Tomas Mateo Claudio

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Tomas Mateo Claudio
Born(1892-05-07)May 7, 1892
Morong, Rizal, Philippines
DiedJune 29, 1918(1918-06-29) (aged 26)
Château-Thierry, France
Place of burialNorth Cemetery
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1917 – 1918
RankPrivate
Battles/warsWorld War I
 
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Tomas Mateo Claudio
Born(1892-05-07)May 7, 1892
Morong, Rizal, Philippines
DiedJune 29, 1918(1918-06-29) (aged 26)
Château-Thierry, France
Place of burialNorth Cemetery
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1917 – 1918
RankPrivate
Battles/warsWorld War I

Private Tomas Mateo Claudio (1892–1918) was a Filipino soldier who enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was considered as the first Filipino to die overseas in the midst of an international conflict.

Early life and career[edit]

He was born on May 7, 1892 to Gregorio Claudio, a violinist, and Pelagia Mateo, a seamstress. He already showed bravery and an inclination for military service and adventure as a young boy. Although he was quite stubborn, his cheerful disposition endeared him to his friends and classmates at the school.[1]

In a military exercise in his school, Claudio showed signs of a great military officer as he was given the rank of battalion commander because he was the most outstanding captain of Company A. However, his father died in 1907. He eventually finished his elementary education but failed to finished high school. He later became a guard at the Bureau of Prisons but was dismissed from the job in 1911 because of dereliction of duty, that is, sleeping on the job.[1] He soon left the country and went to Hawaii to work in a sugar plantation. He later went to Alaska to work in the salmon canneries there. After all those, he went to Reno, Nevada where he finished commerce at Clark Healds Business College in 1916. Upon graduating, he accepted a clerkship at the City Post Office.[2]

World War I[edit]

It was on April 6, 1917 when the United States entered the war against the Central Powers, who were battling the Allies in a brutal trench warfare. In this case, the Philippine Assembly formed the Philippine National Guard as a contribution to the American Expeditionary Force contingent to provide support to the war-weary Allied forces. Able Filipino males who came from the Philippines to work as contract workers in the Hawaiian sugar, pineapple plantations and other industries were required to register in the U.S. military drafts of June 5, 1917, June 5, 1918 and September 12, 1918. Some volunteered, others were drafted. Most of them served in Schofield Barracks, Ft. Shafter and Hawaiian National Guard from the ranks of private to sergeant [3]

Claudio decided to apply in the U.S. Army. After being denied twice, he was finally enlisted on November 2, 1917. He became a member of the 41st Infantry Division and left for Europe on December 15. His last destination was France, where he served, initially, in the trenches of the Toul Sector and, later, with the reserve division near Paris. Subsequently, he was assigned to the Montdidier front.

Death[edit]

Under the leadership of General John Pershing, the Americans held their ground from repeated German attacks. Private Claudio took part in these crucial battles in the Marne Offensive. Flak guns blackened the skies, artillery shells pounded "No Man's Land", barbed wires left mutilated hands and gunpowder and blood mixed together. In the ensuing battle, Claudio was killed by enemy fire on June 29, 1918 in Château-Thierry, France. The Tomas Claudio Memorial College in Morong, Rizal, Philippines, which was founded in 1950, was named in his honor.[4]

References[edit]