Saturday, November 12, 2016

Follow up on GySgt Di Reyes Ibañez

What I didn’t tell you yesterday is that Di was a legal immigrant from the Philippines. He made his declaration on 06 October 1959, joined the Marine Corps on 18 Jan 1960 under a green card, took his oath of allegiance on 08 June 1965 and his petition for citizenship was formally granted on 19 June 1964. He died three years later fighting for his new country. Di was single and had no children.   

I did find a passenger list for the USNS David C. Shank that listed Di R. Ibañez along with a Deogracias Ibañez. The vessel traveled from Subic Bay, Philippines to San Francisco, California with a stopover in Agana, Guam. Deogracias was listed as an American citizen while Di was listed as Filipino. This is definitely an avenue of inquiry.

I did a “tree” search on Ancestry and there is one person that has Di in their tree.  I did send a message but that person hasn’t logged in to Ancestry in over a year so I am not too hopeful. I found Di on FamilySearch. He is FSID MBGN-JJ6. There was nothing on him but a birth date with the wrong birth location and a wrong death date. I have updated his listing with what I know so far and as I find out more I will be adding it. I do not want this man forgotten.

FamilySearch has 19 online databases for the Philippines. I couldn’t find Di in any of them. He isn’t listed in the Social Security Death Index so my next move it to try and find his death certificate. I have asked an expert forensic genealogist for instructions on how to get a copy of it. I am hoping his next of kin are listed which I am sure they pulled from his military records. I did find Deogracias Ibañez in the records though. I found a marriage record in the same town where Di was born. Deogracias Ibañez married Natividad Patawaran on 31 December 1955.  Deogracias was a 51 year old widower putting his date of birth about June 1904. Is this Di’s father?  Click HERE to see the marriage contract. There are two other listings for a Deogracias in Manilla with two other spouses but I don’t know yet if this is the same person. I can’t view these two images without going to a FHC.

This is one of those people you just can’t let go of. I still have a lot of research ahead of me.

*Source information can be seen HERE.

Copyright © 2016 Michèle Simmons Lewis


  1. Michelle - very interesting. My first wife's brother was killed at Khe Sanh in April 1968. We were given four different stories of how he died. One was confirmed, by someone who was with him, by a family friend while at the Wall.
    Note that the information about where Di went missing in the first post, says, "Click coordinates to viw maos."

  2. It's amazing how sometimes there is someone out there that we can't let go. While not military personnel, I have a few from my grandmother's life that I am desperate to learn more about. Two in particular are the unmarried sisters who lived next door to my grandparents for years. Since neither married or had children, I don't want them to be forgotten.

    Thank you, Di Ibanez, for your service.

  3. My Stepdad is GySgt Ibanez's cousin. He has told me stories of the Military memorial service in Naic, Cavite for his cousin whose remains were never recovered. He is currently in Scarborough, ON in Canada.

    Vic Manalo

    1. Vic,
      I am so happy to meet one of Di's relatives. I would love to talk to your stepdad. Please ask him to email me at

  4. Hi Michèle,

    I just received my POW/MIA bracelet for GySgt Di Reyes Ibañez yesterday and I came across this page. This is some pretty good information as I was curious to know a little bit about the Marine on my bracelet. My bracelet has him listed as Missing in Action (MIA). I recently wrote a letter to the Defense POW/Missing Persons Office to find out his current status. Gunny, thank you for your selfless sacrifice to our country. Godspeed, my friend.

    Semper Fidelis,

    Mike M. Salinas
    GySgt USMC (Ret.)

    1. Mike,
      I had no idea that they were still giving out Vietnam War bracelets! Jim has had this one since right after he got home from Vietnam himself. I am so glad to know that they are trying to keep the memory of these brave men alive. I grew up as a military brat. Both my dad and my uncle served in Vietnam (my uncle also served in Korea). I remember the day my dad came home :) The war was still going on and we were transferred to Guam which was a big B52 bomber base. I would sit on a small hill by the flight line and watch the bombers take off, 3 at a time, every 15 minutes, and then I would watch them come home again. I would sit there for hours and hours.