Illinois National Guard Infantry Soldiers Honor the Heroes of Baatan Print
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Friday, 16 September 2011 13:33

Story U.s. Army Spc. Christopher A. Garibay, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs

MAYWOOD (09/12/2011)(readMedia)-- Soldiers from the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), including Col. Paul C. Hastings of St. Charles, commander of the 33rd IBCT, honored Soldiers who fought in the Battle of Bataan during World War II for the Maywood Bataan Day Organization's annual service Sept. 11 at Veterans Park in Maywood.

The Maywood Bataan Day Organization and the Village of Maywood jointly sponsored the event to bring awareness to the harsh conditions Soldiers endured during America's campaign in the Pacific in World War II.

Hastings, the keynote speaker for the event, honored the efforts of Soldiers in the past and stressed the importance of America's continued fight against terrorists today.

"I'm humbled and honored to pay tribute, collectively, to these heroes of Bataan; for those who gave so much and asked for nothing in return," said Hastings." "No American, no Filipino can ever, must never, forget."

Hastings said it was important for citizens to remember those committed to fighting in today's wars, having done so for over 10 years.

"Just as it was for the Greatest Generation, we bring the fight to the enemy - behind our flag is resolute purpose," he said. "To those we lost at the Fall of Bataan, and to those we lost after 9/11; we shall never forget."

Spc. Terron Carter, a Maywood native and a soldier from the 2nd Battalion, 122nd Field Artillery, along with Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Bowman Plainfield , the command sergeant major of the 33rd IBCT, honored the men of Bataan by placing a wreath on the 192nd Tank Battalion Memorial.

The 192nd, based in Maywood, was part of the Illinois National Guard's 33 rd Infantry Division, the predessor of today's 33rd IBCT.

The event included Guest Speaker Emilio O. Hildalgo, a retired colonel of the Judge Advocate Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and former Judge General of the Philippines Air Force. Hildalgo described in vivid detail the events surrounding the Battle of Bataan, and subsequently, what has been dubbed the Bataan Death March after Japanese forces captured Allied troops on April 9, 1942. It would not be until February 17, 1945 that Allied Forces would retake the Bataan Peninsula.

"Out of the 89 who left Maywood for the Philippines in 1941, only 43 came home," said Hildalgo. "We do not have any regrets. We have fought for a good and just cause. We have done our duty for God and Country."

The memorial event also paid tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and passengers of Flight 93. First responders were also commemorated at the event.

Edwin H. Walker IV, Vice President of the Maywood Bataan Day Organization, said it was humbling to know people who were committed to serving in America's Armed Forces today as well as honoring those who served in the past.

Special guests included the U.S. Navy Great Lakes Ceremonial Band, American Legion Posts, VietNow Color Guard, local elected officials and veterans.

photo 1) U.S. Army photo by and PFC Alisha D. Grezlik, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs/ Spc. Terron Carter, a Maywood native and a soldier from the 2nd Battalion, 122nd Field Artillery Regiment, along with Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Bowman of Plainfield, the command sergeant major of the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, honor the men of Bataan by placing a wreath on the 192nd Tank Battalion Memorial.

photo 2) U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christopher A. Garibay, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs/ Col. Paul C. Hastings of St. Charles, commander of the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, bows his head in prayer during the Maywood Bataan Day Annual Memorial Service in Maywood Sept. 11 at Maywood. The event sought to remember the efforts of Soldiers in the past, present and future.