Battle in Phillipines? (1980's?)
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  1. #1

    Battle in Phillipines? (1980's?)

    Hi everyone! My dad is a Marine retired 21 years '77-'98. Now, to be in for 21 years it's hard to imagine he was never in combat. He didn't fight in the Gulf War because he went to I&I duty (or however it's written). He was also supposed to go to Grenada in '83 but someone screwed up and other people went. He said they were all ready to go and everything. Fog of war I suppose.

    I've asked him numerous times if he's been in combat or anything of the sort and only once, which was just a few months ago, he said he was. He said he called in artillery and other gunfire in the Phillipines in the 80's I believe.

    Now there are 4 things to this story:
    1. I'm pretty sure he said the 80's.
    2. I may have misunderstood and it might've been training which I highly doubt. (I'll explain my reasons later).
    3. He told me the name of the island but it sounded alien to me so I forgot. It started with the letter "M".
    4. I looked everywhere on the internet for it but can't find it anywhere, perhaps it was top secret, or the public didn't care. Who knows.

    Here's my thoughts. I'm pretty sure this stuff actually happened considering he just mentioned it recently and never spoke of it again, it was only a one time/day thing. He's always speaking of his training and more so of his buddies though.

    Some more info: He was in ANGLICO at the time I believe and he also did some work with recon. And he did comms for 21 years.

    If there are any Marines that can bring truth to this I would be more than delighted. Also, please give me some info on what happened there, website links, pictures, articles, personal accounts (including you), articles, etc., anything would be fantastic.

    And if you want to know, no I can't ask him again. I have and he just ignores me. It took me years just to find out that he was actually in combat.

    -Thank You

  2. #2
    Also his name is Joseph Green, he retired as a GySgt

  3. #3
    My Dad was in the USMC too, and i know that he was stationed over in the Philippines too... He was also in Grenada, and Beiruit. and just like your dad i could NEVER get him to talk about combat at all or the bombing of marine headquarters there. all he ever said was that is was hell on earth... I wish he would tell me more, but if the subject is even brought up he gets really upset. SO i know how you feel.

  4. #4
    Marine Free Member Apache's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Westchester OH
    Typical for a combat vet to not discuss such things
    I wouldn't push it ,if he wants to talk he will

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by KingOfNegus View Post
    He told me the name of the island but it sounded alien to me so I forgot. It started with the letter "M".
    I don't know of any Philippine conflict in the 80's.

    Maybe the island of 'Mindoro' solves your 'M' enigma.

    Good luck...

  6. #6
    Guest Free Member
    Having been in and around the Philippines during that time.. NO, I don't recall any contact or conflict's.. Marine's would run security patrol's to augment those that were stationed there..

    Not every Marine was in combat..

    They should just be happy to be a Marine...

  7. #7
    I'll try to perhaps shed a little light on the subject. I spent some time in the Philippines in the late 1980s and had some friends who were there in the mid-1980s.

    First, the "M" island is probably Mindinao - which has been a hotbed of insurgencies and guerilla violence for decades. In the 80s it was primarly communist guerillas, but in recent years the Muslim guerillas have been active.

    A general survey of Philippine history during this time may help. There were multiple coups and coup attempts. Ferdinand Marcos - the long time dictator and U.S. "ally" was active in the Filipino government since the end of U.S. occupation after World War II and rose to the position of President in the late 1960s. In 1983 he was implicated in the assassination of his primary political opponent Benigno Aquino - which lead to what is known as "the peoples' revolution". Marcos was deposed in 1986 and replaced by Corazon Aquino - Benigno's widow. In the following three or four years, there were several attempted coups against the Aquino government, mostly restricted to the neighborhoods around the presidential palace in Manilla.

    During this time of upheaval, several different entities vied for power in the Philippines - to include the NPA or "New People's Army" - a communist group. Marines stationed at the Naval Base at Subic Bay were involved in activities to curtail NPA incursions onto the base - the NPA was mainly looking to infiltrate in order to steal weapons, ammunition, and supplies -- not necessarily to mix it up with U.S. forces.

    The U.S. supported the Aquino government and lent military support to quashing some of the coup attempts. Working solely off memory, I seem to recall that we did lend air support to put down one of the coup attempts in the 1987-88 timeframe. I also seem to recall that the U.S. suppported Filipino actions on Mindinao to suppress NPA bases and operations -- again, I don't believe that it involved ground troops other than liaison and coordination, so it is entirely possible that ANGLICO was involved.

    Personally, I was involved in revising security and reinforcement contingency plans for several of the bases in Northern Luzon - primarily from NPA infiltration or "destructiive" raid activiites as well as heavy patrolling activities. I also recall being placed on "alert" during one of the coup attempts against Aquino.

    Congress would never refer to what your dad did as "combat" - too many political reasons, regardless of what actually occured on the ground. So chances are extremely thin that anything your dad did there woud qualify for any kind of combat recognition.

    Can't say for sure what your father was involved in or not involved in during the mid-to-late 1980s in the Philippines. But there were occasions when rounds were sent down range in support of the Aquino government, and from my somewhat spotty memory, it would seem logical that someone like ANGLICO would be involved moreso than straight leg infantry.

    Hope that helps. If nothing else, it can give you a base from which to start your own research.

  8. #8
    Joseph, I have not read other responses to your post, but let me say this. I read through what you have posted, and I am somewhat bewildered by it.

    You dad served in the Marine Corps for 21 years, and it seems to me that you just have to find come he!! or high water whether he served in combat or not, because for whatever reason, honorably serving in the Marine Corps for 21 years is just NOT enough for you.

    So over the years you pester your dad about some sort, any sort, one tidbit of combat action and he continues to defer and not give you an answer. Maybe he just doesn't want to give you an answer. Maybe he doesn't want to talk about it.

    My dad served in the 101st Airborne during the Korean War. As a teenager, I asked him once if he went to Korea and saw action. He just looked at me and would not answer. Good enough. Years and years later he was intoxicated one night, and he brought it up and talked about some of what took place when they dropped in. I understood why he didn't want to talk about it. He never, ever brought it up again. And you know what? I took him at his word. I did not launch into an investigation to find out if what my dad was telling me was a lie.

    Whether to satisfy you, whether to just get you to stop asking him, your dad finally reveals to you that he called in a mission in the Philippines. And what do you do?

    You doubt your dad's very own word. He didn't want to talk about it; you stayed at him; he tells you; and then you want to verify if he is telling you the truth.

    You say, "I'm pretty sure this stuff actually happened considering he just mentioned it recently and never spoke of it again, it was only a one time/day thing. He's always speaking of his training and more so of his buddies though."

    I never say any action whatsoever from '78 to '87. But from talking to Marines who did, they do not want to talk about it. Instead, they would much rather talk about the good times. In fact, I have found over the years those who were in the military who want to talk about their combat experiences all the time, either never saw action, or it was so minimal that they have to exaggerate it.

    "If there are any Marines that can bring truth to this I would be more than delighted."

    What if nobdy can bring truth to it? What if all you ever find out is your dad's word? Will you then not be delighted?

    "And if you want to know, no I can't ask him again. I have and he just ignores me. It took me years just to find out that he was actually in combat."

    I am not trying to rip you a new one, but you really need to respect him for being a Marine for 21 years, for his military service, and accept it for what it is. He ignores you because he does not want to talk about it. Respect that. You learned he "was actually in combat." Let that satisfy your need to know and move on.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by MOS4429 View Post
    In fact, I have found over the years those who were in the military who want to talk about their combat experiences all the time, either never saw action, or it was so minimal that they have to exaggerate it.
    MOS4429: some good points I hadn't considered...

    It is my experience that those that boast the most have done the least.
    I busted a boaster (poser) when I was working at H.P. in 1970.
    I believe half of what I see and none of what I hear....until proven otherwise.

    OP....I'd suggest you respect your fathers' USMC history (whatever it entailed) and his desire not to give you details.
    Not every Marine sees combat as you perceive it.
    You're trying to verify what you 'believe' he has experienced based on the quite limited info your father has provided.

    That's my take.....carry on....

  10. #10
    I suppose I should've chosen my words more carefully. When I said "combat" I wasn't talking about infantry. He was calling in artillery and I think recievieng it (perhaps mortars). And when I said if anyone could bring truth to it I didn't mean I didn't believe him. I just wanted more information and find out why he never talks about it. Thank you for setting me straight everyone and giving me some much appreciated info of the Phillipines. Perhaps, next time I should think before I speak.

  11. #11

    I'm also looking for information on USMC involvement in the Phillipines

    Hey ya'll. I just read all of your posts. This is an interesting discussion. I did some basic google research on this topic and I did not find anything specific about United States military operations in the philipines during the 1980s. However, I did find a lot of general information stating that the US was involved helping the philipine government deal with various militia type uprising during the 1980s.

    I am currently doing research on this topic and I've hit a brick wall in terms of finding any resources on this topic. Do any of you know of any books, articles, or anything (movies, documentaries) on specific military operations conducted in the philipines in the 1980s....obviously, there was something going on...its just not documented well.

    Thanks in advance.

  12. #12
    Here's an update. I've been doing some heavy research on this topic.
    But in 1985-1986 on the Island of Mindanao,(southern philipines) the NPA (New People's Army -- a communist group) conducted what was called Operation Kampanyang Ahos. The NPA committed humanitarian atrocities. The Operation was conducted to "purge" its own ranks of suspected spies. They tortured and executed hundreds. However, because of this operation, the NPA lost a lot of popular support and the operation was later condemned by its own leaders and called a "grave" error.

    I know that this doesn't seem related to USMC, but the reason why I am doing this research is because I am trying to verify the story of some Marines who served in the philipines during that time frame. They mentioned that they witnessed some atrocities on villagers.

    Also...jumping to more modern times...Currently, there have been roughly 500-600 U.S. military personnel deployed to Mindanao as a purely "support" role to aid the philipine government deal with various faction groups and muslim terrorist militia groups. However, after I researched this modern conflict, I found that many news reports coming out of the philipines complaining that, unofficially, US Military personnel are sending rounds down range, even though they are not supposed to get involved.

    Of course, the US military denies this, but there are many reports given by philipine military officials that say US military sometimes engage in small skirmishes with the various guerillas in the jungles of minandao.

  13. #13
    I know Marines that were deployed to places the United States has never openly admitted to being...that is kind of the nature of covert military action. I do know Marines that spoke of being in the Philippines in the 1980's. As others have said, some Vets simply choose to not to discuss what they were involved in, went through. I respect that. Most of us can't even imagine what some went through-

  14. #14
    He prolly was calling arty in on the ****e river when he had cinderalla liberty so he could make it across the bridge and through the gate before 2400. Just my take on it.

  15. #15

    Marine action in 1970's Phillipines

    In the mid 1970's,the USMC participated in a yearly exercise
    with the Phillipine Marines that was called Operation Fortress
    Lightening. In 1977, the year I was involved, there was
    something close to 30 deaths due to accidents during the
    planned 2 week exercise. This large-scale "dog and pony
    show" was aborted about the 13th day due to the high
    accidental casualty rate.
    The most infamous was a chopper full of marines that was
    yanked back into the side of a mountain by the water trailer which was slung underneath it as it swung back toward the LZ after takeoff. There were no survivors.
    I received this information from a Navy Corpsman who was standing, freshly shaved, pale skinned and in a starched uniform in a clearing which I had wandered into
    in order to escape the constant attacks from insects in the
    jungle. His appearance gave away that he hadn't been in
    a triple canopy jungle for two weeks and may know who
    had won the last 2 football games back stateside. That was
    how you found out in the age before personal electronics.
    He briefed me on the latest scores, gave me a quick
    account of some of the other deaths and then told me of
    how they were going to cut short this very infamous
    Marine Corps exercise.
    If your Dad was in this or some of the other like-named
    exercises, he may have known some of the dead as friends. Operation Fortress Lightening did not last more than 4 or 5 yearly exercises before it was canceled. In
    addition to the hazards of any large scale operation in
    very difficult terrain, there was always the danger of
    making contact with the rebels. Any of these conditions
    could make it difficult to speak about.

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