the Missing, Manila American
‘He was one of the youngest to die’
Private Jimmy Mares was 19 when he died of malnutrition in
the Japanese prison camp in Cabanatuan, north of Manila.
It was June 8, 1942, and Mares had been in the Philippines
less than a year.
Mares lies buried now in the American National Cemetery in
Manila, under a manicured carpet of grass; Section C, Row 4,
Grave 65. His monument is one of the thousands of crosses
that curve around the green hillsides, marking the graves of
the American men, known and unknown, who died during four
years of war in the Philippines.
Jimmy Mares was the youngest of seven children of Santiago
and Augustina Mares of Santa Fe. Three of his brothers, Dan,
Arnold and Ramon, fought in Europe. All returned home at the
end of the war, except Jimmy.
Mares’s brother, Ramon Mares, and his sister Rita Garcia,
still live in Santa Fe.
Another brother, Arnold, lives in San Antonio, Texas.
His parents died in the early 1950’s.
“He was a wonderful boy,” sister Rita Garcia said. “He was
one of the youngest to die. He was a good kid and he was
never in trouble.”
When a young man dies at 19, he leaves little memory of his
Jimmy Mares attended the Guadalupe parish elementary school
and Santa Fe High School. When he was a boy, he loved to
play his harmonica. Later, as a young soldier, he loved the
“That’s what he was always talking about,” his sister said.
Then, a prisoner of the Japanese after the 515th Coast
Artillery Regiment surrendered on Bataan, he died.
“My God, he was so young,” Rita Garcia said.
source and date unknown