Edwin Ramsey, military officer who organized Filipino guerrillas in WW II, 95By Chris Schaefer
An era in U.S. military history came to a close with the death on March 7th of a genuine American war hero.
Lieutenant Colonel Edwin Price Ramsey was a First Lieutenant in the United States Cavalry at the beginning of World War II, stationed in the Philippines. On January 16, 1942, he led a Troop of the 26th Mounted Cavalry Regiment in a successful attack on the Japanese-held town of Morong on the West Coast of Bataan. It was the last horse-mounted cavalry charge in the history of the United States Army.
When U.S. forces on Bataan surrendered to the Japanese, Ramsey refused to surrender and escaped into the jungle where, over the next three years, he organized Filipino guerrilla forces that eventually numbered 40,000 guerrilla fighters. He was hunted down by the Imperial Japanese Army and by the communist Huk guerrillas, but managed to escape each time they drew near. At one point during his years in the jungle he was deathly ill and had his appendix removed by a Filipino doctor who used a pocket knife and no anesthesia. General Douglas MacArthur personally awarded Ramsey the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and Purple Heart for the success of his guerrilla organization, his heroism and his combat wounds.
After the war Ramsey returned to the United States, then spent five years in Japan as an executive with Hughes Aircraft Corporation, and more years in the Philippines as a private businessman before he retired in California. He has been honored by presidents and recognized by the U.S. Army’s Special Forces, which to a large degree are modeled after Ramsey’s guerrilla organization in the World War II Philippines. His wartime exploits are preserved in the book “Lieutenant Ramsey’s War” and the documentary movie “Forgotten Soldiers.”
Edwin Ramsey died on March 7, 2013, in Los Angeles, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He was 95 years old.