The Bataan Legacy Historical Society, in partnership with the Veterans Administration Golden Gate National Cemetery, will commemorate the 77th Anniversary of the Bataan Death March and the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Leyte Gulf on Saturday, April 6 at 10 a.m. at the Golden Gate National Cemetery (1300 Sneath Lane, San Bruno, CA 94066).
The event will honor the Filipino and American veterans of WWII who fought in the Battle of Bataan and/or the liberation of the Philippines and are buried at Golden Gate National Cemetery. Foremost among the honorees are Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz and Major General Albert Jones (a survivor of the Bataan Death March).
The program will include the participation of the U.S. Army 84th Training Command, the 191st U.S. Army Band, the U.C. Berkeley Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC), six schools from San Francisco Unified School District JROTC program, the American Legion, VFW and other veterans and civic groups. Maj. General (Ret.) Eldon Regua, USA, former Deputy Commander of the 8th Army, will be the Master of Ceremonies.
Admiral Nimitz established one of the nation’s first NROTC programs at UC Berkeley in 1926. He became the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in December 1941 and Fleet Admiral of the U.S. Navy in December 1944.
As Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Ocean Areas, he led the Allied Forces to victory during the major battles in the Pacific including the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle in history. He signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender for the U.S. when Japan formally surrendered aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945. He is buried at Golden Gate National Cemetery.
The Filipino and American soldiers of the U.S. Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) were able to delay the timetable of the Imperial Japanese Army despite suffering from major disease and starvation and fighting without any air support. Approximately 75,000 were forced to surrender on April 9, 1942 and consequently suffered atrocities during the 65-mile march to their prison camp at Camp O’Donnell where around 21,600 soldiers perished. The Battle of Leyte Gulf, which took place between October 23 to 26, 1944 remains as the largest naval battle in history. It was a decisive battle which destroyed the Imperial Japanese Navy.
Bataan Legacy Historical Society worked successfully with the California Department of Education to include WWII in the Philippines in the U.S. history curriculum framework for Grade 11 which was approved by the California State Board of Education on July 14, 2016. Since 2012, it has organized the Bataan Death March Commemoration in the Bay Area. For more information go to www.bataanlegacy.org.