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    Lubang Island Occidental Mindoro Philippines

Location
Lubang Island is the largest of the seven islands in the Lubang Island Group, located 93 miles southwest of Manila and northwest of Mindoro Island. Lubang Island is divided into two municipalities: Lubang covers the western half of Lubang Island and Cabra Island, while Looc covers the remaining half of Lubang Island plus Ambil, Golo and the other islands in the group. Lubang is part of Region IV-B.

Lubang Town
Located on the west of the island. Prewar, the Spanish built San Vicente Bastion, a fort on the western point of the entrance to Port Tilig.

World War II History
During late February 1945, as the U.S. Army liberation of Luzon and capture of Verde Island Passage, Balayan Bay and Batangas Bay, fleeing Japanese forces including members of the Japanese Army 158th Infantry on southern Luzon escaped to islands in the Verde Island Passage and Lubang Islands. None of the other islands in the Lubang Island group were occupied by the Japanese.

During the night of February 28 to March 1, 1945 a task force from the U.S. Navy 7th Fleet including destroyers USS Saufley and USS Gass escorted LCIs and LCMs that landed the U. S. Army 21st Infantry, 1st Battalion, made an unopposed landing of a reconnaissance force on Lubang Island. The defending Japanese fled into the interior. On March 9, 1945 19th Infantry, Company E, relieved them and by the end of March, mopping up operations were assigned to local guerrillas. In total, the U. S. Army suffered 10 KIA and 20 WIA. The Japanese lost 230 killed.

Postwar
On Lubang Island, four Japanese survived the war: 2nd Lt. Hiroo Onoda, Private Yuichi Akatsu (surrendered 1950), Corporal Shoichi Shimada (died 1954), Private Kinshichi Kozuka (died 1972) and managed to hide in the jungle. Together, they continued guerrilla warfare against the Americans, guerrillas and later Philippine Police. Over the years, the group of holdouts died during combat and disease. By 1974 only Onoda remained on the island. During March 1974 after being officially relieved of duty he surrendered and is considered one of the last Japanese holdouts of the Pacific War.

References
The Imperial Japanese Army in World War II "Philippines Operations Record (November 1944 - April 1945)
U. S. Army in the Philippines Securing the Visayan Passages page 429, 437-438, footnote 29
USN 7th Fleet Task Organization Lubang Operation
No Surrender: My Thirty Year War by Hiroo Onoda

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Last Updated
January 23, 2014

 

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