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FriscoHare

Recollections of a Philippine Scout

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In reading the BrokenShovelDude's post, I decided to post my grandfather's story. He was a part of the Philippine Scout's Food Brigade. They were in charge of bring food to the troops as well as conducting spy missions. Here's his story:

Pedro (Edring) A. Conejos (1927-Present)

From Majayjay, Laguna, Philippines. My grandfather was born on April 29, 1927. The oldest of 13 children, he remembered going to grammar school and still learning Spanish, even though the Philippines was under American control by that time. The Conejos family owned farmland and Pedro assisted in different duties on the farm.

 

In the years leading up to World War II, he recognized and increasing presence of Japanese merchants in the area. They owned small stores and acted like regular citizens of the Philippines. “They were actually spying,” he said. They took notes of the people and the terrain.

 

When the Japanese invaded on December 7, 1941, the contingent that went through Majayjay came in from the Pacific Ocean. Pedro witnessed soldiers of the Philippine Scouts running into the bell tower of the church and firing on the invading Japanese forces. Sensing that they would be over run, the Philippine Scouts retreated, heading towards Manila.

 

The Japanese quickly built a barracks outside the borders of Majayjay. Pedro and his parents moved to the edge of their farmland into the mountains, and stayed there throughout the war. He had to put his education on hold.

 

Pedro and his father, Jose, decided to join the Philippine Scouts. Because they owned farmland, they were assigned to the Food Brigade. The primary duties of this unit were to gather food for the Philippine Scouts as well as spying on Japanese movements, positions, and actions.

 

The Food Brigade had much importance to the Philippine Scouts and the US Army forces left in the Philippines. With Pearl Harbor rendered out of service and with the Japanese blockade of the Philippines, a food shortage occurred, leaving the US Army and the Philippine Scouts hungry. This brigade was able to keep these soldiers fighting, even after the fall of Bataan.

 

Pedro also witnessed the brutality of war. He said that the Japanese, in order to deter resistance, beheaded Philippine soldiers and placed them on display atop stakes. The Filipino’s would respond and do the same to Japanese soldiers.

 

The Japanese even tried changing the cultural and educational system in the Philippines. “Every time a Japanese soldier or officer passed by, you had to bow your head. They would try to make us sing Japanese songs in school… the officers even wanted you to shine their boots.”

 

“One thing I remember about the Japanese [soldiers] was their boots. They were unique because the Japanese boot separated their large toe from the rest, easily identifying their tracks,” he said.

 

After the Filipinos and Americans drove out the Japanese in 1944-1945, American food and goods began to flow through the country. “Filipinos would be given canned goods from the Americans and sell them on the black market. They even received guns. I was offered an M1 Carbine with a folding stock. My friend told me to take it but I said no.”

 

At war’s end, Pedro returned to school. He took advantage of the GI Bill and went on to college, graduating with a degree in Engineering. He married Angelina Lorais and they had two children, both boys.

 

Pedro worked in GSIS (Government Service Insurance System) as a property manager, first in Naga City, Camarines Sur then Batangas City, Batangas. He remained a manager until 1992 when he immigrated to the United States and became an American citizen.

 

He currently resides in the Philippines.


~Sean

WANTED: Philippine Department & Division patch variations, uniforms, & other items.
~In honor of Private Placido Conejos, 14th Engineer Regt. (Philippine Scouts). KIA on Bataan, 02/13/1942

My links: My P.I. "Mini-Museum" | Lolo's WWII Service | ASMIC Newsletter Editor (4653) | PSHS Nat. PRO & Webmaster




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I'm also posting his cousin's biography. Placido Conejos was part of the 12th Engineer Regiment, Philippine Division, US Army.

 

Private Placido Conejos

Serial Number 10301673– From Majayjay, Laguna, Philippines. He is one of the four known Conejos family members who enlisted in World War II. He was the second cousin of my grandfather.

 

Placido served in the U.S. Army, 14th Engineer Regiment, Philippine Division. When the Japanese invaded, his unit was pushed into the Bataan Peninsula. U.S. Army forces and the Philippine Scouts, under the command of General Douglas MacArthur fought the Japanese from January 7 to April 9, 1942. The combined Allied Forces surrendered to the Japanese. 76,000 men were forced to march from the Bataan Peninsula to prison camps.

 

The U.S. Army declared Placido Conejos as Missing in Action on February 13, 1942. There is no official record of what happened to him. He is memorialized at the Manila American Cemetery, Fort Bonifacio, Manila, Philippines.

 

He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.

 

In late 2008, Pedro Conejos confirmed that Placido had died during the Bataan Death March. “According to the records, he was missing in action but there are witnesses that said that the Japanese beheaded him.”

 

(Source: The National World War II Memorial, Pedro Conejos)


~Sean

WANTED: Philippine Department & Division patch variations, uniforms, & other items.
~In honor of Private Placido Conejos, 14th Engineer Regt. (Philippine Scouts). KIA on Bataan, 02/13/1942

My links: My P.I. "Mini-Museum" | Lolo's WWII Service | ASMIC Newsletter Editor (4653) | PSHS Nat. PRO & Webmaster




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Thank you sir for sharing the history of these great men. The islands might have been occupied but never conquered.


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GOD Bless Texas And All That Serve Her

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>Placido served in the U.S. Army, 14th Engineer Regiment, Philippine Division.

 

Unable to locate any information in NARA. Do you happen to have documents revealing assignment was the 14th?

 

Interested in obtaining documentation describing the involvement in battle as infantrymen of the 14th Engineer Regiment. Appreciate any assistance which will lead to justification of several awards and/or decorations.

 

Robert

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