The Philippine-American War was a conflict between the United States and the First Philippine Republic and this war raged from 1899 through to 1902 and began because of the so-called invasion by the Americans at that time.
The war officially ended in 1902, although there were squabbles and battles continuing through until 1913.
The Medal of Honor originated during the American Civil War and the recipient must have distinguished themselves at the risk of their own life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an enemy of the United States. So many of these medals were given out to those that had died.
Over 80 were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions during the Philippines conflict and 4 of the awards, were posthumous. Among the recipients were Webb Hayes, the son of former U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes, and two prominent Marine Corps officers, Hiram I.
Of the near 4000 Medals of Honor awarded so far 30 have been awarded to Asian-American recipients. The first Asian American to receive this Medal was José B. Nísperos, who received it for his actions in the Philippine–American War.
PRIVATE JOSE BALITON-NISPEROS
(December 30 1887- September 01 1922)
United States Congressional Medal of Honor
General Order No. 64 United States War Department
Dated November 25, 1912
For The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Private Jose B. Nisperos, United States Army, for most distinguished gallantry on 24 September 1911, while serving with 34th Company, Philippine Scouts, in action at Lapurap, Basilan Island, Philippine Islands. Having been badly wounded (his left arm was broken and lacerated and he had received several spear wounds in the body so that he could not stand), Private Nisperos continued to fire his rifle with one hand until the enemy was repulsed, thereby aiding materially in preventing the annihilation of his party and the mutilation of their bodies.
There were only a handful of Filipino soldiers in the past who were bestowed with the highest military distinction given by the United States government– the Medal of Honor. One of these distinguished Filipino wartime heroes was Private Jose B. Nisperos. Today, he is recognized as the first Asian and Filipino to receive the United States Congressional Medal of Honor.
Jose B. Nisperos grew up in the province of San Fernando, La Union and was later recruited to the 34th Company United States Army Philippine Scouts Division. During this time, the Philippines was a territorial property and colony of the United States and was engaged (alongside the American colonizers) in a battle to suppress the Moro Resistance (1899-1913) in the Southern Philippines.
In 1911, Private Nisperos along with the Philippine Scout’s 34th Company was sent to the Basilan Island to subdue the ‘rebel forces’ there resisting the US takeover of Basilan and the whole Mindanao. On September 24, 1911, Nisperos together with his mother unit, the 34th Company, was ambushed in Lapurap, Basilan Island by a large group of rebels armed with bolos and spears. Nisperos’ unit gained a handful of casualties during the ambush but because of Private Nisperos’ action at the time of the siege (He fought the raging rebel forces until they retreated back to the hills using only one hand – his left hand was badly wounded and he received several spear wounds on his body), the 34th Company Philippine Scout was spared from total annihilation. For his gallant action, bravery, and valor in the battlefield, Private Jose B. Nisperos was awarded on November 25, 1912, the United States Congressional Medal of Honor. He was medically discharged due to the severity of his wounds and given a pension of $55.00 /month. He died in 1922 after a long illness at the age of 34.