What was it like to be a member of the Filipino Resistance under Japanese occupation?
In my entry for Coast Guard Oral Histories (World War II section) I claim you can answer “What was it like to be a member of the Filipino Resistance under Japanese occupation?” with this resource. Here’s how:
- Visit the resource and scroll down to either the “Women” or “World War II” sections
- Locate the oral history of Florence Finch was the only SPAR decorated for combat during World War II.
Here you’ll find this statement of SPAR Finch’s activities:
14. A Filipino man asked for my help in falsifying documents to enable guerillas to obtain fuel to operate their trucks and then wrote names on coupons to enable them to pick up their fuel supplies. Col. Engelhart wrote about this inthe recommendation for me to receive the Medal of Freedom. [See Medal of Freedom citation]. I also brought food and did laundry for the American internees in Santo Tomas until the gates were closed in October 1944, after General MacArthur had begun his efforts to liberate the Phillippines in Leyte Gulf. Then the Japanese put the internees on starvation diets. As I have written elsewhere, the Filipinos – all of us outside – were very loyal to the Americans; we shared with them our own meager foods. All ships had stopped coming from the US, also food was very scarce, many foods being sold on the black market, especially cigarettes.
While her Medal of Freedom Citation is not reproduced in this document, a search on her name brings up another Coast Guard biography page on Florence Finch which quotes from the citation:
For meritorious service which had aided the United States in the prosecution of the war against the enemy in the Philippine Islands, from June 1942 to February 1945. Upon the Japanese occupation of the Philippine Islands, Mrs. Finch (then Mrs. Florence Ebersole Smith) believing she could be of more assistance outside the prison camp, refused to disclose her United States citizenship. She displayed outstanding courage and marked resourcefulness in providing vitally needed food, medicine, and supplies for American Prisoners of War and internees, and in sabotaging Japanese stocks of critical items. . .She constantly risked her life in secretly furnishing money and clothing to American Prisoners of War, and in carrying communications for them. In consequence she was apprehended by the Japanese, tortured, and imprisoned until rescued by American troops. Thought her inspiring bravery, resourcefulness, and devotion to the cause of freedom, Mrs. Finch made a distinct contribution to the welfare and morale of American Prisoners of War on Luzon.