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A Tribute to My Father on His 93 Birthday by JAA USA/Philippines Collection

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  • Member: Seasoned Veteran

My father was born ninety-three years ago today on October 1, 1919. The "JAA USA/Philippines Collection" is dedicated to his memory.


My father belonged to the "Greatest Generation". During World War ll he served in the U.S. Army in the Southwest Pacific where he participated in the New Guinea, Luzon, and Southern Philippine campaigns. When my father returned from the war he brought back with him examples of coins and notes from Australia, New Guinea, and the Philippines as well as some amazing Kodachrome slides he took during the war.


Even though many decades have passed since my father first showed me the coins and notes he collected in the Southwest Pacific I still remember my initial fascination with dad's strange U.S. Philippine notes and coins.


They all clearly stated "United States of America" on them but had designs that I had never seen on any circulating U.S. coin or note. Even stranger their denominations were in Pesos and Centavos instead of the familiar Dollars and Cents. As I grew older and became a serious junior collector I came to realize the historical importance of my father's "Victory Notes" and coins.


Although my father was not a coin collector he was always very supportive of my hobby. When I was eleven or twelve I joined a local coin club and dad would always make time from his busy schedule to attend the monthly meeting with me.


My father is responsible for my interest in both the numismatics and history of the Philippines under U.S. Sovereignty. In addition to the coins, notes, and color slides that my father brought back with him he had many wondrous stories of his war time buddies, the warm Australian and Philippine civilians, the Philippine Guerrillas, and of course General MacArthur.


My father was assigned to GHQ (General Headquarters Southwest Pacific Area) where his duties occasionally brought him into direct contact with the General MacArthur. Of course there were hundreds of staff at GHQ and my father was only a lowly Warrant Officer. One of my father's fondest memories and favorite stories was the time that he shared an elevator with the General MacArthur when GHQ was still in Australia and the general greeted him by name and inquired how he was doing.


For many decades my father talked about making a return visit to Australia and the Philippines. That never happened. My father passed away in 2004 two days after his 85th birthday.


When my father died I inherited the letters he wrote during the war, his priceless Kodachrome slides, and the coins and notes he collected in the Southwest Pacific. While his "Victory Notes" and coins may not be in the best condition I will always treasure them more highly than the rarest GEMS in my collection.


For a picture of some of the original Kodachrome slides taken by my father, during the liberation of the Philippines, and the Philippine coins and "Victory Notes" he brought back with him from World War ll see my previous Journal entry: "Remembering Dad": http://coins.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=11556 Note the "MADE IN AUSTRALIA" and "APPROVED FOR MAILING U.S. CENSOR" stamp on the slides, and the "VICTORY" overprint on the note.


To see some of the color photos taken by my father during the liberation of the Philippines and the stories behind them visit any of the following Journal entries:


"Belated New Year's Resolutions-Historic World War II Photograph of the Liberation of the Philippines (Ft. Stotsenburg & Clark Field)" -- Photo of Ft. Stotsenburg & Clark Field http://coins.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=10743


"The Liberation of the Philippines: Manila the Approach March (Picture of Destroyed Highway and Railroad Bridges)" -- Photo of the destroyed Route 3 and Manila Railroad Bridges over the Pampanga River at Calumpit. http://coins.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=10929


"Liberation of the Philippines: Manila the Approach March (Picture of XIV Corps Crossing Heavy Pontoon Bridge)" -- Photo of the Heavy Pontoon Bridge constructed by XIV Corps engineers over the Pampanga River at Calumpit. http://coins.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=10982


"Eye Witness to History: The Battle of Manila and the destruction of the U.S. Manila Branch Mint" - Night photo of the Battle of Manila http://coins.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=10486


"Eye Witness to History: The Battle of Manila - Additional Picture" -- Photo of Public Building Destroyed during the Battle of Manila http://coins.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=10495


"Promises Kept"- Photo of Malacanan Palace, the seat of government for the Commonwealth of the Philippines. http://coins.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=11657


The picture attached to this Journal posting shows my father in front of Malacanan Palace, the seat of government for the Commonwealth of the Philippines. The photo was taken shortly after the Battle of Manila (February 3 -- March 3, 1945).


Happy birthday Dad, and thanks for everything.



See more journals by JAA USA/Philippines Collection

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What an awesome story! I can tell that your dad understood the historical significance of his involvement in WWII by his extremely well documented account of it. Thank you for subsequently sharing it with us. I can also tell that you had a very special relationship with your father, a relationship that to you and to him was priceless. Perhaps the war impressed upon him the importance of family. Regardless, you two had a special relationship that not many fathers and sons have these days. Thank you for sharing this aspect of your life. May the memory of your father live on for many generations to come! All the best!


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Thanks for sharing this story. My wife's father also served in the Army in New Guinea and the Philippines and was in a transport ship off of Japan in August 1945 when the news came that Japan had surrendered. He never talked much about his wartime experiences other than the months with the occupation forces in Japan after the war. Too many bad memories, I expect. When he passed away in 2007 he left my wife a cigar box full of Japanese and US Philippines coins, including several circulated examples of items in your collection.


In all probability they never met, even though they were both in the Pacific at the same time. Your dad, my father in law and lots of others like them saved the world from some of the worst oppression in history.

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