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Monday, January 16, 2012
TFH 1/16: Sergeant Jose Calugas
Jose Calugas was born on December 29, 1907 in the Philippines. At age 23 he joined the US Army's Philippine Scouts and was trained as an artilleryman. Seventy years ago today during the defense of the Bataan Peninsula, he took it upon himself to get a knocked-out gun back into action. For his courage and leadership, he was decorated with our Nation's highest honor:
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Battery B, 88th Field Artillery, Philippine Scouts. Place and date: At Culis, Bataan Province, Philippine Islands, 16 January 1942. Entered service at: Fort Stotsenburg, Philippine Islands. Born: 29 December 1907, Barrio Tagsing, Leon, %Iloilo, Philippine Islands. G.O. No.: 10, 24 February 1942. Citation: The action for which the award was made took place near Culis, Bataan Province, Philippine Islands, on 16 January 1942. A battery gun position was bombed and shelled by the enemy until 1 gun was put out of commission and all the cannoneers were killed or wounded. Sgt. Calugas, a mess sergeant of another battery, voluntarily and without orders ran 1,000 yards across the shell-swept area to the gun position. There he organized a volunteer squad which placed the gun back in commission and fired effectively against the enemy, although the position remained under constant and heavy Japanese artillery fire.
Sergeant Calugas was still fighting for liberty when the US forces in the Philippines surrendered to the Japanese on April 9, 1942. He survived the Bataan Death March and Japanese imprisonment until 1943, when he was released to work as a laborer in a rice mill. His release also meant his return to the fight; Calugas joined a guerrilla unit that helped lead to the liberation of the Philippines in 1945.
In 1945, Jose Calugas received his Medal of Honor from General of the Army George C. Marshall. He remained in the United States Army, received an officer's commission, and became an American citizen in the early 1950s. After leaving the army in 1957, he settled in Tacoma, WA and worked for Boeing. He passed away of natural causes at age 90 in January of 1998.
He rests today in Mountain View Memorial Park in Washington, near his adopted home.