Leyte invasion really relied on two to tango

October 07, 1994|By Knight-Ridder Newspapers

History might have turned out differently had it not been for the wiles of a Filipino-American dancer.

The Allies had planned to land on either Leyte or Formosa (Taiwan), and sentiment was building that the war could be won by bypassing the Philippines, says Alex Fabros, executive director of the Filipino American Experience Research Project at San Francisco State University.

United States intelligence had learned of a Japanese officer who loved to tango and who kept the war plans in his office.

Al Hernandez, a commissioned officer in the Filipino-American infantry, was sent to Mindoro island in the Philippines in 1944 to work as a hotel waiter, Mr. Fabros says.

Mr. Hernandez taught the Japanese officer how to dance, got him drunk, stole his office key and pilfered the war plans, Mr. Fabros says.

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