Return to the Philippines, the Leon Cooper Story (2015)
1h 5min · Documentary · 25 May 2015
Leon Cooper, a WWII, Navy landing craft officer, landed assault troops on six Japanese island strongholds. To this day, Mr. Cooper feels a debt to the thousands of US soldiers who died during battles in Europe and in the Pacific (80,000) who lie where they fell, in unmarked graves, and are listed as "missing-in-action." (MIA) He recognizes that there are thousands of families who are still affected by the lack of closure that results when a loved one is declared MIA. Coopers initial battle became the subject of his first documentary, "Return to Tarawa, The Leon Cooper Story". Coopers' focus is on spurring increased efforts to recover and identify, the remains of men who died in the battle, and whose remains were never recovered denying closure to the thousands of families who mourn for them. Now, at 94 years old, Mr. Coopers risks his health and safety to go to the Philippines, where 70 years earlier he participated in their liberation in 1942. Upon his arrival in Manila, he was amazed to learn that both the JPAC representative in Manila and the Ambassador refused to meet him.. Undeterred by this strange, thoughtless behavior by all concerned, Mr. Cooper and his documentary film crew spoke to Filipino Scouts and guerrillas. Through these interviews, Leon discovered the essential role they played, providing information essential to the success of General MacArthur in his "Return", and the high price the Filipino people paid, ( more than one million killed ) in remaining loyal to the US, and resisting the Japanese invasion and occupation.