United States Army Forces in the Philippines of Northern Luzon (USAFIP-NL)
The Makeup of United States Army Forces of Northern Luzon (USAFIP-NL)
Comprised of both American and Filipino soldiers and guerrillas. The organized task force was led and commanded by General Russel W. Volckmann. USAFIP-NL served as a military force that numbered more than 8000 infantrymen that hailed from the 11th, 14th, 15th, 66th, and the 121st Infantry Regiments. The Filipino guerrillas under Volckmann’s leadership were made up of various Filipino ethnic minorities from the northern cordilleras/mountain passes and ranges. The northern guerrillas’ knowledge of the mountainous terrain were crucial in helping to eliminate the last stronghold of the Japanese military out of Northern Luzon.
Struggles of the USAFIP-NL Guerrillas
The guerrillas of Northern Luzon in particular did not always have the benefit of geographically being near MacArthur and his reconnaissance team in the South Pacific. The distance between the the guerrillas of Northern Luzon and General MacArthur in the South Pacific meant that military and supplemental resources were not always available or secured. The mountainous and forested terrain of Northern Luzon on the other hand did prove to be a strategic advantage despite the lack of secure networks of communication with MacArthur.
The Struggles of the Guerrillas in Northern Luzon
In Northern Luzon, the cordilleras encompass various Philippine ethnic minorities whom have their own dialects, religious, and cultural traditions. The mountain province peoples known for their unique dialects and intricate woodcarving and textile work make up a significant bulk of the ethnic minorities who served as guerrillas in the uppermost region of Northern Luzon. Many acted as guides for Bataan escapees and resistance fighters. Other served as combatants, spies, and saboteurs for the Allies and took part in the major battles, such as the Battle of Kiangan, that focused on the retaking of Northern and Central Luzon.
The United States Army Forces of Northern Luzon (USAFIP-NL) in combat.
Philippines' Resistance: The Last Allied Stronghold In The Pacific
The people of the Philippine Islands during the early half of the 20th century experienced various waves of Western imperialism, two wars of attempted secession from Western powers, and two world wars. And yet the Philippine Islands and its people have received only small subheadings in many American textbooks and histories. The wartime experiences from the perspectives of the Philippine people have gone unnoticed and have become overshadowed by the sociopolitical dominating legacy of American figures like General MacArthur, leader and historical symbol of the Pacific Theater during World War II. MacArthur's famous phrase "I came through and shall return" is etched into every facet of World War II historical narratives, textbooks, and monuments that pay tribute to the Allied forces in the retaking of the Pacific from the Japanese. But It is the lesser known people and leaders of the Philippine resistance against the Axis powers whose efforts and contributions allowed for the effective and speedy return of MacArthur's military forces. The Philippine guerrilla resistance consisted of a diverse cast of Filipino men and women, ethnic and indigenous minorities, American and European immigrants and soldiers, young and old, rich and poor, from farmer to politician. The various units of Philippine guerrillas, their tactics, military resources, and vigor to survive and end the Japanese maltreatment of the Philippine peoples paint the Pacific Theater from 1941-1945 as desperate, dark, and bloody for Asian communities throughout East and Southeast Asia. But their resourcefulness, cooperative efforts to collaborate and network with MacArthur across the South Pacific, and massive grassroots liberation movement directly point to the remarkable value that the Philippine Underground Resistance proved to be in aiding the Allies' ability to retake the Pacific.