of it, said his wife, Olive O. Rosen of Falls Church.
Col. Rosen, the son of immigrants from Czarist Russia, was born in Gloucester, Mass. He graduated from high school as class valedictorian and relished his time as a cadet captain and company commander in the Junior ROTC.
"He absolutely fell in love with the military and everything that had to do with it," his wife said.
He finished high school at 16 and was awarded a full-tuition academic scholarship to MIT in 1935. After his first year, he took a competitive examination for a congressional appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and was placed on a waiting list. When two contenders ahead of him failed to meet entrance requirements, he enrolled at West Point in 1936.
At the time, incoming cadets had to choose between mandatory Catholic or Protestant church services. Rosen, who was Jewish, attended Protestant services on Sundays and joined a small group of other Jewish cadets who gave up their free time on Saturday afternoons to attend voluntary Jewish services in the office of the Protestant chaplain. This was the genesis of the first Jewish cadet chapel squad at West Point.
After graduating from West Point in 1940, the young Army officer requested and received duty in the Field Artillery at Fort Stotsenburg in the Philippines. In January 1941, he was assigned to the Philippine Scouts, where, as a second lieutenant, he organized and commanded E Battery, 2nd Battalion, 88th Field Artillery.
By year's end, he was in combat. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, he fought for nearly four months during the Battle of Bataan. When the peninsula was surrendered April 9, 1942, Col. Rosen and other American and Filipino soldiers were forced to make the infamous death march.
Afterward, he was sent to the Davao Penal Colony, where he was kept for 2 1/2 years -- planting, weeding and harvesting rice and working as a lumberjack.
Col. Rosen was awarded the Silver Star, Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal and numerous other service medals. In 1990, the king of Norway, Olav V, awarded the Saint Olav Medal to Col. Rosen and his wife.
He also was honored in May 2002 during a Memorial Day concert on the Mall, which marked the 60th anniversary of the march.