Pinoy Korean War vets to observe Memorial Day

MANILA Some 160 aging Filipino veterans of the Korean War will converge on Monday to celebrate the 20th Korean War Veterans of the Philippines Memorial Day in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.

The occasion will coincide with the observance of the 45th Philippine Veterans Affairs, Inc. (PVAI) anniversary.

Heading the celebration will be retired Army Maj. Maximo Young, a decorated war hero of the Korean War from 1950-1953, and president of the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK).

At age 97, Young is also the oldest and longest-surviving PEFTOK member.

It may be recalled that Young was a tank commander when he and his men confronted overwhelming Chinese troops in the epic battle at Yultong.

It was in this battle that he was awarded the Taegeuk Medal, the highest Korean military medal for bravery in combat, together with another Filipino soldier, the late Capt. Conrado D. Yap.

The Philippines was the first Asian country that sent 4,720 combat troops when the Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950.

Of that number, 92 Filipino soldiers were killed in action, 299 wounded, 57 missing in action, and 40 were captured.

Through the years, many of the PEFTOK troops who came home, died due to illness and old age with only some 160 alive today.

Retired Lt. Roberto Oliver, 89, is the youngest living PEFTOK veteran, who is expected to attend Monday's celebration with retired Brig. Gen. Manuel Gonzales, assistant secretary and chief of the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic of the Department of Transportation, as guest speaker and honor.

Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-Man and retired Lt. Gen. Ernesto Carolina, administrator of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), are also invited to grace the affair. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency