Jose Calugas, a Filipino serving in the U.S. Army’s Philippine Scouts, became the first Filipino to receive the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in World War II, including repairing a damaged artillery gun under heavy enemy fire and surviving the brutal Bataan Death March.
Army Sgt. Jose Calugas, a Filipino serving in the U.S. Army’s Philippine Scouts, became the first Filipino to receive the Medal of Honor during World War II. He earned the medal for his heroic actions in Bataan province in 1942, where he helped repair a damaged artillery gun and directed fire towards the enemy despite heavy shelling. After the fall of the Philippines to Japanese forces, Calugas and thousands of others were taken as prisoners of war and subjected to the brutal Bataan Death March. He managed to survive by pretending to have malaria and later joined a guerrilla spy network. Calugas continued to fight until the Philippines were liberated in 1945. He received the Medal of Honor in 1945 and remained with the Philippine Scouts until retirement in 1957. Calugas lived a humble life and passed away in 1998 at the age of 90. His legacy is honored through various memorials and tributes.