Military Records


A review of military operations in the Pacific provides context for appreciating the origin, arrangement, and condition of the records. The Philippine Archives Collection, created to document military operations and individual participation in the war, is a valuable source of information about the war and about the people who engaged in wartime activities.




December 7, 1941 The Japanese attack Pearl Harbor.
April 18, 1942 Allied Forces establish General Headquarters (GHQ), Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA) in Melbourne, Australia. SWPA includes the Philippines. Gen. Douglas MacArthur becomes Commander-in-Chief.
May-June 1942 U.S. Forces in the Philippines cease operations with surrender of American Forces in the Philippines.
July 1942 U.S. Army Forces in Australia (part of SWPA) becomes U.S. Army Services of Supply (USASOS).


February 1943 General MacArthur reconstitutes his former headquarters in the Philippines. The new U.S. Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) becomes responsible for all administrative staff duties pertaining to U.S. Army units in the SWPA.
February 1943-1945 Filipino guerilla units are designated as USAFFE forces.
October 20, 1944 A-Day (Assault Day)
U.S. forces successfully land on east coast beaches of Leyte as part of the Allied invasion of Leyte.
December 1944 General MacArthur announces the end of organized Japanese resistance on Leyte. Japanese defenders continue to fight as units until December 31, and some disorganized resistance continues through May 1945.


1945 Some records that were buried underground in the Philippines are uncovered and retrieved.
April 6, 1945 A reorganization brings SWPA within the new command of Army Forces Pacific (AFPAC), led by General MacArthur.
May 8, 1945 V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day)
Nazi Germany surrenders to the Allies, ending the war in Europe.
June 1945 Recovered Personnel Division (RPD) of the Army Forces Pacific (AFPAC) begins the first phase of its investigations to gather information about POWs. The files they collect will become part of the Philippine Archives Collection.
June 7, 1945

USASOS becomes Army Forces, Western Pacific, but its logistical functions will continue to be reported through USAFFE.

Midnight June 30 - July 1, 1945 Luzon Campaign ends officially. The campaign in Mindanao continues until the end of the war.
August 6, 1945 U.S. drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.
August 9, 1945 U.S. drops an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan.
August 15, 1945 V-J Day (Victory over Japan Day) or V-P Day (Victory in the Pacific Day)
Japan surrenders, ending World War II. The news breaks in the U.S. on August 14, 1945, due to time zone differences.
September 2, 1945 GHQ SWPA closes when MacArthur becomes Supreme Commander, Allied Powers.
November 1945 Congress extends the Missing Persons Act to cover Philippine Army personnel and recognized guerrilla units. The RPD begins the second phase of its investigations.


June 30, 1948 Last day for filing Filipino claims for U.S. compensation to RPD
September 1948

After several reorganizations and transfers of the RPD's records, the new Adjutant General Records Depository (AGRD) of the Adjutant General’s Section acquired the Records Division of the Claims Service and the “Project J” and Philippine Army branches of RPD (the records that would become the Philippine Archives Collection). Another new unit, the Adjustment Section of the Headquarters office of the Philippine Command became responsible for adjustment of claims and arrears in pay.

Many records related to recognized guerilla units and Philippine Army personnel are transferred to St. Louis, Missouri, in custody of the Demobilized Personnel Records Branch (DPRB) of the Adjutant General's Office.

February 1949 AGRD acquires the the mission and function of the Adjustment Section. It gains custody of the records.


Circa 1951

"Project J" archives and records (pertaining to U.S. Army units and personnel as well as U.S. citizens) are transferred to DPRB in St. Louis, Missouri.

Claims Service files (consisting of records pertaining to wage and procurement claims) are shipped to the Federal Records Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Records related to intelligence activities and created by the USAFFE G-2 (Intelligence) office, are maintained by the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) in two places: at Clark Air Base in the Philippines and in Japan. (OSI returns the records to AGRD in the late 1950s.)

1953 AGRD and its records move to the DPRB in St. Louis, Missouri.
Circa late 1950s / early 1960s The Philippine Archives Collection is reunited. The records in Kansas City join the records in St. Louis, Missouri.
1984 The Philippine Army Branch, Personnel Services Directorate, Reserve Components Personnel and Administration Center (RCPAC) in St. Louis, apparently the last AGO unit to have custody of the collection, transfers custody of the Philippine Archives Collection to the National Archives and Records Service in 1984. The collection is moved to Washington, DC.
1994 The National Archives moves the Philippine Archives Collection to its new facility in College Park, Maryland.

General Douglas T. MacArthur

About Collection Dates


Some records in the collection predate the invasion period by almost a decade, while other records date nearly 30 years into the postwar era. The collection spans 48 years – 1930-1978. This date span, however, should not be interpreted to mean that the collection holds significant records of the pre-invasion and postwar periods; the primary focus of the collection are the experiences of men and women who participated in the action on the Philippine Islands from the time of the Japanese invasion in December 1941 to the end of World War II.