The Philippine Scouts Heritage Society
Founding of the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society
In the 1980s a number of former Philippine Scouts began to talk about creating an organization that would bring together their old comrades on an annual basis. The first reunion was hosted in 1984 by Jim and Mary Coleman in Grand Junction, Colorado. It was a beautiful place for the first formal gathering of these warriors. There was an impressive array of Scouts, some of whom had not seen each other since 1942!
On April 5, 1989, former Philippine Scout officers John Olson, Lloyd Mills and General Royal Reynolds and Rhode Island State Senator John Patterson (nephew of a deceased Scout), founded the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society. The Society's mission is to help preserve the history and legacy of these outstanding soldiers. It was a move long overdue, since there are so few individuals in the United States who are aware of who the Philippine Scouts were or what they did. The Society has chapters in Tacoma, Washington; El Paso, Texas; Monterey County, California; and the San Francisco Bay Area. Its members reside in half the states and several foreign countries.
Today the sons, daughters and grandchildren of the Scouts are taking over the Society, as only a few of the men are left. Almost half of them died in the merciless hands of their country's enemy. Advanced age has further depleted their ranks. In recent years, at the closing dinner of the Society's annual reunion only ten or fifteen former Scouts line up across the dance floor now, with graying hair and an occasional cane or wheelchair momentarily pushed aside. In the darkened room with cameras flashing and background music, they receive the applause of their families and admirers.
The challenge for the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society in the future is to keep alive the history, heritage and legacy of these former U.S. Army soldiers. Through annual gatherings, links with the U.S. Army Museum at Ft. Sam Houston, the modern communications of a website and newsletter, the involvement of the next generations of sons, daughters, grandchildren, nieces and nephews and anyone who is interested in furthering the Society's goals, these men will never be forgotten.
Last modified: 02-Jul-2011