Gen. Robert Eichelberger Remembers

Generals Eichelberger & MacArthur

From: “Our Jungle Road to Tokyo”

I remembers a story Bob Shoe told on himself.  During the hottest of the fighting on Negros, he was making a trip to the front to look over the situation.  His jeep passed through a weary column of the 503rd Parachute Regiment which had been relieved after many hours of fighting and was on its way to the rear.

General Shoe is completely free of pretentiousness; he was born honest and friendly.  When he stopped for a drink at a spring, he spoke to a grimy paratrooper.  His question didn’t mean anything; it was merely passing the time of day.

“How are things at the front?” Shoe asked cheerfully.

11th Airborne paradrop

The veteran paratrooper, probably 20 years old, looked at Shoe’s clean uniform and his star and his jeep with elaborate boredom and said nothing.  Shoe went on to the front and was promptly shot.  It was a bloody wound and the stretcher which carried him toward the rear was thoroughly incarnadined.

On the way back, his stretcher was stopped by a military traffic jam, and he found himself again among the walking 503rd.  He asw the same redheaded young Pfc he had encountered back at the spring.  The Pfc was friendly now.  He grinned.  “General,” he said, ” how are things at the front?”

*****          *****          *****

Our Jungle Road to Tokyo”

I took a flying boat to Jolo, Philippines.  The USS Boise dropped anchor in Jolo Harbor and I rejoined General MacArthur, who reported the Borneo expedition completely successful.  After a tour of the island, we went back aboard the Boise and headed for Davao City.  Gen. Kenney, who now commanded both the 5th Air Force and the 13th Air Force, was aboard.  George and I spent 2 hours discussing the Philippines campaign and the problems which lay ahead.

That evening MacArthur talked to us for almost 2 hours about coming events and next morning we landed at Davao City.  We went as far as Mintal, where Jack Clifford and his troops had not yet been able to end their struggle against a stubborn enemy.

But we had reason to observe that massive artillery support – now under command of Hugh Cort – was true, accurate and devastating.  It was then that MacArthur told me he did not believe there were 4,000 Japanese left alive on Mindanao.  The surrender figures at war end were 23,000 enemy soldiers, showed how wrong he was.

*****          *****          *****

Generals Eichelberger & MacArthur

I was proud of the job the 41st Division had accomplished at Zambo when the fighting was done.  They laid down their guns and went to work.  They cut weeds and they cleaned out debris.  They became good neighbors.

The Japanese had refused to allow Catholic Filipinos (and there were a good many in that Moslem area), to worship at the ancient shrine of Bien Bemido al Virgen del Pilar.  The shrine was about the size of an American sandwich shop and was tucked into a space along a section of the Fort Pilar wall which had fallen into ruin.

GIs of the 41st Signal Company went to the work of repair and finally put up a sign welcoming all nationalities to worship there again.  Before long, there were hundreds of burning candles.

Click on images to enlarge.

###########################################################################################

Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Paul Anderson – Fargo, ND; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Air-Sea Rescue

Joseph Bacigalupi – Little Silver, NJ; US Army

Edwin Bullington – Prairies Grove, AR; US Navy, USS Observation Island, photographer

Harry Doty – Milford, IN; US Army, WWII, artillery

Leonard Fenimore – Cabria, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, SSgt., 11th Airborne Division

Aaron Justice – Weirton, WV; US Army, WWII, ETO

David Lessin – Newark, NJ; US Army, Major, Medical Corps

Gerald Rothaermel – Bridgeport, CAN; Canadian Air Force, WWII

Leonard Solomon – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, WWII, ATO, TSgt., 42nd Coast Artillery of Engineers

Norman Wecker – Chicago Heights, IL; US Navy, WWII, PBY pilot

############################################################################################

About GP

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GP is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on September 17, 2018, in First-hand Accounts, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 90 Comments.

  1. Thanks for your like of my post, “The Tithe – The Gift;” you are very kind.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I enjoyed that little story about General Shoe, GP. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Zoals altijd steek ik hier heel wat op met al je verhalen te lezen

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great little stories that make it all seem much more real in my mind.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Eichelberger’s name in lights! LOL Dad took this shot in ’47 in Yokohama (now their Customs Building). https://flic.kr/p/9bHuaU

    Liked by 1 person

  6. MacArthur was an arse, taking all the glory for the ideas his staff came up with. Remember, He screwed up in the Philippines before and immediately after Pearl, costing thousands of young Allied lives. He also could have strategically bypassed the Philippines in ’44 as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. GP you really drew me in with this post. Thanks for a lovely break.
    You gotta watch low ranking redheads — you never know what smartassery will pop out of our mouths. 😉
    The ending bit about the shrine is touching. Huge hugs.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. The first story about General Shoe is wonderful. As we like to say here in Texas, what goes around, comes around. But even more importantly, who doesn’t love someone who can laugh at himself — especially when that “someone” could pull rank, if he wanted to.

    I love the story of the restoration of the shrine, too. If only we could have a little more of that attitude today. Too often, acceptance of others really means “I’ll accept you if you’ll be just like me.”

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I learn something new every time I stop by.
    Thank you for these great stories

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Our dear friend GP Cox,
    we really like your stories (especially the first one) and the cartoon “high risk, high gain”.
    A good work you are doing. Thank you very much for your history lessons.
    With warm greetings from the cold sea
    The Fab Four of Cley

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fab Four of Cley,
      Words from all of you are always a welcome site and I’m very happy you found something interesting or funny.
      By the way, my friend, I’m still waiting on “4321” to be delivered. I’ll let you know when I finish it – that is, if it ever gets here!! 🙂
      Have a terrific week!
      GP Cox

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I love the story about General Shoe.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Thanks for more of these fascinating first-person perspectives. Fantastic “military humor” again too.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. That “High risk” cartoon explains Reality better than I ever could (even in many volumes~!).

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I guess it proves once again that you can’t get better than first hand for a clear picture …

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Love the “high risk, high gain” cartoon — it has the ring of ‘high truth!’

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Great stories. Thanks, GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Definitely a moral to that first story, G. I learned long ago that tired, discouraged folks don’t necessarily appreciate a cheerful word. When really grumpy people used to come into camp when I was leading backpack treks, I would greet them with sympathy and a cup of hot tea with a shot of rum. Worked wonders. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  18. An excellent story about General Shoe who perhaps didn’t really deserve such a hard lesson. I am far from being an expert on the Pacific war, but I do get the impression that he wasn’t always quite as good as he said he was.

    Liked by 1 person

    • To be honest, I don’t really know much about General Shoe. I liked this story from Gen. Eichelberger, so I included it. But I could sure see it happening! 🙂 I didn’t much care for Gen. Krueger.

      Like

  19. The “high risk-high gain” cartoon is a good allegory for the vainglorious MacArthur!

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Good stories. I feel for the general in the first story.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Great post, GP. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. First hand accounts like these are what make your blog so much more meaningful than all the professors’ history books.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. That PFC was a natural comedian. What a funny quip!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Just like in Mindanao, they really had no idea how many Japanese were still left behind to fight. When Eichelberger assumed control of operations of mopping up after MacArthur declared that the Leyte-Samar campaign was considered closed, Krueger told Eichelberger there were about 5,000 Japanese left. Between Christmas when Eichelberger took over and the end of the campaign in May 1945, he said, “They killed more than 27,000 Japs.”

    Liked by 1 person

  25. The next time you hear, “how are things…” Duck!

    Liked by 2 people

  26. I like that story about the general. Sometimes, it takes a dose of reality to send a message. On the other hand, it’s scary that MacArthur’s intelligence would be so far wrong about the number of enemy soldiers remaining. That’s usually when thing go badly.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. That second sentence gave me a little pause, until I realized Negros was an island. Funny story, though.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. More interesting stories. I particularly like the first

    Liked by 2 people

  29. You must love history!!

    Like

  1. Pingback: FEATURED BLOGGER: Gen. Robert Eichelberger Remembers by //Pacific Paratrooper | ' Ace Worldwide History '

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: