In the Military
Filipino vet hopeful for promised benefits
The leader of Hawaii's 2,000 Filipino-American World War II veterans is "excited" over the prospect that Congress may be close to restoring benefits promised them more than six decades ago.
Art Caleda, president of the Hawaii chapter of World War II Filipino-American Veterans, said he expects the full Senate to take up a measure authored by Sen. Daniel Inouye that makes Filipino veterans of World War II eligible for VA benefits and health-care services that had been taken away in 1946. That action could take place as soon as the Senate returns from its Fourth of July recess, Caleda said.
"If we don't get in now, it may never happen," said Caleda, 82, noting that the population of veterans who sided with the United States as guerrillas and regular soldiers is dwindling.
"We are fading fast," said Caleda, who was with the Intelligence Service Company, 11th Infantry Regiment, of the U.S. Armed Forces of the Philippines for the last two years of the effort that led to the capture of Japan's Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita.
Caleda estimates that there may be fewer than 23,000 Filipino veterans still living in Hawaii, on the mainland and in the Philippines.
Caleda said that last year in Hawaii alone, "we buried 11 veterans, and so far this year we have lost eight."
William W. Paty Jr. and his wife, Peggy, are the first recipients of the U.S. Army's Mana O Ke Koa "Spirit of the Warrior" Community Service Award, which will be presented annually to recognize and honor the legacies of Hawaii residents who have made significant contributions that have strengthened the Army's partnership with the state and local communities.
The names of those who receive the honor will remain on display in the U.S. Army Pacific Headquarters gallery in Richardson Hall at Fort Shafter.
"In the Military" was compiled from wire reports and other sources by reporter Gregg K. Kakesako
, who covers military affairs for the Star-Bulletin. He can be reached by phone at 294-4075 or by e-mail at email@example.com