Jesús A. Villamor

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Jesús Antonio Villamor
Jesus A. Villamor.jpg
Villamor exiting a plane upon returning from Batangas Field.
BornNovember 7, 1914
Bangued, Abra, Philippine Islands
DiedOctober 28, 1971 (aged 56)
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., United States
Allegiance Philippines
 United States
Service/branchUnited States Air Force[2]
Philippine Army Air Corps[3][4]
Years of service1936[3]-1971[5]
Commands held6th Pursuit Squadron, Philippine Army Air Corps
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsDistinguished Service Cross ribbon.svg (2x) Distinguished Service Cross with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster[3]

Legion of Merit ribbon.svg Legion of Merit[5]

Philippine Medal of Valor ribbon.jpg Medal of Valor[5]

Jesús Antonio Villamor (November 7, 1914 - October 28, 1971) was a Filipino American pilot who fought the Japanese in World War II.

Early life and career[edit]

Villamor was one of seven children.[3] He studied commerce at De La Salle College (now DLSU-Manila) in Manila, hoping to pursue a business career.[3]

During summer, he and his family went to Baguio and stayed in one of the government houses on Hogan's Alley, which are now assigned to Justice of Court of Appeals, just below Cabinet Hill along Leonard Wood Road. One of his playmates during this time was Roberto Lim, son of Brigadier General Vicente Lim.[citation needed]

Jess (as one of his friends would call him), at the age of 14 to 15, was already an aviation bug.[citation needed] He was worried that because of his short height, he wouldn't pass the physical exam. He learned how to fly in the civilian flying school in Grace Park that was located next to La Loma cemetery.[citation needed] Roberto Lim took his first airplane ride with Jess in a Stearman plane. He also signed Roberto Lim's first civilian license.[6]

He joined the Philippine Army Air Corps (PAAC) Flying School in 1936 and was sent to the United States for training, and after three years, began flying B-17's as part of the US Army Air Forces Strategic Bombing Squadron.[3] In 1939, Villamor assisted in teaching Dwight D. Eisenhower how to fly.[7]

Military service[edit]

Philippine Army Air Corps service[edit]

Upon his return to the Philippines, Villamor was assigned to lead the 6th Pursuit Squadron (now 6th Tactical Fighter Squadron) shortly before the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in December 1941. In the skies above Zablan and Batangas Fields, against Japanese Zeros, his squadron of Boeing P-26 Peashooter fighters engaged the enemy. Despite the disadvantage, Villamor and his squadron was credited with four kills- one Mitsubishi G3M bomber and three Mitsubishi A6M Zeros. Two of them by Villamor himself.[8]

For leading his squadron and for his two confirmed kills, Villamor was twice cited by the United States Army for bravery, receiving the Distinguished Service Cross for actions on December 10, 1941 and an Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a second award of the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) for actions on December 12, 1941 (see César Basa for more details).[3][9] Villamor is the only Filipino to receive the DSC twice.

In February 1942, Villamor conducted a reconnaissance mission over occupied Cavite in a PT-13, and his aircraft was damaged when it was attacked by six Zeros.[10]

Intelligence service[edit]

General Douglas MacArthur (left) is shown pinning a Distinguished Service Cross on Villamor for heroism in the air.

After his squadron was destroyed, Villamor continued his war against the Japanese as an intelligence officer.[3] Having escaped the fall of the Philippine Islands, volunteering, Villamor received orders to return to the Philippines.[11][12] Promoted to major, Villamor served as a commander in the Allied Intelligence Bureau.[13] On December 27, 1942, Villamor was part of a team inserted by the submarine USS Gudgeon into the Philippines,[3][5] making contact with Roy Bell on Negros.[14]:88–93 Villamor went on to work with Bell, who would then make contact with James M. Cushing in 1943.[15] Establishing a chain of direct communication from the Philippines with General Douglas MacArthur in Australia, he coordinated the activities of various guerrilla movements in Luzon, Mindanao and the Visayas.[3][16] Completing his mission Villamor returned to Australia.[13][17] Villamor's reports from the field were met with indifference by some within the SWPA, but were later publicly lauded by President Eisenhower.[18]

After World War II, Villamor served with the Military Assistance Advisory Group in State of Vietnam during 1951 and 1952, and once again in 1955.[2]


Ret. Col. Villamor died on October 28, 1971 in Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., United States.


Villamor Air Base Monument

For his bravery as a pilot and ingenuity as an intelligence officer, President Ramón Magsaysay awarded Lieutenant Col. Villamor the Medal of Valor, the highest Philippine military bravery decoration, on January 21, 1954.[19] In addition, Villamor was a two time recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, and one time recipient of the Distinguished Conduct Star.[19] The Philippine Air Force's principal facility in Metro Manila which was first known as Nichols Field, then later Nichols Air Base, was renamed Col. Jesús Villamor Air Base in his honor.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Phillips, Sky (1992). Secret Mission to Melbourne, November, 1941. Sunflower University Press. p. 6. ISBN 9780897451482. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d "Overview of the Jesus A. Villamor papers". The Online Archive of California is an initiative of the California Digital Library. The Regents of The University of California. 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Jesus A. Villamor". Hall of Valor, Military Times. Gannett Government Media Corporation. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  4. ^ Karsten, Peter (1998). The Training and Socializing of Military Personnel. Taylor & Francis. p. 111. ISBN 9780815329763. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Ostlund, Mike (2006). Find 'Em, Chase 'Em, Sink 'em: The Mysterious Loss of the WWII Submarine USS Gudgeon. Globe Pequot. p. 391. ISBN 9781592288625. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  6. ^ P51, Pushing the Envelope, A Biography of Roberto H. Lim, Composed of Collected Letters, Emails and Photos
  7. ^ Jean Edward Smith (21 February 2012). Eisenhower in War and Peace. Random House Publishing Group. pp. 130–132. ISBN 978-0-679-64429-3.
  8. ^ John Toland (17 August 2016). But Not in Shame: The Six Months After Pearl Harbor. Random House Publishing Group. pp. 110–113. ISBN 978-1-101-96929-8.
  9. ^ "Roll of Honor". Times. Times Inc. 12 (7): 57. 1942. ISSN 0024-3019. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  10. ^ John Gordon (1 September 2011). Fighting for MacArthur: The Navy and Marine Corps' Desperate Defense of the Philippines. Naval Institute Press. p. 188. ISBN 978-1-61251-062-0.
  11. ^ Cannon, M. Hamlin (1954). War in the Pacific: Leyte, Return to the Philippines. Government Printing Office. p. 19. LCCN 53-61979. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  12. ^ Helen Madamba Mossman (22 October 2014). A Letter to My Father: Growing Up Filipina and American. University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 77–78. ISBN 978-0-8061-8611-5.
  13. ^ a b Karsten, Peter (1998). The Training and Socializing of Military Personnel. Taylor & Francis. pp. 112–113. ISBN 9780815329763. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  14. ^ Mills, S.A., 2009, Stranded in the Philippines, Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, ISBN 9781591144977
  15. ^ Dirk Jan Barreveld (19 July 2015). Cushingês Coup: The True Story of How Lt. Col. James Cushing and His Filipino Guerrillas Captured Japan's Plan Z. Casemate. pp. 144–147. ISBN 978-1-61200-307-8.
  16. ^ John Glusman (25 April 2006). Conduct Under Fire: Four American Doctors and Their Fight for Life as Prisoners of the Japanese, 1941-1945. Penguin Publishing Group. pp. 346–348. ISBN 978-0-14-200222-3.
  17. ^ Alfred W. McCoy (2002). Closer Than Brothers: Manhood at the Philippine Military Academy. Yale University Press. pp. 96–97. ISBN 978-0-300-17391-8.
  18. ^ Schmidt, Larry S. (28 October 1982). American Involvement in the Filipino Resistance Movement on Mindanao During the Japanese Occupation, 1942-1945 (PDF) (Master of Military Art And Science). U.S Amy Command and General Staff College. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  19. ^ a b 1958 Congressional Record, Vol. 104, Page 13122 (July 8)

External links[edit]