MoSho’s Badass of the Week- Schoolteacher Turned Guerrilla Leader
This week's Badass went from a primary school teacher, a guerilla fighting leader who protected her island during World War 2. This week's Badass is a woman who spent her life dedicated to teaching the next generation all the knowledge she had. Then, when her home needed her to protect them from invading forces, she taught them something else- how to be a badass fighter.
During World War II, various guerrilla groups began sprouting up throughout the islands of the Philippines. Many of these groups of men were trained by American soldiers so they could fight for a protect their home islands against the Japanese. 38-year-old teacher turned guerrilla war captain Nieves Fernandez took it upon herself to help protect the people of her island. Fernandez was quoted in the Lewiston Daily Sun saying when the Japanese came, they took everything from her people. If you resisted,
"they had ways of persuading, like giving you scalding hot baths and freezing cold baths alternately, with never a rest, never any food, never any water except the soapy water in the baths."
Her army consisted of only 110 men, but they were able to capture more than 200 Japanese soldiers during the war. Her soldiers made weapons out of anything they could get their hands on- paltiks out of gas pipes, homemade grenades out of casings filled with old nails, bolos and supplies stolen from the Japanese. She was a skilled fighter and taught her men how to fight. Her skills gained her the respect of not only the locals but also the men who served under her. She was so accomplished at her duty that the Imperial Japanese Army had a $10,000 Pesos rewards on her head.
After all the fighting Captain Fernandez did, her only battle wound was a small scar on her right forearm. After the war was over, she went right back to teaching the young children of the island again. She lived into her early 90s and is survived by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. After all her impressive accomplishments and successes during the war, many may wonder why they have heard of Captain Nieve Fernandez before? Her accomplishments were only documented in a small article from the Lewiston Daily Sun and a single photo of her during the war.