Sterling Loop Larrabee
Born in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, Larrabee's father was the Asst. Commissioner of Indian Affairs under the Roosevelt administration. He entered West Point in 1908 but flunked out after two years for "math deficiencies." To redeem himself he entered the Philippine Constabulary, successfully completed the four-month Officer Candidate School, and was commissioned a 3rd Lt. (photo left) on February 1, 1911. Two weeks later he was deep in the rugged mountains surrounding lake Lanao, leading a platoon of the Moro Constabulary beside the famed 1st Sgt. Malaco. He would spend the next 2 1/2 years in almost constant action against the large bandit gangs in Lanao and Cotabato, serving under four of the five men who came to be called "the Bullet Eaters", Oscar Preuss, Vernon Whitney, Jesse Tiffany, and the almost legendary Leonard Furlong. In 1914 Larrabee, whose mother was from the United Kingdom, volunteered for and was commissioned an officer in the British Army. When the U.S. entered the war in 1917, he was commissioned in the U.S. Army as an artillery officer. He served on the front lines the entire length of the Great War, and was highly decorate. In World War II returned to active duty as an intelligence officer in Turkey and the Middle East. Not too bad for a West Point wash out.
The Constabulary Station at the outlet from Lake Lanao to the Agus River. In the background are three steam launches shared by the Constabulary and the Army.
The Market at Dansalan, a town spontaneously formed beside Camp Keithley on Lake Lanao. Danasalan was known as a rough place, with numerous saloons and brothels serving the large Army camp. In a hand to hand battle with a large band headed by the notorious outlaw Mamintung, Preuss, having lost his pistol, grabbed the naked blade of a kris aimed at his head and held on, despite badly cut-up hands, until Lt. Whitney was able to shoot the man in the head. Mamintung, badly wounded, was captured, (photo right) and later tried and hung or his crimes.
In 1812 Larrabee, by now a veteran, was promoted to 2nd lt. and given command of a company. He wrote in highest praise of his brave and competent 1st Sgt. Eusebio Lablaon.
2nd Lt. Ernest Johnson was a close friend of Larrabee and a half-brother of Capt. Harold Elarth. A known cutup and very popular young officer, he was stabbed in the chest by a spear during an encounter on the island of Basilan. He survived the operation to remove the spear tip, but, unfortunately, the surgeon left a small sponge in the wound and he contracted peritonitis, which led to his death.