This coming month of May will be the 80th Anniversary of the Japanese invasion of Northern Mindanao and subsequent surrender on May 10, 1942 of the United States Army Forces Far East Mindanao Force in Malaybalay, Bukidnon.

It is sad how eight decades later, little is remembered of the sacrifice of the Filipino and American soldiers who gave the Imperial Japanese Army a good fight despite the enormous odds stacked against them.

To deter the invasion, the USAFF had a motley assortment of ill-trained, ill-equipped mostly Filipino troops led by American officers to oppose the battle-hardened Kawamura Detachment, an elite component of the IJA 5th Koi Division fresh from its conquest of Malaya composed of the 9th Infantry Brigade and 41st Infantry Regiment under Maj. Gen,. Saburo Kawamura.

In honor of their valor and sacrifice in defense of Northern Mindanao, this story is dedicated.

Invasion imminent

By the first quarter of 1942, the Battle of Bataan between the USAFFE and IJA was raging in the most intense phase of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines during World War II. By this time the Japanese war machine has steamrollered across Indochina, Malaya and Singapore and controlled most of Southeast Asia, with the Bataan Peninsula and Corregidor Island the only remaining allied strong points in region.

Despite fighting with mostly untrained Filipino troops with inadequate weapons, ammunition and logistics, racked by malaria and other diseases, the valiant defenders fought a pitched battle with the Japanese for three months, engaging them initially in a fighting retreat southward. As the combined American and Filipino forces made a last stand, the delay cost the Japanese valuable time and prevented immediate victory across the Pacific.

Japanese invasion plans

Japanese planning for operations in the south did not begin until late in the Philippine campaign. The initial 14th Army plan for the conquest of the Philippines contained only brief references to Mindanao and the Visayas, which were expected to fall quickly once Manila was taken.

In February the campaign on Bataan had reached a stalemate. Imperial General Headquarters, informed of General Homma’s situation and worried over his slow progress, pressed for an early end to the Philippine campaign and early in March, sent veteran reinforcements. With them came orders to begin operations in the south concurrently with those against Bataan and Corregidor.

The first contingent came from Borneo and arrived at Lingayen Gulf on 1 April. It consisted of Headquarters, 35th Brigade, and the 124th Infantry, both from the 18th Division.

Led by Maj. Gen. Kiyotake Kawaguchi, the brigade commander, this force, with the addition of 14th Army supporting and service troops, was organized into a separate detachment known as the Kawaguchi Detachment.

Elements of the IJA 5th Koi Division landing in Malaya. The Kawamura Detachment was an elite component of the unit composed of the 9th Infantry Brigade and 41st Infantry Regiment under Maj. Gen,. Saburo Kawamura tasked to capture the Cagayan Sector in Northern Mindanao.

Four days later elements of the 5th Division from Malaya, consisting of the headquarters  of Maj. Gen. Saburo Kawamura’s 9th Infantry Brigade and the 41st Infantry, reached Lingayen. With these troops, augmented by service and supporting troops, Homma formed the Kawamura Detachment. These two detachments, plus the Miura Detachment already at Davao, constituted the entire force assigned the conquest of Mindanao.

The Japanese plan provided for a coordinated attack from three directions by separate forces toward a common center, followed by a quick mop-up of the troops in the outlying portions of the island.

The Miura Detachment already on garrison duty at Davao and Digos, was to be relieved by a battalion of the 10th Independent Garrison and then strike out from Digos toward the Sayre Highway. Its route of advance would be northwest along Route 1, which intersected the Sayre Highway about midway across the island.

The other two forces committed to the Mindanao operation, the Kawaguchi and Kawamura Detachments, would have to make amphibious assaults.

The fight for Mindanao 29 April – 9 May 1942 (Louis Morton)

General Kawaguchi was to take his men ashore at Cotabato midway along the west coast, at the mouth of the Mindanao River. From Cotabato, which was joined to Route 1 by a five-mile stretch of highway, he would send part of his force east toward the Sayre Highway to meet Colonel Miura’s troops marching west. The rest of the detachment was to land at Parang, about twelve miles north of Cotabato, and push north along Route 1, past Lake Lanao, then east along the island’s north shore to join with the Kawamura Detachment.

Kawamura was to come ashore in northern Mindanao at the head of Macajalar Bay, the starting point of the Sayre Highway. While a small portion of his force struck out to the west to meet Kawaguchi’s men, the bulk of the detachment would march south through central Mindanao, along the Sayre Highway. Ultimately, elements of the three detachments-one marching east, another west, and the third south-would join along the Digos-Cotabato stretch of Route 1 across the narrow waist of the island.

Late in April three battalions of the 10th Independent Garrison took over garrison duty on Mindanao, Cebu, and Panay. Colonel Miura immediately moved south from Davao to Digos to prepare for his advance along Route 1, while Kawamura and Kawaguchi began to embark their troops for the coming invasion. The Kawaguchi Detachment left Cebu on 26 April in six transports escorted by two destroyers.

Kawamura’s departure from Panay came five days later and brought him to Macajalar Bay as Kawaguchi’s troops were fighting their way northward to greet him. Wainwright’s order to Sharp on 30 April, to hold all or as much of Mindanao as possible with the forces he had, found that commander already engaged with the enemy on two fronts.

Defense of Northern Mindanao

USAFFE Headquarters of the Visayas-Mindanao Force in Cebu.

The defense of Mindanao and the Visayas in 1942 rested with the Visayan- Mindanao Force, commanded by Brig. Gen. William F. Sharp, who had his headquarters at Cebu.

This force was composed almost entirely of Philippine Army troops. Of the five divisions mobilized, in the south, only three: the 61st, 81st, and 101st, remained in the area. The 71st and 91st, moved to Luzon, leaving behind their last mobilized regiments, the 73d and 93d. In addition, a large number of provisional units and some Constabulary units were formed on the outbreak of the war.

The defense of Mindanao was bolstered by the transfer of two artillery regiments from Panay and Negros to Cagayan in January 1942

Between 2 and 3 January 1942, the 61st and 81st Field Artillery Regiments were relocated by ship to Cagayan from Panay and Negros, respectively, as part of a large scale relocation of troops from the Visayas to Mindanao  in order to bolster the defenses of the latter.

The 61st transferred from the 61st Division,  and the 81st from the 81st Division . The 61st and 81st Field Artillery were organized and equipped as infantry, due to the lack of artillery.

One of those moving to Cagayan was 1st Lt. Rosauro Prusia Dongallo, Sr., the 25-year old commander of Battery “D” of the 81st Field Artillery based at Manjuyod, Negros Oriental. Recalled to active duty at Camp Lahug, Cebu City on June 1, 1941 and inducted into the USAFFE on September 3, his unit was absorbed as an organic unit of the 102nd Division and stationed in Barrio, Bugo, Misamis Oriental.    

1st Lt. Jose D. Docdocil was transferred to Cagayan on January 2-3, 1942 from Panay with the 61st Field Artillery Regiment to strenghten the defense of Mindanao.

Another who was transferred from Panay with the 61st Field Artillery under Col.  Hiram W. Tarkington was Jose Doromal Docdocil (ASN O-37829) of Battery “C”, 2nd Battalion, then a 25-year old 1st Lieutenant. Born in Dumangas, Iloilo on July 5, 1917 to Hilarion Docdocil and Gertudes Doromal, the young Ilonggo enlisted on September 5, 1941 with the Philippine Army, which was subsequently integrated into the USAFFE when Gen. Douglas MacArthur assumed command.

His unit was also absorbed as an organic unit of the 102nd Division charged with defending the four-mile stretch of coast line from the highway to the Cugman River in the Cagayan sector.  On 12 January, US Army  Infantry Colonel William P. Morse  was assigned commander of the Cagayan  Sector of the Mindanao Force, including both regiments.

General Sharp’s raw recruits lacked personal and organizational equipment of all types. There were not enough uniforms, blankets, or mosquito bars to go around, and though each man had a rifle-the Enfield ’17- not all understood its use. Moreover, many of the rifles were defective and quickly broke down.

Phil Commonwealth Pres. Quezon, checking out an M1917 (Enfield) Rifle. (Carl Mydans/LIFE)

Machine guns of .30- and .50- caliber were issued, but many of these were defective also and had to be discarded. Spare parts for all weapons were lacking and guns that ordinarily would have been easily repaired had to be abandoned. There were no antitank guns, grenades, gas masks, or steel helmets for issue, and the supply of ammunition was extremely limited.

As a result of the lack of artillery pieces, the artillery components of his divisions as were deployed as infantry. Although he received eight old 2.95-inch (75 mm) mountain guns from Manila on December 12, three were promptly lost two weeks later in defense of Davao, and the remaining five constituted Sharp’s entire artillery support throughout the campaign.

The Mindanao Force only had five 2.95 inch mountain guns of the PH-American War vintage to oppose the Japanese invaders.

General Sharp’s mission, initially, was to defend the entire area south of Luzon. When organized resistance was no longer practicable, he was to split his force into small groups and conduct guerilla warfare from hidden bases in the interior of each island. Food, ammunition, fuel, and equipment, were to be moved inland, out of reach of the enemy, in preparation for such a contingency. Those supplies that could not be moved were to be destroyed.

The organization of the Visayan-Mindanao Force established early in January lasted only about one month, when USAFFE assumed direct control of the Panay and Mindoro garrisons on 4 February,

With the remaining Visayan garrisons separated from Sharp’s command which was then designated as the Mindanao Force.

This separation of the Visayan-Mindanao Force clearly reflected MacArthur’s desire to insure the most effective defense of Mindanao, which he hoped to use as a base for his promised return to the Philippines.

Individual and unit training continued at a steady pace and was supplemented by special instruction at a school in infantry tactics in central Mindanao. The school was staffed by Philippine Scouts of the 43d Infantry. Training was hampered by the shortage of ammunition that the defenders were limited to simulated fire.

Due to the lack of ammunition, Philippine Army recruits had no experience firing their weapons with live rounds.
(Carl Mydans/LIFE)

“A few rounds fired by the soldier,” noted Colonel Tarkington, “would have demonstrated to him the capability of his weapon, acquainted him with its recoil, and paid dividends in steadier marksmanship.” Most of the men who fought on Mindanao never fired a live round before they went into battle.

The Cagayan Sector

In the critical Cagayan Sector, which included the northern terminus of the vital Sayre Highway connecting the island’s north coast to Davao, and the vital Del Monte Airfield (the only remaining heavy bomber airfield in USAFFE hands), General Sharp had the Mindanao Force reserve, none of which had yet been committed, and the 102d Division (PA).

This division, formed from existing and provisional units after the outbreak of war, consisted of the 61st and 81st Field Artillery (organized and equipped as infantry), and the 103d Infantry. Col. William P. Morse, the division and sector commander, positioned the division along the shores of Macajalar Bay between the Tagoloan  and Cagayan Rivers in order to defend against an anticipated amphibious landing.

Lt. Dongallo was stationed with the 81st Field Artillery, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel John P. Woodbridge, which was reinforced by a 65-man detachment composed of ground personnel-turned-infantrymen from the 30th Bombardment Squadron  (that had been left at Del Monte when their squadron departed for Australia), and assigned to secure a four-mile sector from the Tagoloan to the Sayre Highway.

Lt. Docdocil was stationed along the four-mile stretch of coast line from the highway to the Cugman River with the 61st Field Artillery under Col. Tarkington. On the left (west), extending the line to the Cagayan River, was Maj. Joseph R. Webb’s 103d Infantry.

MacArthur at Del Monte (center) with BG Richard K. Sutherland (right) & BG Richard J. Marshall at Del Monte, Bukidnon during their layover from March 13-17, 1942. (MacArthur Memorial)

The formation of the 102nd Division from the troops of the Cagayan Sector under the command of Morse was authorized by Gen. MacArthur on 15 March during his brief layover in Del Monte, Bukidnon after his successful breakout by PT Boat from Corregidor.

Its 102nd Engineer Battalion was organized from personnel of the Surigao Provisional Battalion, while men from the Agusan Provisional Battalion and 2nd Provisional Battalion (Cotabato) were used to form the Headquarters Company, Service Troops and the 102nd Maintenance and Quartermaster Companies.

“I was in the middle of my architecture studies at Mapua Institute of Technology in Manila, after reverting to inactive status in the military, when I was called to active duty, “ recalls the late Col. Leonardo Vasquez Hernando (ret.) (ASN O-2462), then 26 years old and earlier commissioned as a 3rd Lieutenant in the Philippine Army at the School for Reserved Commission in Camp James B. Ord, Tarlac in December, 1938.

1st Lt. Leonardo V. Hernando as S-2 & S-3 of the Misamis Oriental Philippine Constabulary in 1948. (Hernando Family Collection)

Docdocil and Hernando were typical of the defenders coming from various parts of the archipelago who were converging for the defense of Mindanao.

Born in 06 November 1916 in Corregidor, Cavite to Esteban L. Hernando, a retired veteran of the 17th Company of the Philippine Scouts from San Nicolas, Laoag, Ilocos Norte, and Francisca Vasquez of Sta. Maria, Zamboanga City, he had his elementary schooling in Fort Stotsenburg in Angeles City, and intermediate and secondary schooling at the Zamboanga Trade School in Zamboanga City, presumably wherever his father’s unit was assigned.

Lt. Hernando’s father Esteban was a member of the 17th Company of the Philippines Scouts. (Hernando Family Collection)

“The war in Europe and the conflict in the Pacific in 1941 were spreading to the Philippines, I was inducted into the USAFFE [United States Army Forces Far East] and later mobilized in Zamboanga as a company commander in the 1st Battalion, 103rd Infantry Regiment,” Hernando recalled in Ann Gorra Rago’s anthology “City of Gold”.

About 1 May, the 102nd Division numbered 4,713 men, including nineteen American officers, 67 American enlisted men (65 from the Air Corps detachment and two in the 61st Field Artillery), 268 Filipino officers, and 4,359 Filipino enlisted men.

The 103rd Infantry was the strongest with nearly 1,800 personnel, while the 61st and 81st Field Artillery numbered slightly more than 1,000.

The Japanese land in Macajalar Bay

On the afternoon of 2 May, the 102nd Division was alerted for combat after the convoy carrying the Kawamura Detachment was spotted north of Macajalar Bay.

The troops on beach defense were immediately alerted, and that night, after the convoy had entered the bay, the demolition plan was put into effect.

Shortly after, about 0100 of May 3rd, the Japanese troops numbering about 4,000 men began coming ashore at both extremities of the line, at Cagayan and at the mouth of the Tagoloan River. Supported by fire from two destroyers offshore, the Japanese by dawn had secured a foothold of the beach line between the Tagoloan and the Sayre Highway.

“The Japanese forces landed in great number in the vicinity of Bugo and proceeded toward town,” recalls Hernando.  

By dawn, the Japanese firmly held the shoreline between Tagoloan and the Sayre Highway. Although Webb was unable to prevent the Cagayan landing, he launched a two-company counterattack against the beachhead.

Those of Kawamura’s men who came ashore in the vicinity of Cagayan met a warm reception. Unable to prevent the enemy from landing, Major Webb attacked the beachhead with two companies. So successful was the attack that only the withdrawal of the 61st Field Artillery on his right prevented him, Webb believed, from driving the enemy back into the sea. With his right flank exposed, Webb was forced to break off the engagement and pull his men back.

In response to the Japanese landing, Sharp moved his reserves, which were the 2.95 inch gun  detachment of Major Paul D. Phillips, the 62nd Infantry of Lieutenant Colonel Allen Thayer, and the 93rd Infantry of Major John C. Goldtrap, forward.

Pending the arrival of the two regiments, Phillips’ detachment was to take up a position behind a deep crater on the Sayre Highway and block any Japanese attempt to advance south. When it was joined later in the day by the 62d and 93d Infantry Sharp would have a strong line, supported by artillery, in the path of the Japanese.

Major Phillips’ detachment had hardly set up its guns when, at 0730, it came under fire from the Japanese advancing along the Sayre Highway.

In the initial attack the detachment was forced back about 700 yards. Fortunately, the Japanese failed to press their advantage and Phillips was able to organize another holding position at his new location. He was joined here early in the afternoon by advance elements of the 93d Infantry; the rest of that regiment when it reached the area prepared a second position a short distance to the south. The 62d Infantry, whose assembly area was farther south on the Sayre Highway, failed to join the other two units that day.

To General Sharp “events seemed to be moving satisfactorily”. Although the enemy controlled the beaches and the northern terminus of the Sayre Highway, his own troops had disengaged without loss and were in position along a secondary line of defense.

Already part of his reserves were blocking the highway and other troops were moving up to their support. So optimistic was the general that he set his staff to work on a plan to counterattack north along the highway next morning.

The optimism at force headquarters quickly dissipated when reports of Japanese progress during the day began to come in. The enemy had apparently pushed back the 61st and 81st Field Artillery. The 103d Infantry had resisted more stoutly but was also falling back in order not to be outflanked.

General Sharp’s hopes for a counterattack were dealt the final blow when, at 1600, Colonel Morse ordered a general withdrawal to defensive positions astride the Sayre Highway, about six miles south of the beach. The move was to be made that night under cover of darkness.

“We soon abandoned our beach defenses and withdrew to the hills of Kiliog, Bukidnon,” noted Hernando.

After a conference with Morse, Woodbridge, and Webb, General Sharp decided to establish his next line even farther south than the line already selected.

The position selected paralleled the Mangima Canyon, a formidable natural barrier east of the town of Tankulan, and the Mangima River. At Tankulan the Sayre Highway splits, one branch continuing south then east, the other east then south. Before the two join, eight air miles east of Tankulan, they form a rough circle bisected from north to south by the Mangima Canyon and River.

The Mindanao Force chose this site parallel to Mangima Canyon, a formidable natural barrier east of the town of Tankulan, and the Mangima River. (NARA)

East of the junction of the canyon and the upper road lies the town of Dalirig; to the south the river cuts across the lower road before Puntian. Possession of these two towns would enable the defenders to block all movement down the Sayre Highway to central Mindanao.

At 2300, 3 May, General Sharp issued orders for the withdrawal to the Mangima line. The right (north) half of the line, the Dalirig Sector, was to be held by the 102d Division which had been reorganized and now consisted of the 62d Infantry, the 81st Field Artillery, the 2.95-inch gun detachment, and Companies C and E of the 43rd Infantry (Philippine Scouts), under Morse’s command from force reserve.

The former commander of the Mindanao Force Reserve, Colonel William F. Dalton, took command of the Puntian Sector on the lower (southern road) with the 61st Field Artillery and the 93rd Infantry.

Puntian, Sumilao, Bukidnon

Separated by the Japanese advance, the 103rd Infantry was made independent, tasked with defending the Cagayan River valley. The Third Battalion, 103rd Infantry Regiment under Maj. Robert V. Bowler withdrew to Talakag.

In the Dalirig Sector, Lt. Col. Allen Thayer’s 62d Infantry, closely supported by the 2.95-inch gun detachment, occupied the main line of resistance along the east wall of Mangima Canyon. Companies C and E, 43d Infantry (Philippine Scouts), Colonel Morse’s reserve, were stationed in Dalirig, and in a draw 500 yards behind the town were the 200 men of the 81st Field Artillery, which had had a strength of 1,000 when the Japanese landed. Colonel Dalton, with two regiments, used the lull in battle similarly to dig in before Puntian.

All units reached their designated positions by the morning of 4 May, taking advantage of a lull in the Japanese advance to organize the line for the rest of that day and the next. The remainder of that day as well as the next, during which time the Japanese limited themselves to aerial reconnaissance and bombardment, was spent in organizing the line.

The 1st Battle of Mangima Canyon

On the morning of 6 May the Kawamura Detachment resumed its attack. Their approach toward Tankulan was reported by patrols of the 62d Infantry which for the past two days had moved freely in and around the town.

During the morning advance elements of the Kawamura Detachment passed through Tankulan and began to advance along the upper road toward Dalirig. Late that afternoon the Japanese moved into Tankulan in force and began to register their artillery on Dalirig.

There was little action the next day. Japanese artillery, well out of range of Major Phillips’ 2.95-inch guns, dropped their shells accurately into the 62d Infantry line while their aircraft bombed and strafed gun positions and troops. The left battalion suffered most from the bombardment and Colonel Thayer finally had to send in his reserve battalion to bolster the line.

On 08 May the Japanese attacked the Third Battalion, 103rd Infantry defending Talakag so effectively only ninety of Bowler’s men managed to escape. This opened a dangerous backdoor “into the very heart of Bukidnon.”

The Kawamura Detachment used armored cars with artillery and close air support to decimate the Mindanao Force defending Mangima Canyon in May 1942.

In the Puntian Sector the Japanese were content to pin down Dalton’s troops by artillery fire. The bombardment continued with  armored car incursions and dive bomber sorties until 19:00 of the same day when Kawamura attacked Sharp’s main line of resistance across the Sayre Highway at Mangima Canyon, successfully infiltrating the division’s lines, sowing disorder.

Until the night of 8-9 May, Dalton had been able to maintain contact with the 62d Infantry on his right (north) but during the confusion which marked the fighting that night he lost contact.

In the chaos two platoons “mysteriously received orders to withdraw” and retreated, but were quickly stopped as no such orders had actually been issued. Before they could return to the front they came under attack from a small force of Japanese infiltrators, after which other Filipino troops commenced firing, although they could not distinguish between friend and foe in the night, inducing further panic on the line. The firing was only halted after Thayer’s personal intervention.

After holding through the night, the 62d Infantry held on as long as possible but by morning the tired and disorganized Filipinos had been pushed off the main line of resistance and were falling back on Dalirig.

Already the 2.95-inch gun detachment had pulled out, leaving the Companies C and E of the 43rd Infantry, Philippine Scouts as the last organized resistance in the sector.

In an effort to relieve the pressure on Thayer’s regiment he launched his own attack the next morning. Though the attack was successful it failed to achieve its purpose, for the disorganized 62d Infantry was already in full retreat.

At about 1130 of the 9th, as the 62d Infantry began to withdraw through Dalirig, Kawamura’s men entered the town from three sides and struck the retreating Filipinos.

Two companies of the 43rd Infantry, Philippine Scouts, were the best armed and trained troops holding the Mangima Line.

Already disorganized, the troops of the 62d Infantry scattered in all directions. The two Scout companies in the town, under the leadership of Maj. Allen L. Peck, made a brave stand but finally withdrew just before their positions were encircled.

Retreat and withdrawal

The escape route of the fleeing troops lay over flat, open country, devoid of cover. Pursued by small-arms and artillery fire and strafed by low-flying aircraft, the retreating units lost all semblance of organization. Each man sought whatever protection he could find, discarding his equipment when it impeded his progress.

By the end of the 9 May the Dalirig Sector forces no longer existed, except for the 150 men of the 2.5-inch gun detachment, holding positions five miles to the east of the town.

Along the southern branch of the highway Dalton and his two regiments still held firm at Puntian. But already Kawamura was sending additional troops to this sector and increasing the pressure against the Puntian force.

Whether Dalton would be able to hold was doubtful, but even if he did his position was untenable. The enemy could sweep around his north flank from the direction of Dalirig or take him from the rear by continuing along the upper road to its junction with the lower road, then turning back toward Puntian. There was no way out.

Whatever consolation General Sharp derived from the fact that the Puntian force was still intact was tempered by the bitter realization that the Mangima line had been breached and the bulk of his force destroyed.

“North front in full retreat,” he radioed General MacArthur. “Enemy comes through right flank. Nothing further can be done. May sign off any time now.” Except for the resistance of scattered units, the Japanese campaign in Mindanao was over.

Mindanao Surrendered

 Sharp surrendered his command on 10 May 1942 in Malaybalay, following the Fall of Corregidor,  having ordered the 102nd Division units in the Dalirig Sector at 21:30 on 9 May to surrender at daybreak. 

Including the 103rd Infantry, the division surrendered sixteen American officers and four enlisted men, as well as eighty Filipino officers and 622 enlisted men. The remainder were listed as missing in action.

Three American officers, seven Filipino officers, and 166 Filipino enlisted men from the 62nd Infantry surrendered, while only the two American officers of the two 43rd Infantry companies surrendered.

The surrendered personnel of the division were sent to the former 101st Division camp (Camp Casisang) at Malaybalay , along with the other surrendered personnel of the Mindanao Force.

The 102nd Division personnel who remained unsurrendered simply disappeared into the hills of Mindanao; many later fought in the guerrilla war against Japan. 

“Our unit under Major Joseph Webb, commander of the 103rd Infantry Regiment disbanded in Tagitik, Bukidnon near Imbatug. Some of my fellow soldiers opted to return to Zamboanga, while I chose to stay in Imbatug,” Hernando recalled.

He later joined the guerrillas of the 10th Military District, United States Forces in the Philippines (USFIP), under Col. Wendel F. Fertig, the recognized guerrilla leader of Mindanao guerrillas by Gen. MacArthur.

#37. 1st Lt Hernando listed as S-2 of the 109th Regiment, 109th Division Station List 30 April 1945

Hernando joined the 109th Infantry Regiment under Major Fidencio M. Laplap, where he was designated  the Regimental Intelligence Officer (S-2) together with Lt. Jesus Yamut (S-1) as the Operations Officer.  The 109th Division Station List dated 30 April 1945 shows that by this time, Hernando had already been promoted to 1st Lieutenant while still holding the same position as S-2.

Lt. Col. Ernest Edward E. McClish (

Dongallo likewise refused to surrender and later joined the guerrillas of the 110th Division under Lt. Col. Ernest E. McClish, and was assigned as C.O. of the Division Special Troops, based at Medina, Talisayan, Misamis Oriental.

On December 22, 1942 he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant by 10th Military District Commander Col. Wendell W. Fertig, and later to Captain on April 4, 1943, and assigned on July 1, 1943 as C.O. of the 110th Infantry Regiment based at Balingasag, Misamis Oriental.

Among the notable actions he was involved with were the attack against the enemy held Anakan Lumber Company at Gingoog, Misamis Oriental, destroying the sawmill and lumber inventory; attacks on enemy garrisons at Gingoog, and the successful raid on the Talisayan barge staging area in March 22, 1945, later being promoted to Major on October 18, 1943 by Fertig.

A guerrilla force moves down a road near Macajalar Bay on 11 May 1945, most probably from the 1st & 2nd Bn, 110th Division. (NARA)

On May 3-9, 1945 the unit established a beach head at Tin-ao, Barrio Agusan, Cagayan, which cleared the way for the landing of the US Army 108th Regimental Combat Team. From May 10-June 25th, the unit fought alongside the 108th RCT against Japanese forces in Bukidnon. On June 26, 1945 the unit was detached to secure the perimeter of the Del Monte Airfield, 1st Field Hospital and bridges from Puerto, Bugo, Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, to Maluko, Bukidnon.

By July 16, 1945, the regiment was processed and absorbed into the reconstituted Philippine Army as the 2nd Battalion, 63rd Infantry Division. Dongallo retired from active military duty on April 29, 1946. He later served with distinction as vice-governor and later governor of Misamis Oriental. He passed on in June 7, 1984.

Records show that 1stLt. Docdocil also joined the guerrillas on January 1, 1943, before being discharged from active military service during the post-war demobilization on April 27, 1946.  He proceeded to continue his college education at Ateneo de Cagayan and graduated with a Commerce degree major in accounting in 1951. He served in the government until 1980, when he retired as an auditor of the DPWH and Commission on Audit. He passed on in 22 October 2003 in Houston, Texas at the age of 86.

In October 20, 2020, the family received his US Congressional Gold Medal with the assistance of the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project (#FilVetRep) and to the #Filipino #YoungLeaders Program (FYLPRO).

In contrast, 1st Lt. Hernando served for 30 years in military service, and was one of those who had the distinction of serving with the USAFFE, Philippine Army, as a guerrilla with the US Forces in the Philippines, the Philippine Constabulary, as an observer/OJT Battle Group Operations and Training Officer with the 7th Cavalry, 8th US Army in Korea, and various other command and staff duties, eventually retiring on 21 January 1970 with the rank of Colonel as the Chief of Staff, IV Military Area, Philippine Army, in his last posting.

Among his military awards and decorations were the Philippine Defense Medal with one bronze star (USA), Philippine Liberation Medal (USA), Asiatic -Pacific War Campaign Medal (USA), World War II Victory Medal (USA), American Defense Service Medal with one bronze star (USA), Distinguished Unit Citation Badge (USA) and Military Merit Medals (Awarded 4 times with 3 bronze stars), Long Service Medal with one bronze star, General Staff Badge, Philippine Independence Medal, Jolo Campaign Medal, Anti-Dissident Campaign Ribbon, and Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation Badge.

After his retirement from military service, he also served in various government and civic organizations including Barangay Captain, Barangay No. 4 (Poblacion), CDO 1972-1981; Member, Assn of Bgy Captains, CDO, 1972-1981; Member, Local Board of Censors, CDO, 1972-1977; Member, Archdiocesan Secretariat, Cursillos in Christianity, 1970-1992; Member, Misamis Oriental, Integrated National Police Screening Committee, 1975-1980 and as a Member, Safety Organization of the Philippines, 1989-1992.




  • Morton, Louis (1953). United States Army in World War II, The War in the Pacific: The Fall of the Philippines. Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, United States Army.  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  • Balis, Michael Anthony. The American Influence on the Mindanao Resistance during the Second World War. M.A.Thesis, Old Dominion University, 1990, pages 12-13
  • Schmidt, Major Larry S. (1982). American Involvement in the Filipino Resistance Movement on Mindanao During the Japanese Occupation, 1942–1945. Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
  • Smith, Robert Ross. The Collapse of 30th Division Resistance, U.S. Army in World War II, The War in the Pacific, Triumph in the Philippines, Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, United States Army.  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  • Chapter XVIII, Morton, Louis, The Fall of the Philippines, United States Army in World War II, The War in the Pacific, Center Of Military History United States Army, Washington, D.C., Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 53-63678, First Printed 1953 – CMH Pub 5-2, pages 499-518
  • Report of the Commanding General Eight Army on the Mindanao Operation (Victor V)
  • Reports of General MacArthur, The Campaigns of MacArthur in the Pacific, Volume 1, Prepared by his General Staff, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 66-60005

Unpublished sources

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