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The Japs had a horror of the small, ragged woman shuffling through the streets of Manila. No sentry detained her for long after he had discovered, beneath her thin blouse and the swathed bandages, the lesions of leprosy. But to thousands of U.S. prisoners, she was known affectionately as "Joey." Before the war, Mrs. Josefina Guerrero had been something of a belle in Manila society. She was young, pretty and vivacious. Her husband was a wealthy medical student at Santo Tomas University. They had a two-year-old daughter.

Then, in 1941, Mrs. Guerrero learned that she had leprosy. She began taking treatment. But when the Japs invaded the Philippines, the leprosariums were abandoned. She returned to Manila and joined the underground. With other young Ma nila matrons, she worked to help the internees and U.S. prisoners of war, brought them food, clothes, medicine, messages.

Gallant Pacing. When the Americans landed on Leyte, Joey gallantly took ad vantage of the Japs' dread of lepers to carry out her spying. Under the Japs' noses, she mapped the fortifications along the waterfront and the location of aircraft batteries along Dewey Boulevard. If she was stopped, she just pointed to her blotched face. Using her drawings, U.S. planes from Mindoro blasted the batteries to smithereens.

Her disease made her almost indifferent to her personal safety. When the guerrillas discovered a freshly sown minefield in the area where the 37th Division was scheduled to attack Manila, they picked Joey to get the information through. They taped the map to her back, told her to make her last confession, and sent her off. For 56 miles Joey trudged through Jap encampments and check points. Several times she was stopped, dismissed after a perfunctory search. She delivered the map safely.

Medal of Freedom. The Americans reopened the leprosariums, but there was not enough money for maintenance or even treatment. Grateful G.I.s sent Joey clothes, medical supplies and money. The War Department awarded her the Medal of Freedom with silver palm. But Joey was not getting any better. Two months ago, friends in the U.S. persuaded Attorney General Tom Clark to waive immigration restrictions and permit her to enter the leprosarium at Carville, La.

Last week Mrs. Guerrero, now a pale, scarred woman of 30, arrived in San Francisco. On the dock to greet her were Army officials, civic dignitaries, and a crowd of 300 veterans who remembered Joey. Bands played the Philippine national anthem. An Air Force plane waited to fly her to Carville. With her arms full of flowers, Joey could only stammer: "This more than I expected."