Private First Class Teodorico G. Galicia 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment Died of Wounds on 6 August 1945 during the fighting in the Villaba-Palompon sector in northwest Leyte, Philippines.
Teodorico was born in Ilocos Sur Province on Luzon Island in the Philippines on 16 June 1906. Like so many young Filipino men of the time, Teodorico immigrated to the United States in the late 1920’s in search of a better life. He ended up working as a field worker for the H.P. Garin Company in the San Joaquin Valley of California.
Teodorico Galicia was inducted into the U.S. Army on 18 March 1943. Galicia soon found himself attached to the 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment, which was stationed at Camp Beale, near Sacramento, California. Eventually, Galicia would be among over 7,000 men assigned to the regiment. The regiment was an all Filipino force led by Colonel Robert Offley, who had grown up the son of a soldier in the Philippines and spent much of his own Army career on the islands.
Galicia would continue training in the California Central Valley at Hunter-Liggett Military Reservation and Camp Roberts until the regiment was deployed to the Pacific theater of operations in April 1944. Galicia and the rest of the 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment landed in Oro Bay, New Guinea in June and were assigned to the 31st Infantry Division. While in New Guinea, the regiment continued their training and conducted security patrols.
The Filipinos in the regiment had longed to liberate their homeland for nearly three years, and now they were going to have their chance. In February 1945, the 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment was finally called into action. They were sent to Leyte and tasked with supplementing the Americal Division. For the remaining months of the war, Pfc. Galicia and the rest of the 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment were assigned mopping up operations on Leyte and Samar.
Combat for the men of the 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment was one of clearing caves, manning remote checkpoints along coastal highways, and endless jungle patrols looking for the remnants of Japanese pockets of resistance. Although they were often given the arduous tasks of routing out the Japanese one by one, the regiment had one of the highest kill ratios of the entire theater. In one action alone, the regiment reported killing 1,572 Japanese soldiers while only losing 5 of their own men. Their fight lasted until the surrender of the Japanese Empire, and the men of the 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment would keep up their impressive record. They averaged 40 Japanese soldiers killed per day with another 32 captured throughout the remainder of the campaign.
While Pfc. Teodorico Galicia was on his final patrol in the Villaba-Palompon sector in northwest Leyte, the B-29, Enola Gay, was delivering an atomic bomb over Hiroshima. Galicia was seriously wounded and would die later the same day in a field hospital of his wounds. Just days before Japan’s surrender, Pfc. Teodorico G. Galicia was killed in action on 6 August 1945. He was the last man of the 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment to die in combat.
Galicia's death didn't have to be. Late in the war, Congress had changed the draft laws to allow men over 38 years old to be discharged. Instead, he chose to continue fighting. Private First Class Galicia died fighting to free his homeland in the uniform of a country he couldn’t even call his own. He is buried in the Manila American Cemetery, Plot L, Row 13, Grave 40.