SAN FRANCISCO — Retired Fil-Am US Army Major General Antonio Taguba presented the congressional gold medal to two Filipino WWII veterans, Mr. Godofredo Geraldo, Mr. Jose Caballero, and a family representative of Mr. Mike Velarde.
The presentation of the medal must be through a ceremony done by a high ranking officer in full uniform.
This is a policy established under the Filipino Veterans Recognition Education Project.
“It will have to be a general or admiral, if there are no army generals or marine generals to present to them, because they deserve it. It is an honorable and distinguished way of recognizing them of their congressional gold medal,” said Taguba.
General Taguba even traveled to see a veteran who was in the hospital.
“I presented one yesterday to Mr. Ramon Regalado in Richmond. He was in the ICU so he was very ill. I presented his medal in front of his family and hospital staff.”
The Veterans Equity Center of San Francisco are calling events like this one “priority presentations.”
“We know that this is 75 years in the making. It’s 75 years they’ve been waiting for, and we’re just very afraid there are frail veterans and they need to see their medals now,” said Luisa Antonio. “It should’ve happen a long time ago.”
Veterans advocates say that they still encourage families of Filipino WWII veterans — who are looking to receive the congressional gold medal — to submit the proper paperwork.
“What will need is for them to complete an application. It’s available at filvetrep.org, and with that if they can attach a copy of the service record of the veteran. If they don’t have it there’s always a way to get a documentation of the military service and that is through the national archives.”
More recognition for the Filipino WWII veterans continues into next year with the closest event being a celebration with House minority leader Nancy Pelosi on January 22nd.