with our nation’s history will foster assimilation and participation in common goals that promote good citizenship and
This website is dedicated
to all soldiers of Pilipino descent who served in the United States military during WW1. The
mission of this website is to reclaim our forgotten military history and heritage in the United States Armed Forces.
Pilipino soldiers during WW1 (April 6, 1917 until November 11, 1918)
Pilipino males who came from the Philippines to work as sakadas (contract workers) in the Hawaiian sugar,
pineapple plantations and other industries were nonetheless required to register in the U.S. military drafts of June
5, 1917, June 5, 1918 and September 12, 1918. While some volunteered, others were drafted, most of them serving in Schofield
Barracks, Ft. Shafter and
Hawaiian National Guards from the ranks of Privates to 1st Sergeants. They worked as cooks, musicians, mechanics-occupations
that we, Pilipinos remain skillful to these days. Almost four thousands Pilipino soldiers had served in the Hawaiian Infantry.
Pilipinos residing in other parts of the United States
also volunteered or were drafted in the military.
Meanwhile, Pilipino soldiers from the Philippines were
sent to the European war theatres by the U.S.
Armed Forces. In 1918, Tomas Mateo Claudio, Cpl USMC AEF and a Morong, Rizal native, died in Chateau Thierry, France in the Battle
of Belleau Wood, that became legendary, not only for the heavy number of casualties, but also for the Marines courage under
Pilipino veterans after WW1 war
Many veterans went to the Philippines, Hawaii, California, Washington,
Alaska, Oregon, New
York and other places to raise families. Other veterans joined the Navy and the Merchant Marines
or re-enlisted in the Army, serving once again in WW11 and Korean War, because their "war that will end other wars" failed
to deliver the promise of peace. Some veterans who suffered military service connected disabilities (SCD) were entitled
to vocational training and $100.00 monthly pension, but the 1933 creation of the Department of Veterans Affairs,
stripped these benefits and the 1945 G.I. Bill of Rights did not come soon enough to help them. Additionally, the returnees
had to confront the turmoil of the Economic Recession (1918) and Economic Depression (1929), as well as the realities
of contract labor employment. Some would die, while others would find themselves in prisons, both for farm labor union activism.
Today, we find the WW1 Pilipino veterans buried in the Arlington,
the National Memorial
Cemetery of the Pacific, the Presidio and other military or civilian
burial grounds, unnoticed and unsung. Others were buried with their ships that were sunk by the enemies during the
wars, unrecovered and unhonored.
Today, their numerous descendants reside in every corner of the world. Rooted in deep family military
traditions, many of these descendants had served during times of peace, as well as during WW11, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq wars.
Undeniably, whether they served in the European military trenches or in the U.S. military support services, these valiant WW1 Pilipino soldiers had served
the cause of peace and liberty to benefit all of us.
They also swear allegiance to serve the flag of the United States during the time it was a seditious act for Filipinos
to display the Filipino flag in their native land under the rule of the colonial U.S. government (Sedition Act of 8/23/1907 in addition to the Sedition Law of 11/14/1901 that imposes
death penalty or long imprisonment for Philippine independence advocacy)
Therefore, to us remain the sacred task of engraving their names and military legacies in
our hearts. Let their memories inspire us, that we may work together to reclaim the rightful place of our Pilipino soldiers in the military history of the Philippines,
the United States and the world.
This awareness of our unique history is the responsibility of every living Pilipino. I offer
you this website as a limited resource for WW1. It is my hope that my love for the Philippines history and culture overcome my lack of scholarly credential.
Database addition of Pilipino
WW1 U.S. Navy Casualties
from the website of Mr Gordon Smith, a well-known Royal Navy researcher whose
website has attracted rave reviews from Simon Fowler's A Guide to Military History on the Internet (2000) & the Imperial
War Museum. Included in the USN casulaties are two Pilipinos aboard the U.S.S. Cyclops, the ship that disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle
without trace, remaining the most mysterious naval incident to this day.
Please visit the excellent website of Mr. Smith for more details
June 19, 2008
Ms. Maria Elizabeth Embry
Dear Ms. Embry,
I wish to commend you on your outstanding efforts in researching the Filipino sakada contract worker’s contributions
during WW1 and beyond.
Our Office of Veteran’s Services Director, Mark Moses will forward copies of your letter to Filipino Veteran
Organizations statewide, the Advisory Board on Veterans Services and Department of Education.
Thank you again for sharing your research, and for caring about telling the history of these great men.
The Honorable Linda Lingle
Governor, State of Hawaii
The Honorable James R. Aiona, Jr.
Lieutenant Governor, State of Hawaii
On today’s Memorial Day, allow me to relate
the story of the Hawaiian Territory Pilipino sakadas (contract workers) who served during WW1 in the U.S. military.
My personal interest in the subject matter began
years ago, after reading a one-liner in a news account, that during WW1 about one thousand and five hundred Pilipino contract
workers had served in the Hawaiian Territory’s
National Guard. However, while doing some genealogical research about my children’s paternal Pilipino Hawaiian sakada
heritage, I started to have a nagging suspicion that the number of WW1 Pilipino veterans is actually higher than the number
quoted in that article.
After I went thru several thousands of the Hawaiian Territory’s WW1 military service records,
I found out that at least three thousand nine hundred sixty Pilipino sakadas had served in the U.S. military. Probably, I could have uncovered more names of Pilipino veterans,
had the U.S. Navy database disclosed birthplaces information that the U.S. Army database had done. Although, only an amateur
researcher, I do possess an informal working knowledge of the history of my people which had been reinforced by the passionate
and active participation of my family in the history of the Philippines.
Allow me then, to make the following personal observations regarding the Pilipino WW1 sakada soldiers of Hawaii, after I had
randomly cross-matched their WW1 military service records with the veterans burial
database of the Veterans Administration, the Social Security Death Index database and other useful sources of information.
WW1 Military Service Records
of the veterans in my list share similar names, however because their service record numbers, birthdates, birthplaces and
other record information are different from the others, then we could fairly assume that the veterans listed are two or three
different individuals and that some names are simply more common than others.
2) Race: the only race classification choices
printed on the forms are White or Colored
Pilipino sakadas were classified as: Filipino, Malayan, Mongolian, Colored, White, Caucasian, etc
Although some are with unrecognizable spellings, the name places are definitely Philippine towns and provinces. It
is noteworthy, that Pilipino sakadas are more regionally diversified during WW1. The Visayans were better represented in the
sakada population then, in contrast to their position now amongst Pilipinos in Hawaii.
4) Military ranks:
are enlisted personnel, eight became 1st Sergeants, nine are Sup Sergeants and
one hundred seventeen are Sergeants, recognizing
the fact that when military troops are segregated by race, individual advancement to these ranks are more favorable
for racial minorities.
5) Military occupations: many are cooks, buglers,
1) One hundred nine veterans were discharged with
military service connected disability (SCD) of varying degrees, some of these could be related to the effects of the devastating worldwide late 1918 to early 1919 flu epidemic that had claimed 550,000 American lives
in comparison to the 50,000 lives lost during WW1. To those who suffered 100% disability, we could only guess their hardship
in the era before the 1945 G.I. Bill of Rights. I have no knowledge if someone had researched the economic impact of WW1 to
these Pilipino sakadas, considering the fact that they went to Hawaii
as contract workers and ended either as volunteers or draftees to WW1. After the war they also had to cope with the turmoil
of 1918 Economic Recession and later the Economic Depression of 1929
2) The sakada veterans had established families
in Hawaii, Philippines, California,
Washington, Alaska, Oregon
and East Coast states like-New York, New Jersey,
3) Some sakada veterans continued their military
service mostly in the Merchant Marine and U.S. Navy; others re-enlisted in the U.S. Army. Since their war that will supposedly
end other wars failed to deliver the promise of peace, many WW1 veterans, found themselves serving again in other wars like
WW11, some would even serve in the Korean War. Their descendants continued the tradition of strong military service, especially
during war times-WW11, Korean, Vietnam,
Persian Gulf & Iraq.
4) Many of our sakada veterans were buried in
the National Memorial Cemetery
of the Pacific, others were buried in military cemeteries of San Francisco Presidio and also at the Arlington Cemetery. Some had met their fate
when their ships were sunk by the enemies in WW11 or became a Pearl Harbor casualty like one veteran who was a native of Leyte, Philippines.
5) Many veterans became labor union activists.
Gregorio Anoy would die in the labor strikes, Cecilio Sator Basan would be convicted as a co-conspirator of Pablo Manlapit,
while Juan Ephong would play a prominent role in the court case against Pablo Manlapit. I could not locate WW1 military service
record for Pablo Manlapit, although he was listed in the WW1 military draft, but then, he got married in 1912 and most likely
was exempted from military service.
We should never dismiss as minor, the role that
the sakada soldiers had played in WW1. Although they had served in Hawaii without experiencing
combat duties in the European military trenches, their wartime services occurred during the period that the United States was desperate for military manpower. Having entered WW1 nearly three
years after the war had started in Europe, the haste to build the military personnel was
understandably vital. Building the necessary troops tasked the army greatly that three nationwide military drafts were called.
I believe that it is just fitting and proper that
the Pilipino Hawaiian community memorialize the military deeds of the sakadas by erecting a plaque or a marker. Likewise,
the State of Hawaii and its Department of Education must
include in its school curriculum the role that the Pilipino sakadas had played in Territorial Hawaii during WW1.
I also believe that as more descendants of the
sakadas come forward with their family histories, we are going to hear more heroic stories similar to the ones recounted by
Shirley Akiaten about Florentino, her father, veteran of two world wars who served in the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, Merchant Marine
and was a shipwreck survivor. Perhaps we could also share her enthusiasm that her father would equally be proud of the achievements
of his children especially the Akiatens-actor and director of Hollywood movie stardom. We
hope to get inspired by Lehua Gaison’s anecdotes about Talino Gaison, an intrepid fisherman and father of several Korean
and Vietnam Wars veterans, also the grandfather of Pilialoha, Miss Hawaii 2006 who was part of your 2006 Philippine visit
entourage. I am confident that the pride exhibited by Larry Asera, former California Deputy Secretary of State when talking
about Lorenzo Asera, his grandfather, are pride similarly shared by the descendants of other sakada veterans like the martial
artists descendants of WW1 veteran and professional boxer Buenaventura “Kid Bentura” Lucaylucay.
I would like to thank you for your attention regarding
Maria Elizabeth Embry
May 26, 2008
Name Lists of 3,960 WW1 Pilipino Veterans:
U.S. Army (3,950)
U.S. Navy (10)
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Dedicated to Tomas Mateo Claudio, USMC AEF died in
the Battle of:
Oh, the snowflakes fell in silence
Over Belleau Wood that night
For a Christmas truce had been declared
By both sides of the fight
As we lay there in our trenches
The silence broke in two
By a German
A song that we all knew
Though I did not know the language
The song was "Silent Night"
Then I heard my buddy whisper,
"All is calm and all is bright"
Then the fear and doubt surrounded me
"Cause I'd die if I was wrong
But I stood up in my trench
And I began to sing along
Then across the frozen battlefield
Anothers voice joined in
one by one each man became
A singer of the hymn
Then I thought that I was dreaming
For right there in my sight
the German soldier
'Neath the falling flakes of white
And he raised his hand and smiled at me
As if he seemed to say
Here's hoping we both live
To see us find a better way
Then the devil's clock struck midnight
And the skies lit up again
And the battlefield where heaven stood
Was blown to hell again
But for just one fleeting moment
The answer seemed so clear
Heaven's not beyond the clouds
It's just beyond the fear
No, heaven's not beyond the clouds
It's for us to find it here
No man is an island, entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as
well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes
me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
WHEN I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide,
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts. Who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o’er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.”
John Milton (1655)
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
Written by Don Raye and Hughie Prince
He was a famous (Pilipino) trumpet man from out
Chicago (Philippines) way
He had a boogie style that no one else could play
He was the top man at his craft
But then his number came up and he was gone with the draft
He's in the army now, blowing reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of
They made him blow a bugle for his Uncle Sam
brought him down because he could not jam
The captain seemed to understand
Because the next day the cap' went out and
drafted a band
And now the company jumps when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B
A-toot, a-toot, a-toot-diddelyada-toot
He blows it eight-to-the-bar,
in boogie rhythm
He can't blow a note unless the bass and guitar is playing with him
He makes the company jump when
he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B
He was our boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B
he plays boogie woogie bugle he was buzy as a "bzzz" bee
And when he plays he makes the company jump eight-to-the-bar
the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B
Toot-toot-toot, toot-diddelyada, toot-diddelyada
toot, he blows it eight-to-the-bar
He can't blow a note if the bass and guitar isn't with him
And the company jumps
when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B
He puts the boys asleep with boogie every night
'em up the same way in the early bright
They clap their hands and stomp their feet
Because they know how he plays when
someone gives him a beat
He really breaks it up when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B
Da-doo-da da-doo-da-da da
Da-doo-da da-doo-da-da da
And the company jumps when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle
boy of Company B!