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  • Writer's pictureBayanihan Equity Center

United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE)commemoration

Last month, Filipino World War II veterans and their families gathered at BEC to commemorate

*In July 1941, the US Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) is created, consisting of a majority of Filipinos (about 100,000) and US soldiers (about 20,000).

Once the United States entered World War II following Pearl Harbor, the USAFFE were tasked to push back against the Japanese and to delay Japanese action at the mouth of Manila Bay. Their main objective was to serve as a buffer between the Japanese and the American colonial possession of the Philippines.

The USAFFE were able to hold the Japanese successfully until December 1941. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, troops were placed on half rations. These soldiers had to make these sacrifices in order for forces heading into the Pacific to have supplies. Commanding General Douglas MacArthur understood what was going on and promised the Filipinos there would be extra troops, planes, and supplies coming to help them.

Unfortunately, those promises never materialized, which left Filipinos largely defenseless in the wake of the Japanese. During the Battle of Bataan, troops suffered from disease, hunger, wounds, and deaths. By the time the Filipinos and the US troops finally surrendered on April 9, 1942, the Philippine scouts were in a very bad position.

Three months after the start of the Battle of Bataan, the Bataan Death March began, forcing 60,000-80,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war to march through the Philippines. The route was about 65 miles long and stretched from the peninsula to the railhead inland. **


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