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ALP

American Legion Post 510
1st Lieutenant Magdalena E. Leones,
San Francisco, California

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American Legion Post 510 is a VETERAN POST dedicated to acknowledge and honor Filipinos and Americans who have served in the Philippine Theater of Operations during WWII under General Douglas MacArthur. In addition, this POST will continue to support and advocate for VETERANS, active military and their families through programs that will foster PATRIOTISM and RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP.

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What is ALP ?

American Legion Post 510 Officers

NamePost
Lyndon DelagoCommander
Stanley KamiyaVice Commander
Ray T. CordobaAdjutant
Rodrigo DelaConcepcionChaplain
Gemma DeocampoFinance Officer
Rick Villarina Historian
TBASgt-At-Arms

Schedule of activity

17 Feb. 2018, 1800-2300 Hrs
Awarding of Congressional Gold Medal
War Memorial Building Room #210
401 Van Ness Ave. San Francisco 94102

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The Story

1ST LIEUTENANT MAGDALENA E. LEONES (19 AUGUST 1920 – 16 JUNE 2016) IS THE SOLE FILIPINO WOMAN RECIPIENT OF THE SILVER STAR. THE SILVER STAR IS AWARDED “FOR GALLANTRY IN ACTION”. IT IS THE 3RD HIGHEST MILITARY COMBAT DECORATION TO A MEMBER OF THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.

(MAGDALENA) “FEARLESSLY CONTINUED HER PERILOUS MISSIONS BETWEEN GUERRILLA FORCES THROUGHOUT LUSON WITH NOTABLE SUCCESS. THROUGH HER INTREPIDITY AND SKILL AS A SPECIAL AGENT, CORPORAL LEONES CONTRIBUTED MATERIALLY TO THE EARLY LIBERATION OF THE PHILIPPINES.”*

HERE IS HER STORY

IN DECEMBER, 1941, SHORTLY AFTER THE OUTBREAK OF WW II, AS THE IMPERIAL JAPANESE ARMY INVADED THE PHLIPPINES, AMERICAN FORCES, STATIONED AT CAMP JOHN HAY, BAGUIO CITY UNDER THE COMMAND OF COLONEL JOHN HORAN, RETREATED TO LUBUAGAN, A TOWN IN KALINGA PROVINCE TO SAVE HIS COMMAND FROM BEING ANNIHILATED BY THE INVADERS WHO WERE BETTER TRAINED AND EQUIPPED.

HORAN’S TROOPS WERE A “MIXED FORCE OF NON-COMBAT EXPERIENCED REGULAR, NATIONAL GUARD, CONSTABULARY AND NEWLY CREATED COMMONWEALTH (FIL-AM) UNITS” (FROM WIKIPEDIA) WHO HAD NO TRAINING AS GUERILLA FIGHTERS.

IT WAS AT THIS TIME THAT MAGDALENA LEONES, A MISSIONARY OF THE UNITED EVANGELICAL CHURCH GOT SWEPT INTO THE WAVE OF THE AMERICAN-JAPANESE CONFLICT IN THE PHILIPPINES. SHE VOLUNTEERED TO PERFORM SOME THE DUTIES OF A CORPSMAN TO THE ALLIED FORCES AND AS AN INTERPRETER BETWEEN THE ENGLISH SPEAKING PERSONNEL AND THE LOCAL FOLKS.

AFTER THE FALL OF CORREGIDOR ON MAY 6 OF 1942 AND ON LT GENERAL JONATHAN WAINWRIGHT’S ORDERS (MACARTHUR HAD GONE TO AUSTRALIA), HORAN AND THE MAJORITY OF TROOPS UNDER HIS COMMAND SURRENDERED TO THE BATTLE SEASONED JAPANESE ARMY SHORTLY THEREAFTER.

LEONES, ALONG WITH THE MISSIONARIES AND THE REMAINDER OF HORAN’S FIL-AM FORCES, RETREATED DEEP INTO THE JUNGLES IN THE MOUNTAIN RANGES BUT EVENTUALLY WERE CAUGHT AND IMPRISONED BY THE JAPANESE. WHILE A POW FOR FIVE MONTHS SHE BECAME PROFICIENT IN “NIPPONGO” WHICH ENABLED HER TO BE AN EFFECTIVE SPY.

UPON HER RELEASE FROM DETENTION SHE REJOINED HER MISSIONARY FRIENDS, MEMBERS OF THE FILIPINO-AMERICAN IRREGULAR TROOPS (FAIT) LED BY COLONEL CLAUDE THORPE AND COLONEL HUGH STRAUGHAN.

IN RECOGNITION OF HER CONTRIBUTION TO THE WAR EFFORTS MAJOR HELEN WILK, A MISSIONARY-OFFICER OF THE COSMOPOLITAN CHURCH, COMMISSIONED LEONES AS A FIRST LIEUTENANT IN THE FAIT UNIT.

“MAGGIE” AS SHE BECAME KNOWN TO EVERYONE, SERVED AS A SECRET COURIER OF VITAL INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION. WITH INTELLIGENCE, SCRUTINY AND CUNNING, SHE VETTED HER CONTACTS. THIS WAS A VERY ESSENTIAL AND DANGEROUS PART OF HER MISSION.

RISKING HER LIFE IN THE HANDS OF THE KEMPEITAI (JAPANESE MILITARY POLICE) MAGGIE ALSO HAD THE TENACITY TO REGULARLY SECURE BADLY NEEDED MEDICAL SUPPLIES FROM A NURSE “CONTACT” AT MANILA’S “DOCTORS HOSPITAL”. MAGGIE PERSISTED IN HER ENGAGING CLANDESTINE INTELLIGENCE OPERATIONS AND CORPSMAN DUTIES. SHE ENGAGED IN THE PIVOTAL BATTLE OF BESANG PESA THAT LED TO THE CAPTURE OF JAPANESE GENERAL TOMOYUKI YAMASHITA.

IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE END OF THE WAR ON 2 SEPTEMBER,1945 LEONES WAS ENLISTED INTO THE UNITED STATES ARMY WITH THE RANK OF CORPORAL AND ASSIGNED TO THE NORTHERN LUZON (USAFIP-NL) UNIT. THEN LT. COLONEL (GUERILLA COLONEL) RUSSELL VOLCKMANN CONSIDERED THE TOP USAFFE AND GUERILLA LEADER IN LUZON, RECOMMENDED MAGDALENA E. LEONES FOR A SILVER STAR. COLONEL VOLCKMANN (LATER GENERAL) CO-FOUNDED THE U.S. ARMY SPECIAL FORCES, AKA “GREEN BERETS”.

THE CITATION FOR THE SILVER STAR RECOGNIZED “MAGGIE” AS “SPECIAL AGENT”. LT GENERAL OSCAR GRISWOLD, COMMANDING GENERAL OF THE XIV CORPS, SIGNED THE DOCUMENT ON 22 OCTOBER, 1945.

UNBEKNOWNST TO THE BRASS PRIMARILY BECAUSE OF THE FOG OF WAR, THE CITATION ERRONEOUSLY STATED “CORPORAL MAGDALENA E. LEONES” INSTEAD OF “FIRST LIEUTENANT”, APPARENTLY A BATTLEFIELD COMMISSION, GIVEN TO HER BY MAJOR HELEN WILK.

MS LEONES WAS ALSO THE RECIPIENT OF THE PHILIPPINE LIBERATION MEDAL, THE RESISTANCE MOVEMENT MEDAL, THE WORLD WAR II MEDAL AND THE PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE RIBBON. SHE MOVED TO CALIFORNIA IN 1969, WORKED AT THE PACIFIC BELL COMPANY AND PASSED WAY AT HER HOME IN RICHMOND, CA.

AMERICAN LEGION POST 510 IS PRIVILEGED AND HONORED TO PRESERVE THE LEGACY OF 1ST LT. MAGDALENA “MAGGIE” E. LEONES, AN EXEMPLARY PATRIOT AND FILIPINO HEROINE.

*EXCERPT FROM THE GENERAL ORDERS AUTHORIZING THE CITATION FOR THE SILVER STAR FOR CORPORAL MAGDALENA E. LEONES.

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   Lyndon Delago
Commander

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