RUBEN P. SONGCO, 1LT, USA

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Birthdate & Date of Loss

Date of birth: September 5, 1921
Date of death: December 5, 1944
Age: 23

Lucky Bag

1943 Songco LB.jpg

From the 1943 Lucky Bag:

RUBEN PARAS SONGCO

Guagua, Pampanga, Philippine Islands

Ben first won his way into our hearts the day he sprang to attention and clacked his bare heels while taking his medical exam. Always military, yet never failing to smile or to stop for a friendly conversation, Sammy was everyone's friend. He was a star member of the battalion football, tennis, and lacrosse teams and a varsity boxer. In the evenings, he attended the Newman Club, Chess Club, and worked on Reef Points. Beneath a rollicking laughing personality, Ruben was dead serious about this fighting business, and was ready and eager to sacrifice everything for one ultimate objective. We vie in our affections for Ruben!

The Class of 1943 was graduated in June 1942 due to World War II. The entirety of 2nd class (junior) year was removed from the curriculum.

Loss

From A History of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion:

The first of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion missions departed Brisbane, Australia on October 23, 1943. MacArthur was there to bid them farewell as they left on the submarine USS Narwhal. The party consisted of Major Lawrence Phillips, Captain Galang, 1st Lieutenant Ruben Songco, four radio operators and two Reconnaissance men. They landed in Mindoro on November 13, 1943. The Japanese immediately knew of their landing from an informer in the town of Paluan and hunted them down. Only Galang and two men survived the war.

The fate of 1st Lieutenant Ruben Songco was a shameful tragedy. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, he was denied a commission in the U.S. Navy because he was a Filipino. Wanting to help liberate the Philippines, he accepted a commission in the U.S. Army and trained with the 1st and 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiments. After a series of gallant exploits, he was ambushed and killed in Panay in December 1944, betrayed by pro-Japanese Filipinos.

There is a fascinating photo album posted that includes some pictures of Ruben, and then dozens of the ceremony in his home town when his remains were returned in 1960. Additional photos also posted here.

Contacted the person who posted the pictures on June 26, 2017 with questions.

Despite invitation indicating a promotion to Captain, keeping rank as 1LT, as that is what is on the plaque in the photographs.

The portrait of Ruben includes a Bronze Star; unable to find a citation.


Class Navigation

Class of 1943
Ruben is one of 77 members of the Class of 1943 in Memorial Hall.
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