Royal Reynolds, Jr.
Brigadier General, United States Army
giant of a man and a cornerstone of our Society was taken from us when
Brigadier General Royal Reynolds, Jr. passed away in his sleep on November
24, five weeks after his 93rd birthday.
A graduate of the West Point Class of 1933, Roy Reynolds was the second generation of his family to have a distinguished military career. His late father and namesake was a Brigadier General in the U.S. Army Medical Corps and his uncles also were Medical Corps officers. All served in the Philippines. His father, Royal Reynolds, Brigadier General, United States Army, and his uncle Charles Ransom Reynolds, Major General, Surgeon General, United States Army).
General Reynolds lived in the Philippines twice as a dependent, first beginning in 1911 and second in the early 1920s. Two of his sisters were born there. During the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, General Reynolds commanded the First Battalion of the 57th Infantry Regiment (PS). He led his unit in the defense of Bataan and then, instead of surrendering, spent the remainder of the war as a guerrilla. General Reynolds was awarded the Bronze Star for his combat bravery. A niece remembers asking him if he ever feared a Filipino would betray him while he was a guerrilla. He emphatically replied, “Never!”
He also commanded an infantry regiment in the Korean War, where he was awarded the Silver Star, The Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star with “V” for combat valor.
Later he would command the U.S. Army’s escape and evasion school. General Reynolds received a second Legion of Merit in his last assignment as Assistant Commander of the Fort Benning Infantry School. He retired from the U.S. Army in 1963.
General Royal Reynolds played a major role in organizing the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society and was its first President. He was elected President Emeritus by acclamation when he relinquished the presidency and remained a loyal supporter throughout the rest of his life. In May 2003 General Reynolds gave us this final bit of advice: “The Philippine Scout Heritage Society was formed to preserve their distinguished history. Unless the sons, daughters, grandchildren, friends and associates take a positive and active role as members of the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society, the heroic legacy of these elite Filipinos will die. As an old soldier waiting for final roll call, I urge you to remember this.” His commanding presence and wise counsel will be greatly missed by the entire membership of the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society.
General Reynolds is survived by Gloria Planté,
his companion of several decades, and by a daughter, Louise Banscom and
a granddaughter. Condolence letters may be sent to Mrs. Gloria Planté
at 1521 23rd Road South,
Thank you General Reynolds for leading us Philippine Scouts in the battlefields of Bataan. Thank you too for your efforts to lead organize the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society with Colonel Olson and others. My visit with Filma at your home last August 2001 to pay our rspects to you -we bid goodbye not knowing that it was our last. Filma and I will keep you in our prayers.
A memorial service for Brigadier General Royal Reynolds will be held at his grave site in Arlington National Cemetery at 11 a.m. on December 23, 2003. Those wishing to attend may join the other mourners at the Administration Building at 10:30 a.m. and follow the guide and hearse to the grave site.
Posted by Senator John Patterson:
General Reynolds, for reasons you've already heard from Mike and others, was very special to us all. In my case, my own uncle, Alexander R. Nininger, Jr., served in the General's battalion at the time of his death on Bataan.
When I got to know some of these special warriors beginning in the mid-1980's, it was obvious who the leader was and not just because of his rank. When we created the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society in 1989, General Reynolds became our first president.
I did an interview with the the General and Colonel Rosen in 1997, a transcript of which I've made available to the family.
Because it is the purpose of the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society to keep alive the history and heritage of these extraordinary soldiers, I hope that other members of General Reynolds' family will stay in touch even though the General is gone.
Please accept our condolences. I hope to attend the funeral ceremony on the 23rd.
My uncle, Brigadier General Royal Reynolds, Jr., was the son of a physician in the Army Medical Corps, who retired as a Brigadier General. He served in the Philippines twice. Roy's sisters, Betty and Lucy, were born in Ilo Ilo and Manila, respectively. The family's connection with the Philippines was profound.
The following paragraphs come from my grandfather's memoir:
"One Sunday afternoon, the date was December 7, 1941, Romie and I were leaving the gym at West Point after a movie. We were then told of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Of course, the news was shocking to all Americans, but was particularly so to Romie and me as Betty with her husband Bill Allen and their two children were in Hawaii, and Roy, our son, was in the Philippines. Roy’s wife, Jean, and baby daughter, Louise, had been evacuated from the Philippines before Pearl Harbor. I will not go into the history of events which followed except to say that Bill went off with his regiment and subsequently participated in the campaign in the South Pacific. Roy fought at Bataan, and after the surrender to the Japanese, he escaped to the Zambales Mountains. For nearly three years we had no word from Roy, and could get no information whatsoever as to his whereabouts or his fate. Happily, after enduring many hardships and the hazards for survival, he was rescued by our forces after MacArthur’s “return” to the Philippines and their eventual landing at Lingayen Gulf off the coast of Luzon."
[Later in the memoir.]
"As I have stated, our son, Roy, escaped at
the time of the surrender to the Japanese in the Philippines. We exhausted
every means to learn his whereabouts or his fate, but not one word of information
came to us until one day in March 1945. A cable arrived from General MacArthur’s
headquarters that read: “Your son is safe in enemy territory and will soon
be within the perimeter of the American forces.” After three years of doubt
as to whether Roy was alive, this message conveyed the most joyful news
that parents could ever receive. Soon we learned that Roy had been rescued,
and then a letter came from him. The excitement of the occasion was evident
in every word of the letter."