SOUTH Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Kim Jae-Shin cited the bravery and heroism of the 7,420-man Philippine Expedition Force to Korea that fought in the Korean War, saying the Filipino combat troops “preserved the freedom of my people.”
Kim made the statement in a speech during the 65th anniversary of the invasion of South Korea by North Korean forces on June 25, 1950 last Thursday at the Philippines-Korea Friendship Center in Taguig City.
Kim also said the bravery of the Filipino soldiers during the Korean War will never be forgotten by the South Korean government
The affair, which was attended by defense and military officials from both countries and surviving Peftok veterans, coincided with the unveiling of the historical marker containing the names of the 112 Filipino soldiers killed in action during the war.
The Korean War lasted for three years from 1950 to July 1953, but armed stalemate continues at the 38th Parallel between the two countries.
The Philippines was the first allied country that sent combat troops to Korea on Sept. 19, 1950, barely three months after the war broke out.
Peftok was composed of five Battalion Combat Teams – the 10th, 20th, 19th, 14th and the 2nd.
The 10th BCT had the most number of casualties. Of the 1,400 officers and men, 100 were killed in action, followed by the 19th BCT with 32 KIA, the 20th BCT with 15 KIA, and 14th BCT with five KIA. The 2nd BCT did not suffer any KIA.
The most decorated Filipino Korean War hero was Capt. Conrado Yap who was awarded the Medal of Valor, the highest military award of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, for his gallantry and intrepidity during the Battle of Yultong in North Korea on April 22-23, 1951.
The Battle of Yultong was a battle between the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army 44th Division and the Filipino 10th Battalion Combat Team, north of Yeoncheon. The Filipino BCT was part of the United States’ 65th Infantry Regiment, which was trapped at the Yultong.
Although the 10th BCT had lost all contacts with the outside world, the Filipinos held their position until the Chinese stopped their attacks. The 10th BCT’s action at Yultong allowed the US 3rd Infantry Division to successfully withdraw from the battlefield.
Another decorated PEFTOK officer was then Lt. Fidel V. Ramos who successfully led his troops in the capture of the strategic Eerie Hill after a daylong gun battle.
Ramos, who later became the Philippine Constabulary chief, AFP chief of staff, and defense secretary, was elected the 12th President of the Republic of the Philippines in 1992. PNA
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