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403rd BS January 26, 1945
U. S. Army c1945
Justin Taylan 2003
Lat 16° 7' 58.63" N Long 120° 55' 54.66" E Balete Pass is located in Nueva Vizcaya Province on Luzon in the Philippines. To the west of the Cagayan Valley near the border between Nueva Ecija Province and Nueva Vizcaya Province connected by Highway 5.
During January 1945, Japanese Army forces began withdrawing from the coastal plains via Balete Pass into the northern mountains. After the US Army landing at Lingayen Gulf, American forces advanced to this location from the coast.
During April 1945 until June 1945, the advancing U. S. Army 25th Division, 161st Infantry battled against entrenched Japanese using the advantage of the terrain for their defense. Balete Pass was subjected to numerous fighter and bomber aircraft in support of the ground forces. Both sides suffered heavy casualties. On May 16, 1945 U. S. Army 25th Infantry Division, Assistant Commander Brigadier General James Leo Dalton, II, was killed on by a sniper in the vicinity of Balete Pass. Afterwards, Balete Pass became known as "Dalton Pass" in his honor.
American missions against Balete Pass
January 27, 1945–June 18, 1945
Several wartime memorials were erected at this location with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Memorials and Lookout
On the roadside of Highway 5, just over the border from Nueva Ecija Province are three memorials at Balete Pass: American, Chinese COWHM, and Japanese. Plus, a lookout at the top of the ridge.
American Memorial at Balete Pass
A simple obelisk memorial, with bronze plaque at the base of the memorial area. Behind it (unrelated) is a small lookout tower for region 2. The plaque reads: "Balete Pass - Erected in honor of those soldiers of the 25th Division who sacrificed their lives in winning this desperate struggle. In taking this pass 7,403 Japs counted killed. 2,365 US Army 25th Division killed and wounded. May 13, 1945.
Japanese Memorial at Balete Pass
The Japanese memorial consists of several plaques, and engraved stones, and a cross with the inscription "peace forever". The memorial was established by family and fellow soldiers of the fallen. March 1984.
Chinese COWHM Memorial
Dedicated to the eight Chinese COWHM soldiers who died at Balete pass, fighting with the Americans. This memorial have extensive text about the origins of the COWHM and a small marker plaque, dedicated on May 7, 2001 for each of the eight soldiers who died.
The memorial plaque reads:
"Dedicated to the memory of our 8 comrades in arms, who fought alongside allied liberating army (25 Division, 161 Infantry) and paid the supreme sacrifice during mop-up operations in the summer of May 1945, against retreating Japanese forces at Santa Fe, Nueva Vizcaya. May their brave heroic efforts in fighting for freedom serve as a shinning model for all peace loving men and women for all times to come. Ex-Chinese Overseas Wartime Hsuekan Milita (EX-COWHM)"
DPWH / Perez Park
Located just beyond the memorial ridge line is a small memorial park, with a 150mm Japanese Howitzer (no serial visible) is on display. There is an entrance to a large natural cave directly behind the gun. Presumably this cave was used by Japanese forces.
FindAGrave - BG James Leo Dalton, II (photo, grave photo)
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