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Gabino M. Sopeņa, CA (Read 1563 times)
Jerry Nolan
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Gabino M. Sopeņa, CA
Apr 19th, 2004, 7:14pm
 
I am seeking information on my father in-law GABINO (possible alternate spelling GAVINO) M. SOPEŅA. My wife is not sure of his full middle name.
As a young man in WWI (not WWII) he served in the regular U.S. Army with a Coastal Defense Artillery unit somewhere in the Philippines. I know this for a fact as he once showed me his honorable discharge certificate. Prior to the start of WWII he lived in Iloilo City and in 1941, in anticipation of hostilities with Japan he went back on active duty, this time with the Philippine Scouts.
According to my wife's family (this part is a bit uncertain) his unit was shipped out from Iloilo and assigned to a garrison at Palo, Leyte. At some point he was a POW but I do not know where he was taken prisoner or how long he was in captivity. In the post-war years and as late as 1972 (shortly before he passed away) he was treated at the Manila VA Hospital for service-connected disability which I am 99% sure was POW-related. I definitely know his VA paperwork confirms his service with the Philippine Scouts, as I personally saw that too.    
The members of my wife's family who could provide more accurate details and/or paperwork on her Dad have also passed away. At this point I'm not sure if he served with the "old" Scouts or "new" Scouts. I believe he may have joined the guerrilla forces, as there is a passed-down family story of my mother-in-law burying his original uniforms and web gear under their "bahay kubo" house so visiting Japanese patrols would not discover any evidence of a military person having been in the family. You can well imagine the consequences if such items were found.
I'm not sure if Mr. Sopeņa was ever awarded any other decorations he earned, such as the Defense of the Philippines Medal. My initial objective is getting documentation to obtain his POW Medal. My father-in-law was a good man who was very proud of his military service. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Jerry Nolan
Norfolk, VA
(757) 853-8203
jerry.nolan@cox.net
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« Last Edit: Apr 12th, 2005, 3:39pm by Editor-at-Large »  
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