Thursday, April 8, 2010

Gen. Vicente Lim on Stamps

Brigadier General Vicente Lim (1889 – 1944) was a World War II general. He was born in Calamba City, Laguna, Philippines, which is also the birthplace of José Rizal, the country's national hero.

Lim was the first Filipino graduate of the United States Military Academy (Class of 1914) at West Point, General Lim served as a 2nd Lieutenant during World War I. At the war’s end, he returned to the Philippines, where he continued his military career and quickly rose in rank (initially with the Philippine Scouts and later with the Philippine Army). By 1940, he was appointed to the post of Chief of Staff of the Philippine Army.

When the Philippine Army was incorporated into the American Armed Forces on July 16, 1941, Lim was given the rank of Brigadier General and became the top–ranking Filipino under General Douglas MacArthur, placed in command of the 41st Philippine Division, tasked with the defense of southern Luzon. On April 9, 1942, the 41st surrendered on Bataan, along with all American and Filipino forces, to the Japanese 14th Army of General Homma.

Lim survived the Bataan Death March, and on June 6 , 1942 was admitted to the Philippine General Hospital for treatment of injuries sustained at Bataan (where he had led the bloody rear guard action against the Japanese in Abucay, Bataan). He recovered quickly, but with the help of his brother–in–law, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez, he concealed this fact. With the Japanese convinced of his incapacitation, he led the guerilla resistance forces of Luzon. Basically, he conducted secret guerrilla activities while pretending to be confined at the Philippine General Hospital.

In 1944 he was ordered to rejoin General Douglas MacArthur in Australia. He attempted the journey but was captured en route by the Japanese. He was held for months at Fort Santiago and the Bilibid prison before being beheaded, along with Colonel Antonio Escoda, shortly before the liberation.

General Lim died 31 December 1944 and is listed among the Tablets of the Missing at Manila National Cemetery.

Date of Issue: August 22, 1982