When retired United States soldier Charles Goldberg was still alive, his wish upon his death was to have his body cremated and his ashes be scattered at the Leyte Gulf because he participated in the famous Leyte Landing by allied forces led by Gen. Douglas MacArthur on Oct. 20, 1944 that paved the way for the liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese occupation 72 years ago.
Goldberg’s wish would be granted today after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana approved the request of the late American trooper to have his ashes cast on Leyte Gulf in Palo, where Goldberg jumped from a boat into the water together with thousands of other allied forces.
Goldberg was such a very proud member of the famed Deadeyes 96th Infantry Division of the US Army that helped free the Philippines from the clutches of the Japanese invaders during World War II that he told his wife Frances and his children Michael and Amy that upon his death his wish was for them to cremate his body and sprinkle his ashes in the historic gulf.
When Goldberg died in Yonkers City, New York early this month, his son Michael wrote a letter dated Oct. 8, 2016 to the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., asking permission.
Col. Eric Calip, defense and Armed Forces attachė and acting chief of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office in Washington, acted on the request of the Goldberg family and immediately informed Lt. Gen. Ernesto Carolina (Ret.), PVAO administrator, who discussed the matter with Lorenzana.
The defense chief approved the request. He directed Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Ricardo Visaya “to provide assistance during the scattering of ashes ceremony for veteran Goldberg at Leyte Beach during the commemoration of the 72nd anniversary of the Leyte Landing on 20 October 2016.”
In his letter, the young Goldberg recalled his father’s assignment in the Philippines during the Second World War.
He said his father was wounded and received the Purple Heart medal for American servicemen who were either wounded or killed in action from the President of the United States.
The older Goldberg was also a recipient of the Bronze Star medal for heroism in combat.
Brig. Gen. Resty Aguilar (Ret.), acting chief of the Veterans Memorial and Historical Division of PVAO, said Goldberg’s ashes were shipped by the Philippine Embassy in Washington to the Department of Foreign Affairs which turned these over to PVAO in Camp Aguinaldo in preparation for scattering of the ashes in Leyte Gulf.
Maj. Gen. Raul Caballes, PVAO deputy administrator, will preside over the casting of the ashes in Palo today.