[Daddy Max, at extreme left photo, is shown delivering this SPEECH by way of WELCOME REMARKS at the WREATH LAYING Ceremonies held on April 26, 2017 at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani in Taguig City, Metro-Manila, Philippines. Middle photo shows the start of the WREATH LAYING Ceremonies as part of the commemoration of the 66th Anniversary of the famous Battle of Yuldong (From R-L: a South Korean guest who heads the United Korean Association in the Philippines, Daddy Max, Col. Paterno Viloria, Former Pres. Fidel V. Ramos, LtGen. Glorioso Miranda who is Commanding Gen. of the Phil. Army atop the mounting stand together with GUEST OF HONOR, USEC Arthur Tabaquero, Presidential Assistant of Military Affairs; and PVAO Administrator Ernesto Carolina). Extreme right photo shows Daddy Max doing the march to the KOREAN WAR Memorial Pylon with TWO (2) Filipino soldiers preceding him in the march donned in RAYADILLO uniforms as they carried the wreath to be offered by Daddy Max.]
A pleasant Good Morning to you all. Magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat.
I wish to most respectfully greet our honored guests; my fellow veterans from PEFTOK, officially known as the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea.
Ladies and gentlemen!
Sixty-six (66) years ago is a very distant time replete with age-old memories. Indeed, memories fade but heroism endures forever.
Sixty-six (66) years ago, in the morning of April 22, 1951, the 900 men of the 10th Battalion Combat Team of the PEFTOK were digging in on a three mile-long sector in a place inside North Korea whose name most of them did not even know.
I was a member of the 10th BCT. My unit, like the other combat arms of the 10th BCT, found itself preparing for another battle with an enemy we knew well — the communist Chinese.
There was a small village some distance from where we were digging our foxholes and examining and sighting our machine guns, as we anxiously waited for the enemy.
As we slumped ourselves into the grubby foxholes, we felt so forlorn and did not know what tomorrow will bring us. Fear haunted us all as we thought of our families that we have left behind, our loved ones, our country, the Philippines. Varied morbid thoughts crossed our minds. Though we all know that we have defeated the enemy not once but in various occasions, we truly felt that they will attack us with ferocious vengeance. And we can only tell ourselves then; will this be our last battle– will this be the prelude to our end or will this signal the end of the Korean War.
We did not know the name of the place at that time, but we all realized the significance of our mission.
The communist Chinese were about to launch a great summer offensive which they expectantly hoped would carry them to final victory by overwhelming the United Nations Command.
It was PEFTOK’s job to blunt that great offensive, along with its allies in the United Nations Command.
We knew the Chinese would attack at night. As they had so often in the past.
We knew they would hurl wave after wave of frenzied men at our rifles, machine guns, mortars and artillery. As they had so often in the past.
And we knew the only way to defeat a Chinese human wave attack was to kill as many of them as we could. And this we had done so often in the past.
It was the same old enemy using the same old tricks. And we would beat them in the same old way.
We had beaten them in the past. And we were confident we would do so again at this hilly and God forsaken stretch of terrain whose name escaped us then.
As expected, the Chinese came at night. They struck in the early morning hours of April 23, in a vast human wave.
The 10th BCT held its ground in those hours of ferocious fighting.
In a night battle, the only things you clearly see is the flash of your rifle.
And the flashes of your comrades’ rifles. And the flashes of the rifles and machine guns of the Chinese enemy shooting at you.
As dawn broke, we were surprised that most of us were still alive. We joyfully thanked Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary for our deliverance.
But in front of us were the dead bodies of hundreds upon hundreds of Chinese military force.
We were victorious. This we knew, because we were still alive.
Unable to overrun us, the Chinese avoided us altogether, leaving us in possession of the battlefield.
We counted our dead. Tended our wounded. And resupplied our machine guns and rifles with ammunition.
It was only later that we learned the name of that blood-soaked ground where so many lives were lost.
The place was called Yuldong.
It was only later that we learned that we had stopped the advance of an entire Chinese communist army– in the largest communist offensive of the Korean War.
And it was only very much later that historians determined that our victory at Yuldong helped deny the Chinese the decisive victory they needed to win the Korean War.
Today, on this hallowed ground of the Libingan ng mga Bayani, we commemorate the great Filipino victory at the Battle of Yuldong. And the valiant Filipinos who won that great victory.
It is a great victory for Filipino arms. It was a great victory in a Forgotten War. But the victory at Yuldong might one day become a Forgotten Victory.
It is the task of younger Filipinos to ensure they do not forget their great victory at Yuldong.
And is the task of the few remaining PEFTOK veterans of the Korean War to remind them of that glorious past.
Let us always remember.