A World War II veteran guerrilla fighter recently celebrated his 105th birthday, 77 years after the end of the Second World War.
The simple celebration was held on November 12, 2022 at his residence in Medina, Misamis Oriental, although his actual birthday was still on November 17, since many of his relatives could not make it on his actual birthdate.
Private Martiniano R. Quidet was born on November 17, 1917 in Puntod, Mahinog, Misamis Oriental (present day Camiguin Province) to Luis Cocamas Quidet, and Ciriaca Rojas.
He finished his elementary education in Hubagon Elementary School in Mahinog in 1931, and earned his high school diploma in Musuan High School, Bukidnon as a member of its pioneer class in 1950.
While working as a foreman in Del Monte Plantation’s Camp 14, Tatay Tity (as he is fondly called by his loved ones) married the late Paciencia Nanay Pacing Dagoc Odchigue, who was then working as a factory worker at the Del Monte canning plant in Bugo, Cagayan de Oro City, on September 29, 1952. A year after the couple moved to Camp 14, Tatay Tity resigned for health reasons and moved back to Camiguin, and eventually moved to Medina, Misamis Oriental a year later in search of greener pastures.
The couple had seven children, who were all present to greet Tatay Tity during his 105th birthday celebration: Julieta “Alda” Q. Sering, 69, retired clerk; Elsa Q. Olmillo, 67, retired personnel clerk; Miguel O. Quidet, 65, retired DepEd employee; Merlyn Q. Lumbreras, 64, retired master teacher; Delia Q. Reynaldo, retired employee; Lourdito O. Quidet, 59, DepEd Teacher II in Tambagan Elementary School, Medina, Misamis Oriental; and Emma Q. Jimenez, 58, DepEd School-in Charge, Kabulakan Integrated School, Balingoan, Misamis Oriental.
In 1938 he underwent military training with the Philippine Army and was called up in 1940 as war clouds with Japan brewed on the horizon.
He served with the 101st Engineer Battalion, 101st Division, Philippine Army, United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) from October 22, 1941 to January 23, 1946.
The 101st Division (PA) was active from 1941 to 10 May 1942, whereupon it surrendered after Corregidor fell. It was active in Mindanao. Col. (later BGen.) Joseph P. Vachon (USA) was the division’s commander, and Vachon simultaneously commanded the Cotabato-Davao Force, Mindanao Force.
After the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in December 1941, it formed part of Visayan-Mindanao Force under Brigadier General (later Major General) William F. Sharp, HQ originally at Cebu City.
The 101st Engineer Battalion (PA) provided construction and combat engineering support to other guerilla forces that operated in Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental and Lanao.
US Congressional Gold Medal
Four years ago, Private Quidet received a long delayed recognition for his service with the United States Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) when he was awarded the US Congressional Gold Medal along with 13 other Filipino War veterans, plus two proxies representing their deceased relatives.
In accordance with Public Law 114-265, the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal was awarded by US Director for Veterans Affairs, US Embassy, Manila Tracey A. Betts assisted by Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana during the PHIVIDEC Veterans Day Event held November 27, 2018 at the Limketkai Mall Atrium.
Pvt. Quidet, then 101 years old, was the oldest of the 13 surviving veterans to be awarded.
The US Congressional Gold Medal (bestowed by the US Congress) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (bestowed by the US President) are the highest civilian awards in the United States.
The US Congress passed the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act in November 2016 and President Barack Obama signed the bill into law in December of the same year.
A Congressional Gold Medal is designed by the United States Mint to specifically commemorate the person and achievement for which the medal is awarded. Medals are therefore different in appearance, and there is no standard design. Congressional Gold Medals are considered non-portable, meaning that they are not meant to be worn on a uniform or other clothing, but rather displayed.
Of the approximately 260,000 Filipino War Veterans recognized by the US, only about 16,000 to 17,000 are still alive.