FELICIANO FAJARDO MIRAVITE
Korean War Veteran/Casualty. PMA Class 1951. Born in Cabatuan in 1927.
One of 12 Miravite Brothers & Sisters who established the Miravite Scholarships at CNCHS during the 1970's and 1980's
and then adopted/supported AcaoNHS in Brgy. Acao, Cabatuan during the 1990's and 2000's.
The 14th Battalion Combat Team (14th BCT)
The 14th Battalion Combat Team (14th BCT), the forefather of the 14th Infantry (AVENGER) Battalion was activated in 01 August 1950 at Fort William Mckinley, Rizal with two (2) officers and sixteen (16) enlisted men initially assigned to it. The need of more troops in Laguna was urgent then that this Battalion was moved even before completing its organization. Several Philippine Constabulary (PC) absorbed and some units with excess personnel were taken and training was conducted simultaneously with operations. After the completion of the unit's training, 14th BCT was immediately thrown into the anti-dissident campaign. The unit was designed to go after the communist inspired Hukbong Bayan Laban sa Hapon (HUKBALAHAP) which at that time, the government's effort to crush the leftist had been intensified to give no respite to the enemies of the state
"WHY THE NAME AVENGERS"
14TH BCT was assigned to the province of Baras, Rizal as their area of responsibility (AOR). It was while operating in the mountainous part of Rizal where the "AVENGER" name of the 14th BCT was conceived. During that time, the HARDIES, an American family, ran a dairy farm in the fertile hills of Antipolo, Rizal. They were then supplying Manila and nearby areas with their dairy products. A band of Huks in their intent to sow fear in the area mercilessly murdered the entire family. The incident was reported to the Battalion prompting the elements of "D" Company of 14th BCT under CPT CONRADO D CABAGUE to react and sweep the countryside for the perpetrators. The swift and timely reaction of the unit accounted for twenty-one (21) of said dissidents tracked down and killed in a fierce skirmish.
By their courage and tenacity, the 14BCT was given the catch name "AVENGER" by then Secretary of Defense and later President of the Republic of the Philippines, Ramon Magsaysay.
Avengers are not vengeance seekers but defenders of the weak against tyranny. Since then the Avengers was destined to avenge one's wrong another in the field.
DEPLOYMENT TO KOREA
Because of their impressive combat records in the field on August 29, 1952 pursuant to General Orders number 35, GHQ, AFP, the 14th BCT under COL NICANOR JIMENEZ was chosen as one of the Philippines Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK) contingents to help dismantle communism then raging in the Republic of South Korea.
On 26 March 1953, the Avengers arrived at the sea port Pusan, South Korea. The troops were given warm welcome by the Koreans and some of the allied forces already in the area. After which, they boarded a train and proceeded to Chon chon from there, they were transported to Inje Valley by trucks on convoy. Upon arrival, the troops were given a brief rest on their bivouac area. After which, intensive training started to enable them to learn new tactics and techniques in fighting the communist soldier.
FIRST MISSION IN KOREA
On 15th of May 1953 the new Filipino Battalion took their first combat mission, its sector stretched for about one (1) mile astride in the Stae-ri Valley. “B” Company occupied the ridge on the left of “sandbag castle” and on the valley floor were elements of “A” Company together with their combat support units. While elements of “C” Company was on Heartbreak Ridge.
Stae-ri Valley was one of the main invasion routes in the East Central Front that is why the Battalion was given a mission to deny the enemy use of the valley below and to secure the commanding terrain and Heartbreak Ridge.
The Avengers lost no time in making the communist troops aware of their presence by harassing the enemy lines both with artillery fire, small arms firefight and conducting aggressive combat patrols info enemy territory. With this action of the 14th BCT, the enemy was not able to cross or advance through the invasion routes.
One noteworthy patrol action was that which was led by Sgt Ponciano Agno of “C” Company which got itself into close combat with the enemy. He reinforced and extricated a surrounded squad under Pfc Aquilino Agustin who was captured and being dragged away by the Red Chinese. But at a decisive place and time. Pfc Agustin exploded two (2) hand grenades. The Chinese were killed, but he was riddled with shrapnel despite of his armor vest and steel helmet. With this singular feat of heroism, Pfc Agustin was later awarded with the US Silver Star, the third highest decoration of the US Army.
The Battalion engaged more in routine patrols. Inflicting more casualties on the enemy until the elements of 40th Division (US) replaced the Avengers sometime on May 1953.
In June, the area of 20th ROK Division was subjected to intense enemy attack. As a consequence the 45th Infantry Division (US) was sent to relieve the beleaguered Korean unit. The 14th BCT operating under the US 45th Infantry (Thunderbird) Division was designated as counter attacking force. They established blocking position of Paek-san-san. For eight (8) consecutive days, the Avengers secured the MCR while maintain two (2) companies under alert for immediate deployment.
On July, 14, 1953, at 12:24 AM. Red Chinese conducted an offensive. For one (1) night, the areas of the whole Battalion were preferred with artillery shells. The devastating blows cause the loss of two (2) officers and six (6) WIA. In this action, LIEUTENANT TEODORICO DOMINADO JR of Dumaguete City was killed. LIEUTENANT FELICIANO MIRAVITE was also hit directly in this encounter causing his paralysis.
At dawn, “A” and “B” Companies, 14th BCT were ordered to occupy “Christmas Hill” “B” Company went ahead at 0530H but while on their way two (2) CCF Battalions overran “K” Company of 180th Infantry Regiment “B” Company, 14th BCT was ordered to counter attack and rush to the site but rain and Koreans silt delayed the movement. When they reached “Christmas Hill” 1st Company of 180th US Infantry Regiment had already cleared up the area. So portions were not thoroughly, cleared so the Avengers finished the job until 16th July 1952. In this action, CCF casualties were counted at 200 killed and 350 wounded. A CCF probing company provided the fire power causing the enemy to withdraw o the night of 15 July.
The following date, “G” Company of 180th US Infantry Regiment was replaced by “A” Company, 14th BCT while “B” Company moved to main line of resistance. The rest of 2nd Battalion, 279th US Infantry Regiment was taken over by the elements of the 14th BCT.
At around 180930H July, 1953, enemy movement was first noticed in front of the machine gun nest of the Avengers while the other companies observed that the enemy crawling and striking their concertina wires. Orders were passed along line not to waste ammunition and wait until CCF came nearer. Machine gun positions reported that the CCF elements are at 30 meters up front. At that juncture, a prearranged flare was fired and all the guns open fired. The Red Chinese fold back. The enemy from the opposite hill retaliated with small arms fire followed by mortar and artillery barrages which were countered by the friendly artillery. It could be seen through artillery illumination fire, bodies strangle and the barbed wire while down below, the remnants could be seen on the defiles.
On 18, July, the CCF troops conducted psychological warfare operation at Hill 500 on Satae-ri Front. With the use of loudspeakers, the Chinese would announced and persuade the Avengers. “GO HOME, WE ARE NOT YOUR ENEMIES”. And followed by screaming a “BANZAI”. This would be answered by the troops by opening their radios full volume and accompanied by singing.
The incident happened again at Christmas Hill on the night of 22 July, 1953. The enemy used blinking lights in the darkness in front of the friendly troops then loud irritating Chinese music was played accompanied by automatic rifle fire. The Avengers ignored their style but still on alert. The entire show only stopped after artillery fire was heard from “A” Company which sent the enemy for cover. Unknowingly, the enemy is preparing for another offensive.
On 24-26 July 1953, “A” Company was receiving 500 rounds of enemy artillery shells a day, disrupting communication and re-supply. For three (3) days, the troops ran out of ammunition and hid on their foxholes.
Meanwhile, news was heard that a truce was being negotiated at Panmunjon. In spite of this news, however the enemy continues firing their artillery tubes at the heaviest was on the 27th of July.
News was received that the troops would be at 272200H July, 1953 from 1100 instructions were passed along the line to cease fire on the time set.
Before 2200H the Battalion received more than 1,000 rounds of artillery shells from the CCF. Despite, the cease fire order. The PEFTOK, artillery battery engaged the Communist guns all-out-duel.
At around 2200H, the entire battle front fell into complete silence. The following day, 28th July, the Avengers dismantled its fortifications, detonated its mines and rolled up their concertina wires. After which, the unit moved and transferred to Yanggu Valley where it set up a camp and named in Honor of LIEUTENANT DOMINADO JR who lost his life at Paeksuk-san.
From Camp Dominado, the Avengers embarked on an intensive training program. They also conducted rehabilitation on the ravaged village brought by war along Yanggu Valley with other friendly troops.
Because of its record in the front lines, the unit was awarded the Korean Presidential Unit Citation on 27th July, 1953. On March 1954, the 14th BCT left South Korea and returned to their native land. When they reached the sea port of Manila, they were surprised since the port was crowded by their relatives, friends and other spectators to include government officials who waved their hands and cheering up. A formal ceremony was made up on their arrival. Then the 14th BCT was awarded with the Philippines Presidential Unit Citation having successfully fulfilled the country’s commitment to global peace and security.
After its return, the excess personnel of the unit were distributed to the various Philippine army Units where their services were most needed. It maintained its basic Battalion personnel in accordance with local conditions. Then the unit was again thrown into anti-dissident campaign. Not long thereafter, it was deactivated like the rest of its sister Organizations which emerged during the height of the government all-out-war against Huk dissidents.
On June 1973, the unit was again reactivated.