The Story Behind Filipino WW2 Veterans and the Congressional Gold Medal
Join us for a conversation with Major General Antonio Taguba, chairman of the Filipino American Veterans Recognition Project. He'll recap the long and difficult, but successful, effort to recognize Filipino veterans who fought for the United States during WW2, and tell us about a new project launched recently called Duty to Country.
[HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: In 1941, about 250,000 Filipinos joined the US armed forces to fight for the United States against the Japanese. At the time they were promised the same health and pension benefits as their American brothers. However, on February 18, 1946, President Truman signed the ‘Recession Act’ stripping the Filipino soldiers of those benefits. After decades of struggle for recognition, on November 30, 2016, the U.S. Congress passed final legislation granting the Congressional Gold Medal award to Filipino and American Veterans of World War II, the highest civilian award bestowed by the U.S. Congress to an individual or group that contributed to American culture and history. The measure was signed into law by President Obama on December 14, 2016.]
Unfortunately, by then, many of the veterans had passed away. We’ll meet some of their family members who accepted the medals on behalf of their loved ones.
The work to educate others about the service by Filipino veterans is not finished. Major General Taguba will share details of Duty to Country—an education platform project to educate the American public on the untold and hidden history of the Filipino and American soldiers who fought for America since 1898.
"The intent and purpose of this national project is to be the voice of the Veterans in telling their experience as part of American history and culture."
ANTONIO M. TAGUBA, Major General, U.S. Army Retired
Major General Antonio (Tony) Taguba retired on January 1, 2007 having served 34 years on Active Duty. Currently, he is President, TDLS Consulting, LLC which provides business consulting services to corporate and nonprofit organizations and Chairman, Pan Pacific American Leaders and Mentors (PPALM), a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit national, all volunteer, charitable, educational professional organization committed to mentoring and leadership development of military and civilian leaders.
He also serves as Chairman, Filipino Veterans Education and Recognition Project, 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit, national, education, charitable group advocating for and supporting the Filipino and American Veterans of World War II. He was a former Vice President, Army Services, SERCO Inc., a global services company based in North America and Great Britain.
Born in Manila, Philippines on October 31, 1950, Major General Taguba was commissioned as an Armor Officer and distinguished military graduate from Idaho State University in May 1972. He has served in numerous command and staff positions from infantry platoon to General officer level. His service tours included assignments in the United States, South Korea, Germany, and Kuwait.
During Operation Iraqi Freedom, he served as Deputy Commanding General for Support, Coalition Forces Land Component Command/Army Central Command/Third U.S. Army, forward deployed to Kuwait and Iraq. He was responsible for logistical support services to U.S. and Coalition Forces totaling over 150,000 troops conducting combat operations. His duty included support of U.S. troops and coordination of host nation support from the Government of Kuwait, and security/training support in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and Qatar. Prior to his deployment, he served as Acting Director of Army Staff, Department of the Army, Pentagon.
Upon his redeployment, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Pentagon. He later served as Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Reserve Command on his last assignment on active duty.His military awards and decorations include the Army Distinguished Service Medal (2 awards), Legion of Merit (4 awards), Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (6 awards), Office of Secretary of Defense Identification Badge, and Army Staff Identification Badge.
He received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of San Francisco on May 17, 2008. Major General Taguba graduated from Idaho State University with a BA degree in History; Webster University with a MA degree in Public Administration; Salve Regina University with a MA degree in International Relations; and U.S. College of Naval Command and Staff with MA degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and U.S. Army War College.
He and wife of 39 years, Debra, have two adult children—Lindsay T. Keys and Major Sean T. Taguba, US Army. They have three granddaughters.