Filipino World War II veteran Jose Manzano-Somera, 92, was honored with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by the United States’ (US) Congress.
Texas Representative Roger Williams awarded the medal to Manzano-Somera in a ceremony held in Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas on Friday (Oct. 25), according to an article published in Stars and Stripes website.
Manzano-Somera was accompanied by his wife Elizabeth and daughter, Josephine Manzano-Stettler.
The conferment of the award is part of the implementation of the Filipino World War II Congressional Medal Act signed by former US president Barack Obama in December 2016.
Manzano-Somera is one of the 260,000 Filipino war veterans who fought alongside American troops during the war between July 26, 1941 and December 31, 1946.
From August 1946 to April 1949, Manzano-Somera enlisted as a private in the New Philippine Scouts of the US Army, a unit that helped track down and eliminate bands of Japanese fighters who refused to surrender.
A decade after his service, Manzano-Somera took advantage of an offer for US citizenship. He now lives in Georgetown, Texas.
Steven Frank, III Corps command historian, said the sacrifices of Filipino World War II veterans are “immeasurable.”
“The contributions the scouts made [were] immeasurable. They helped save thousands of American and Filipino lives and sped up the liberation of their homeland in countless ways,” Frank was quoted as saying by Stars and Stripes during the awarding ceremony for Manzano-Somera.
To date, around 45 Filipino scouts have received the Congressional gold Medal, the October article of Stars and Stripes added. (Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos, PNA)