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U.S. Seventh Fleet Honors Fallen Filipino Heroes

27 October 2023

From Lt. j.g. Sarah Merrill, Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet, Public Affairs

U.S. 7th Fleet Commander, Vice Adm. Karl O. Thomas, and members of his staff visited the Manila American Cemetery on Aug. 27, 2023, the day before Philippines National Heroes Day, to honor two fallen Filipino heroes, who served in the U.S. Army during the Second World War.

Headstones of Filipino-American brothers during a wreath laying event at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines, Aug. 27. U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
Headstones of Filipino-American brothers during a wreath laying event at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines, Aug. 27. U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
Headstones of Filipino-American brothers during a wreath laying event at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines, Aug. 27. U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
U.S. Seventh Fleet Honors Fallen Filipino Heroes
Headstones of Filipino-American brothers during a wreath laying event at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines, Aug. 27. U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
Photo By: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Belen Saldana
VIRIN: 230827-N-FA353-0009

The two Filipino scouts, Lorenzo and Francisco Orale, father and son respectively, served in the Battery D, 91st Coastal Artillery under the U.S. Army during the Battle of Corregidor in World War II. Their unit was part of the Philippine Scouts, which was mainly composed of American officers and native Filipino enlisted men. They fought together during the final days of Corregidor before the fall to the Japanese in 1942.

Lorenzo was killed on Apr. 26, 1942, during the battle. After Gen. Wainwright’s surrender on May 6, 1942, his son, Francisco, was captured and passed away at Camp O’Donnell, a prisoner camp at the time. Corregidor was later recaptured by the U.S. in 1945. The father and son were buried together at Manila American Cemetery in 1949.

Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Vice Admiral Karl Thomas salutes the headstones of Filipino-American brothers during a wreath laying event at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines, Aug. 27. U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Vice Admiral Karl Thomas salutes the headstones of Filipino-American brothers during a wreath laying event at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines, Aug. 27. U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Vice Admiral Karl Thomas salutes the headstones of Filipino-American brothers during a wreath laying event at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines, Aug. 27. U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Vice Admiral Karl Thomas salutes the headstones of Filipino-American brothers during a wreath laying event at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines, Aug. 27. U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Vice Admiral Karl Thomas listens to a tour guide during a wreath laying event at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines, Aug. 27. U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Belen Saldana)
Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Vice Admiral Karl Thomas listens to a tour guide during a wreath laying event at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines, Aug. 27. U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Belen Saldana)
Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Vice Admiral Karl Thomas listens to a tour guide during a wreath laying event at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines, Aug. 27. U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Belen Saldana)
Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Vice Admiral Karl Thomas listens to a tour guide during a wreath laying event at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines, Aug. 27. U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Belen Saldana)
Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Vice Admiral Karl Thomas listens to a tour guide during a wreath laying event at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines, Aug. 27. U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Belen Saldana)
Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Vice Admiral Karl Thomas listens to a tour guide during a wreath laying event at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines, Aug. 27. U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Belen Saldana)

“The world is a different place than it was when they gave their lives,” said Thomas, “but one thing remains the same: the U.S. and the Philippines […] believe in peace and regional stability. We all believe in the rights of all nations and the right to defend our national sovereignty.”

Many native Filipinos enlisted into the U.S. military once the U.S. took possession of the Philippines at the end of the Spanish American War. After the Philippines gained independence in 1946, an agreement was established to allow Philippine nationals to enlist in the U.S. Navy. Over the next four decades, more than 30,000 Filipinos enlisted in the Navy.

Today, approximately 7 out of 100 sailors are Asian-Pacific Islanders, according to the Department of Defense.

The Navy recognizes and celebrates Filipino American Heritage Month in October by continuing to build relations with the Philippines. The relationship between our two navies is built on shared sacrifices for democracy and human rights.

At a reception that evening aboard the Izumo-class destroyer JS IZUMO (DDH-183), pier side in Manila Harbor, Thomas noted that heroes like the Orales “represent the Filipino people’s desire to be free and their willingness to defend their sovereignty” and that the Philippines and the United States stand together as friends and allies. 

U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

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