Man Looks on the Outward, but God…

When the Japanese occupied the Philippines during World War II between 1942 and 1945, the Phillippine Guerrilla Movement made life miserable for the occupiers. The defenders of Manila were successful in tying up Japanese military resources that helped lead, ultimately, to the Allied victory.

Among the members of the brave Resistance was a very unlikely Filipino woman, a former beauty queen named Josefina Guerrero. “Joey,” as the American forces called her, was a master at subterfuge, successfully navigating in and around enemy strongholds.

She had grown up in Manila, was raised by her grandparents and married a young physician.When Allied forces invaded Luzon in 1944 she volunteered to work as a spy for the Americans. She carried vital information where it seemed no one else could go. She often visited American soldiers in Japanese prison camps on the island. She brought food, medical supplies and information. She went bravely where no one else would go. She wrote and carried maps of Japanese installations and aircraft batteries. This allowed American planes to target and destroy key strongholds.

On one of her missions she hid information inside a piece of fruit, on another, critical documents were taped to her back. In still another, information was written on a ribbon in her hair. At any moment, she could have been simply shot as a spy by Japanese solders. But Joey wasn’t deterred. And she wasn’t searched.

And so the story continued throughout the war. In the end, Joey Guerrero was an international hero, credited with saving hundreds, if not thousands of lives. She was awarded the Medal of Freedom with Silver Palm, the highest award a civilian can earn.

Josefina-Guerrero

Josefina Guerrero

There’s a reason the Japanese never searched Joey. They were repulsed by her. Sickened by her appearance. They ridiculed her and laughed at her, all while she was helping to cut the heart out of their war effort.

Joey Guerrero contracted leprosy in 1941. Her body was covered with open sores and her hands and feet were battered and bruised.

The enemy made a critical mistake in judging her outward appearance and ignoring her brave heart.

After the war, Joey was brought to a leprosarium near Carville, Lousiana, arriving in the states as a hero.

In its July, 1948 edition, Time Magazine wrote: Last week Mrs. Guerrero, now a pale, scarred woman of 30, arrived in San Francisco. On the dock to greet her were Army officials, civic dignitaries, and a crowd of 300 veterans who remembered Joey. Bands played the Philippine national anthem. An Air Force plane waited to fly her to Carville. With her arms full of flowers, Joey could only stammer: “This more than I expected.”

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