National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day

Today, April 9, 2014, American President Barack Obama proclaimed National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day, and asked “…all Americans to observe this day of remembrance by honoring all American prisoners of war, our service members, and our veterans.”

 
This day is fitting to remember the sacrifice of all who served in the Fil-Am forces on Bataan. When Bataan fell on April 9, 1942, it resulted in the largest single group of American troops ever surrendered to an enemy, some 12,000, along with 76,000 Filipino soldiers serving in the U.S. forces on Bataan.

 
Now as for the commemoration on this day, one might be forgiven if there is confusion between this day of commemoration, and the September observance of National POW/MIA Recognition Day. To help sort this out, here is some background which might help understand this matter. Or perhaps add to the confusion! Either way, it is important to honor those members of our armed forces who were formerly prisoners of the enemy, and to honor their service and sacrifice in adversity.

 
Efforts to formally recognize former POWs and those still Missing in Action (MIAs) on a national level began on July 18, 1979, when a ceremony was held at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

 
In July, 1984, a National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony was held at the White House, hosted by President Ronald Reagan.

 
Reflecting the tragic statistic of the number of captives on Bataan, former Prisoners of War (POWs) sought to have April 9 established as National Former POW Day. The next commemoration, scheduled for the desired date of April 9, 1985, was cancelled due to inclement weather, a concern that had been expressed with the proposed April 9 date.
On September 19, 1986, a National POW/MIA ceremony was held on the steps of the U.S. Capitol facing the National Mall.

 
Then, on March 28, 1988, the 100th Congress approved Public Law 100-269, which designated April 9, 1988, as National Former Prisoners of War Recognition Day. In this, Congress authorized and requested the president to issue a proclamation to this effect.

 
On April 1, 1988, President Ronald Reagan issued Presidential Proclamation 5788 for National Former Prisoners of War Recognition Day, 1988, to be observed on April 9. In it the emphasis on April 9 was clear: “…It is truly fitting that America observe April 9 in recognition of our former prisoners of war; that date is the 46th anniversary of the day in 1942 when U.S. forces holding out on the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines were captured. Later, as prisoners of war, these gallant Americans were subjected to the infamous Bataan Death March and to other inhumane treatment that killed thousands of them before they could be liberated. In every conflict, brutality has invariably been meted out to American prisoners of war; on April 9 and every day, we must remember with solemn pride and gratitude that valor and tenacity have ever been our prisoners’ response.”

 

Advocates introduced legislation in Congress yearly seeking to designate National POW/MIA Recognition Day as a special commemorative day until 1995, when Congress opted to discontinue considering legislation. Since then, the President has signed an annual proclamation for this day, encouraging citizens to remember and honor the nation’s POWs and MIAs.

 
Congress did get around to formally establish the observation of National POW/MIA Recognition Day on the third Friday in September with the passage of Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act. It is one of six days that the POW/MIA Flag can be flown. (Note: The POW/MIA flag was first recognized by Public Law 101-355 in 1990.)
Every year now, National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremonies are held throughout the country and on military installations around the world, aboard ships at sea, in state capitols, at schools, churches, national veteran and civic organizations, police and fire departments, fire stations, etc., on the third Friday in September. This year’s National POW/MIA Recognition Day commemoration is on Friday, September 19, 2014.

 
As for today, proclaimed as National Former POW Recognition Day, we honor those men and women in uniform who suffered the indignity of captivity while in service of our country. And especially today, we remember the captives of Bataan among them. May we always have such brave men and women willing to serve and if needed, sacrifice their liberty, to protect our country and freedom.

 

 

References
American Ex-Prisoners of War http://www.axpow.org/default.htm
National POW/MIA Recognition Day, Wikipedia entry at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_POW/MIA_Recognition_Day
Presidential Proclamation 5788 — National Former Prisoners of War Recognition Day, 1988, April 1, 1988 http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1988/040188b.htm
Presidential Proclamation — National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day, 2014 http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/04/08/presidential-proclamation-national-former-prisoner-war-recognition-day-2
PUBLIC LAW 100-269—MAR 28, 1988 102 STAT. 43 http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-102/pdf/STATUTE-102-Pg43.pdf
Recognition Day – Background http://www.pow-miafamilies.org/events/recognition-day/recognition-day-background/

 

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Death March Survivor, 104: Days of Valor

Carried from the Manila Bulletin Online

 

Death March Survivor, 104: Days of Valor
By Ellson Quismorio
April 9, 2014
Manila Bulletin
It was a cliché question to ask Lolo Jose given his advanced age, but it was a question that had to be asked.
“What’s your secret for a long life, lolo?” asked this reporter, leaning toward his left ear as he is already hard of hearing.
“Aguray ka (You wait),” Lt. Jose Perez Javier, 104, answered in Ilocano as he gestured me to sit and lend my own ear as he recounted his experiences during World War II (WWII), including the Bataan Death March which he survived in miraculous fashion.

RECALLING WAR EXPLOITS – One-hundred-four-year-old Jose P. Javier recounts his experiences during World War II at his home in Baguio City. (Manila Bulletin, Michael Varcas)

RECALLING WAR EXPLOITS – One-hundred-four-year-old Jose P. Javier recounts his experiences during World War II at his home in Baguio City. (Manila Bulletin, Michael Varcas)

The remark made his 85-year-old wife, Filomena, laugh. “He is not usually like this. He doesn’t talk much,” she said. By that time, the interview, entering its third hour, had turned into a full-blown storytelling session much like when grandchildren would gather around their aged patriarch.

 
Araw Ng Kagitingan

A storytelling session like that pass on the stories of our heroes still living with us, especially one who survived the Bataan Death March on April 9, 1942 – exactly 72 years ago. Bataan fell to the invading Imperial Japanese Army, and along with it the entire Philippines. It is commemorated annually as Araw ng Kagitingan or the Day of Valor.
On that day, some 60,000 to 80,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war (POWs) were made to march 128 kilometers from Mariveles, Bataan to San Fernando, Pampanga. Jose said the unprepared and cruel manner that the Japanese carried out the forced transfer truly made it a “death march.”

 
A Doctor
A medical doctor by profession, Jose joined the war efforts as a lanky 31-year-old in September 1941. He was named executive officer of the 21st Medical Battalion of the 21st Infantry Division under the United States Armed Forces of the Far East (USAFFE) commanded by General Douglas MacArthur.
“I was fighting for my country,” Lolo Jose said of heeding the call to take part in the war. He spoke little Tagalog and preferred to converse in either Ilocano or English.
Despite relying on a walker for mobility, the spectacled Jose still looks like a 70-year-old; his memory, like that of a 40-year-old man. He can recall the full names of some of his comrades in the 21st MB and even their respective hometowns.
He took up medicine between 1929 and 1933 at the University of Santo Tomas (UST). Jose is UST’s oldest living alumnus.

 
Older Brother is 106
Amazingly enough, Jose has an older brother, Fernando, who is 106. According to the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), the two are the oldest living WWII veterans in the country, both having survived the Death March. He had nine siblings in all.
Jose lives in Quezon City with his wife and one of his nine children. Fernando, an engineer, resides in Baguio. They last saw each other on February 19, when Fernando visited the former on his 104th birthday.

 
Death March
Lolo Jose said they marched at least four days non-stop, day and night.
In his book, “A Century’s Journey,” Jose wrote: “For no reason at all or for minor infractions, prisoners were slapped in the face, punched or hit with the butt of rifles. Those who could no longer keep pace in the march, those who were caught trying to escape were given the ultimate treatment—bayoneted or shot.”
In an interview, he said that at that time, he was not aware that his brother was also in the death march. “I only saw him after we arrived at Camp O’Donnell, which had been turned into a concentration camp for POWs.”

 
Lucky ones
It is estimated that as many as 10,000 Filipino POWs perished in the march. “He was one of the lucky ones,” Filomena said of her husband. “God protected him.”
For better or worse, Jose said that he “had many friends in the march, but I did not see them die.”
Asked if he had anything to eat at all during the arduous journey, the centenarian said he had innapoy (rice) just before the march. “Pagkatapos wala na, tubig na lang (Nothing else after that, just water).” He said they were only able to drink water out of cans offered by people along the road who pitied them.

 
I Prayed
A man of unshakeable faith, Jose said he turned to God in this most difficult time. “I prayed and prayed.” It worked even as starvation, exhaustion and disease (dysentery and malaria ran rampant among the POWs) began to cut down the Filipino and American soldiers at a staggering pace.
“I never got sick, there was not even a blister on my foot,” he told the Manila Bulletin.

 
Ferdinand, The Doctor
A fellow soldier whom Lolo Jose vividly recalled was the young 2nd Lt. Ferdinand Marcos, the future Philippine president. Marcos was the 21st Division’s assistant intelligence officer and newsletter editor.
“We were near each other’s detachment,” he said. “He was very friendly, intelligent and brave.”
“There was one time he went to the frontlines by himself and he returned with many wounds. Haan danga pinalubusanen (He was not allowed to go out again),” shared Lolo Jose.
Even then, he said that the people whom the young Marcos worked with in the army “knew that he would be great one day.”

 
3 Fellow Doctors
Three fellow doctors—Dr. Augusto de los Reyes of Manila, Dr. Osmundo Madamba of Dingras, Ilocos Norte and Dr. Juan Itchon of Villasis, Pangasinan—also stood out from his robust wartime memories.
“I want to know if they still have surviving family members. I want to tell them that I was closely associated with [these people] and that by the Grace of God, I am still alive. I send my greetings and best wishes to them.”

 
Hero
Responding to my question on heroes, Lolo Jose reckoned that all the POWs who were forced to participate in the death march should be considered heroes, if only to recognize their gallant sacrifice for the country.
“Hero ak met ah (I’m also a hero),” he said, smiling jovially.
Filomena said that the heroism displayed by Jose all those decades ago makes their entire family swell with pride—and it’s a huge family. Aside from their nine children, they also have 17 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Most of them are now in the United States.

 
Forgiveness
As for the Japanese, Lolo Jose said that it’s only natural to harbor ill feelings toward them after the WWII. “Who wouldn’t get angry with them when they hit you in the head? They were respectful people, but they did not respect their prisoners.”
“But to be angry is tiresome,” he quickly added.
He learned to forgive his former captors during the Javier couple’s extended sojourn in the small island of Okinawa, Japan, which they helped rebuild as civilians following the war. They stayed there for 38 years before retiring and coming home to the Philippines in 1986.
“I went there as a young wife and came back home as a grandmother,” intimated Filomena.

 
Next Time
Lolo Jose, suddenly remembering the unaddressed curiosity I had for his old age, said: “I haven’t answered your question yet. Let’s save that for next time.”
Who could say “no” to someone like Lolo Jose—a living, direct link to WWII and the Bataan Death March, where heroism became an ordinary occurrence?
Source:
http://www.mb.com.ph/death-march-survivor-104-days-of-valor/

‘Bataan has fallen’ piece to be heard on April 9

‘Bataan has fallen’ piece to be heard on April 9
By Ramon Dacawi
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on April 04, 2014.
A WELL-WRITTEN but today little-known broadcast piece announcing the surrender of Filipino and American forces in Bataan on the day of the fall in 1942 will be heard again when the city joins the nation in commemoration rites on April 9.
The piece, oratorical in rhythm and tone, was written by then Lt. Salvador P. Lopez.  It was read by Lt. Norman Reyes on the evening broadcast of “Voice of Freedom” from within the Malinta Tunnel in Corregidor a few hours after Filipino and American defenders surrendered in Bataan on April 9, 1942.
“Good evening everyone everywhere,” the broadcast began.  “This is the Voice of Freedom broadcasting from somewhere in the Philippines.”
That broadcast will be re-lived by a speech chorus of students of the Baguio City National High School who will join surviving war veterans and city officials on the 72nd anniversary of the fall at the Veterans Park along Harrison Road.
The program, chaired by Councilor Peter Fianza, was designed to allow the youth to join the community in paying tribute to the veterans who fought for the liberation of the country and their city from the occupying Japanese forces.
“We owe it to the younger generation to open the opportunity for them to pay their respects to those who fought for the freedom that we all enjoy today,” Fianza said.
In the process, added BCNHS principal Dr. Elma Dona-al, our students will whet their appetites for local and national history and appreciate the significance of the Veterans Park established in 1991.
“Bataan has fallen,” Lt. Reyes began. ”The Philippine-American troops on this war ravaged and bloodstained peninsula have laid down their arms.  With heads bloody but unbowed, they have yielded to the superior force and numbers of the enemy.”
“The world will long remember the epic struggle that Filipino and American soldiers put up in the jungle fastness and along the rugged coast of Bataan.  They have stood up uncomplaining under the constant and grueling fire of the enemy for more than three months.  Besieged on land and blockaded by sea, cut off from all sources of help in the Philippines and in America, the intrepid fighters have done all that human endurance could bear.
“For what sustained them through all these months of incessant battle was a force that was more than merely physical.  It was the force of an unconquerable faith—something in the heart and soul that physical hardship and adversity could not destroy!  It was the thought of native land and all that it holds most dear, the thought of freedom and dignity and pride in these most priceless of all our human prerogatives.
“The adversary, in the pride of his power and triumph, will credit our troops with nothing less than the courage and fortitude that his own troops have shown in battle.  Our men have fought a brave and bitterly contested struggle.  All the world will testify to the most superhuman endurance with which they stood up until the last in the face of overwhelming odds.
“But the decision had to come.  Men fighting under the banner of unshakable faith are made of something more that flesh, but they are not made of impervious steel.  The flesh must yield at last, endurance melts away, and the end of the battle must come.
“Bataan has fallen, but the spirit that made it stand—a beacon to all the liberty-loving peoples of the world—cannot fall!
“All of us know the story of Easter Sunday.  It was the triumph of light over darkness, life over death.  It was the vindication of a seemingly unreasonable faith.  It was the glorious resurrection of a leader, only three days before defeated and executed like a common felon.
“Today, on the commemoration of that Resurrection, we can humbly and without presumption declare our faith and hope in our own resurrection, our own inevitable victory.
“We, too, were betrayed by Judases.  We were taken in the night by force of arms, and though we had done wrong to no man, our people were bound and delivered into the hands of our enemies.  We have been with mock symbols of sovereignty, denied by weaklings, lashed with repeated oppression, tortured and starved.  We have been given gall to drink, and we have shed our blood.  To those who look upon us from afar it must seem the Filipino people have descended into hell, into the valley of death.
But we know that the patient and watching men who said their simple prayers in the hills of Bataan, have not lost faith, and we know that the hushed congregations in the churches throughout the land, drew from the gospel as Mass renewed hope in their resurrection.  To all of them we give today the message of the angel of Easter morning: “Be not afraid, for He is risen.”
“We, too, shall rise.  After we have paid the full price of our redemption, we shall return to show the scars of sacrifices that all may touch and believe.  When the trumpets sound the hour we shall roll aside the stone before the tomb and the tyrant guards shall scatter in confusion.  No wall of stone shall then be strong enough to contain us, no human force shall suffice to hold us in subjection, we shall rise in the name of freedom and the East shall be alight with the glory of our liberation.
“Until then, people of the Philippines, be not afraid.”
Ramon Tuazon, vice-president of the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communications, calls the piece a classic in broadcast journalism.
Source:
http://www.sunstar.com.ph/baguio/local-news/2014/04/03/bataan-has-fallen-piece-be-heard-april-9-336481

Bataan Day

Today, April 9, is “Araw ng Kagitingan,” the “Day of Valor” in the Philippines, a national public holiday. April 9 is the commemoration of the fall of Bataan in World War II.
According to Republic Act 3022, approved 6 April 1961, in Section 1: “The ninth day of April is hereby proclaimed as Bataan Day, and all public officials and citizens of the Philippines are enjoined to observe such day with a one-minute silence at 4:30 o’clock in the afternoon, and to hold appropriate rites in honor of the heroic defenders of Bataan and their parents, wives and/or widows.”
The names of the day and observance day have varied slightly over the years since observance began in 1961, to include calling it Bataan Day, Bataan and Corregidor Day, and Bataan, Corregidor and Besang Pass Day, which gradually expanded the scope of the observance to all defenders of the Philippines who fought for freedom during World War II. But the heart of the commemoration is still focused on Bataan.

The Bataan Memorial Cross rises 302 feet high atop  Mount Samat at the Mount Samat National Shrine.

The Bataan Memorial Cross rises 302 feet high atop Mount Samat at the Mount Samat National Shrine.

According to a report in today’s Manila Bulletin: “Focal point of celebration is the “Dambana ng Kagitingan” atop Mount Samat in Pilar, Bataan, where President Benigno S. Aquino III is expected to speak before an audience of veterans, government officials and workers, and representatives of the United States of America (USA) and Japanese embassies. Nationwide, there will be parades, floral offerings at heroes’ monuments, photo exhibits and showing of films.”

References:
Battle of Bataan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Bataan
Battle of Bessang Pass http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Bessang_Pass
Battle of Corregidor http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Corregidor
Letter of Instruction No. 1087, dated November 26, 1980 http://www.gov.ph/1980/11/26/letter-of-instruction-no-1087-s-1980/
Mount Samat National Shrine http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Samat_National_Shrine
Observance: Commemoration of ‘Araw ng Kagitingan’ https://ph.news.yahoo.com/observance-commemoration-araw-ng-kagitingan-193923284.html
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 3022 – AN ACT PROCLAIMING THE NINTH DAY OF APRIL AS BATAAN DAY AND DECLARING IT AS A LEGAL HOLIDAY http://www.chanrobles.com/republicactno3022.html#.U0SR_lfhCZQ

A salute to the heroes of our glorious past

With the anniversary of the fall of Bataan in 1942 nearly here, it is a time of reflection for many on the meaning of the service and sacrifice of the Fil-Am forces that fought on Bataan. Here is one such thoughtful reflection, carried on April 7, 2014, in The Philippine Star, by Ms. Sara Soliven De Guzman:

A salute to the heroes of our glorious past
AS A MATTER OF FACT By Sara Soliven De Guzman (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 7, 2014 – 12:00am

Sara Soliven de Guzman (Courtesy Philippine Star)

Sara Soliven De Guzman (Courtesy Philippine Star)

I love listening to stories of World War II. My grandmother, father, mother, uncles and aunties had their many versions of “war” stories. Many of them were from a personal point of view while the rest were recollections of the stories they heard from other relatives and friends during that period.
The Japanese Occupation occurred between 1942 and 1945. During that time, my parents were still in their pre-teenage years. The memories of the war were quite vivid to them. It continues to linger in their hearts and minds. My mother lost her father when the Japanese killed him somewhere in Manila. My father lost his father who was part of the Death March and contracted malaria after his release from prison. My Uncle Lito lost both his mother and father. Our house in Singalong, Manila was a safe place. Many people tried to hide there but my grandmother and her siblings were scared to accommodate too many of them. My father said that as a teenager, he killed a Japanese. My mother would tell me stories of how their food was rationed. They would fall in line to get food and hide inside their attic so as not to be seen by the Japanese. Such was the life then. It was a difficult one but it made them strong.
This week we are celebrating that glorious past of our history to honor the World War II veterans. There are scheduled ceremonies and activities honoring our war heroes from the Libingan ng mga Bayani, the Philippine Army Headquarters at Fort Bonifacio, the historic Corregidor Island to the last stronghold of the war, Bataan. You can check out the Philippine Veterans website for event schedules.
A week ago, I had the chance to visit Mt. Samat Shrine with family and friends. When we arrived at the site, I saw people cleaning and painting the area. I asked what was the preparation all about. I was told that they are sprucing up the place in preparation for the Araw ng Kagitingan celebration on April 9, 2014 (this Wednesday). Oh my! How could I have forgotten!
Anyway, as I walked up to the colonnade where the large Memorial Cross is, I couldn’t help but feel a bit emotional as I recalled the suffering my late grandfather, the late Congressman Benito Soliven had to endure during the Death March. He volunteered for the Philippine Army and became a reserve officer. He was called to duty and served in Bataan. He succumbed to malaria months after he was released from the concentration camp.
Mt. Samat National Shrine or Dambana ng Kagitingan is a historical shrine located near the summit of Mt. Samat in the town of Pilar in Bataan. The shrine complex was built to honor and remember the gallantry of Filipino and American soldiers who fought during World War II.
This Wednesday, April 9, 2014 marks the 72nd year since the Fall of Bataan and Corregidor. Years ago there were some groups who questioned the commemoration of the Fall of Bataan or the Death March. My dad in one of his columns in 1988 said, There is a modern tendency to sweep the three-month ordeal under a rug…somehow we have swallowed the decades-old argument that it is demeaning for a nation to celebrate its ‘defeats’.
True enough, we won the military triumph in Bataan. April 9, 1942 was the day our colors were unfurled in surrender and “a defeated army” began its cruel death march into captivity. In the jungles and foxholes of Bataan, we lost many of the best and brightest (and surely the bravest) of an entire generation… and we are suffering the sad aftershocks of that still.
But was Bataan a disgrace and a defeat? Our boys fought on beyond the limits of human endurance…sick and starving, disappointed by the betrayal of American promises of a “seven-mile relief convoy,” deserted by their leader, General MacArthur (who fled on orders from Washington to organize the defense of Australia)… Filipinos fired off their last bullets, tightened their ragged belts, determined to die in defense (not of the American flag but their homeland). The real tragedy of Bataan is that we have repaid their sacrifice with ridicule, making it appear as though our fighting men were simply a force of “colonial mercenaries” resisting the Japanese for their American masters.”
Such was the tragedy of Bataan. Mt. Samat Shrine and the other national shrines around the country will always remind us of our past and how we came to be – as a republic. We must take care of these shrines and maintain them throughout the year. The problem is that we only paint and clean them when VIPs visit the place. We can also improve the museums that contain pictures, manuscripts and memorabilias that will teach us and our children about our history. I hope a dedicated museum director is assigned to each of them.

 

Other National Shrines with great historical significance include: (1) Fort Santiago, the defense fortress built for Spanish conquistador, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in Intramuros, Manila. The Rizal Shrine is located at Santa Clara Street in Fort Santiago; (2) Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite where the Philippine Flag was raised for the first time during the declaration of Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898; (3) Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan was the site of the first Philippine Republic; (4) the Quezon Memorial Circle, a national park and shrine located in Quezon City with the mausoleum of President Manuel Quezon and his wife Doña Aurora; (5) Libingan ng mga Bayani, a burial place for Filipino heroes and martyrs in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City; (6) Mt. Samat Shrine in Bataan; (7) Corregidor, the site of one of the bloodiest confrontations between Allied soldiers and Japanese Imperial forces during World War II; (8) Pinaglabanan Shrine located in San Juan that commemorates the first attack of the Filipinos against the Spaniards in 1896; and the (9) EDSA Shrine to commemorate the People Power Revolution.
Let us continue to honor our glorious past and be thankful to the heroes who fought for this nation. As my late father said, “What can we fashion more symbolic, more sublime, than each white monument standing to the sky. Its arms outstretched in crucifixion. In token of the men who crucified themselves. By nails of loyalty, for honor, for country and for God!”

 

Source:
http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2014/04/07/1309710/salute-heroes-our-glorious-past

The Truck

There were many motor vehicles in the service of the Fil-Am forces on Bataan, probably more than the rough road network could support. Nonetheless the unsung truck played an important role in moving men and materiel.  Many were civilian vehicles impressed into military service. There were also newer military vehicles which arrived in the Philippines during the hasty buildup in 1941.  Images of these are seen in the prewar photos taken, such as this 1.5 ton truck.  Usually identification of such a “normal” object is left at just that, a truck.  But even a lowly truck has a pedigree.

Chevrolet G506 1 1/2 ton trucks rest along a roadside in the Philippines, in this prewar view (Courtesy LIFE, Carl Mydans)

Chevrolet G506 series 1 1/2 ton trucks rest along a roadside in the Philippines, in this prewar view.  A G7117 is in front (Courtesy LIFE, Carl Mydans)

In this case, more specifically, these photos are of Chevrolet 1 ½ ton 4×4 G506 series trucks. This closed cab truck was powered by a Chevrolet 235 cubic inch six cylinder engine generating 83 horsepower with a four speed transmission and a two speed transfer case. The wheelbase was 145 inches. It had a standard 9-foot bed which was either made of wood or metal.

A G7117 equipped with winch climbs uphill in this prewar view (Courtesy LIFE, Carl Mydans)

A G7117 equipped with winch climbs uphill in this prewar view (Courtesy LIFE, Carl Mydans)

The standard truck as seen here (there were many other variations on the basic chassis), is a G7117 which was equipped with a PTO winch at the front bumper. The G7107 (seen below behind jeep) was the same but without the winch. To differentiate, the G7117 can be seen with the fender extended forward a bit, two horns on top for tying chains to and a small roller on the bottom of the bumper.

Chevrolet G506 series truck, G7107, in midstream in prewar maneuvers (Courtesy LIFE, Carl Mydans)

Chevrolet G506 series truck, G7107, in midstream behind a jeep in prewar maneuvers (Courtesy LIFE, Carl Mydans)

So for the sake of posterity, we have now identified one of the trucks used by the Fil-Am forces in the Bataan campaign. Certainly there are other military vehicles to be identified from period images, but that is for another day.

A convoy of G506 series 1 1/2 ton trucks pass by a Philippine "tractor" aka a carabao, in this prewar image (Courtesy LIFE, Carl Mydans)

A convoy of G506 series 1 1/2 ton trucks is ready to roll; in the foreground is a Philippine “tractor,” aka a carabao, in this prewar image (Courtesy LIFE, Carl Mydans)

References

Vintage Military Trucks, Chevrolet G506 Series 1 ½ Ton 4×4 Trucks
http://www.vintagemilitarytrucks.com/G7117_Chevrolet_4x4_Cargo_Truck_W-Winch.htm

Olive-Drab, Military Vehicles, Charts, Light Trucks, Chevrolet 1 1/2 ton 4×4 G506 Series
http://olive-drab.com/idphoto/id_photos_chevrolet_g506.php

List of U.S. military vehicles by supply catalog designation, Wikipedia entry, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G-numbers

Chevrolet G506 trucks, Wikipedia entry at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_G506_trucks