U.S. Army Issued Bolo Knife

Before the war, many of them were agricultural farmhands on the West Coast. With their previous proficiency and the fact that this weapon was very much a part of Filipino martial arts history, these soldiers were able to excel using the "Bolo" knife. Colonel Robert H. Offley, the 1st Regimental commander later ordered his troops to add it to their inventory. Soon after more intensive infantry training took place and it was inevitable that combat would follow in the islands of the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA).
This photo is the entire 2nd Regiment passed in review waving their "Bolo" knives in the air. The use of this weapon began when these inductees brought their personal field machetes to the training camps.

Sometime in 1943 at Camp Cooke, California, the "Sulung" soldiers of the U.S. Army's 2nd Filipino Infantry Regiment were visited by prominent Los Angeles businessmen. Their intention was to formally present "Bolo" knives to the officers and senior Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO's) of the unit. The enlisted personnel had already been honing their skills with this deadly weapon preparing for jungle warfare.
From what I have seen in different training photos there were two different versions. I created these CAD models of the bolo knives to compare the differences. At first a more traditional bolo was issued which is close to the model at the top, but as the infantry regiment began to swell in numbers a machete style bolo was issued to supply the growing number of recruits. These knives were really machetes to replace the traditional bolo that were difficult to reproduce and manufacture in such large numbers.
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Where are the Filipino Superheroes?

Confused as I was as a Filipino kid growing up in the Silicon Valley as I played army-men with the rest of the neighborhood kids I felt like I was being used for target practice. The problem was most of the time I was the local gook on the other side. I thought we were all supposed to be on the same side shooting at the imaginary enemy. I talked like them, went to the same school, read the same comic books, so what's the big deal? I didn't look like them, that's the only difference. To add further to the confusion all the heroes in the comic books were white. Now I really feel like the enemy. After a while I didn't want to play anymore, got tired of being the bad guy.

Captain Bahala Na my imaginary Superhero


One of my favorite comic book heroes was Sgt Rock a hardened Army soldier that looks like he took on the whole German army by himself. Or that's the way it seemed to me in the comic books. I wanted to create a Filipino American hero just like Sgt Rock. I wanted him to outrank the sergeant, so I made him a captain. I wanted him to be like Batman and Ironman rolled up into one. With Batman's superior physical agility and armed with Ironman's super advanced technology. I just want somebody on my side. Someone I can identify with, so I don't feel like a gook. What I really wanted was someone to help me kick the shit out of the other kids in the neigborhood, playing army-men of course.