Return to the Philippines

By Joseph I. Lambert, Major, Second Cavalry
Copyright 1939 Commanding Officer, Second Cavalry, Fort Riley, Kansas
Capper Printing Company, Inc.

PIIn the year 1909, the regiment continued on similar duty. The regimental schools at this time included: (a) School for enlisted men, (b) troop schools for noncommissioned officers, (c) garrison schools for officers, (d) post-graduate work. In November orders came directing the regiment, less Troops A and E, to change station to the Philippines. Entrainment took place at Des Moines on November 28 for San Francisco. The horses were left behind, and later taken over by the Sixth Cavalry. The regiment arrived at Malabang, Mindanao, the large southern island inhabited by Moros, on January 3, 1910. Three of the troops, F, G, and H, took station on this island at Torrey Barracks, and the third squadron on the same island at Camp Overton. The first squadron, the machine-gun platoon, and regimental headquarters were stationed at Augur Barracks on the island of Jolo, also inhabited by the Mohammedans. Troops A and E turned over the horses in January, 1910, and sailed for the Philippines, arriving at the stations of their squadrons March 19.

The natives of the southern islands of the Philippine group, who had migrated to this area from the mainland of Asia only a few centuries before the arrival of the Spaniards, were known as Moros. Mohammedan missionaries converted them to that faith, and so zealous were they that the Spanish priests were never able to persuade any of them to become Christians. The remainder of the islands were inhabited by pagans and were easily converted by the Spaniards to Christianity. The Moros lived mostly along the coast and their villages often were built on stilts over the shallow water of the bays. Their war parties regularly went on expedition in large canoes for hundreds of miles to the northern islands. They made raids upon the Christian villages and carried the people away into slavery. It was not until the invention of steamships that this piracy ceased.

These people were very war-like and looked upon the Americans as they did upon all Christians, with hate. Since the troops first came to this area after the Spanish-American War, there had been much fighting. General resistance of the natives had ceased in 1910, but there were still occasional outbreaks of some chiefs. It was necessary for the troops to move about in large groups well armed and always prepared for battle.

The larger towns were comparatively safe except for the fanatics, called Juramentados, who were sworn to do a faithful service, which was usually to kill a Christian. When one of these individuals ran wild in a crowd, wielding a kris, or long, heavy knife, natives as well as others fled in all directions.

One Reply to “Return to the Philippines”

  1. Dears, do you know anything more about camp overton? My great grandfather was enlisted then. According to family legend these men helped building the dole pineapple plantation.


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