The USS Hornet will honor the accomplishments of Filipino WWII veterans who served in the 1st and 2nd Filipino Regiments during its Living Ship Day series on Saturday, August 18, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A registered state and national historic landmark, the ship is permanently berthed at 707 W. Hornet Avenue, Pier 3 in Alameda, CA.
Many of these veterans served undercover during the war in the Philippines as intelligence agents. Their missions have only recently been declassified.
A big band musical will be performed by The Hornet Band from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be operating aircraft carrier with flight simulations between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Visitors will have chance to meet a former crew and sit in the cockpit of a fighter. There will also be a Big Band performance at 1:00 pm.
Veterans of the war and other Filipino speakers speak at the USS Hornet Museum beginning at 1 p.m. One of the keynote speakers Corporal Alfonso “Al” N. Lamata is a veteran of 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiment. He served in the Asiatic Pacific Theater (New Guinea, Hollandia, Philippine Islands) for two years and retired in 1946.
Al, volunteered for service in the 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiment when he was eighteen years old and feels it is his duty to share the stories about the regiment because he was one of the youngest members and almost the only one still alive who can tell the truth now. Since he served with older soldiers, he was treated as if he had been a little brother of others. “The stories are not about me,” he said.
“I would like people to recognize there was such a regiment, and find out what we did and contributed as American soldiers during the war,” said Al, born in San Francisco and inducted into the US army in1943. At that time, many of young Filipino Americans were supposed to get involved in the army.
Another speaker Jesus “Jess” Cristobal Malgapo is a retired Commander, Supply Corps, U.S. Navy and a two-term president of the Filipino American Retired US Armed Forces Association; and President of the Vallejo Veterans Memorial Building. His father is Isauro T. Malgapo, who was a Philippine Army First Lieutenant and fought with the U.S. Armed Forces Far East during WWII. He is a survivor of Bataan Death March.
The 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment was a United States Army infantry regiment made up of Filipino Americans. It was segregated from the continental United States and a few veterans of the Battle of the Philippines.
Nowadays, most of young people have never even heard about Filipino Regiments during WWII. The sacrifices and achievement which happened to them during the war have been forgotten. He hopes that young people recognize the regiments and what they did for the US.
The USS Hornet Museum is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to inspiring people of all ages to experience the legacy of naval history, science, and space technology. The ship is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Regular museum admission is $7-$16 for youths through adults and there is ample free parking across from the pier. For more information, visit www.uss-hornet.org or call (510) 521-8448.