Aunt Gertie and Navy Vet Eliezer

Aunt Gertie and Eliezer Montesclaros Marigomen, Sr., (on right).

Aunt Gertie met Eliezer during a “Cheer Call” at the hospital this past holiday season. He had a very interesting story to tell.

Eliezer Montesclaros Marigomen Sr., was born in the Philippines in 1938. His father joined the Army and moved the family to a shanty in Manila. When Japan attacked the country, Juanito left to fight the invaders and the family fled to the mountains. Filomina left her three children with friends and ran off into the jungle to join the guerillas. She learned to shoot rifles and became a spy while desperately looking for her husband. She and the men would sneak down looking for food and one of the Japanese officers took a liking to her so she played along and they set an ambush. While the officer was holding her they circled around and killed him!

Juanito never came home after the war ended. Filomina found Eliezer but Ernesto and Nenita had starved to death. She grieved over her husband and children but she was a strong woman with a huge will to survive so the family pulled together and started over.

Eliezer joined the Navy in 1959, and went thru basic training in San Diego. He shipped out on the USS Helena, then the USS St. Paul and finally the USS Hornet during the Vietnam era. He came back to the Philippines and met the love of his life, Maria Aloisa, at the Navy Exchange where she worked. They fell madly in love and married in 1967. He was sent to Corpus Christy, Texas, where Maria gave birth to Eliezer Jr. The Navy sent him to Seattle for two more world tours on the USS Shreveport, before mustering out in Portsmouth, England. They went home and he took a job as a civilian cook on a ship bound for Germany.

In 1988, Eliezer’s son came to the US and petitioned for his father to become a citizen. In 1991, Eliezer swore allegiance to America, the country he loved and honorably served. I felt so lucky to have met such a good man with a lovely wife and a family he is so proud of.

Thank you for your service, Eliezer! Our nation is very grateful for men like you! God bless you!

Karen Hadley, creator of Aunt Gertie, can be reached by surface mail at Karen Hadley, PO Box 34, Seal Beach, CA 90740 or email at