Philippines Manila (1)

>> Well, I am Mr. Maximo Young, 94 years old. Well, my war experience started with ... I was working with a company in the Philippines. That was 1941. Later on, I was sent to States to study agriculture, and then from there, I was one of those chosen to select members of the group that our government committed to be sent to Korea. That was 1950. Now initially, before we were sent to Korea, after selecting different members to compose the 10th Battalion Combat Team, we had some training. Our training ended sometime on September, so on September 15, we made our first trip to Korea aboard [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]. We left the Philippines September 15 and arrive at Korea 19 September. Upon arrival at Korea, we could see the whole area, stationed in Pusan where we landed. There were all of us armed for war. It was this time when the North Koreans invaded South Korea on 15 September the same year. So upon arrival at Pusan, our initial debarkation area, we were sent to [FOREIGN LANGUAGE] for a probation period. From there, we stayed for overnight, and then the following days, we were sent further north to acclimate ourself with the area, including the weather. The weather is very different. It started while in Korea. It was always frigid, very cold. We stayed there for almost 15 days. From there on, we were attached to a US division, the 3rd Army Division of the US. From there, we were assigned an area that is south of Seoul, extending up to about 15 kilometers north of the 38th parallel. We were assigned to patrol an area which is the main line of supply used by the United Nations coming to transport men, soldiers and supplies to the front line. Now it was an incident where our group was designated to secure a certain area not to be a North Korean area. So November 11, we were sent to patrol the area to find out whether there are some North Koreans who are disturbing our supply road. Sometimes they're ambushing friendly troops and sometimes destroying vehicles that are a part of the group that fights the North Koreans. So on November 11, I was in charge of a group to reconnect the area going north. We were the first group to more or less move to reconnect the area. With us were some segments of two companies and some medical units and some support units. Now at 7:30, we left the area from somewhere in south of Korea, going to Yujeong, but our designation was to look for the enemy somewhere at [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]. Along the way, our head group encountered a land mine. The land mine exploded, and all the Jeep which they were riding exploded and flew over, and two of our men were disabled, but we continued moving forward to [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]. Now after completing a bend, going to [FOREIGN LANGUAGE], and an area which is more or less a distance from a hill, a hilly place, we encountered simultaneous burst of enemy fire suspected to be about of 4,000 deployed along that area. We were just little found out that place where we passed after were 45 areas in preparation for any ambush for any enemy that goes north. So since it was surprise attack, all of us would lie down, and then most of our men, cadet or not, because it was a very ideal place for ambush. It was river down the road, and the enemies were all deployed up on top the area. So after several bursts of fires, my men, our men, cannot move, so I was a commander of five towns. I was the fourth town. After a lull, I patrol the periscope. Anytime you have a periscope, you can see the area around you through a telescope without being exposed. I look left and right, and I found out not a single man what belongs to my group. We were about 90 to 100. All of them were flattened to the ground in that group. So as idea forward looking at the enemy, I saw some of them already more or less conferring to each other on the left side and off on the right side. Thinking on my officer [INAUDIBLE], I know they're ready to attack because nobody could fire. So what I did: I opened my tank. A tank, it has a cover. I open the hatch and went out and manned the machine gun with this part of the armament of the tank. What I did is, I cracked the .50-caliber machine gun and started firing from the left. As I continue firing, I saw some of them tumbling down, running, some of them getting out of their trenches. I swing the machine gun from left to right, aiming at those people who already were trying to plan an attack against us. I continue firing. I split about two boxes of ammunition until later on, the support fire coming from behind from our artillery. Now when I started firing, running after this soldiers who were getting out of their trenches from left to right, and after about 15 minutes, there was a support fire from behind. So after about 15 minutes, our soldiers started advancing, returning the fire. Incidentally, after that, we were able to more or less get them to surrender. After a head count, there were about 42 dead and about 201 dead. From there, we straight to [FOREIGN LANGUAGE] to complete our mission. That is the first time that we encountered the North Koreans from the Filipino side is the first time we encountered these North Koreans. Now after the incident, I found out there are foreigners from other countries who also belong to the United Nations command, went down to congratulate me for what I have done because without the fire, I think all of us would have been as good as dead because we can not know. Just imagine an area where all of them, you have the commanding view of the area, and all of us were down there like the pigs that are being shot at. That was the first incident I have encountered. That was the first incident where the Philippine forces encountered the North Koreans, and that was the first victory of the Philippine army. >> What year was that? What month and year was that? >> That was 1950, 1950. >> '50, what month? >> '50. >> What month, month? >> Oh, November. >> That was during the most difficult battles. >> Yeah, that was the most difficult. >> November 1950. >> Then from there, we went north, fought there, and then from there we found out that most of those ... There were 40,000 North Koreans stationed at the area. Now when we went there, all of them dispersed because of our combined attack. Aside from us, there were support units and some planes of the Allied that supported us. >> Well, as Vice President of the Filipinos Korean War Veterans Association, what are some of the activities that you do as an association, and what do you think is important for people to know about Filipinos who fought in the Korean War? >> Well, you're asking me about the different activities we did? >> What's important about Filipinos in the Korean War? What's special about Filipinos? For example, Turkish soldiers, they never left the dead. You know? >> Yeah. >> So every country, there's something special about that country. So what would you say that you want people to know about Filipinos who fought in the Korean War? Like Thai, they were called Little Tiger. Yes. Something about Filipinos? >> Well, the Filipinos, when we arrived at the Korea, we found that most of the civilians that they're fleeing because most of those Koreans, they are uneducated. That's partially the reason why the Japanese, when they occupied Korea, they prohibited Koreans to study, so more or less, never educated them. So during the time, whenever attack, they can not do anything. And what were we observed in Korea were civilians, they don't know where to go. Children, plenty of children, the children were left alone. They were alone. They had nothing, nothing to eat, especially the families. >> So what's special about the Filipinos? >> Well, what's special about the Filipinos? >> Mm-hmm. Yeah. [ Chatter ] >> [FOREIGN LANGUAGE]. What was your role? What was your role that made the presence of the Filipino contingent, critical because of the war or important to the war? [FOREIGN LANGUAGE] [ Chatter ] >> A significant contribution. [ Chatter ] >> Well, first, more or less, fighting against the Koreans and then helping the civilians who are in need of food and protection, security. >> I know Filipinos went to Korea even after the armistice, the 5th Battalion, right, went after, and it helped rebuild Korea. >> Yeah. >> Maybe that's a very significant contribution in the war that ... Many other nations, they left, but Filipinos, even after, they sent another battalion to help reconstruct. I think that's very significant. >> Well, the contribution that was assigned to the Philippines after the fight, they were there to, more or less, study the nuclear activities of ... Well, the Americans told them something nuclear, more or less expecting the world will continue, but incidentally, there was an armistice that lured about 1953 where they declared ... They stabilized rations. >> And I know there were 41 POWs, right? >> I have the number. Excuse me. As a result, we have 112 killed in action, 112 killed in action, and then missing in action, we have 229. And then ... wounded in action, I mean. Missing in action is 16, and we have 41 POWs, prisoners of war. Now the 41 prisoners of war, after the war, we tried to verify, follow up, their destinations. Of the 41, we were able to locate, I think, 36, 36, 36, and until now, the remaining numbers are not found. >> Really? Five of them are not found? >> Until now. >> Wow. >> We suspected that they had died, and they were never found. >> Recovered the remains? >> Now, for the POWs, we have 41. I think 6 of them are not also accounted for. The others have gone back to the Philippines. After 3 years there was ... After the armistice, there was an exchange of prisoners, and some of them came back. >> But not all? >> Yeah, yeah, yeah. >> Oh, no. The families of the POWs that never came back, so they're just waiting? >> For your information, the total number of Filipinos that participated in the Korean War was 4,720. >> Four thousand seven hundred twenty? >> Four thousand seven hundred ... >> No, I thought it was 7,200. [ Chatter ] >> I thought it was 7,200. >> Oh, no. I'm sorry. Seven thousand four hundred twenty. >> Yes. Yeah, and now in the association there are about 3,000, right, left in the association? >> No. As of last June, I could account for 1,700. >> Oh, that's it, huh? One thousand seven hundred. >> One thousand seven hundred living. >> Living. >> Living. And the others, out of the 7,420, the others that came back was assigned to different places, and we have no means of contacting them. Now out of that number, as of now, our living veterans, verified living, is about 34 living veterans. >> Thirty-four? >> Yeah, thirty-four. >> Thirty-four? >> Thirty-four, yeah. >> I thought you said 1,000 ... >> That is for the Tampa City, for the Tampa City. [ Chatter ] >> Because there was five visitors when the ... The 10th was about ... >> The 1st battalion that went. >> Yeah, that's right, battalion. >> Yes, yes. >> The 1st battalion ... >> There was only 34. >> Yeah, 34. >> And you're part of the 1st battalion. >> Yeah, the very 1st battalion. >> The 1st battalion are the oldest, right. I heard there's a 101-year-old veteran. One hundred and one, is he the oldest? >> That 100-plus ... Most of the casualties were of the [INAUDIBLE] were because of another battle that was a year long. That year-long battle started way back in April 1952. That was the time the North Koreans tried to post in order to invade the South Korean. >> Wow. One last question, have you been back to Korea? >> Yes, five times. >> Wow. Five times. >> My son, he went there last year when it was awarded the highest spirit medal in South Korea. In fact, I will give you a copy of ... >> A citation. >> ... a letter. I wanted to take the award, for sure. >> What did you think about when you first went to Korea? How did you feel? >> Well, I was single dad during the time, and I was one of the selected because I came from Fort Knox to study the armored veteran. When I went to Korea, I never thought I would be coming back because it was the time when the North Koreans were very forceful in trying to invade South Korea. Now my impression about South Korea when I was there, it was a place where people are very poor. They were very, very poor. You could see them trying to get food from us, and mostly is what I said, most of the people there are uneducated, very poor, and they have no means of life except farming. >> But now ... >> Wow, terrible. The are the best shipbuilders. >> Mm-hmm. >> In fact, they intended to open up four shipyards in the Philippines so that they will continue to build ships because shipments is a problem. You can transport anything. Back then, it was very costly. Unlimited, but shipbuilding, I think that is what the ambassador told us one time when he said, it was 3 years ago, the ambassador of South Korea, we were having a meeting. The intention of South Korea is situate that the Philippines, which is very, very poor now compared to 1950. We were the second best country, but after the World War II, everything was destroyed including our factories, our everything. Now what the ambassador told me before was that the intention of the moment of South Korea was that within 30 years they want the economy of the Philippines to be in power with Korea. In other words, they will support the Philippines' infrastructure, agriculture, everything, so that way, 30 years, that was 2013. He said 30 years, that was the intention of South Korea. Thirty years from that time, they want the economy of the Philippines to be in power with South Korea. >> I know. I visited too many countries, and when I went to the memorial today, I was amazed, and I said it's the best memorial and museum that I've ever seen in any other country. You know? >> Yeah. >> The facility, the Pepco facility? >> Yeah, yeah, yeah. >> It is amazing. >> Very amazing. [ Chatter ] >> I was so impressed. It's maintained beautifully. The museum is very nicely presented and display. The auditorium, the memorial ... >> Yes, yes. Way back 800, I think. >> Just so wonderful, and I'm very proud to know that the Korean government has been able to build that to honor and thank the veterans. So I was very proud to hear that. I hope that you are very proud when you went to Korea recently to see skyscrapers, Hyundai, Samsung, LG. Korea is very prosperous, and Koreans are successful because of your sacrifice. Yeah. >> Well, there is a way they have best fusion because the North Koreans has not gone down to South to destroy. They have a very big space.