This house of Mr. and Mrs. Marcos Santos was the official birthplace of the famous Japanese Kamikaze organization of World War II.
Vice Admiral Takijiro Ohnishi, commander of the Japanese naval air forces in the Philippines, founded on this spot and organized on [a] voluntary basis the very first Kamikaze unit.
Members of 201st Air Group, 1st Air Fleet, 23 young veteran pilots "were asked if they would volunteer to become suicide pilots."
"In a frenzy [of] emotions and joy, the arms of every pilot in the assembly went up in a gesture of complete accord".
It was early in the morning of 20 October 1944 that an announcement was at once drawn up and posted as soon as the admiral had signed it. In substance it said:
"That 201st Air Group will organize a special attack corps and will destroy and disable, if possible by 0725 hours on 25 October, 1944, the enemy carrier forces in the water coasts of the Philippines.
The Shimpu Attack Unit will be commanded by Lieutenant Yukio Seki at exactly 0725 hours." The first Kamikaze volunteers flew from Mabalacat East Airfield and were never to return. Thus, was born the very first Kamikaze unit that was later joined by several thousand oriental warriors. This was the "Divine Wind" that subsequently struck dreadful fear, chaos and death to thousands of American sailors."
By the end of the Pacific War, Kamikaze warriors sunk and damaged a total of 322 U.S. naval vessels, killed more than 10,000 U.S. sailors and 1,228 suicide sorties were conducted.
The Mabalacat Tourism Office supports the establishment of Kamikaze Peace Memorial not for the glorification of the Kamikaze but rather for the use of war history as a tool for the promotion of goodwill, peace and friendship among the nations. This serves as a reminder that the Kamikaze phenomenon shall never happen again.
Guy "Indra" Hilbero
Head, Mabalacat Tourism Office,
Jose "Jad" Dayrit