Search Results for Philippines

Leyte, Philippines begins

Leyte, Oct. 1944

20 October – the X and XXIV Corps of the 6th Army, under General Krueger, made their amphibious landing on a 25-mile (40 km) stretch of coastline between Dulag and Tacloban on the eastern side of Leyte.

At 0945, the 1st Cavalry went ashore on White Beach, the 24th Infantry Division went on their left at Red Beach and the 96th Infantry Division landed further south on Orange and Blue Beaches.  They all moved inland for about a mile, hitting stiffer resistance as they went.

MacArthur observing the beach at Leyte

The 7th Infantry Division at Violet and Yellow Beaches had the lightest opposition, but Dulag was taken by the following day.  MacArthur described the view he witnessed from the flag bridge of the USS Nashville:

“Landings are explosive once the shooting begins and now thousands of guns were throwing their shells with a roar that was incessant and deafening.  Rocker vapor trails criss-crossed the sky and black, ugly ominous pillars of smoke began to rise.  High overhead, swarms of airplanes darted into the maelstrom.  And across what would have ordinarily been a glinting, untroubled blue sea, the black dots of the landing craft churned towards the beaches.

“From my vantage point, I had a clear view of everything that took place.  Troops were going ashore at Red Beach near Palo, at San Jose on White Beach and at the southern tip of Leyte on tiny Pansom Island…”

Gen. MacArthur walking into the Philippines.

MacArthur became impatient and ordered a landing craft to carry him and President Osmeña to Red Beach for a dramatically staged arrival back to the Philippines.  But the boatload of VIP’s and press were caught in a traffic jam of vessels making an effort to the same makeshift pier.  The harassed beachmaster directed the VIP’s away and said, “Let ’em walk!” This more and likely is the reason for his surly expression in the famous photograph, despite him trying later to create a better one.

Mac went into the 24th’s area and sat on a log with Osmeña and a Signal Officer gave the general a microphone.  The “Voice of Freedom” was back on the air and Mac gave his speech, “People of the Philippines, I have returned…”  His aides noticed that the speech left him shaken and visibly moved.

By evening, a 17-mile beachfront was taken with only light casualties, but a serious enemy counter-attack came with Japanese torpedoes bombers that scored a hit on the USS Honolulu.  Approximately 22,000 enemy troops were dug into their positions in the hills behind Tacloban.


The X Corps had unfavorable conditions in terrain and sporadic mortar and artillery fire which caused them to take 5 days to complete unloading.  This however did not prevent them from the establishment of their beachhead.

MacArthur’s summary:

“The enemy’s anticipation of attack in Mindanao caused him to be caught unawares in Leyte and the beachheads of the Tacloban area…  The naval forces consisted of the 7th US Fleet, the Australian Squadron and supporting elements of the 3rd US Fleet.  Air support was given by naval carrier forces, the Far East Air Force, and the Royal Australian Air Force.  The enemy’s forces include the 14th Army Group under Field Marshall Count Terauchi, of which 7 divisions have been identified – 16th, 26th, 30th, 100th, 102nd, 103rd and the 105th.”

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Current News – Happy 74th Birthday to the U.S. Air Force 9/18/1947 

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/?s=air+force+birthday

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Military Humor – 

“The situation in Iraq appears to be going well, gentlemen. THAT however, is a map of Staten Island.”

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Farewell Salutes – 

James C. Barnhart – Somerset, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Purple Heart / Korea, Purple Heart

A. Charles Casadonte Jr. – Herkimer, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, Co. B/111 Medical Battalion

Keith Dunker – Dayton, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Pt., pilot

Lester Flack – Guest, KY; US Army, WWII, 22 Infantry Division

Richard Gartee – Monroe, MI; US Navy, WWII

David M. Hardy Jr. – Tucson, AZ; US Navy, WWII, USS Louisville

Richard G. Hudak – Elizabeth, NJ; USMC, Vietnam, Captain

Teppo K. Jokinen – brn: Hyvinkää, FIN/ Everett, WA; Finnish Air Force

Paul Mazal – Loomis, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, P-47 pilot, Lt.  # O-763693, 513/406th Fighter Group, KIA (GER)

Andrew Pellerito – MI; USMC, WWII, PTO, Cpl. # 355031, Co. K/3/2nd Marine Div., KIA (Betio, Tarawa)

Joseph C. Rouse – Riverside, NC; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Seaman 1st Class # 2624770, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Helen Scallion – Birmingham, AL; Civilian, WWII, B-24 & 25 electrical system construction

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A Fish for Papa – WWII Account in the Philippines

A Philippine home front story.

Running After 60

I was told the following story one night while sitting with the elders at a birthday party.   Marc Mausisia was the son of the person who this story is with regards to. Lolo Tenyada the cousin of Marc’s father. The accounts are from the time Japan occupied the Philippine’s. Both Marc Mausisa and Lolo Tenyada have passed on and I have no way of placing the timeframe in which this story occurred or where in the Philippines it took place. The words in this story Lolo and Lola mean Grandfather and Grandmother. I present it here to you, in their words. “A Fish For Papa”.

Marc Mausisa;

I was a just young boy when the Japanese came to our province, my papa was in the Army not far from where we lived when the Japanese came. They capture the army and took them to a place over a day’s walk…

View original post 684 more words

General Yamashita surrenders the Philippines

General Tomoyuki Yamashita as he surrenders - click to enlarge and read

General Tomoyuki Yamashita as he surrenders – click to enlarge and read

One of the most monumental surrenders in the Pacific War was General Tomoyuki Yamashita. He had joined the Japanese Army in 1906 and fought the Germans in China in 1914, graduated Staff College in 1916 and began a military attaché in Switzerland as an expert on Germany, where he was to meet Tojo Hideki. Tojo soon became very envious of the success and advancements Yamashita was achieving. This was especially true after the campaign in Malaya and bluffing the British into surrendering to his inferior forces in Singapore. Tojo used his influence to have Yamashita transferred to Manchuria before he could even announce his win to the Emperor. The general was sent to the Philippine Islands in 1944. A man who believed in the Samurai traditions and was highly devoted to the Emperor.

Precluding the surrender of Yamashita is an interesting story that lead into the general’s surrender. This has been taken from the Military Intelligence files of the General HQ U.S. Army Forces, Pacific, which were given to me by http://p47koji.wordpress.com and supplied much of the data included here in today’s post. Please click on to enlarge for easier reading.

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30 August, negotiations with the general were drawing to a close, but he remained in his mountain headquarters sending word with thanks to the American Commanders for their “sincere efforts and concerns,” and his regrets that he was unable to contact his forces in Cagayan Valley, Balete Pass and the Clark Field areas. Small groups were beginning to turn themselves in and Major General Yuguchi, of the 103d Division in the Cagayan Valley had already agreed to the surrender terms, but was awaiting word from Yamashita. The 37th Infantry Division was expecting 3,000 to surrender on 2 September. Throughout the Philippine Islands, capitulations were being delivered from Japanese officers.

Initial American contact with Gen. Yamashita

Initial American contact with Gen. Yamashita

Some Japanese soldiers refused to believe that the Emperor had aired a demand for peace and skirmishes were reported on various islands. No American troops were listed as casualties. Those killed during that action with unfriendly combatants were Japanese, Filipino, Korean and Formosan. One civilian news reporter was captured.

General Yamashita arrived for his surrender and behaved as a gentleman officer would, then was led away to Baguio City for confinement, surrender and trial.

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Resources: Pacific War Online Encyclopedia; “The Final Victory”, by Stanley Weintraub; “The Pacific War” by John Costello; General Headquarters U.S. Army Forces, Pacific official Military Intelligence files supplied by http://p47koji.wordpress.com
With special thanks to Koji, I sincerely hope my readers will take a look into his blog as well. Thank you.

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Home Economics building (today) site of surrender

The above is a modern photo of the Home Economics building of the Kiangan Central School where General Yamashita was first contacted. Later, he was sent to Baguio City for the formal surrender.

Yamishita photo is credited to, Dr. Walter Johnson.

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

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 – 1

Los Banos University

“I doubt that any airborne unit in the world will ever be able to rival the Los Baños prison raid.  It is the textbook airborne operation for all ages and all armies.”

____ General Colin Powell, US Army, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 25 February 1993

 

G-2 Henry Muller was required to collect any and all intelligence that he could, from anywhere he could find it – that was his job.  A grower from Mindanao who had recently traveled south from Manila told him how awful the prisoners of Los Baños were doing.  This was the first Muller had heard of the camp.  It turned out Gen. Swing, commander of the 11th Airborne Division also had not been told about it.  They presumed that being it was outside the area of their orders from MacArthur to be the reason of this lack of info.  But Muller could not forget what the grower had said, “They are in pitiful shape.  They’re dying.”  He had to find out all he could about that camp.

map, Los Banos

23 February 1945 demonstrated the result of teamwork between General Swing and his troops, the Filipino guerrillas and the intelligence supplied by an escapee of the internment camp of Los Baños, Peter Miles. The man’s photographic memory gave a detailed layout of the prison and the exact sites of the guards and armaments. Mr. Miles had memorized the strict regimental daily routines of the Japanese and the specific times when the guards changed shifts and had their exercise periods, which would put them a safe distance away from their weapons.

Dry riverbed route to Los Banos

Los Banos camp was originally the University of the Philippines Agricultural School. It was situated forty miles southeast of Manila and on this date in history was 26 miles behind enemy lines. This operation needed a multi-pronged attack using each principle of war to the maximum.  Above photo shows actual path taken to sneak to the camp.)

The guerrillas provided intel and also guided Lt. Skau’s reconnaissance platoon into position under the cover of darkness. The army did help supply them with radios, ammunition and food, but the loosely organized groups also later stole the 11th’s supplies, calling it a justified gift.

By this time, Everett “Smitty” Smith was an NCO and when I’d asked him many years ago if he was part of the Los Baños Raid, he said, “No, I was occupied somewhere else.  I didn’t have any contact with them until after they were brought out.” As best as I can find in my research, he was busy with the rest of the 187th near the 457th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion that was commanded by Captain Flanagan. (The captain would later become Lt. General E.M. Flanagan, author of many WWII historical books, including, “The Los Baños Raid: The 11th Airborne Jumps at Dawn“) Although Smitty wasn’t at this dramatic feat of the 11th Airborne Division, It is an operation that anyone associated with the division remains proud of to this day.

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Military Humor – 

Sounds like the 11th A/B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

David Bailey Jr. (100) – Sacramento, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

Unice E. Baker – Jesup, GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188/11th Airborne Division

Ty Casey – brn: SK; USMC

Jean Daily – Dallas, TX; US Army WAC; WWII, 45th Air Squadron, nurse

Jack Hoover – Mt. Calm, TX; US Army, WWII, ETO, 36th Infantry Division

Lydia Maile (102) – Worchester, MA; Civilian, WWII, munitions production

Emmy Lou Papagni (100) – Fresno, CA; Womens USMC, WWII

Arthur Rivkin – Minneapolis, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-24 co-pilot, 8th Air Force

William Slane Sr. – Schenectady, NY; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

John W. Welch – LaCrosse, WI; US Army, HQ Co/11th Airborne Division

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1 January 1945

5th Air Force strafing Clark Air Field, 1945

 

Ringing in the new year 1945 with fireworks had a far different meaning in the Pacific and CBI Theaters than we’re used to.  It began with ______

In the Philippines – bombings of Clark Field on Luzon and Sasa on the island of Mindanao.  Wasile Bay enemy bivouac areas felt the bombardments from overhead B-24’s and B-25’s.  Manila saw the fighter-bombers as shipyards and other airfields and ammunition dumps were blown.  US Air Force planes sank the Japanese ship No. 7, Taiko Maru and No. 3, Taiwan Maru, off Masinloc, P.I.

Philippine Islands

Also in the Philippines – the USS Stingray delivered 35 tons of supplies to Filipino forces on the north coast of Tawi Tawi.   HMS Staesman sank four small Japanese vessels with gunfire northeast of Sumatra.

In the Netherland East Indies – the IJN Kyyokku Maru was sunk by a mine that was previously laif by HMN Tradewind off Mergui.

From Saipan – The 7th Air Force had 19 B-24’s bomb Iwo Jima.  This was followed by additional bombers during the evening hours in waves.

In China – railroads, warehouses, industry and gun positions were bombed.  Suchow Airfield lost 25 aircraft.  Armed ground reconnaissance units hit between Xiaolan and Hsuchang.

India-Burma – had the tenth Air Force bombing furl dumps, villages, supply areas, tanks and enemy troops at several locations.  Four other targets of opportunity were found along the Irrawaddy River while large-scale transport operations proceeded as planned.

When we last spoke in the war posts, the 11th Airborne Division was on Leyte and still battling a well dug-in enemy in the uncharted mountains of the island.   As the fighting for the 11th Airborne on Leyte came to a close, the battalions worked their way back to Bito Beach.  The 674th and 675th Glider Field Artillery and the 457th Parachute Field Artillery remained in strategic positions to cover them.

Despite MacArthur declaring Leyte secure on Christmas Day 1944, even Gen. Robert Eichelberger said in relation to the “mopping-up” his men were left with, “The Japanese Army was still intact.  I was told there were only 6,000 Japanese left on the island…  Soon Japanese began streaming across the Ormoc Valley… well equipped and apparently well-fed.  Between Christmas Day and the end of the campaign we killed more than 27,000 Japanese…”

Col. Austin “Shifty” Shofner, USMC, [ the only man to lead a successful escape from a Japanese POW camp (1943)], was assigned to the Army’s 37th Division as an observer and boarded the USS Mount McKinley at New Guinea and sailing for Luzon.  Within a week, he would witness the onset of the Kamikaze Special Attack Force aiming their aircraft at the US Navy in Lingayen Gulf.  The future Brigadier General would assist in the planning of the rescue plans of the Cabanatuan POW camp where over 500 Allied survivors of the Bataan Death March were being held.

Col. Shafer being tended to.

References used: “Pacific War” by John Davison; Pacific Wrecks; “The Pacific” by Hugh Ambrose; WW2 Timelines, World War 2 Photos and “Our Jungle Road To Tokyo” by Gen. Robert Eichelberger.

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Frederick W. Anderson (100) – Southington, CT; US Navy, WWII, PTO, PT Base # 2

Lee Anthony – Petrolia, PA; US Army, WWII, PTO

Rome E. Barr – Martins Ferry, OH; US Navy, WWII, USS Loy (Destroyer Escort)

Nando A. Cavalieri – Eveleth, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Captain, 324/91/8th Air Force, B-17G pilot, KIA (Döberitz, GER)

Edward Conway – Canon City, CO; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Electrician’s Mate 1st Class # 3718589, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

Don D. Dowler Jr. – Clarinda, IA; US Army, Korea, Pfc., Co D/1/32/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir, NK)

Edwyna Green (100) – Summerset, NZ; NZ Women’s Air Corps, WWII, LCPL # 812146

Richard “Demo Dick” Marcinko – Langsford, PA; US Navy, Vietnam, Iran, SEAL Team # 6 Commander, 4 Bronze Stars, Silver Star (Ret. 25 y.)

Wilbur F. Newton – Mound City, MO; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Seaman 1st Class # 3760544, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

Henry Steele – Corbett, OR; US Army

Jack Tison – Bifay, FL; US Army, WWII, PTO, Medic

Betty White – Oak Park, IL; Civilian, WWII, American Women’s Volunteer Service, PX truck driver  /  Beloved Actress

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Closing 1944 with General Kenney

Gen. George C. Kenney

Being as the 5th Air Force, especially the 54th Troop Carrier Group, were operating so close to the 11th Airborne for so much of the war, I chose to finish up 1944 with the first-hand account from their commander….

 

General Kenney, Commander of the Fifth Air Force reported:

Sky Lancers

“Just before dark on 26 December, a Navy Reconnaissance plane sighted a Jap naval force of 1 heavy cruiser, 1 light cruiser and 6 destroyers about 85 miles NW of Mindoro {Philippines], headed toward San Jose.  We had available on out 2 strips there, 12 B-25s from the 71s Recon Squadron, the 58th Fighter Group (P-47s), the 8th Fighter Group (P-38s and the 110 Tactical Recon Squadron (P-40s).

“Every airplane that could fly took off on the attack, which continued until after midnight.  The Japs kept on coming and the planes kept shuttling back and forth, emptying their bomb racks and ammunition belts and returning for more.  In addition to the difficulty of locating and attacking the Nip vessels in the dark, the enemy made the job still harder by bombing our airdromes at intervals through the night.

“In order to see what they were bombing and strafing, some of our pilots actually turned their landing lights on the Jap naval vessels.  With neither time nor information for briefings during the operation, it was every man for himself and probably the wildest scramble the Nip or ourselves had ever been in.

“At 11:00 P.M. the enemy fleet started shelling our fields and kept it up for an hour.  Fires broke out in our gasoline dumps, airplanes were hit, the runways pitted, but the kids still kept up their attack.  The P-47s couldn’t get at their bomb dump because of the fire, so they simply loaded up with ammunition and strafed the decks of every ship in the Jap force.  They said it was “like flying over a blast furnace, with all those guns firing at us.”

“Shortly after midnight. the Jap fleet turned around and headed north. They had been hurt.  A destroyer had been sunk and a cruiser and 2 destroyers heavily damaged.

“The attack had saved our shipping at San Jose from destruction, but it had cost us something too.  Twenty-five fighter pilots and B-25 crew members missing.  We had lost 2 B-25s and 29 fighter aircraft.  During the next few days we picked up 16 of the kids who were still floating around the China Sea in their life rafts.  I got Gen. MacArthur to approve a citation for each of the units that took part in the show.

417th, Lindbergh with Col. Howard Ellmore

On the 30th, Lt.Col. Howard S. Ellmore, a likable, happy-go-lucky, little blond boy from Shreveport, LA, leading the 417th Attack Group, the “Sky Lancers” caught a Jap convoy in Lingayen Gulf, off Vigan on the west coast of Luzon.  In a whirlwind low-level attack, a destroyer, a destroyer escort, 2 large freighters and one smaller were sunk.

“It was a fitting climax to 1944, which had been an advance from Finschaven to Mindoro, a distance of 2400 miles, equal to that from Washington to San Francisco.  During that time, my kids had sunk a half million tons of Jap shipping and destroyed 3000 Jap aircraft.  Our losses of aircraft in combat during the year were 818.”

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Military Humor – 

“OKAY – You got the C-17 ON the carrier -NOW, how are you going to get it OFF?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Marvin D. Actkinson – Sudan, TX;US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co B/1/32/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir, NK)

Hugh R. Alexander – Potters Mills, PA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Lt. Comdr., USS Oklahoma, Silver Star, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

Kenneth Barhite – Alden, IA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 2nd Lt.,158th RCT/Americal Division

Mary M. Bevan – Greenwich, CT; USMC, WWII

Louis Block – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII

Hubert P. Clement – Inman, SC; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Fire Controlman 1st Class # 2619359, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

Clayton L. Cope – Alton, IL; US Navy, USS Eisenhower

Donald Peterson – Auburn, CA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Lt., USS Rotanin

Tceollyar Simmons – Hacoda, AL; US Navy, WWII, Seaman 2nd Class # 3115534, USS California, KIA (Pearl Harbor, HI)

Thomas Smith (100) – Early Branch, SC; US Navy, WWII, Radioman 1st Class

Harvey Swack – OH; US Navy, WWII, PTO, aircraft mechanic

Larry Virden – Edwardsville, IL; US Army, Iraq

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SANTA’S ON HIS WAY!!

December 1944 (2) Leyte

16 December – Douglas MacArthur was promoted to Five-Star General.  It seemed that General MacArthur’s promotion to General of the Army would require assistance from many sides.  It posed a problem in the respect that there was no such object as a five-star insignia in existence in the Pacific.  A clever Filipino silversmith created one from a miscellaneous collection of Dutch, Australian and Filipino coins.

Deck of the USS Anzio during Typhoon Cobra

17 December – Typhoon Cobra hit the Philippine Islands.  TF-38 was caught off-guard and the destroyers, USS Hull, Mongham and Spence were sunk and 22 other vessels received damage.  While 150 aircraft were blown off the decks of the carriers, more than 750 sailors drowned.

19 December – Adm. Nimitz was made Commander-in-Chief of the US Pacific Fleet and Pacific Areas, thereby promoting him to Fleet Admiral of the US Navy, a 5-Star Admiral.

USS Bryant

21→22 December – an American destroyer, the USS Bryant was damaged by the Japanese kamikaze pilots off Mindoro, P.I.  The Bryant had seen the plane approaching and while maneuvering to avoid collision, the kamikaze basically just clipped her and exploded beneath the waves.

22→29 December – Japanese Gen. Yamashita radioed Gen. Suzuki’s headquarters in Cebu City: “RE-DEPLY YOUR TROOPS TO FIGHT EXTENDED HOLDING ACTIONS IN AREAS OF YOUR CHOICE.  SELECT AREAS SUCH AS BACALOD ON NEGROS WHICH ARE HIGHLY SUITABLE FOR SELF-SUSTAINING ACTION.  THIS MESSAGE RELIEVES YOU OF YOUR ASSIGNED MISSION.”

Yamashita Tomoyuki, 1945

This message would not reach Suzuki for 3 days, by which time his troops were being surprised by Gen. Bruce’s men.  The enemy fled to San Isidro and Palompon was taken by the 77th Division unopposed on Christmas Day.  Suzuki and about 10,000 of his troops concentrated at Mount Canquipot, whose eastern and western slopes made the sector a natural fortress.  They could hear Christmas carols coming from the G.I.’s.  Stragglers arrived from the Japanese 1st Division and 68th Brigade, but lost 100 men a day due to starvation.

29 December – Suzuki received a message from Gen. Fukue stating that the 102nd Division were leaving in boats for Cebu.  When Suzuki ordered them to remain in place – his message was ignored.  Approximately 743 men, all that remained of the prize Gem Division would evacuate by 12 January 1945.  Gen. Eichelberger’s 8th Army closed in on Suzuki and Mount Canquipot.

Ormac after taking it back from the Japanese.

25 December – Yamashita informed Suzuki that he considered Leyte a lost cause and this date was originally designated as the end of organized resistance on Leyte, but the troops that remained assigned to the “mopping-up” of the island [7th Division] would beg to differ.

26 December – a Japanese naval force bombarded US installations on Mindoro and the Americans sank the IJN destroyer Kiyoshimo, (清霜, “Clear Frost”).

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor –

Farewell Salutes – 

Leon E. Clevenger – Durham, NC; US Army, Korea, Cpl., Co K/3/21/24th Infantry Division, KIA (Chonui, SK)

Ian Fishback – Newbury, MI; US Army, Middle East, Captain, 82nd Airborne Division, West Point graduate, Green Beret

U.S. Flag, courtesy of Dan Antion

John Heffernan Jr. – NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI; 1st Lt. # 0-797000, navigator, 490 BS/341 BG/10th Air Force, KIA (Letpadaung, BUR)

Marylou Loustalot – IA; US Navy WAVES, WWII

Charles G. McMahon – Boston, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, SSgt., bombardier, 68 BS/44 BG/8th Air Force, KIA (Ploiesti, ROM)

Clement Mitchell – Greenwich, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 82nd Airborne Division

Newman R. Nesmith – Sylvania, GA; Vietnam, Pfc. # 14810842, helicopter repair, KIA (Quang Nam Provence, SK)

Edward F. Pasternak – Farrel, PA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Sgt.

Ross H. Thompson – Blount County, TN; US Army, WWII, PTO, Finance Dept., TSgt. # 333157, POW, KIA (Cabanatan Camp, Luzon, P.I.)

Naoma A. (Zellers) Seidel – Kewanna, IN; Civilian, WWII, bombs & ammo, Kingbury Ordnance Plant

Harvey Swack – OH; US

Harold E. Vasderband – Canyon Lake, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 711th Ordnance/11th Airborne Division, (Ret. 21 y.)

Smitty’s Letter XV “Land”

Native outrigger canoes meet up with a Coast Guard transport.

[Please do not be offended by certain remarks, remember that these letters were written 77 years ago when people lived in another time and another world].

As the ships drew closer to Leyte, the American soldiers already on shore were being hampered by logistical problems which caused a severe delay in capturing the island.  When the 11th A/B division arrived on Bito Beach, General Hodge was finally able to move General Arnold’s 7th division and their plans started to come together.

Leyte activity map | enlarge for detail

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Letter XV                                         Landing                        Somewhere in the Philippines

Dear Mom,

We landed here in the Philippines yesterday morn, but before leaving the ship, the Japs treated us with their honorable (?) presence in the form of bombing planes.  Shore batteries kept hammering at them in the gloom of a misty a.m. and the tracer’s bullets reaching up to the planes made a very pretty but gruesome sight.   The way those tracer shells can pick out the planes you would think that they had a score to settle and just can’t wait to even it.

We landed finally on the beach, being taken to it in those much touted and not highly praised enough landing boats.  How boats can ground themselves  on land the way they do and still get off again unscratched is really a marvel.  Those boys who handle them also deserve a lot of credit and, as Winchell would say, “A great big orchid is due.”

The natives here were real friendly and helpful in a dozen different ways.  They ran up to the landing boats as soon as the bow of the boat sunk its bottom into the beach and helped us carry off our burdensome equipment.  It reminded me of Penn or Grand Central Stations with porters running helter-skelter all over the place.  The only thing missing to make the picture complete were the tell-tale red caps on their heads.

It wasn’t long after landing that we were organized into work groups and sent off to our chores.  Work kept on until we were hours into the night despite the fact that again, Jap planes came over.  I am happy to report that they will not be able to do so again, that is – not the same ones.

During the day we were handed K-rations for our dinner and after the excellent food we had aboard ship, they sure tasted like hell.  Just before dark last night, we were allowed a few moments to ourselves and at once set to work getting our tents erected.  Here again, the native men came in handy helping us to either put up the tents or dig our slit trenches.  Of course they don’t do any of this work for nothing, but for items such as undershirts, trousers, soap or most anything in the line of clothing.

I will write more about the people in a later chapter.  After all, you can’t do well to write about them on so short an acquaintance.  Right now we are busy setting up a camp decent enough to live in.  Having a few minutes to spare in between tents.  I thought I’d write this down before it completely slipped my unrententive and feeble brain.  There goes the whistle calling us back to work now, so until the next ten minute rest period, I’ll close with loads of love and car loads of kisses,

Love, Everett

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes – 

Howard R. Belden – Warren County, NY, US Army, Korea, Cpl. # 12107317, HQ Co/31/7th Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir, NK)

Roger Butts – Portsmouth, VA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Cook 1st Class, USS Oklahoma, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Gen. Colin Powell

Elvagine “Gene” Ertzberger – Rainier, WA; Civilian, WWII, shipyard welder

Lorenz D. Haselhofer – Watsonville, CA; US Navy, USS Hancock

Sonny Karcher – Enid, OK; US Army, Cold War

Fred M. Montanari – Westmoreland County, PA; US Air Force, pilot

Larry E. Murphy – E. St. Louis, IL; US Air Force & US Army, Cmdr. Sgt. Major (Ret. 36 y.)

Steven L. Nolin – New Brockton, AL; US Army Air Corps, Japanese Occupation, 188/11th Airborne Division

Henry G. Piper Sr. – Englewood, NJ; US Army, WWII, APO (Alaska)

Colin Powell – NYC, NY; US Army, Vietnam / General (Ret. 35 y.), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff / Sec. of State

Edward Souza – New Bedford, MA; US Air Force

James Wallace – Brooklyn, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, SSgt., B-24 waist gunner, POW (escaped)

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