From the Inquirer: Corporal Magdalena Leones has died.
more about her HERE
The US Silver Star medal is the third-highest honor for valor awarded to members of the US Armed Forces. Leones’ Silver Star citation states that she was an intelligence operative in the Philippines who, on Feb. 25 to 26, 1944 “repeatedly risked her life to carry important intelligence data, vital radio parts and medical supplies through heavily garrisoned enemy-held territory.”
an excerpt: after learning some Japanese while imprisoned, she used her knowledge to save local civilians:
and that was only the start of her story. Read the whole thing.
A few days or weeks after the killing, Magdalena came upon a terrible prospect—Japanese soldiers ready to fire upon a group of returning evacuees. (Inter-town travel was strictly prohibited at the time.)
A lesser person, especially one unschooled in the ways of bloodshed, would have turned a blind eye or would have watched in aghast silence the impending slaughter. But Magdalena was no lesser person.
Acting swiftly and brazenly, she intervened in behalf of her countrymen. One could imagine the maiden shouting in the nick of time, approaching the Japanese commander, her chest pounding as it had never before, both fearful and fearless of a hail of bullets that could come and shred her little body at any moment, or worse, a fate worse than death at the hands of vicious, deprived men.
And that, quite probably, is what Magdalena did. By her own account she explained to the battalion commander that the evacuees were coming from a wedding. The Japanese reluctantly believed her. She sold her story not only through her wits, daring, and seeming honesty but because of her knowledge of Nippongo and English.
The young woman’s earlier incarceration proved to be a blessing in disguise, saving the lives of the evacuees—and her and her country’s freedom, as she was to find out in the months to come.