Members of West Point’s Class of 1930

My research turned up this image from the Howitzer, the West Point’s yearbook. It shows, near the center, my lolo, Maximiano Saqui Janairo (if you can’t find him, he’s the one who isn’t white).


Throwback Thursday: West Point

One of the joys of riding the train into Manhattan is the river view. A bit cloudy, but always nice to see West Point, where I lived for a time as a wee one. It’s also where my father, uncle and grandfather all graduated.

13 things about my Lolo, Col. Maximiano Saqui Janairo, for Veterans Day


This is my Lolo, Maximiano Saqui Janairo, in a studio photo taken in Manila around 1930, when he was about 24 or 25 years old. On his lapel, you can see the castle emblem of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Note the shoulder patch — the gold carabao on a red field — the symbol of the Philippine Scouts.

Here’s a photo of my Lolo, Maximiano Saqui Janairo.

  • 1930 graduate of U.S. Military Academy at West Point
  • Commission in the Philippine Scouts
  • Chief engineer with the Philippine Army in 1941
  • Captured by the Japanese in April 1942
  • Survived the Bataan Death March
  • Prisoner of War in Camp O’Donnell
  • Escaped while being transferred to a hospital for malaria and dysentery
  • Joined the guerrilla units fighting the Japanese occupation
  • Served in Korea during the Korean War
  • Served with NATO in Paris
  • Retired as a colonel, stationed at the engineer school at Fort Belvoir
  • Awarded Legion of Merit “for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States from 8 December 1941 to 9 April 1942”
  • Buried at Arlington National Cemetery


Fact-checking family stories

I’m not in the habit of fact-checking family stories, despite the countless times (as a journalism student and journalist) I’ve heard: “If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.”

So it was more of a fluke than a deliberate act when I came across a document linked to what I’ve come to think of as the precipitating moment of my family’s coming to America.

A google search led me to the digitized book “Official Register of Officers and Cadets: United States Military Academy,” which included not only my grandfather (a cadet from 1926 to 1930), but also the conditions upon which he became a cadet.

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On West Point and my father’s 60th reunion

My father, Max, and my brother Anthony at West Point.

My father, Max, and my brother Anthony at West Point.

This past weekend, my father celebrated his 60th college reunion at the US Military Academy at West Point.

He attended the long weekend of activities with my older brother who, unlike me, had vivid memories of when we lived on post (I was but a wee toddler, and yet I remain a proud Army brat and always feel an upsurge of emotion when I’m at West Point).

I met up with them on a Sunday morning, after all the official reunion events were over. I met some of my father’s classmates in the lobby of the hotel as they were getting ready to head back to their respective homes. We went into town for a brunch at Andy’s Diner (a place that has been around since 1903 and which many Plebes went to, though my father had never been there. I gave them copies of a short fiction anthology of military sci-fi that includes one of my stories. We toured the West Point Museum.
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