On December 8, 1941, just hours after Japan launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, another Japanese force began bombing the Philippine islands. The Philippines were a U.S. territory and home to a large American military presence, including the 26th Cavalry Regiment (United States), an elite unit of horse-mounted soldiers. The regiment was stationed at Fort Stotsenburg, near the city of Manila. On that fateful day, some of the officers and their families were enjoying a polo match at the nearby Manila Polo Club, unaware of the looming danger. They were caught off guard when Japanese planes appeared in the sky and started dropping bombs and strafing bullets on the field.
The polo players and spectators quickly realized that they were under attack and scrambled for cover. Some of them managed to reach their cars and drive away, while others hid in the club's buildings or in nearby ditches. Some of the officers grabbed their pistols and rifles and returned fire at the enemy planes, but their weapons were no match for the Japanese firepower. The attack lasted for about 15 minutes, leaving behind a scene of carnage and destruction. Several people were killed or wounded, including civilians and horses. The polo field was pockmarked with craters and littered with debris.
The 26th Cavalry Regiment was one of the first units to respond to the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. They mounted their horses and rode to the front lines, where they faced overwhelming odds against a superior enemy force. They fought bravely and fiercely, often engaging in close combat with their sabers and pistols. They participated in several battles and skirmishes, including the Battle of Bataan, where they made a heroic last stand against the Japanese onslaught. They were also involved in the infamous Bataan Death March, where thousands of American and Filipino prisoners of war were forced to walk for miles under brutal conditions. Many of them died or suffered from disease, starvation, and torture.
The 26th Cavalry Regiment was one of the last horse-mounted units in the U.S. Army. They were known for their courage, skill, and loyalty. They earned the nickname \"The Philippine Scouts\" for their service in the islands. They were also awarded several medals and honors, including the Presidential Unit Citation and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation. They were disbanded in 1946, after the end of World War II. Their legacy lives on as a symbol of bravery and sacrifice in the face of adversity. e0e6b7cb5c