Defenders of the Philippines

picture of captivity and picture of release form captivity

Philip Arslanian, ADBC Commander

ADBC Commander, 1981-1982

 Philip Arslanina, ADBC Commander Picture

Philip Arslanian was born in Watertown, Massachusetts on May 30, 1915.   He enlisted in the Army Air Corps, September 1940, 17th

 Pursuit Squadron, Selfridge Field, MI. 

He went to the Philippines in December, 1940 and he was assigned to Nichols Field.

He spent 22 years in the Air Force, both in active duty where he earned the rank of master sergeant and later as a civilian.


During World War II, his squadron was captured by the Japanese.  He survived the “Bataan Death March” and remained a prisoner of war for nearly four years.  He spent time in Camp O’Donnell, Cabanatuan, Clark Field, Nichols Field and then went to Hirahato and Toyama camps in Japan.  He reenlisted after liberation retiring in 1961.  After that he went to work for the US Air Force as a Management Analyst and retired in June of 1981.


He became an active member of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor and served as national commander of the organization during 1981-82.  In 1982, he and his wife were members of the American delegation to the Philippines.  As guests of President and Mrs. Marcos, the Americans joined the Philippine Defenders of Bataan to commemorate the heroic efforts of the soldiers of both countries during the war.


He was decorated for his valor and service to his country.  He received the Presidential Unit Citation, Air Force Good Conduct Medal, with Silver Oak Cluster, Bronze Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, Prisoner of War Medal and American Defense Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, Prisoner of War Medal and American Defense Service Medal with Foreign Service Clasp.


He married Mildred and had a son, Paul.  Philip Arslanian passed away on February 9, 1999 and is buried  at Massachusetts National Cemetery.