Military Servicemen and Police | Trinidad/Las Animas County

Commendation to Ignacita and Eusebio Vigil from President Harry Truman


Posthumously, Max was awarded a Purple Heart and a Presidential Unit Citation.

Phil Vigil acknowledges recognition to Ron Vigil, Valerie E. Ryan and the Department of the Army for their support in obtaining information for closure to our beloved Max Vigil from Sarcillo, Las Animas County, Colorado.

In 2021, Valerie E. Ryan, the granddaughter of Joe Vigil, brother of Max Vigil, has been invited to participate in a DNA search for any of Private Max Vigil’s remains. As of July, 2021 the DNA search is active.

A letter from the World War II Memorial Division assigned to investigate the locations of military personnel “Missing in Action or Killed in Action”


The letter stated the following: “According to information obtained from the Cabanatuan Prisoner of War Death Report, your son died as a result of disease….(Malaria and Dysentery) at the Cabanatuan Prisoner of War Camp, Province of Nueva Ecija, Luzon Island, Philippine Islands.  The original interment of the remains of personnel who died while POWs were made by the Japanese in the Camp Cabanatuan Cemetery on a mass grave basis.  All remains have (since) been disinterred….and removed to the American Graves Registration Service Mausoleum, Manila, P. I., where they were subjected to exhaustive investigations, including processing by anthropologist and medical, dental and laboratory technicians in our Central Identification Laboratory.  I regret to inform you that it has been impossible to identify any of the recovered remains as those of your son… (and that) ….the Department of Army has been forced to determine that the remains of your son are not recoverable.”

Max Vigil captured and sent to Prisoner of War Camp Cabanatuan


After the fall of Bataan in the Philippines, Max and his squadron joined the American forces on Corregidor Island, which surrendered to the Japanese on May 7, 1942.At the age of eighteen, Max was captured along with his fellow service men, and imprisoned in a Prisoner of War Camp Cabanatuan. Initially it was reported that Max died in prison on June 22, 1942 as a result of disease….Malaria and Dysentery. He was buried in Common Grave 1003. His remains are still unresolved.

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