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It is interesting to know that there are many young people who pursue start-ups business. Individuals who hope that their venture would last the tests of time.There are many people who venture but only a few succeed in such endeavor.Perhaps we can learn a lesson or two from History.What is definitely important is to build a solid basic foundation. What do you believe in? What is your purpose? Would this be beneficial? Finally, this could follow, Will it grow? and probably pass the test of time.

Begin with a singular purpose and objective. Let me tell you about one particular church. I am referring to the Sto Rosario Church. This monumental edifice was constructed like many churches that were built around the entire Philippines Archipelago during the colonial Spanish Era.I have always been fascinated with Philippine History and Anthropology as far as I can remember. It has been several days since we have entered the month of August.

What makes this month significant, here in the Philippines we celebrate Linggo Ng Wika (National Language Week). I find it utterly uncanny that our Nationa Hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal immortalized these words:

“Ang hindi marunong magmahal sa sariling wika/masahol pa sa hayop at malansang isda.”- Jose P. Rizal

(He who loves not his own language/is worse than a beast and a stinking fish.)

It was half a century later, between 1946 to 1954, President Sergio Osmena originally set the Linggo Ng Wika between March and April. The late President Osmena declared that the first president of the Common Wealth ,Manuel L. Quezon, as the Father of our National Language.It was only in 1955 when President Ramon Magsaysay signed the Proclamation 186, declaring August 13 to 19 as Linggo Ng Wika. The first President of the Commonwealth, Manuel L. Quezon was born on August 19, 1876.The only connehaction I see between the late President Manuel L. Quezon and the Sto Rosario Church was the year when the late President was born which was on 1876. The following year the basic foundation of Sto Rosario was laid out which is on 1877.

 

Sto Rosario Church is also known by the Kapampangans as PISAMBAN MARAGUL

The church has been recognized by the National Commission for the Arts and Culture as a National Shrine. It took almost 19 years for the Sto Rosario Church to be built.The foundation was first laid out on October 18, 1877.It stood at the center of the old town of Culiat(Angeles City)

I can only fathom my imagination what had transpired in this holy grounds. The sacrifice, blood, sweat, and tears of the people of Culiat Town that were sacrificed in building the Sto Rosario Church.

The first time I saw Sto Rosario Church two decades ago. I thought that there was something really special with this church. The first thing I noticed were the chandeliers that were dangling above. At that time I was not even aware that the church was over a hundred years old marked with more than a century of blood, sweat, and tears that were pains taken built by the people of the old Culiat Town. I could only imagine if the walls could only talk about its colorful past.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The church was constructed from 1877 to 1896 by the “Polo y Servicio” labor system, defined as the forced and unpaid labor of the Filipino native people for 40 days per year to all males from 16–65 years old by the Spanish colonial government. The first mass was held in the half of the church that was finished by April 14, 1886. The second half of the church which includes the building’s distinctive dome, was finished on September 17, 1891. The twin bells were rung for the first time on February 12, 1896. The church was finally finished as it still stands today on October 1909. It’s engineering and architectural skills where provided by Don Antonio de la Camara from Manila.[2]

The backyard of the church became the execution grounds from 1896-1898 in shooting down Filipino rebels and suspects by the Spanish forces.[2] And it was also used by the U.S. Army as a military hospital from 1899 to 1900.

Reference: Wikipedia Holy Rosary Parish Church

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Americans used Sto Rosario Church as a Makeshift Hospital (1899-1902) Philippine American War

 

Sto Rosario Church and Sag Harbor Express

A decade ago I told my Dad about the history of the Sto Rosario Church. He was surprised when I told him that a B-25 J  figured in a crash at the church. I was amused when he was adamant that this type of plane was used only at the start of World War II. I am referring to the bombing of Tokyo by Doolittle and his raiders. The Doolittle Raiders was conducted as an immediate retaliatory strike against the Imperial Japan.The Doolittle Raid in Tokyo occurred on April 18, 1942.This sparked my interest to find out about the last moments of the World War II B-25 J “Sag Harbor Express” and her crew.

I have been wondering about the story of a World War II B-25 J named ” Sag Harbor Express” that hit the roof top of the Historical Sto Rosario Church in Angeles City Pampanga, the plane crashed and exploded in a ball of fire on January 7, 1945.

Originally, I thought the B- 25 was launched in Mindoro as a spring point. I was wrong, the flight of B-25 was launched from Leyte Tacloban. I have pieced together information about how the Sag Harbor Express looked like.I was hoping to gather some pictures of the crew who flew the B-25 J Michell Bomber. I guess finding out what the plane looked like would be sufficient enough. Personally, I was annoyed that there were drops of paint that marred the historical monument. I was hoping to document the historical markers before they are permanently defaced and discarded.I was only hoping in writing this blog would remind the young about the past. I was surprised to find out only a hand-few few people know about what had transpired in Sto Rosario Church.

Lieutenant Arthur Browngardt, a pilot with the 499th Bomb Squadron, “Bats Outa Hell”, named his B-25J bomber “Sag Harbor Express”,

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Ged Dizon Reference: December 1995 http://www.345thbombgroup.org/Strafers/1995/December1995.pdf

a title shared with his hometown’s newspaper.

At 9:30 am. on 07 Jan. 1945, “Sag Harbor Express” was bombing Clark Field, Luzon Island, the Philippines, during an all-out 5th Air Force attack. After being hit by Japanese flak it plowed through the roof of Holy Rosary Cathedral, making a large gaping hole in the roof, leaving its left wing caught among the ceiling rafters.

It then broke in to pieces and crashed into a huge fireball on the patio of the nearby Holy Angel Academy, killing the entire crew. The pilot and co-pilot were thrown clear of the aircraft upon impact while the rest were either mangled, partially burned or charred beyond recognition.

In Feb. 1945, after the liberation of Angeles, a U.S. Army Graveyard Unit exhumed the remains and they were shipped back to the U.S.A. for permanent interment.

1st Lt. Arthur Browngardt0n; Pilot – Sag Harbor, Long Island, New, York
2nd Lt. Jack B. Bartlow; Co-Pilot – 8624 Woodbridge, Cincinnati, Ohio
2nd Lt. Howard C. Lebeck; Navigator – 93 E. Schley Blvd., Bremerton, Wash.
T/Sgt. William H. Noe; Engineer-Gunner – Address Unknown
T/Sgt. Clarence H. Gilbert; Radioman-Gunner – Home Address Unknown
S/Sgt. Englehardt Von Hebel; Gunner – Home Address Unknown

 

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John Towell Collection January 7 1945

…. Tacloban, 40 North American B-25J-11 aircraft of the 345th Bomb Group, commanded by Colonel Chester Coltharp, would join the 312th. The 345th squadrons represented in the raid included the 498th, 499th, 500th, and 501st with 10 aircraft each. Coltharp was the strike leader for the mission. The 345th also had colorful aircraft markings. Known as the Air Apaches, their planes had an American Indian chief logo on the rudders. In addition, various aircraft had bat’s head images or hawk’s head images painted on the noses with additional personal markings.

In Memory 

This blog is dedicated to the crew of Sag Harbor Express as well as to all the men and women who have dedicated and sacrificed their lives in service of Liberty, Democracy, and Freedom. I would highly recommend checking out Kamikazes Caught on the Ground: Raid on Clark Field.      

The article was written by Robert F. McEniry, Lt. Col. USAF (ret.). What makes this blog interesting are the actual documentary video taken a month later. I believe this is February about the aftermath of the raid. This also includes the bird’s eye view of the Sto Rosario Church damaged the roof.

I found another interesting article Ghosts of the Air: True Stories of Aerial Hunting.

That’s another story to read.

 

 

 

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