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The Generals, Australians and Borneo (1)

USS Boise

From: General Kenney Reports

I joined Gen. MacArthur on board the USS Boise at Palawan on 8 June as I had promised.  The ship steamed south and the next afternoon joined the main convoy carrying the 9th Australian Division, commanded by Gen. Wooten.  We made the rendezvous between Palawan Island North Borneo.

The weather was perfect, the mountains on either side of the straits were beautiful, I had about 9 hour’s sleep the night before and there was no sign of a Jap airplane in the skies.  It was so peaceful, it didn’t seem as though there was a war on at all.

On the morning of the 10th, 6 o’clock a lone Jap bomber came over, dropped one bomb, which missed a landing craft, and then flew away under under a hail of antiaircraft fire.

We watched the Naval gunfire on the landing beach on the island of Labuan, our first objective, and after the RAAF and the 13th Air Force bombers got through a farewell blasting of the Jap positions, Generals MacArthur and Morehead, Adm. Royal and Naval commander, Bostock, and myself went ashore.

The Aussie first-wave troops had landed and pushed inland from the beach about ¼ mile.  They put out their patrols and then calmly started cooking their tea.  Nothing seemed to worry this fine-looking body of troops.  They were bronzed and healthy-looking, well equipped and there was no question about their morale.

Australian soldiers land at Labuan Island, North Borneo

The “brass-hat” party moved along the road paralleling the beach, to the accompaniment of an occasional sniper’s shot and a burst of machine-gun fire ahead of us and farther inland.  I began to feel all over again as I had at the Leyte landing,  Mac kept walking along, enjoying himself hugely, chatting with a patrol along the road every once in a while and asking the men what they were shooting at.

Moreshead and Bostock asked me where we were going, I shrugged my shoulders and pointed at MacArthur.  Just then a tank came lumbering along the road and we stood a side to let it pass.  As the tank reached the top of a little rise perhaps 50 yards ahead of us a burst of rifle and machine-gun fire broke out and then stopped.  The turret gunner looked out, said, “We got those two obscene, unmentionables so-and-so’s,” and the tank drove on.

Australian troops and tanks land at Labuan Island

Mac commented on the good clothes and well-kept equipment the two dead Japs had and remarked that they looked like first-class troops.  Just the, an Australian Army photographer came along to take pictures of the two dead lying there in the ditch.  His bulb flashed and he dropped to the ground with a sniper’s bullet in his shoulder.

I walked over to Gen. MacArthur and told him that all he had to do was to hang around that place long enough and he would collect one of those bullets too and spoil our whole trip.  It looked to me as though we had finally gotten into the Jap outpost position and if he wanted my vote, it was to allow the Australian infantry to do the job they came ashore for.

To be continued….

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

When the military has cut-backs….

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Eliza Blanchard – Lincoln, AL; US Army WAC, medic

Richard Devos – Grand Rapids, MI; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Jane (Sepko) Frink – Southington, CT; US Army

Dennis Hogg – Sydney, AUS; RA Air Force # 1200664, Vietnam, A Squadron

Gordon Lewis – Thornlands, AUS; Australian Army # 434815, WWII

Patrick McCormick – Toronto, CAN; Canadian Army, WWII

Ronald W. Nutt – Ocean Grove, AUS; RA Air Force # 135995

Graham Rohrsheim – Port Pirie, AUS; RA Navy, Commander (Ret.)

Alfred Tuthill – Chesapeake, VA; US Coast Guard, Master Chief Radioman (Ret. 28 y.)

William Zobel Jr. – Hollywood, FL; US Air Force

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