What was my ancestor doing in the Philippines in World War I, anyway?
April 8, 2011 8:05 PM   Subscribe

I've been doing some research into my family history, and recently learned that my great grandfather was stationed in the Philippines during World War I. Can you help me figure out what he was doing there?

I've poked around on line a bit and see that there was an American Expeditionary Force in the Philippines during WWI, but I have no idea what role the AEF in the Philippines played during this time.

Can you point me to where I might find information online about the role of the Philippines in WWI? Please do!
posted by That's Numberwang! to Grab Bag (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There was an insurrection in the Philippines in 1899, and it had become routine to keep a military garrison there just in case another fired up -- and in hopes of deterring another. They weren't sent to the Philippines because of WWI, and so far as I know nothing related to WWI occurred in that area.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:48 PM on April 8, 2011

Are you sure this had anything to do with World War I? I think it might just be a coincidence that he was there during World War I. Remember, the Philippines was a colony of the US at the time, and even though the Phillipine-American War officially ended in 1902, there was still sporadic military resistance to American occupation into the 1910s. I don't know how big the American army presence was in the late teens, but it must have been something.
posted by craichead at 8:51 PM on April 8, 2011

Response by poster: All I know is that he was in the Philippines during WWI (and not too happy about it, apparently). Still trying to figure out if he joined up for WWI and ended up there, or was already in the Army when WWI started and they sent him there as a sort of peacekeeping effort.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 9:27 PM on April 8, 2011

Best answer: There were pretty significant harbor defenses protecting U.S. bases (and access to ports) that were manned by the AEF - about a third of the men there were involved with those, and the rest were at the more regular bases. I don't know much about how AEF recruiting worked, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me if he enlisted for the war and got sent to (essentially) the back end of nowhere - somebody's got to be there to keep the seagulls from nesting in the artillery.
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 10:25 PM on April 8, 2011

Best answer: The Philippine National Guard was formed in 1917, under the Jones Law. It was a corps of American and Filipino officers, trained with the intention of joining the American Expeditionary Force in Europe. As it turns out, they weren't ready to be deployed before Armistice Day (although individual Filipino soldiers saw action). Perhaps your grandfather an officer in the Philippine National Guard, or was involved in their training?
posted by amyms at 11:15 PM on April 8, 2011

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