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  • Writer's pictureMenchie Kinao

102-yr.-old WW2 veteran from Appas, Tabuk honored with US congressional medal

Updated: Sep 7, 2023


Tabuk City, Kalinga – A 102-year-old World War II veteran from Appas, Tabuk City was awarded the United States Congressional Gold Medal during the commemoration of 78th Victory Day on Sunday, Sept. 03, 2023, in Baguio City.


Private Paulino D. Vargas was among the 25 living Filipino veterans who were honored with the highest award bestowed by the US Congress to those whose service and sacrifice ‘contributed immeasurably to American history and culture.’

From January 15, 1943, Private Vargas joined the resistance and initially served with "F" Company, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry, United States Army in the Philippines Northern Luzon (USAFIP-NL) as a rifleman.


His unit ambushed numerous enemy soldiers at Nung-nungan and Sta. Cruz, Isabela and clashed with the mobile enemy forces at Mayaoyao, Ifugao. He was transferred to "B" Company of the same unit and engaged with mopping up operations from Sta. Cruz, Isabela to Mayaoyao, Ifugao.


He was honorably discharged in 1945.


Other 26 veterans were posthumously awarded with the prestigious award.


The medals were conferred by the US Embassy, in collaboration with the Department of National Defense through the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office and the Baguio City government.


MaryKay Carlson, the US Ambassador to the Philippines, extended her gratitude to the veterans for their heroism and gallantry.


Significance of the Victory Day

According to the Office of the Philippine Veteran Affairs, it was on September 3, 1945, when General Tomoyuki Yamashita dubbed as the “Tiger of Malaya” formally signed the surrender documents before ranking officials of the Allied Forces at Camp John Hay, Baguio City.


“For years, our Filipino soldiers, along with the Allied Forces, faced the Japanese Forces with determination and courage in incessant combat and attacks against the foreign invaders. Despite the enemies’ intensive resistance, our liberators stood firm and fought until they were able to penetrate the Japanese lines and succeeded in locating the elements of Yamashita's headquarters in Mount Napulawan. The brave efforts and sacrifices of our freedom fighters eventually led to the capture and surrender of General Yamashita, the highest Commander of the Japanese Imperial Army in the Philippines,” stated the office.

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