Typhoon-ravaged Leyte has significant WWII history
To acquaint the Filipino-Americans residing on Maui, the following is a brief past history of the island of Leyte that was broadsided by Typhoon Haiyan on Nov. 8: Leyte was the first Philippine island where the U.S. Army forces (7th Cavalry Regiment & the 14th Regiment of the 24th Infantry Division) under Gen. Douglas MacArthur landed and engaged the Japanese Imperial Army in fierce fighting. At the end of the battle for Leyte, the 16th Division of the Japanese Army was annihilated. This was the division that provided the guards that covered the infamous Bataan Death March – “The outfit that did the dirty work on Bataan,” according to MacArthur. This epic battle between the Japanese army and the U.S. Army left wide devastation in Leyte and countless loss of civilian lives.
This capsule history of the role of Leyte in World War II should encourage my fellow Filipino-Americans to donate generously to the relief effort in the Philippines.