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Alcaraz: Then and Now

By: PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS DEVELOPMENT AND STRATEGIC PLANNING OFFICE


navy pictures Alcaraz: Then and Now

. Photo by: PCDSPO

The figure compares the pioneer vessels of the Philippine Navy to the newly acquired Hamilton-class cutter. It is a Philippine Navy Gregorio del Pilar-class frigate named the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16), named after World War II hero, Ramon A. Alcaraz. The BRP Alcaraz departed from Charleston harbor last June 10, 2013 and is expected to reach Manila by August. The Alcaraz will serve to be a platform for the next giant leap in the capability and training of the Philippine Navy: a further step forward in the path to naval excellence pioneered by Ramon Alcaraz and his fellow war heroes.

Ramon A. Alcaraz, a member of the first graduating class of the Philippine Military Academy, was one of the pioneers of the Philippine Navy, and is known as the father of the Philippine Marines. His heroism is commemorated in one of the friezes in the Dambana ng Kagitingan on Mount Samat.

The First Republic under President Emilio Aguinaldo had a small navy; it was a collection of seized vessels and never actually an organized military force. It was only with the passage of the National Defense Act in 1935 that the Philippines began the planning and organizing necessary to create a truly modern armed forces for the Philippines.

Part of that effort was the formation of the Offshore Patrol (OSP), which was envisioned to have a small fleet of fast and nimble torpedo boats. Field Marshal Douglas MacArthur said the Q-Boat fleet while "relatively small,” would, nonetheless, “have distinct effect in compelling any hostile force to approach cautiously and by small detachments."

In the figure is a silhouette of one of those torpedo boats, which were called “Q-Boats” (to differentiate them from the American PT Boat flotilla). Made by Thorneycraft in England, the Q-111 and Q-112 Abra provided training opportunities for the OSP. They were later joined by the Q-113, the first of what were supposed to be many more Philippine-made Q-Boats. During the fighting of World War II, under the command of Ramon Alcaraz, the Q-112Abra took down three out of the nine Japanese Zeros on January 17, 1942. It continued to serve with distinction until the surrender of Bataan and Corregidor, when the crew of the Q-Boats scuttled their vessels rather than surrender them to the enemy.

The American PT Boats, on the other hand, also distinguished themselves when John D. Bulkeley brought Field Marshal MacArthur to Mindanao and President Quezon and family from the Visayas to Mindanao.

-end-
  Posted: Jul-12-2013
 

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