By CourtesyApril 20, 2017
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii- During the turmoil and chaos of post-World War II Philippines, the Purple Heart medal posthumously awarded to Private First Class Adriano Alagon was lost until today, when a replica of that precious medal was placed back in family hands.
Gen. Robert B. Brown, Commanding General, United States Army Pacific, presented the medal to Alagon's only surviving daughter, Elisea Alagon Jamoralin, during a formal ceremony at the historic Fort Shafter headquarters, a building ironically used to plan for the liberation of the Philippines in 1944.
"Through the horrors and terror of this period, we can take what endures over the years-the freedom and sacrifices made by Soldiers like Pfc. Alagon for our two nations," said Brown before presenting the medal.
Jamoralin was only eight years old when her father, a Soldier who survived the Bataan Death March, succumbed to the brutalities of the enemy while a prisoner of war of the Japanese. Over the years, his daughter longed for a tangible reminder of the honor bestowed upon her father, a man who served both the Philippines and the U.S. It was through the perseverance of her own daughter, Gina Jamoralin, the Philippine Consul General in Honolulu, who researched her grandfather's saga and contacted the U.S. Army about a replacement award, that she now holds that replica of her father's medal in her hands.
"Today's event is the culmination of my search for answers in what might have been forgotten by succeeding generations. While we miss our grandfather, we are consoled by the fact he died for his country and we are deeply proud of him," said Consul General Jamoralin on behalf of the family.
During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, Pfc. Alagon was a member of the 14th Engineer Battalion, Philippine Scouts, who gallantly served alongside American forces in the eventual liberation of the country. Enduring some of the fierce battles of the campaign, Pfc. Alagon was captured on his birthday, made to endure the horrific march across Bataan, and subsequently killed by his captors after spending nearly two years in brutal conditions as a POW.
The family brought a framed copy of an original letter signed by then President Harry Truman that in part said; "He stands in the unbroken line of Patriots who have dared to die so that freedom might live, and increase its blessings. Freedom lives- and through it- he lives."
"I've never heard it captured so well, said Gen. Brown. Freedom does live thanks to men and women like Private Alagon-his sacrifice really humbles us here today."
In May, Soldiers of U.S. Army Pacific will participate in Exercise Balikatan, the annual Philippine-U.S. military bilateral training exercise that is a signature element of the Philippine-U.S. alliance focused on a variety of missions, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counter terrorism, and environmental protection.
(Story by Russell Shimooka, U.S. Army Public Affairs Office)