• ‘This is your boys’ war’


    (This is the second story, uncut and unedited, submitted by Benigno Aquino Jr. when he was a war correspondent of The Manila Times in 1951.)

    Somewhere at the western front, Korea: Captain Pedro de las alas of Gumaca, Quezon, Assistant Battalion S-3 (Plans and Operations) is now a hero and one of the most colorful at that, thanks to the alertness of his Korean boy, “Jimmy”, and the generosity of two willing Chinese surrenderees.

    It happened during the rush to Uijongbu that Pete captured two Chinese singlehandedly, without even firing a single shot. It must be clarified first, Captain Alas has weak eyesight and uses a highly graded glasses. He was the battalion’s advance man who was to reconnoiter for the 10th’s assembly area after the link-up. Driving through tortuous and twisting razor edge cliffs of Korea, characteristics of this country’s highways, his Korean boy, “Jimmy” suddenly shouted, “Palge, Palge, Chingo heitai” (Communist, Communist, Chinese soldier) pointing at a person coming down the road. Captain Alas absorbed in his driving did not readily understand what Jimmy was trying to say.

    Jimmy elbowed him again and shouted louder, this time with a more frantic tome, “Palge, Palge, Palge.” When Captain alas understood the impact of Jimmy’s words, his glasses fell, his jeep screamed to a dead stop, Jimmy jumped out of the jeep with loaded carbine and took cover behind a huge boulder along the road.

    Meanwhile, Captain Alas searched for his glasses, his only salvation. Finally, he found them and adjusted them. He pulled out his .45 and shouted at Jimmy, “Doko? Doko, Chingo heitai?” (Where? Where are the Chinese soldiers?). “Koko! Koko aru!” (There! There they are), Jimmy answered back.

    Captain Alas scanned the skyline, looked at the clear open road and started backing at Jimmy to verify where the Chinese are. Jimmy, when he saw him coming, pointed his gun at him as if trying to cover his advance. As Captain Alas was backing up to Jimmy little by little, a man suddenly tapped him on the shoulder and saluted.

    When Captain Alas looked back, it was the Palge, the Chinese heitai. Captain Alas shoved his pistol on the stomach of the surprised Chinese and Said, “O,O,O, nani?” (Oh, oh, oh, what now?), although wanting to say, I’ve got you covered pal.

    Now what, do I have to shoot or surrender. That is if he were Humprey Bogart and if it was a movie. But unfortunately he admitted later, that was all he could utter in his bewilderment, Jimmy his semi-interpreter talked to the Chinese who revealed there was another one at the house.

    Bravely, Captain Alas and his Jimmy walked up to the house and captured another one sitting on his hunches [sic], waiting for his captors with a Mandarin’s ease.

    They went back to the jeep and they were about to drive off when Captain Alas nearly fainted. All along his .45 pistol had no magazine and he fearlessly had been defiant with it. He turned over his catch to the battalion S-2 questioning. The Chinese revealed they’d been wanting to surrender but none ever got them, so they waited till Captain Alas came.

    Captain Alas told his story to Colonel Ojeda. Colonel Argao who heard Captain Alas’ unbridged confession could no longer hold back and related the whole incident to the other officers. To this date, Captain Alas is repenting why he had to shoot his mouth at the CO when he could have been a hero worthy of the Medal of Valor.


    Please follow our commenting guidelines.

    Comments are closed.