Born January 10, 1935 in Manila, Philippines, Magno (Magnum) Barcarcil Tulfo was destined to be shaped by wartime military service. While his father and two older brothers served in the Philippine Scouts, an organization of the United States Army, six-year-old Magnum and his family faced the 1941 Japanese bombing of Manila. However, their hardships were just beginning. After a brief season of desperate resistance, the Philippine Scouts, including Magnum's father and two brothers, were forced to surrender to their powerful foe. Magnum last saw his father as he and his brothers were herded away in what would later be known as the Bataan Death March. Bereaved and traumatized, the remaining members of Magnum's family would bear the indignity of being forced to quarter enemy soldiers in their home. The final chapter of this tragic episode played out as enemy soldiers lit their house on fire, sending Magnum’s shattered family on a desperate flight to a nearby, dry riverbed.
As the war waged on, young Magnum would feel its effects in deprivation of another kind as well. Education was not to be had in war-torn Manila so Magnum's older sister taught him until he was in the 4th grade and the country was liberated. Through his diligence he managed to make the most of his education, and in 1957 he came to America to study aeronautical engineering at Northrup Aeronautical Institute in Inglewood, California.
His education, however, was cut short by a draft notice from the U.S. Army. Magnum served honorably for two years and re-enlisted in 1960. After serving tours in Germany and Fort Lewis, Magnum was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division in 1968 and deployed to Quang Tri, a Vietnamese province just south of the North Vietnam border. There, Magnum and his fellow soldiers repelled the Tet Offensive, a major strike of the Vietcong against the South Vietnamese which gravely risked the lives of thousands of U.S. and South Vietnamese troops. Magnum, a sergeant by this time, distinguished himself multiple times by acts of heroism, which in later years he would find very difficult to speak of. Nonetheless, his military service is replete with evidence of selfless actions in the face of imminent danger. He would ultimately be awarded a bronze star with valor, our nation's fourth highest military decoration for combat bravery. He would further receive an Air Medal and two Army Commendation Medals, one also with valor.
Magnum continued his military service until December of 1978, at which point he honorably retired as a Sergeant First-Class having dutifully completed, in addition to his time in Vietnam, a tour in Korea and various posts in Europe and the U.S.
Following military retirement, Magnum attended Pierce College Fort Steilacoom to begin a new career as an armed security guard. He worked in that capacity for the Naval Submarine Base Bangor and the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building in Seattle until his retirement. During those years he maintained close, regular connections with his beloved 5th Cavalry Regiment and 1st Cavalry Division, as well as the Veterans of Foreign War (VFW), while he took up ballroom dancing and vegetable gardening. The highlight of those years were holiday celebrations and motorhome adventures with his children and grandchildren.
Magnum's later life was to be marked by the discovery of two new loves. In the year 2000, while attending the Manhattan Dance Club, Magnum met the first of these two loves, Delores Bennett. It was Delores who introduced Magnum to his second love, faithful and loving service to the Savior. Their years together were marked by their love for God and country. Together, they lived out their faith over morning devotions, hours in the garden, sunsets at Titlow Beach, and of course dancing. They invested their time and energies in various civic clubs, laboring tirelessly for the 28th District Republicans, the VFW, and even joining the Sons of Norway. They loved to travel together, attending 1st Cavalry reunions annually, taking cruises, and going on several international trips over the years. If there was an activity at Faith Presbyterian Church or its schools, where their granddaughter attended, Magnum and Delores were there in cheerful attendance and support. They treasured each event and even managed to enjoy one of their granddaughter's concerts during what would be Magnum's last week on this earth.
Magnum passed away peacefully at home on December 24, 2018. He is survived by his wife, Delores Tulfo, sister, Adela Narra, two children, Larry Tulfo and Pearl Andreotti (David), stepson, Scott Bennett (Alisha), and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Magno's name to Covenant High School in Tacoma. Donation details are listed below.