On November 2, 1941, Andres Bonilla Cudal enlisted in the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE), a military formation of the United States Army located on the islands of the Philippines that was active from 1941 to 1946.
Cudal served in L Company, 3rd Battalion, 11th Division, 23rd Infantry, fighting alongside American soldiers during WWII. This year, he was among the oldest known Prisoner of War survivors, reaching his 104th birthday, until his passing in October 2023.
In April 1942, Cudal was among the 76,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war (POW) who surrendered on the Bataan Peninsula. The troops were forced to march 65 miles to Camp O’Donnell, a former United States military reservation turned POW camp. The Bataan Death March spanned from 5 to 10 days and resulted in the death of over 17,000 soldiers.
Cudal and the remaining survivors suffered the poor conditions of the camp until they were liberated in January 1943. He continued to serve with the American soldiers until his honorable release on June 20, 1946.
Later in life, Cudal moved to San Jose, California, and had received care at VA Palo Alto health care since. Prior to his death, in his native Philippine dialect, Ilocano, Cudal reflected on his service and paid homage to his fallen comrades.
“I am forever grateful to America and consider it my high honor to have served the United States Army Forces in the Far East during WWII. I honor, most of all, my fallen brothers and sisters, for they have given the ultimate sacrifice on the altar of freedom. May God bless America!”
As we share this tribute, we remember Veteran Cudal and we extend our appreciation for his dedication and the sacrifices he made. His contributions remain integral to our nation's history, and we are thankful for his service. We hope his family finds solace knowing his legacy lives on in our gratitude.