Friday, April 10, 2015

Valor Tours Ghost Soldiers of Bataan Day 5 Medal of Honor recipients


Day 5 could be called "Medal of Honor Day," as we stopped at the grave site of the first American to be so honored in World War II, and at a memorial to the first of two Filipinos to receive the highest military award given by the United States.  Also, one of our guests is Diane Hawkins, the niece of MOH recipient John Basilone.

Our first stop was a quick one at kilometer 0 of the secondary Bataan Death March route, the one that started in Bagac and then merged in Pilar with the one that started in Mariveles.

Just a hundred yards or so down the road is a nice monument presumably to go along with the km0 marker.

Nearby is a "Japanese Friendship Tower."

We stopped at the Santo Domingo de Guzman Catholic Church in Abucay, Bataan, near the place where Alexander Nininger fought and died.  His grave site is somewhat controversial, but locals are convinced that they have the right body, based on information from an old parish priest.  He is entombed alongside the church with the parishioners of Santo Domingo.

A short Alexander Nininger bio can be found at

Next we went to the Jose Calugas Memorial, which is at Layac Junction.  Calugas, a Filipino mess sergeant, took over a machine gun position and held off a Japanese advance.  Later that day he returned to mess duty.  Calugas became a United States citizen and is buried in Washington State.

A short Jose Calugas bio can be found at

We had lunch at Texas Joe's in Subic Bay, a great steak and rib place.

Diane Hawkins, who has run in more than 160 races of marathon length or longer, and has acting parts in such shows as Blue Bloods, Person of Interest, The Blacklist, The Good Wife, Suits, and Forever, is one of our guests.  She is working tirelessly to promote the Sgt John Basilone Foundation, which is "dedicated to addressing the issues of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and the memory of John Basilone."

For information on the Sgt John Basilone Foundation, go to

Marcia had Steve pose with Diane to show off her promotional t-shirt, and as you can see, she is much better at this than he is.  Must be all that acting.

 Get your hand off the elephants!

C'mon, smile!

Drop your chin!

Stand up straight!

Quit clowning around!

 Well, if that's the best you can do....

At least Uncle John and Diane look good!

If the name John Basilone rings a bell, you may remember it from the mini-series The Pacific.  John served in the Philippines in the '30's, received his Medal of Honor for his actions on Guadalcanal, and was killed in action on Iwo Jima,

A short John Basilone bio can be found at

Tomorrow we tour Subic Bay and Olongapo.
Steve and Marcia on the Rock

No comments:

Post a Comment