MEMORIAL DAY POST

It’s interesting how another blogger’s post can inspire a post for one’s own blog.  Such is the case here.  I was reading this post from Gimcrack Hospital, when I was reminded of another item from More of Paul Harvey’s The Rest of The Story (1980) by Paul Aurandt–that seems appropriate for this U.S. holiday.

Search Me–I Dare You

     In the July 19, 1948, edition of Time magazine, under the heading of “National Affairs,” under the subheading of “Heroes”–a heroine.

     A young woman newly awarded the Medal of Freedom.  A lady called Joey.

     Joey was, in fact, Mrs. Josefina Guerrero from Manila, a society figure in her native country.

     During World War II, Joey was a spy.  Our side.  And she was the best.  For all the secret maps and messages she carried back and forth across enemy lines, she was never apprehended, never searched once.

     How Joey was able to to achieve her remarkable wartime record is THE REST OF THE STORY.

     Josefina Guerrero was the toast of Manila.

     She was young, pretty, vivacious; her husband was a wealthy medical student at Santo Tomas University.  Everything was going her way.

     That was before the war.

     After the Japanese invaded the Phillipines, Josefina joined her friends–the other young matrons of Manila–and together they worked to help the internees and the U.S. prisoners of war, bringing them food, clothing, medicine, messages.

     When the Americans landed on Leyte, Josefina offered to become a spy.

     She had already gained valuable experience in the Manilan underground; she would be the best spy the Americans ever had, she said.  And we, smiling at her youthful enthusiasm, agreed.

     On her first mission, she mapped the waterfront fortifications of the Japanese and the locations of enemy anti-aircraft batteries.  Armed with nothing more than a sketchbook and a pencil, she prowled the restricted areas, recording all that she saw.

     From Josefina’s drawings, American planes were able to pinpoint their targets.

     The success of this and of subsequent missions earned Josefina the respect of her allies and it brought her an affectionate nickname, Joey.

     Joey, it seemed, could do no wrong in the pursuit of espionage.  Because of her conspicuous bravery, many near-impossible tasks were accomplished in the line of duty.

     One mission took her through fifty-six miles of Japanese encampments and checkpoints and freshly sown minefields.  With a top-secret map taped to her back, she trudged those fifty-six miles on foot.

     For three years, Joey continued her cloak-and-dagger career.  Then one day the war was over, and with it ended Joey’s job as a spy.

     A grateful U.S. War Department awarded her the Medal of Freedom with silver palm for having saved “untold” American lives.  Visiting the United States, Joey was presented with a Catholic medallion by Francis Cardinal Spellman for her “valorous and heroic actions.”

     But if there was one testimony to her ultimate success in espionage, it was that she lived to tell about it.  Joey–Josefina Guerrero–was never caught.  Stopped many times by suspicious Japanese, she was never apprehended, never even searched.

     For Joey had a secret weapon, an unconditional insurance policy to which any other spy would be unlikely to subscribe.  An impenetrable barrier, if you will.

     Her unfailing deterrent to those who would detain her was an authentic disease . . . called leprosy!

10 Responses to “MEMORIAL DAY POST”


    • 2 solosocial May 28, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      Thank you, Myra!

      And thank you for providing us with your latest blog post–if I hadn’t have read it, I wouldn’t have thought of this story!

  1. 5 Abby May 28, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Great post for Memorial Day, Scott. I love how these P.H. Rest ofs always keep us hanging right up until the very end! Leprosy!

    I found this story particularly interesting since my parents are of that era. My dad was a soldier in WWII, stationed in the Phillipines, where he met my mom, whose name is…. Josefina!

  2. 7 Lynn May 29, 2012 at 1:09 am

    Whoa …what an awesome read, did not expect the ending. I will never forget this story of Josefina Guerrero of Manila and how I learned of her in your most interesting blog post. A great way to spend a soggy morning in Chiang Mai

  3. 9 Susan February 29, 2016 at 12:12 am

    I was lucky enough to know Joey when she lived in Washington DC. Her war accomplishments were never spoken of. None of her friends knew about her heroism. It’s no surprise, however, knowing the older Joey. A remarkable woman.


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