Getting Leave on Australia!

Brisbane 1945

8 June 1945, Cpl. Everett Smith found himself and four others from the division on leave in Australia and Smitty was determined to have a good time! Those that went to Brisbane on the same orders for TDY were:
Lt. Col. Francis W. Regnier MC HQ 11th A/B Div.
Major George K. Oliver INF HQ 11th A/B Div.
T Sgt. Manuel C. DeBeon Jr. 187th Glider Infantry
Tec 4 Beverly A. Ferreira HQ 11th A/B Div.
The orders were signed by Major E.W. Wyman Jr., Adjutant General

Townsville, Queensland

My father never told me very much about his R&R and probably for a good reason. (For one, my mother was always around listening.).  He did say that when he first arrived in Australia, he wanted a haircut and a shave. While the barber was working on him, he remarked that the pores in Smitty’s nose appeared enlarged. My father answered, “You spend five months in the jungles of New Guinea and see what your nose looks like.” Dad said after that, his money was no good. Everyone in the barbershop made such a fuss over him that he never got a word in edgewise. They were so extremely grateful to anyone who helped to stop the Japanese. Smitty did always tell me he wished he could make a trip back there; he thought Australia and her people were great, but sadly, he never did.

Perhaps the young lady, Joan, was the reason Smitty wouldn’t talk about his time on leave.

Joan

With his thoughts still focused on his R&R in Australia, Everett “Smitty” Smith landed back at Lipa City, P.I. only to discover that a mission was scheduled. The last remaining organized Japanese group, the Shabu Forces, were hold up in the northeast corner of Luzon and General Swing had organized the Gypsy Task Force to take them out. On his orders, this unique unit would include “all Camp MacKall veterans.” This would include men from the 187th Infantry, the 511th, the 457th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, a platoon from the 127th Engineers and two platoons from B Company. Despite Gen. Krueger’s disapproval, Lt. Col. Henry Burgess, now 26 years old, would be the commanding officer. (Smitty was at the ancient age of 30, one of the oldest paratroopers besides one other soldier and a few of the officers.) Col. Lahti (31) would be CO for the reserve unit.

We’ll have more on Aparri, Luzon next week.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Rex Allender – Cedar, IA; US Merchant Marines, WWII  /  US Army

Amador Barbosa (101) – Kansas City, KS; US Army, WWII, ETO

Farewell

Charlotte Bendure – Centralia, IL; US Navy WAVE, WWII, PTO

Ottaway B. Cornwell – Beaumont, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 1st Lt., pilot, 4 FS/52 FG/12th Air Force, KIA

David Curtis (104) – Salt Lake City, UT; US Navy, WWII, PTO & CBI, USS Black hawk

Joseph De Lorenzo – Pine Brook, NJ; US Army, WWII

Agnes Dion – Springfield, IL; US Navy WAVES, WWII, parachute rigger

Alfred Giumarra – Bakersfield, CA; US Navy, WWII, minesweeper, USS Mainstay

Eugene Gollin – Long Island City, NY; US Army, WWII, PTO, Captain, communications

John W. Harman (100) – Rock Hall, MD; US Army, WWII, CBI, 866th Bomb Squadron

Thomas McNeill – Elmira, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 503/11th Airborne Division

Floyd D. Simmons (102) – Hontubby, OK; US Army, WWII, ETO, medic (He had been the oldest surviving Choctaw veteran).

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C.B.I. General Stilwell & the 11th Airborne Division on Luzon

Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell wasn’t around, so caricaturist Don Barclay, who wanted to meet the CBI Theater commander to sketch his familiar features, did the next best thing – captured them from a photograph. 

 

General Joseph W Stilwell along General Joseph W. Swing and Lieutenant General O. W. Griswold salute during the playing of the national anthem in Luzon, Philippines. General Stilwell shakes hands with several of the officers of the United States 11th Airborne Division. He pins a Silver Star on a sergeant and other officers. Recipients of awards march past. Location: Luzon Island Philippines. Date: June 9, 1945.

 

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Rene Antil – Fitchburg, MA; US Navy, WWII

James T. Bailey – Randolph, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 101st Airborne Division

Ronald Barkel – Coopersville, MI; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Patricia Ann Carroll – Los Angeles, CA; US Army, WWII  /  beloved comedian/actress

Charles Civil – Ocala, FL & Jarreau, LA; US Army, WWII & Korea

Malcolm Counsil – Nampa, ID; US Navy, WWII, USS Thompson

Anthony ‘Tony’ Dow – Los Angeles, CA; National Guard  /  beloved actor

Melvin “Bob” Kroeger – Flandreau, SD; US Army, WWII, PTO

George McLean – New Orleans, LA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Sgt., 93 BG/8th Air Force

Ralph T. Potter – Galveston, TX; US Merchant Marines / US Army, WWII, ETO, Lt. Colonel (Ret.)

Eugene “Tex” Ritter – Unity, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, C-46 pilot, 1st Combat Cargo Sq./14th Air Force (over ‘The Hump’)

Michael Tarkane – Valparaiso, IN; US Army, WWII

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Pacific Theater items

Lipa Railway Station, May 1945

showing damage, looking south from Lipa Cathedral

The 11th Airborne continued their patrols, moping up details and training at Lipa. General Swing had another jump school built that created 1,000 newly qualified paratroopers. Plus, the entertainer, Joe E. Brown came to visit.

The new glider school concentrated on the “snatch pickup” method, whereby a CG-4A Glider on the ground with a towrope and a C-47 with a hook. As the plane goes overhead at an altitude of 15 feet, it snatches up the glider and brings it to 120 mph in a matter of a few seconds. (The noise from the plane, shock and whiplash must have been overwhelming.).  With May drawing to a close and the Japanese Army being pushed to the northeast corner of Luzon, the men of the division began to realize something was afoot.

Joe E. Brown passing out mail call on Luzon


23 May, at least 65 square miles of Tokyo had been incinerated by bombs and napalm. Later, the same action was taken over Yokohama, Osaka and Kobe. This left over 100 square miles of the principle Japanese cities devastated and one-third of the country’s construction destroyed. Japan’s factories were demolished.

The Sixth Australian Division attacked and occupied Wewak, New Guinea. This is relevant because it housed the headquarters of the Japanese Eighteenth Army. A major boon for the PTO (Pacific Theater of Operations).

Young Japanese girls wore headbands that designated them as Special Attack Force members. Daily they would recite the Imperial Precepts for Soldiers and Sailors before they began a twelve-hour shift in a makeshift factory in Kokura, Japan. Here they were producing 40 foot balloons to carry a bomb package across the ocean as they were released to drift on the Pacific jet stream.

Japanese balloon bomb

A total of approximately 9,300 of these weapons were made and about 342 reached land, some as far east as Ontario, Michigan and Nebraska. Some were shot down or caused minor injuries and one hit a powerline of the nuclear weapons plant at Hanford, Washington. But – 5 May 1945 – near Klamath Falls, Oregon, a pregnant woman, Elyse Mitchell and five students were killed on their way to a picnic. These were the only casualties of the war in the 48 states.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes – 

Wallace Bryans – Omaha, NE; US Army, Vietnam, Airborne Ranger, Master Aviator, (Ret. 24 y.), 2 Bronze Stars, Purple Heart

Charlie M. Chester – Clarksville, TN; US Army, Sgt., 101st Airborne Division

William Coughlin – Atlanta, GA; US Army, Lt. Colonel (Ret.), 82nd Airborne

Andrew G. Coy – Pure Air, MO; US Army, Vietnam, 5th Special Forces (Ret. 25 y.), Bronze Star, Purple Heart

James F. “Stocky” Edwards (100) – Nokomis, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, ETO, P-40 pilot, Lt. Col. (Ret.32 y.), Wing Comdr.

Ralph Grogan Sr. – Critz, VA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Co B/9th Armored Battalion

Henry “Jimmie” James Sr. – London, ENG; RB Navy, WWII, gunner, HMS Sheffield

Bette Jensen (100) – Bedford, TX; US Women’s Army Air Corps WAC, WWII, aviation

Earl R. Lewis Jr. – Meadville, PA; US Army, Vietnam

Anne McGravie – Edinburgh, SCOT; British Women’s Navy WRENS, WWII

Thomas Rawlins – Bellbrook, OH; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

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Lipa, Luzon | May 1945

Lipa, after bombardment

1 May 1945, the recon platoon found a company-sized unit of the enemy in the 187th’s zone of responsibility. The 2d battalion, along with 81mm mortars and LMGs (light machine guns) spread out to attack the enemy on three sides. F Company had a kill count of 92 Japanese versus one man of theirs missing the following day. From 3 May on, the fighting was considerable. 10 May, with the situation easing, the division left the area to be patrolled by Filipino guerrillas and was once again united and prepared to set up their base camp amongst the ruins of Lipa.

During the month of May, a new T O & E (Table of Organization and Equipment) was put into effect as replacements finally arrived. A battalion was added to each glider regiment. The 188th Infantry and the 674th Field Artillery became parachute units. The 472d Field Artillery Battalion was added to Division Artillery and the 187th became a Para-Glider Infantry Regiment. For the first time since their creation, the 11th A/B totaled 12,000 men.

VE-Day

7 May 1945, the war in Europe was over, the famous V-E Day, and the men of the 11th Airborne were very happy for their counterparts in the ETO, but they knew the Japanese would remain solid and faithful in their convictions. The fighting in the Pacific would continue, it was a matter of honor to the enemy.

My father, Smitty, had told me of the hatred the G.I.s felt for the enemy and granted, he wasn’t overjoyed at the prospect of getting shot at, but he said he had to have respect for their patriotism and tenacity. (Yamato damashii – Japanese spirit and Bushido – the way of the warrior.) Now, the troopers began to wonder if they would receive ample reinforcements. Rumors began to fly. (Actually, 6 May 1945, 8:41 p.m. Eastern War Time, in Reims, France after 5 years, 8 months and 6 days, the Third Reich ended.)

10 May, the 11th A/B Division regrouped outside Lipa. If a soldier was not at an outpost or out on patrol, he was helping to build a camp in the coconut groves with those all too familiar pyramidal tents. Bamboo and steel matting was used to raise the tents up about a foot since it was about to become rainy season once again. Between two mountains, USO shows and movies began to arrive and a jump school and glider classes were held for the “green” replacements.

11 May, was the first span of 24 hours in a total of 101 days that no one from the 11th Airborne Division had killed one of the enemy. Their average before that had been 93.8 Japanese per day and during that time General Swing was unable to afford even one company to be in reserve. (I believe this in itself deserves a commendation.)

Legionary U.S. ship, Bunker Hill, thought to be unsinkable, unfortunately succumbed to Japanese kamikazes.

USS Bunker Hill, May 1945

Article on USS Bunker Hill attack.

CLICK ON PICTURES AND STORY TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor – 

“EVEN IF SHE IS A BOOBY TRAP, CAN YOU THINK OF A BETTER WAY TO GO?”

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Farewell Salutes –

Helen Bailey – Dixonville, AL; Civilian, WWII, Hagler Field, radio operator

Darren Collins – Broken Arrow, OK; US Navy, Information Systems Technician 2nd Class, USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70)

Robert Davis – Nelsonville, OH, US Navy, WWII, USS Gardiners Bay

Catherine Howarth – Middletown, NY; Civilian, WWII, Civil Air Patrol

Leo LaFauce – Springfield, IL; US Army, WWII

Over the horizon

Theodore Mertz (100) – Vallejo, CA; US Navy, WWII

Gwendolyn Ross – Westlock, CAN; Civilian, WWII, military Aircraft maintenance

William O. Wood – Tallahassee, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO, SSgt., 328 BS/93 BG/8th Air Force, B-24 gunner, KIA (Ploiesti, ROM), To be buried 8/1/2022

Christopher Young – Irving, TX; US Army, Desert Shield & Desert Storm, Medic,  528th Special Operations Battalion (Airborne)

Jerome Zeugschmidt – Bronx, NY; US Navy, WWII,

Robert Zimmerman – West New York, NJ; US Army, WWII, ETO

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Mount Malepunyo

Mt. Malepunyo, Japanese defenses CLICK ON TO ENLARGE.

The next operation was Malepunyo. The exhausted men of the 187th were sent to Tiaong to relieve the 188th and allow them to join up the 511th regiment and the 8th Cavalry while they (the 187th) would remain to cut off any Japanese fleeing the high ground. The 187th laid ambushes for 10 miles and confirmed some 400 enemy killed or captured. During three simultaneous banzai attacks coming across the bridges, the 187th were told by a prisoner that they had nearly caught Gen. Fujishige.

Swing received orders to “go it alone, capture Mount Malepunyo and destroy all the Japanese thereon.” This was an area of thirty square miles of hills with a mangled rain forest and bamboo thickets. It had no roadways and was surrounded by wet slopes intermingled with sharp ridges. At one ridge, the troopers spotted fifty to sixty Japanese about 300 feet below them bathing in a stream as if they were oblivious to a war shattering the world around them. The men of the 11th A/B were certain that there was nothing luckier than to literally catch the enemy with his pants down!

But the Japanese were far from done. Holding higher ground, they slowed down the advance of American forces with snipers and machine gun fire. In one particular incident in what was called Hill 2610, men of the 511th were surprised to receive gunfire from carefully hidden apertures in the underground Japanese command post. The Japanese had to be flushed out using flamethrowers. The Americans were not without casualties. Wrote Flanagan:
“Before being mowed down, they (the Japanese) pulled one last trick which cost us casualties. Several of the Nips, as they ran out of the caves, threw large demolition charges into the air, where they burst, wounding and killing our men as well as themselves.”

Gen. Masatoshi Fujshige

After one fray, a patrol of the 187th found a Japanese diary attesting to the starving conditions the enemy were facing. The book read that they were without any communication to or from their headquarters. They were praying for help from Manila and hoped they would die bravely in their fight with the Americans. (Any papers found on the enemy were immediately handed over to a Nisei G.I. for translation).

General Fjishige gave an interview on 27 May 1946 at the Luzon POW Camp No. 1. He said, in reference to the plans for Macolod, that he took one month of planning and organizing the defense himself. He had their positions so well camouflaged that they could not be detected by land or air and were stocked with some of the best troops he had. The general stated that whoever attacked Macolod deserved the highest U.S. Army honors.

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ross Avellone – Lake County, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Frank Blair – Sioux City, IA; US Navy, WWII, USS Blackhawk

Felix Bonacci (103) – brn: ITA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Interpreter

Guinevere Doyle Collier – Evansville, IN; US Army, 59th WAC unit

Melvin Frankel – Bethlehem, PA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS New Mexico

Branford Freeman – Artesia, MS; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 506/101st Airborne Division, mortarman

Gerald Grimes – Canton, OH; US Army, WWII

Clyde Hope – Amigo, WV; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 1st Lt., B-24 bombardier

Phyllis Brown Jones (100) – Flint, MI; Civilian, WWII, “Rosie” for the Hudson Motor Company

William J. Kerby (101) – Twin Pines, MI; US Army, WWII, ETO, 2 Purple Hearts

Barclay McFadden – Memphis, TN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Larry Storch – NYC, NY; US Navy, WWII, sub tender USS Proteus  /  beloved actor-comedian

Ronald Taylor – Sandy, UT; UA Army, HQ Co/ 187th RCT

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4th of July 2022 🇺🇸

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY 2022

Respect – Honor – Celebration

Celebrating the birth of our nation and dedicated to those who have served and fought to preserve our freedom.

PLUS A CHANGE OF PACE FOR PACIFIC PARATROOPER – A HUMOROUS LOOK AND 5 MINUTE HISTORY OF America’s BIRTH!

ONE TEAM UNITED – LET’S TRY THAT AGAIN AMERICA!!

Military July 4th Humor –

Farewell Salutes –

William Anderson Jr. (100) – Ninety Six, SC; US Army, WWII, ETO, Purple Heart

Zane Baker (100) – Dayton, OH; US Army, WWII, PTO

William Coward Sr. – Ramseur, SC; USMC, WWII, PTO, MGunnery Sgt. (Ret. 33 y.)

Leon Diamond – Brooklyn, NY; US Navy, WWII

Donald W. Emery – Searsport, ME; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Hancock (CV-19), aviation ordnance

Grover Long – Adolphus, KY; US Navy, WWII

Howard McGhee – Sioux City, IA; US Army, WWII, ETO

Donald Morehead – St. Paul, MN; US Navy, WWII, signalman

Robert Pogna – Gunnison, CO; US Navy, WWII, USS Pocomoke

Hershel W. Williams – Quiet Dell, WV; USMC, WWII, PTO, Chief Warrant Officer 4 (Ret.), Purple Heart, Medal of Honor

🇺🇸      🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸     🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸    🇺🇸

Mount Macolod part 2

The reduction of Mount Macolod

2 April, the 187th attacked and cleared the area to the base of the mountain, but were unable to hold the ridges. One pocket of the enemy were dug in between the two southern ridges and small Japanese patrols were strewn along the highway near Talisay, indicating to Colonel Pearson that the enemy held that sector. His feelings were confirmed when his command post was hit with Japanese 155mm artillery shells. The quick reactions of the 674th Glider Field Artillery Battalion to counterattack saved the 2d 187th.

Shelling Mt. Macolod

Captured Japanese artillery, Mt. Macolod

8 April, General MacArthur released a communiqué to state that because of the 11th Airborne’s actions, “…all organized enemy resistance in the southern part of the island was destroyed and liberation was at hand.” As usual, his assessment of the situation was premature, but it was just the type of enthusiasm that endeared him to the Filipino people. His optimism gave them the strength to persevere through some gruesome events; such as when the 2d moved through Sulac, the men found one hundred Filipinos brutally massacred and discarded in a ravine.

7-17 April, the battles around Macolod continued making this one of the bloodiest battles the 187th ever fought. The regiment received massive downpours of artillery, but when the troopers discovered that the guns were all grouped together, they were eradicated. The 187th was exhausted by this point and diminished even further by casualties and wounded, but rest was not on the schedule.

18 April, Col. Pearson brought in tanks and 155mm howitzers to coordinate with the 187th and their fighting would continue for two more days. The 11th Airborne had pushed the Japanese back to Malepunyo. On the 19th, any cave found near the 1st battalion was sealed. Those hideouts discovered near Cuenca Ravine had gasoline drums rolled into them and were ignited by grenades. This not only killed a number of enemy soldiers, but also eliminated the vegetation that would normally provide cover and possible infiltration routes by the enemy. When the battle for Macolod was over on the 20th, the regiment had 13 casualties and 11 wounded.

12 April 1945, while sitting for a portrait, the President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, collapsed and died. The unsuccessful haberdasher, Harry S. Truman, would take over the reins of the country.

telegram of FDR’s death

Click on images to enlarge and read.

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Current News – 

The USS Samuel B. Jackson, has been found 4 miles beneath the Philippine Sea.

The USS Samuel B. Roberts sank during a battle off the Philippines’ central island of Samar on Oct. 25, 1944.  The vessel had engaged the Japanese fleet as U.S. forces worked to liberate the Philippines, which was then a U.S. territory, from occupation. The skirmish was the final engagement of the larger Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Eighty-nine of its 224 crew members were killed, according to the newspaper.

“This site is a hallowed war grave,” retired Rear Adm. Sam Cox, head of the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington.

The Sammy B was hit by a Japanese battleship and sank, along with the USS Johnston

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Military Humor – 

How Willie and Joe bore up under the elements… “Now that you mention it, it does sound like the patter of rain on a tin roof”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Jack Avis – Westfield, CT; US Army, WWII, ETO

William L. Ball – Keene, NH; US Army, WWII

Chester J. Bochenek – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, B-29 bombardier

Frank Celentano – Simsbury, CT; US Army, WWII, Silver Star

Richard “Bud” Gill – Smithfield, VA; USMC, WWII, PTO

Daniel Krauss – Albrightsville, PA; US Army, 503rd Regiment (Airborne)

Felix Marcello – N. Versailles, PA; US Army, Korea, Co D/187th RCT

Edward N. Patterson Sr. – MO; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Jeffrey A. Peters – Newark, OH; US Army, Sgt., 101st Airborne Division

Ray Shadden – Nacogdoches, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 187/11th Airborne Division

Mount Macolod, LUZON

Mt. Macolod, Luzon

US Army still fighting Yamashita’s formidable soldiers…

When General Swing, Commander of the 11th Airborne Division, moved into the stripped-down Manila Hotel Annex, General Krueger began to visit him every other day. His competitive nature tried to get Swing to back-off from pushing into Manila first by saying, “don’t stick your neck out,” but Swing replied, “It’s been sticking out a mile since we landed.”

Mount Macolod was not some minor hill to be taken, this was a major battle for the 11th Airborne. It stands almost 3,107 feet, nearly vertical. On two sides, after a 1,200 foot drop, it has three ridges descending gradually. The north to south nose was known as Brownie Ridge, the east as Bashore and the third, a heavily wooded area that connected Mt. Macolod with Bukel Hill.

Brownie Ridge was the most heavily fortified section encompassing those infamous caves and tunnels previously built by enslaved Filipinos. G-2 (Intelligence), informed the soldiers that they would be up against the Japanese 17th Infantry Regiment and the 115th Fishing Battalion (Suicide Boat Unit), under the command of Colonel Masatoshi Fujishige (Fuji Force).

Mount Macolod, Luzon

For the attack, the 187th, the 760th & 756th Field Artillery Battalions, the 472nd, the 675th Glider Field Artillery Battalion, the 44th Tank Battalion and Company B of the 127th Airborne Engineers were used. (To help avoid what could become very confusing here, I will concentrate on the 187th.) They were equipped with 155mm howitzers, 105mm howitzers, sawed-off 105mm howitzers, Sherman tanks, chemical mortars and flame-throwers. Air attacks were brought in to assist. An entire squadron of P-47s made numerous runs with bombs and then proceeded to strafe the enemy sectors.

F and G Companies of the 187th began house-to-house fighting, but were met by massive machine-gun fire. The enemy was dug in too far underground. Napalm strikes were brought in which enabled the 1st of the 187th to go around to the north of Dita and the 2nd held its position near the town. This was 27 March 1945.

Both units made a frontal assault into the Macolod area the following day. The flamethrowers were used on the enemy bunkers and E and G Companies made it to the top of the crest. Their M-1 fire took out snipers and more advancement was made, but the Japanese returned with mortar fire and a withdrawal was necessary. The enemy came at them throughout the night and following morning with banzai attacks. This was a fierce and bloody battle, especially for men who have never been sent into reserve for rest.

machine-gun pillbox, Hill 843

The small islands that XI Corps had to secure were Caballo, a mile south of Corregidor; Carabao, hugging the Ternate shore; and El Fraile, about midway between the other two. The Japanese on those islands posed no threat to Allied shipping–their ordnance was too light–but, like other bypassed Japanese garrisons, they had to be taken sometime. Although the islands had little or no military significance, the operations to secure them offer interesting examples of military ingenuity and unorthodox tactics.

Some of the 11th A/B troopers were put into a new light. There were no airdrops and no amphibious landings. They used native outrigger canoes to land themselves on Saipang Island where the enemy was using machine-gun fire on the troopers. It was mandatory that machinery to be eliminated. Therefore, at dawn, the canoes moved out. The paratroopers behaved like natives, but fought like soldiers and the small island outpost was cleared of Japanese.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert M. Adams – Elk Grove, CA; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

James D. Chandler – Jenkins, KY; US Army, Vietnam, West Point graduate ’54, Colonel (Ret. 22 y.)

Courtesy of Dan Antion

Larry Duncan – Wilmington, NC; USMC, WWII, PTO

Alexander MacDonell – Victoria, CAN; Royal Canadian Artillery, WWII, RC Electrical & Mechanical Engineers, Lt. Col. (Ret.)

John McKeon Jr. – Philadelphia, PA; US Navy, Commander

Floyd A. Miner – Lowell, MA; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

William C. Phelps Jr. – Winslow, AZ; US Air Force, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Senior MSgt.

Omni Putikka – Grand Rapids, MI; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Dwight S. Ramsay – Fordyce, AR; US Army

Francis Vinci – Middletown, CT; Cadet Nurses Corps, WWII

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Stories from Los Banos

Jerry Sams, Los Banos taken with a hidden camera

Oddly, people were allowed to volunteer for a transfer to Los Baños, which my parents did.  On April 7, 1944, our family was among 530 internees loaded into trucks for the trip South.  At first it was much better.  There was a kindly camp commandant, Lt. Col. Kimura, with one leg, who we kids called “Peg Leg”.  We got better food and he gave candy to the children.  And we could live together as a family. But unfortunately, that didn’t last long as the cruel, evil and sadistic Lieutenant Sadaaki Konishi was installed as the Camp Supply Officer. [source: “My Life as a Child Internee”, Robert A. Wheeler]

Strangely, the rescue of the 500 Santo Tomas internees on February 3rd would not be announced on the Voice of Freedom until the end of the month, leaving the Los Baños camp completely unaware of their fellow internees’ freedom.

In retribution, the Japs became even meaner. We were down to one official meal. Instead of husked rice, we were given a small portion of palay (unhusked rice) that would normally be fed to the pigs. As much as we tried to roll or pound it, the shell remained. If you didn’t hit it hard enough, the husk wouldn’t quite break and it was inedible. If you hit it too hard, you smashed the rice kernel. Conditions were desperate. People were dying so fast that the gravediggers, men who were themselves in miserable condition, could hardly keep up. [source: “My Life as a Child Internee”, Robert A. Wheeler]

S. Davis Winship

Yesterday morning, after nights and days of listening to sounds of the battle of Luzon, far and near, we awoke to the beautiful sunrise typical of late Feb. and out of the north came 18 transport planes, ours, and to our amazement, out of the planes poured parachutists; the most beautiful sight ever seen by my gray eyes.  Simultaneously firing started all over Camp.  Ridiculous as it may sound, I was indulging in my usual morning shave, a practice I have stuck to whether soap was available or not.  And I kept right on as if nothing was happening.  It was not bravery, nonchalance, coolness, or anything of the kind.  Bullets were tearing thru the bamboo walls and open windows of our barracks, – and I finished shaving, washed up, cleaned my tools and put them away.  About then the first of our troops, American and Filipino irregulars appeared, and we were ordered to prepare for immediate evacuation.  And then occurred one of the most astounding feats of military history.  2200 unprepared civilians were grabbed bodily from the midst of a hostile force, in strongly held territory, with not over a dozen wounded, military and civilian, in 3 hours time, and removed from danger. [source: Letter by S.Davis Winship, courtesy of David Record]

“My husband’s aunt was about 5 years when her family were taken as prisoners at Los Baños. Her parents were missionaries and they fled to the forest to hide. They did survive for a time hidden in what they called the “forest farm.” Soon they had to surrender as they were afraid of being killed if found. They were there for 3 years and their whole family managed to survive. Thank you for writing about this rescue. I get tears in my eyes every time I read about the rescue. It was one of military’s proudest moments!”  Blogger, Kat Lupe

Sister Beata

“Hi, thanks so much for a thorough report on this much forgotten, yet most successful rescue ever! My aunt, Sister Mary Beata Mackie, a Maryknoll missionary in the Philippines was among those rescued. She and all the other sisters returned to their Motherhouse in Ossining, New York, thank God. And Sr. Beata then went back for many many years to continue their good work with the wonderful Filipino people.

“You can read an article I wrote about my aunt, Sr. Mary Beata Mackie, and the other Maryknoll Sisters rescue. I also interviewed Sgt. John Fulton for this article. He was on the History Channel’s special about the amazing and daring operation.”  Christine Synder

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/remembering_a_world_war_ii_death_trap_and_a_miraculous_rescue

Fr. William R. McCarthy

Father McCarthy was assigned to the Maryknoll Mission in the Philippine Islands. During his first year, he worked in the Catholic Action program in Cebu City. He also served as a non-commissioned chaplain at a U.S. Army post, “Our meals became progressively worse.  During our last month of imprisonment, the struggle forced us to eat weeds, flowers, vines, salamanders, grubs and slugs.  Deaths mounted to two a day in January 1945.”

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Current News – 

Remember that 14 June 2022 is the U.S. Army’s 247th Birthday, as well as Flag Day!!! 

U.S. Army 2022

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes –

Thomas Bryan – McKeesport, PA; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, Lt. Col. (Ret. 25 y.), Bronze Star, Silver Star

Nathan Carlson – Winnebago, IL; USMC, Corporal, Tiltrotor Squadron 364/MA Group 39/ 3rd Aircraft Wing

Leroy Davis – Rockford, IL; US Air Force, Vietnam, Top Gun, Lt. Col. (Ret. 20 y.)

Clifton Doucet Jr. – New Orleans, LA; US Navy, WWII, USS Philippine Sea. radarman

Donald Gebhardt Sr. – Forks Twpk, PS; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Robert E. Hutcheson – Lawrence, MA; US Army, 1/188/11th Airborne Division

Nicolas Losapio – Rockingham, NH; USMC, Captain, MV-22B pilot, Tiltrotor Sq. 364/ MA Group 39/3rd Aircraft Wing

John T. Malestein – Grand Rapids, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

Seth D. Rasmuson – Johnson, WY; USMC, Corporal, Tiltrotor Sq. 364/MA Group 39/3rd Aircraft Wing

Jon Sax – Placer, CA; USMC, Captain, MV-22B pilot, Tiltrotor Sq 364/MA Group 39/3rd Aircraft Wing

Evan Strickland – Valencia, NM; USMC, Lance Cpl., Tiltrotor Sq 364/MA Group39/ 3rd Aircraft Wing

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Los Banos part 2

Los Banos depicted by: Mariusz Kozik

First Lt. John Ringler was in charge of those troopers who would drop 900 yards from the camp. They made their jump at approx. 500 feet instead of the usual 700-1,000′ since the drop zone was so small and the men would have less exposure time. They made three V’s-in-trail by the nine Douglas C-47s from the 65th Troop Carrier Squadron/ 54th Troop Carrier Group/5th Air Force. Some of the men ran across open fields to achieve their assigned positions. Ringler and his company went down a riverbed from the northeast (photo) while others came from the south and southeast.

Major Burgess went across Laguna de Bay with the amphibious vehicles as the main attacking force. The noisy amtracs slowly made their progress to shore with hopes the enemy had not heard their arrival. Once on the beach, the 457th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion dismounted at San Antonio to defend the area.

Los Banos rescue map

On land, Lt. George Skau and his 31-man platoon infiltrated with the Filipino guides and banca crews. (a sailing vessel usually used for fishing and trade) Once the men eliminated the tower sentries and guards, the soldiers attacked and entered the camp. The internees ran into their barracks or ditches when the firing began. One man said that at the start of the war, they were still using WWI materiel, so when they spotted the domed helmets of the troopers, they believed the Germans were there to help the Japanese. When the reality of the situation became apparent to them, the G.I.s had over 2,000 excited and hysterical people to contend with, but many of them were unable to walk. Every moment was crucial as the enemy could arrive at any minute. Sometime during this period, the guerrillas faded back into the jungle.

11th Airborne aiding a Los Banos internee

The 11th Airborne’s G-4 amassed 18 ambulances and 21 trucks to take the 2,122 internees to the New Bilibid Prison, where they would remain for a few weeks before being shipped home to the U.S.. They had been prisoners for three years.

The 188th had some casualties while confronting the enemy, but not one person was killed during the raid. The story of the Los Baños Raid and rescue 26 miles behind enemy lines was downplayed in the newspaper because of the fall of Iwo Jima. Reporter Frank Smith was at the raid, so the story did get out somewhat.

The Japanese supply warrant officer, Sadaaki Konishi, who actually ran the camp, was able to escape the American raid unharmed. He, along with others of the enemy and the YOIN (Filipinos that were pro-Japanese – makapili) continued to kill and burn the homes of the surrounding population. He was later accused of six counts against the laws of war, tried and found guilty of five charges. Sadaaki Konishi was executed on 17 June 1947.

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

First-hand accounts from this mission will follow in next Monday’s post.

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MILITARY  HUMOR –

PARATROOPER HUMOR

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FAREWELL SALUTES – 

Donald H. Arsen – Centerline, WI; USMC, WWII, PTO

Edward L. Blount – Pocahontas, MO; US Army, WWII

George K. Bryant – Pensacola, FL; US Navy, WWII, aviator, Bomb Sq. 75

Jean Chancellor (105) – Jerome, ID; Civilian, WWII, War Dept.

Robert Clingen – Luzon, PI; Los Baños internee, WWII  /  US Navy, Vietnam

Lydia Daikens – Oakville, CAN; Lee-Enfield rifle production / WREN, WWII

Sherri Fox – Virginia Beach, VA; US Army WAC, WWII

Jack Garrett – New Hyde Park, NY; US Navy, WWII

Alvin Henderson – Sacramento, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, pilot  / Civilian, Air Force

Arthur W. Latta – Boulder City, NV; USMC, WWII & Korea, (Ret. 23 y.)

Richard Zimmerman – Pittsburg, PA; US Navy, WWII

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