Making a Jump on Aparri, Luzon

Jump on Aparri

As the ground races up to meet the troopers, they see the tall, thick fields of the sharp kunai grass, flooded rice paddies, carabao ruts and bomb craters – all would prove dangerous. The Task Force would lose 7%, two men killed and 70 wounded as they landed in 25 mph winds. The battle-hardened paratroopers collected their flame throwers, howitzers and rifles from the gliders and reassembled with “Espirit de Corps.”

Aparri jump

The 11th Airborne battled the Shabu Forces on a 75 mile hike in 120 degree heat to connect up with the Connolly Task Force. The combined goal was to prevent the enemy from escaping into the Cagayan Valley and out to sea. Lt. Col. Burgess met Gen. Beightler, on 26 June, and received a rather snide remark about how his men had saved the 11th A/B. Burgess became quite red-faced and replied that he was under orders to save the 37th Division. Gen. Swift, standing off to one side, laughed and said, “Well, you SOUND like one of Swing’s boys.” (referring to General Joe Swing).

11th A/B Div. drops in Aparri, Luzon, P.I.

The Gypsy Task Force marched away to the 37th’s Headquarters to request C-47s to transport the unit back to Lipa. Burgess was denied and told to countermarch to Aparri and have the trucks take them south to Manila. That would mean they would still need to march another 55 miles from Manila to Lipa. Instead, the men bribed the C-47 pilots with Japanese swords, guns and various other paraphernalia in exchange for a flight back. (Necessity is the mother of invention.)

Bold headlines exploded in the Australian newspapers: U.S. Paratroopers Land In Northern Luzon – “After the 11th A/B Division made their air-borne landing near Aparri on June 23rd., using their gliders for the first time, carrying howitzers, jeeps and mobile equipment. Each trooper jumped with 100 pounds of gear strapped to his body.”
In the 26 June 1945 issue of The Army News – “On Saturday, from 600 feet into paddy fields, the 11th Airborne dropped near the port of Aparri in a surprise move against the Japanese forces in northern Luzon. They used their gliders for the first time in the southwest Pacific…”

Aparri, North Luzon

Gen. Joseph M. Swing

3 July, General Swing made an official note stating that he had implored the higher echelon of the Sixth Army two months previous with a plan to drop the entire 11th Airborne Division onto northern Luzon back when Gen. Krueger’s men were having so much trouble with the Japanese in Balete Pass. He expressed his frustration that his own plan to attack Aparri had gone unheeded. The Japanese had been given the opportunity to withdraw just enough to unite with reinforcements.

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Military Humor – 

CAPTION THIS? WHAT COLD THE ARMY POSSIBLY BEEN UP TO?

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Farewell Salutes –

Harold Allen – Waverly, KS; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Ardeen Bauch – Quincy, IL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, radioman 1st Class

Aleutians, 1943

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

Conrad ‘Billy’ Edwards Jr. – Bladenboro, NC; US Army, 82nd Airborne Division

Rodean Elmstrand – Hetland, SD; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

John W. Kohout – Ft. Myers, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ Co/127th Engineers/11th Airborne Division

Simplicio Magno – LaTorre, PI; USMC, Vietnam, Purple Heart

David McCullough – Pittsburgh, PA; Civilian, Pulitzer Award Historian

William Porteous – Plymouth, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ Co/511/11th Airborne Division

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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 August 22, 2022, in SMITTY, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 82 Comments.

  1. 120 degrees and 75 miles – they were tough men. I have nothing to complain about.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is so adventurous..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hard to imagine walking with 100 pounds strapped to your back, let alone jumping by parachute from a plane. That should have taken them to the ground in a hurry.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tremendous gratitude for all who’ve served! May our good Lord in Heaven bless you all in Jesus’ mighty name

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jumping with 100 pounds of gear must have taken extraordinary courage. The idea of hiking at all in 120 degrees , let alone carrying weight unimaginable.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m trying to imagine what it would be like to jump out of an airplane – or glider – into a warzone, while weighed down by a ton of gear, carrying a weapon, and landing in rough unknown territory/terrain. Especially in a wind. Then you’ve got to find everybody else … and get the job done.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. 120 degrees heat!!. Man, I thought is was hot here. That kind of heat is oven temperature. The challenges are unbelievable. We should consider ourselves lucky…and stop complaining..about the heat (and everything else)! 🧡

    Liked by 1 person

    • The hottest temp I was ever in was 110, but I didn’t have full gear on or the sun beating down – I can’t imagine what they went through. How that generation endured and prospered is an incredible feat!!

      Like

  8. Hiking 75 miles is no joke, G. Hiking 75 miles in 120 degree heat is a killer. I’d be interested to know how long it took them to do the hike. And then I thought of the men coming in in gliders with 100 pounds of gear. Ouch! –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The Jump sounded like a remarkable challenge! Hats off to all those who made it!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I cannot even imagine lugging all that gear and marching into battle in a 120-degree heat. Well done to those brave, strong men.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. That ia such a powerfully descriptive opening paragraph

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Another excellent accout of brave men jumping out of a plane to start a battle. Being a paratrooper must have been one of the most dangerous things to do in the army….and that is totally without counting the huge amounts of equipment they had to carry down with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Heroic landing with 100 lbs of gear and in those conditions!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. And the ‘old GI’ Smitty, led the youngsters. You have every right to be proud of your dad, JC. And the his 11th Airborne brothers. A tough band of men!
    When it was said that every trooper had an extra 100 lbs of strapped on, I wonder if they actually had it strapped on or if the equipment wasn’t in what we called a GP bag. You carried it as you scuffled to the door. Set it down and kicked it out as you exited.
    It dangled about 15 feet below you so it wouldn’t interfere with your chute opening.
    It was attached to you by a cord and when you were very close to the ground you released it so you wouldn’t get fouled up with it when you hit.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I’m glad they wangled that flight….the last thing they needed was a long hot march after what they had achieved. Inter service rivalry, like inter unit rivalry, can have a downside sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Loved the response of Burgess to Beightler. It shows class vs ass. Thanks, GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I can’t imagine the adrenaline flowing while looking down, ready to jump with 100 lbs of gear with you. I admire these paratroopers! Glad to see David McCullough on the Farewell Salutes. He’s one of my favorite historians.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I like how they got a ride back to base.😄 The paratroopers were very resourceful as well as being brave and well conditioned.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Would have been interesting to watch the squabble between Beightler and Burgess.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. “Each trooper jumped with 100 pounds of gear strapped to his body.” Yikes! I guess I hadn’t been thinking about the extra weight. Depending on how they landed, that could be dangerous.

    I am often amazed that “higher echelon” ignored the men on the ground so many times.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Having the right personnel in place is one thing, but making sure they have all of the necessary equipment they need is another…and sometimes that requires lugging the equipment along with you. 100 pounds of gear per person falls into that category – quite the mission.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Glad to see McCullough’s name included. It could be barter or cumshaw. Anyway, I was pleased to see them not have to wear out shoe leather. You gotta wonder if the refusal to give them a lift was petty payback. I’d hate to have to jump out of a glider, with or without a hundred pounds strapped to my body. It would take to hefty paratroopers just to get me out of my seat!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Als de legertop niet overeenkomt is dat altijd ten nadele van soldaten, parachutisten en alle ondergeschikten. Eendracht maakt macht en meningsverschillen die niet opgelost geraken ,geven verlies dat vermeden had kunnen worden

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Jumping out of an airplane with 100 pounds of gear sounds like a scary proposition.

    Liked by 4 people

  25. I was pleased to see your inclusion of David McCullough in today’s Farewell Salutes. His books are among my favorites. And kudos to the men who managed that flight on the C-47. I’d call that barter, rather than a bribe!

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Moving around with all the equipment is always a great challenge. Thanks for sharing another piece of history, G.P.! Have a good week! xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I would have thought that senior officers would have had their squabbles in private.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. History sometimes forgets the real-life frustration that reveals some underlying intramural rivalry among the commanders.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Thank you, Ned.

    Like

  1. Pingback: Making a Jump on Aparri, Luzon | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

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