1st Filipino Regiment | Salinas, CA

1st Filipino Infantry Regiment, Bolo, Escrima, Filipino Martial Arts, FMA, ITAK, WW2 -

1st Filipino Regiment | Salinas, CA

There were some pictures I posted up on our social media networks and it had a lot of interactions with our friends. It was great, because they shared their information in that particular historical event. Some had their family members were a part of it as well. And it relates to others, because it's a proven evidence that the art that they have a passion of learning, is battle tested. Meaning the great masters and instructors that was in their lineage, has used the same exact art that they are learning today to survive in the War that they had served.

What I would like to share is something I learned AFTER I have shared those photos. And I believe that it deserves a blog post. 

Have you ever learned something in particular about a person, place, or a particular event, that made you change the way you look at them. Makes you feel prouder, or even just have an amazement. No? Just me? Well let me share this anyways, because that's what I felt about the city I live in. My perception changed just a little, by learning what have happened, and what had came out of this city.

Salinas, California, a great small city. A lot of famous events happened as it was told in the history books at school. I mean they are great in each of its own rights. The famous John Steinbeck, a famous writer, was born in this city back 1902.  If you’re not familiar with him, he’s the one who wrote books like  “Of Mice and Men” and “Grapes of Wrath”. But we’re not covering this blog post on Mr. Steinbeck. We are covering the 1st Filipino Regiment.

Here’s a brief history of the 1st Filipino Regiment I wanted to share:

“Following the Japanese attacks that destroyed U.S. airfields on Luzon on 
8 December 1941, thousands of Filipinos fought side by side with U.S. Army soldiers in the defense of the Philippines. Yet at the same time stateside recruiters refused to enlist Filipino-American volunteers due to their status as American nationals. Under the Selective Service and Training Act, American nationals were ineligible to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States.


To fight a world war, however, the nation needed to call upon all its available manpower. On 21 December 1941 Congress amended the Selective Service and Training Act to permit enlistment of citizens and “every other male person residing in the United States.” As a result, on 19 February 1942, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson announced the creation of a Filipino battalion to enable Americans of Filipino ancestry as well as resident Filipinos to serve together in the U.S. Army. 

On 1 April 1942 the War Department activated the 1st Filipino Battalion. Its existence proved short-lived. In July 1942 the soldiers transferred to the newly constituted 1st Filipino Regiment which replaced the battalion, and the new regiment activated on 13 July 1942 at Salinas, California. On 14 October 1942 the Army constituted a second regiment, designated as the 2d Filipino Regiment. The 1st Battalion, 2d Filipino Regiment, activated on 22 October 1942 at Fort Ord, California. 

Shortly thereafter, the Office of The Adjutant General approved a coat of arms for the 1st Filipino Regiment. The red, white, and blue colors on the shield, representing the national colors of the Philippines and the United States, reflected the Filipino heritage of this U.S. Army regiment. The unit was granted the motto LAGING UNA, which is “Always First” in Tagalog—a major native language of the Philippines. No records have surfaced to indicate that the Army ever authorized a coat of arms for the 2d Filipino Regiment. 

On 27 March 1944 the 2d Filipino Regiment was disbanded, and the 1st Battalion was concurrently reorganized and redesignated as the 2d Filipino Battalion (Separate). From Fort Ord, elements of the 1st Filipino Regiment and the 2d Filipino Battalion (Separate) moved to various training locations in California before embarking separately at San Francisco for a two-week voyage to the South Pacific. 

Elements of the 1st Filipino Regiment arrived in New Guinea in April 1944 where they fought until moving to the Philippines in February 1945. There, some of the regiment’s companies provided security for Eighth Army General Headquarters, Far East Air Force, and Seventh Fleet Headquarters as well as at two airstrips, Tanauan and Tacloban. For the remainder of the war, the 1st Filipino Regiment manned checkpoints, participated in mopping-up operations, and performed security and support operations in the Philippines. The unit returned to the United States in March 1946 and inactivated at Camp Stoneman, California, on 10 April 1946. The 1st Filipino Regiment earned battle honors for New Guinea, Leyte, and the Southern Philippines. The unit additionally earned the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation. 

The 2nd Filipino Battalion (Separate) left the United States in June 1944 and arrived in New Guinea in July 1944. The battalion eventually moved to Manila, Philippine Islands, where it inactivated on 21 December 1945. The unit earned battle honors for New Guinea. It did not receive any decorations.”

Reference: ( http://www.history.army.mil/html/topics/apam/filipino_regt/filipino_regt.html )



One of the reasons why I wanted to share this post was because of the FMA relation to this. Some famous Eskrimadors served in the army and they had used their skills to survive the War. They were able to live, survive and pass it on, to the instructors you are learning from today. 

So if there’s any doubt that your style of Eskrima, Arnis, or Kali might not work, just remember, there’s a chance that it was used in the war. You can say that the art that you practice, is battle tested.

 (Disclaimer: All the information that was gathered in this post has been collected in various sites. It is shared for educational and entertainment purposes only. The resources has been listed for additional informations)

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