A Filipino-American war veteran who survived the infamous Bataan Death March and continued to fight the Japanese with resistance forces has died aged 100.
Ramon Regalado fought in the desperate battle to hold off the Japanese invasion while serving with the Philippine Scouts under the US Army.
After the surrender to the Japanese, he was among the tens of thousands of prisoners who endured the more than 60-mile Bataan Death March.
“We fought for four months. We were the ones who upset the Japanese timetable. They could not kill us,” Mr Regalado recalled.
Mr Regalado, who was a machine gun operator, escaped from his captors and became one of the heroes of the resistance movement.
Cecilia Gaerlan, executive director of the Bataan Legacy Historical Society, confirmed Mr Regalado’s death to the Associated Press. He has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1950.
“He really embodied the qualities of the greatest generation and love for country,” she told the news agency.
Earlier this year, Congress awarded a Congressional Gold Medal that recognised the often-unsung heroism of men such as Mr Regalado.
The resolution behind the accolade noted that even after up to 10,000 Filipino soldiers perished during the Bataan Death March in 1942, resistance fighters continued to raid Japanese camps, ambush Japanese troops and “with little weaponry, and severely outmatched in numbers, began to extract victories”.
“I did not go home until General MacArthur came back to the Philippines, to liberate the Philippines,” Mr Regalado once said. “I fought hard.”
More than 250,000 Filipino soldiers served with US troops in World War II, including more than 57,000 who died.
Mr Regalado is survived by his wife Marcelina, five children and many grandchildren.