Philippine WWII veteran honored at West Point
WEST POINT, NY — It was a gathering that the Gepte family never thought would ever come.
Last week, the United States Military Academy community, family members, and Philippine dignitaries came together to honor a hero, Captain Vicente Ebol Gepte, at the Most Holy Trinity Chapel in West Point, New York.
Captain Gepte, born on May 29, 1917, and who died on August 1944, was a Filipino graduate of the Elite U.S. Military academy, class of 1940. He was General Lim’s executive officer during the Japanese invasion time in the Philippines, and served in the Philippine army.
A Philippine scout heritage society publication states that, ¨fter his release from the prisoner of war camp, Gepte joined the resistance, eventually was arrested, and finally beheaded. Prior to his arrest, he was instrumental in unmasking franco vera, the traitor whose infiltration of the manila intelligence group led to the deaths of many prominent Filipinos.¨
Military honors and prayers followed the chapel ceremony at the cemetery on the U.S. Military academy grounds.
“This has been a great day not only to come to West Point, but also to have this ceremony, most importantly for my mother, who was a POW during WWII in the Philippines as a baby, and never had closure on the execution of her father who was a captain in the PH Army,” said grandson John T. Walker.
“Blessed and honored to be part of this historical event. Captain Gepte is a PH hero, we’re very proud as his family and as Filipinos,” said nephew Donald Gepte.
Philippine dignitaries presented to the family, a copy of the Filipino American Veterans Recognition Act signed by the United States Congress.
As the Gepte family finds closure at this memorial, their hope is that peace will also rest in the hearts of other families who lost and never found their loved ones.