GHQ | Historic Corregidor | Harbor Defense of Manila & Subic Bays | Corregidor Under Siege | Retaking Corregidor | Rediscovering Corregidor | Units & Personnel | Map Room | Secret Corregidor | Bulletin Board | Galleries | Mail Call | Links | 503d Regimental HQ | 503d Heritage Bn.
|Richard H. Olsen
Ser. No. #278027 USMC
Tacoma WA 99404
This 20th day of Feb. 1984, I, Richard H Olsen, now 64 years old, have returned to Corregidor after 42 years.
I came here with "F" Co., 4th Marine Regiment from Shanghai, China, via Olongapo, P.I. We arrived sometime after midnight setting foot on the North Shore Docks Christmas Eve. From Bottom Side we marched up to Middle Side Barracks where we bedded down for the remainder of the night. The Company was dispersed the following day with a portion being assigned to James Ravine and a portion in Cheney Ravine. I went to Cheney ravine, later I was re-assigned to a re-enforced rifle Company stationed at Middle Side Barracks. I was now in "L" Co. 4th Marines. As days and weeks went by our life on Corregidor became quite difficult due to increasing bombings and artillery fire. After the fall of Bataan our hardships increased due to more and artillery shell fire from Bataan. From the 1st of April 1942, we awaited the inevitable knowing that we couldnt expect any help from any source.
On 6 May 1942, I with the remaining survivors of the "Rock" gave up our arms in surrender to the Japanese as directed by our commanders. We were assembled in an area down by the 92nd Garage where we lived under duress and conditions beyond concept. After approximately three weeks of this type of living we were loaded aboard ship and transferred to Bilibid Prison in Manila. Thereby ending my life on Corregidor.
I never felt at the time as I saw the "Rock" fade away that I would ever want to return. But as the years went by, along with my growing older, something inside me yearned to return to retrace my steps on the "Rock".
Its hard to find the proper words as I sit here this day trying to sum up my life while on Corregidor, but I know that I would never re-live my past again, nor would I wish anyone else the hardship that I and others had to endure.
So in conclusion I will say, I have returned to the "Rock" fulfilling an ambition to once again walk where I walked once as a young marine. And as the "Rock" slowly disappears on the horizon this date, I know that this will be my final farewell.
Richard H. Olsen
|John L. Lindgren
"D" Co. 503rd Parachute Infantry
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
John is uncomfortable with the word 'Airborne' "because it is a very general term coined by the mighty 'Airborne Divisions' because they had to include the non-jumpers, a goodly percentage of their strength. Even the 503rd had a tiny percentage cooks etc The 503rd's only absolutely pure parachute troops were the rifle and artillery battalions, the engineers and the regimental headquarters company, and very nearly every man in service company. We weren't airborne troops we were parachute troops.'
At about 12:30 on the 16th of February 1945 "D" Company flying in C-47s out of Mondoro jumped on the golf course that we called jump field B in our field order. I was the platoon leader of the 4th platoon which had 60mm mortars. All of the platoon landed exactly on the jump objective, which was no small feat if you consider the jump field was very small and the wind conditions unfavorable - strong winds blowing to the west. All of the platoon mortars were in excellent condition and we had no jump casualties.1
The company was quickly assembled and our company commander Joseph A. Turinsky assigned us defence posts near the Southern end of the golf course.
The next day we relieved "F" company at Battery Wheeler and got orders to attack the huge gun position at once. "F" Company had suffered very heavy casualties there the day before. We attacked with the 1st Platoon led by James P. Gifford who used smoke grenades to blind the Japanese inside the magazines who were firing at us. The platoon started at the berm2 at the eastern end of the battery and with lightning speed and much whooping and hollering had climbed to the western parapet within 2 or 3 minutes. That night the south part of the battery blew up and one man was killed. The assault had cost the 1st platoon 6 men wounded and 1 killed.
The next day (the 18th), "D" Company attacked north and took Battery Cheney and at Wheeler Point to the south where we tied in with "C" Company on the high ground at Battery Wheeler. Nightfall came and even then Lt. Endo, a naval officer, was moving a force of nearly 800 Japanese Imperial Marines out of the magazine and tunnels at Battery Monja cut 300 feet below on the sheer cliffs of Wheeler Point.3 He led his men along the rocky beach washed by the South China Sea until he reached the mouth of Cheney Ravine and proceeded south along Cheney Trail. The trail had been laboriously cut into the sheer walls of Cheney Ravine and somehow or other he managed to slip by the 2nd and 3rd platoons positioned some distance above the trail on Battery Cheney. He hit the 4th platoon without warning and some Japanese Marines and the 4th Platoon were intertwined. The platoon withdrew to a concrete building4 at Wheeler Point, 30 yards to the west, pouring fire into the column now stalled on the trail. At 0430 when the fighting began, the night was pitch black but soon we called for illumination shells from the warships standing off to the west. They lit the battlefield like a thousand suns and helped the stout defence force "D" Company hold off attack after attack after attack on Wheeler Point. The men from "D" Company poured fire into the Japanese column that was unable to continue their attack to Topside. Their objective was to secure Topside and control of the island.
The Japanese Commander, Itagaki had been killed by paratroopers shortly after the first troops had landed and Endo had taken over from him. It was a dreadful night as the Japanese, desperate to push on, could not go beyond Wheeler Point. Wave after wave of marines attacked "D" Company, only to be cut down. The fight was over by 0630 when daylight finally came. When we cautiously surveyed the battlefield to our front it was littered with over 200 corpses of Japanese slain in the thwarted attacks. "D" Company had lost 15 dead, mainly from Company HQ and the 4th Platoon. To this day, Wheeler Point is Banzai Point for "D" Company soldiers who were there. The battle was the only really organized attack in strength during the operation and never again would the Japanese ever muster a force so large. Not only were the casualties massive but the elite5 of 7,000 (?6) Japanese on the Rock were lying out in the bare ground near Cheney Trail. In less than 2 hours nearly 200 men had perished along a 200 foot stretch of Cheney Trail.
The dead paratroopers were laid out in front of the concrete building side by side covered with their green ponchos. The wounded went up Cheney Trail towards the parade ground, walking slowly. The infantrymen could not dig graves in the rocky volcanic soil so the Japanese dead were gathered up and dropped over the cliff at Wheeler Point.
The building at Banzai Point now lies in ruins and only chunks of concrete remain in the tangled undergrowth. A change from the bare ground that we saw in 45 stripped of all vegetation. There was not a living animal or bird on the island.
I think that my comrades-in-arms fought bravely and well that night and I for one am proud of all of them. I am sad that those young men in their teens and twenties died so young. I can only say to them "Arma virumque cano"7
"I" Battery 60th C.A.C. (AA)
Nov. 13, 1984
As a young man just turned 21 years of age, I enlisted in the 60th Coastal Artillery Regiment stationed on Corregidor.
We arrived on Corregidor in April 22, 1941 after a 22-day voyage on the U.S. Army Transport, The Republic. There were over a thousand of us arrived on the dock that day. We all were assigned to the 59th and 60th Coast Artillery regiments to bring them up to wartime strength.
When we arrived here, there were many Philippine natives living here who were civilians. There were several barrios, with the largest being Barrio San Jose at Bottomside. However it was not long until they began evacuating all civilians from Corregidor. The barrios were demolished.
We went through six weeks of rather vigorous basic training while under quarantine here. We were in a part of Middleside barracks.
We began work on digging in gun positions. From the activities going on at the time, (including the mining of the channel into Manila Bay) it was obvious that we were preparing for war. Unfortunately, it came suddenly before we were prepared.
Before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, I was stationed at our gun position on Morrison Hill. Our mission was to protect "C" Battery of the 60th from dive bombers. They had four 3-inch anti-aircraft guns. We had two of our 50 caliber machine guns there on Morrison Hill.
On the night of December 6, 1941, we were told to be prepared for war and to fire at any plane which came in range which did not give the proper signal.
We knew that war was coming, and it came on Dec. 8, 1941. From my gun position on top of a tower on Morrison Hill, I watched the Japanese bomb Cavite Naval base, Nichols Field, the Port Area of Manila, and ships in Manila Bay.
Corregidor was not bomber until Dec. 29th, 1941. That first raid lasted several hours, and the Japs attacked with many planes including dive bombers. The first bombs dropped hit topside. It was not on the first run, I think, but early in the bombing. I remember seeing a bomb hit one of the water towers on topside. The tank disintegrated and the water came pouring down the hill.
We in the 60th shot down many planes that day. We had so many machine guns on the rock that their losses in dive bombers must have been especially heavy. I say this, because after that first day, they never attacked with dive bombers again until just a few days before Corregidor fell and after many of our guns had been destroyed.
During the month of January, February and March 1942, Corregidor was bombed with varying intensity. During that time practically all buildings constructed of flamable materials were destroyed, and all of the concrete structures were badly damaged, but the military damage was slight. Our positions on Morrison Hill were bombed several times, but fortunately,ualties were few and the damage to our equipment was repairable.
We moved our guns off the towers to ground positions to provide better protection and easier access.
During the latter days of March, and early April, I could see from my position the intense artillery fire and air raids going on in Bataan. I could see that the Japs were advancing steadily. The Japanese kept a large fire going when the fighting was heavy. They were burning their dead.
On the night of April 8, 1942, I could see and hear large explosions in the rear areas of Bataan. I knew the end was near for Bataan as I realized the Fil-American forces were blowing up ammunition dumps and other supplies. As I sat there watching, the earth started to tremble and then shake severely. I thought "They really blew up something big." Then as it went on, I realized it was an earthquake.
On April 9th, the Japanese reached the south of Bataan, and it was announced that Bataan had surrendered.
Later, I watched as our troops marched along a portion of the road that I could see from my position. Little did I realize it was the beginning of the infamous death March.
The Japs brought in all of the artillery they had and set it up along the south side of Bataan. Then began the constant artillery bombardment of Corregidor. The continual artiller fire and the daily bombardment from the air eventually reduced Corregidor to a rubble. Everything was eventually destroyed, even nearly all of the vegetation. Corregidor looked like a plowed field, where heavy jungle had been before.
The beautiful island which had been a nice place to serve was now an ugly ruin. We were all very sad when the surrender came. All of us had our moments of pride and glory, but they were subordinated to the bitter disappointment and humiliation of defeat.
When the surrender came on May 6, 1942, I was still with the men on Morrison Hill. On the night of May 6th, my battery assembled at topside near Battery Wheeler. The next morning, May 7th 1942, we marched down and surrendered to the Japanese at Middleside.
Then began almost 3½ years of unmitigated hell in Japanese prison camps.
I first returned to Corregidor in 1967, and I returned again in 1980, 1982, and now in November of 1984. It is hard to explain what keeps drawing some of us back to Corregidor. I have mixed feelings. I remember it as it was before the war and am sad that it is in ruins. Then I feel a sense of pride that Corregidor is preserved as a historical place and tourists can see some of the guns and other installations which make the story of Corregidor more real to them. I remember about the young, idealistic man who came here at the age of 21 and left at the age of 22 a completely different person.
It does me good to come to Corregidor and see it in peaceful and in friendly hands. I love the people of the Philippines, and the ones on Corregidor are special to me. I appreciate the warm friendliness and hospitality extended to me during my visits here.
This may very well be my last visit, so I will say "Mabuhay" to all. Forgive my being long-winded, I got carried away.
|Donald E. Abbott
Santo Rosa, CA
9 May 1987
My last arrival on Corregidor was by parachute at about 8:30AM on 16 February 1945. I, at the time, was a young 1st Lt. who was the Executive Officer of "E" Co., 2nd Bn. of the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team. My initial duty was to find out what companies of the 3rd Battalion had accomplished when our Battalion arrived in the afternoon. The Air Corps did not have enough C-47s to drop more than one Battalion at a time.
Others have told of the jump difficulties. I acted as jump master for the third "stick" of six jumpers in my plane. We were supposed to jump on a green light given by the pilot. I had observed the landing by the first two "sticks" and could see that they had drifted a good distance from the indicated "Initial Point" on jump field "A" which was the Topside Parade Ground. I saw the green light but could tell that it was far too early. I waited several seconds before leading the stick out the door. In the meantime the crew chief, who thought I was not going to jump, was pounding me on the leg. Even jumping late I landed far from the parade ground but the rest of the stick was safe and sound.
Our sector of responsibility was to cover an arc approximately in line with Smith #1 to the west around a line that would lead to Battery Morrison. Important features in our area included Battery Way, James Ravine and the Main Post Hospital.
During the first hour or so there was little action that I knew of. I went through the "mile long" barracks at one point and found a crew of a 75mm pack howitzer who had found a bottle of brandy and were feeling no pain. We later discovered the Japanese had been in their holes down the side of the island.
Around noon firing began to pick up and by the time the second battalion began to jump there was a lot of Japanese fire. I saw men hit in the air and slump in their harness. Others were jerking to avoid fire they could hear. There were men landing on the NCO barracks to the southwest and others landing in the roof trusses of the topside barracks.
The company lost a number of officers and men to wounds and injuries on the jump but I dont remember any KIA at the time.
We were shortly in position and accomplished our initial objectives of securing Battery Way and the Post Hospital.
From the first day we began what we called patrols in our area to find and eliminate all Japanese troops in our area. Several of these patrols were in company strength. Our first major encounter was in James Ravine where we lost several men. PFC Segobia was one that I remember being killed. 1st Lt. Joe Whitson was awarded the DSC for action at the underground infantry tunnel in James. We had several patrols down James and along the beach to the west. I remember at one point where the beach turns a sharp bend (to) the left at some rocks PFC Tamaroff, who was on point, turning and indicate there were a bunch of Japanese on the rocky shore. I indicate for him to fire with his Thompson sub machine gun, which he did. He killed about 15 japanese who had shed their clothing in preparation for an escape attempt to Bataan. They did not make it.
Another time we (the whole company) went down the ravine east of Wheeler Battery to the South Shore road, and turned west. We began to hit what we decided were outposts and we killed several of the enemy there. Before reaching Searchlight Point we sent one platoon down to the rocky beach where they killed some 20 enemy as they proceeded to the West. The Company rounded a curve at an unnamed point and began to receive heavy fire from Wheeler Point. 1st. Lt. Hudson Hill told me to deploy a squad along the unnamed point to cover the rest of the company. There was a slight saddle and I decided I could see what was happening by looking over the hill. One of the men said "Id not try that, Lieutenant, they have that spot zeroed in." I went on 5 yards or so and peered through the underbrush. Pvt Robinson had come right behind me and looked over the ridge. He was immediately hit between the eyes.
I decided the squad did not need me so I worked my way up to South Shore Road towards Wheeler Point. The lead was flying very heavy from what appeared to be all sides. Hill told me that 2nd. Lt. Emory Bell had been hit and killed as, for some reason, he stood up. We were trying to throw bazooka fire into the Monja tunnel entrances where we were getting automatic weapons fire, but they were hard to hit. We tried to raise the Navy for support but could not reach them. When we ran out of bazooka ammunition and were running short of other ammo, Hill decided we should withdraw.
Let me say that when the 11th Airborne Division was given the mission to take Manila we were very unhappy that the 503rd, a separate combat team, had not been included. General MacArthur, however, told us he had a greater honor for us; the capture of Corregidor. We did feel honored to recapture the island to avenge the loss on May 6, 1942. Even today I feel a bit of a choke in the throat when I recall the honor.
In closing, there are several impressions that come to mind; In February 1945 the flies on the island were unbelievable. The smell was even more overpowering with something like 5000 dead Japanese, that was not surprising.
Now the island is peaceful and tours of Japanese, Americans, Germans etc visit the major sites. We feel a little possessive. I feel happy that I, after 42 years, can show my wife Elizabeth all of the places I have told her about over the years. She had the worry about my safety at the time. It is a good thing she did not know what we were experiencing.
|John B. White
HQ & HQ Bty., H.D.M.,S.B.
21 Sep 86
First Arrival in Aug 39. War broke out in Europe in Sep.39. People get killed in wars so I decided to stay till the war was over. I stayed, but not the way I expected. I was fortunate. I was chosen to stay on Corregidor and work for the japanese. After 14 months, most of us were shipped to Bilibid prison to work for the Air Force. 13 months later we were shipped to Japan. I worked in a locomotive factory in Nagoya till the end of the war.
This is our (my wife & I) third trip back. Retired to So., Calif. Now live at 9350 Bolsa Ave., S.P.15, Westminster, CA 92683.
P.S. Would like to hear from anybody who knew me.
John B. White.
|Charles T. Snyder
"D" Co. 1st Bn
Virginia, MINN 55792
Wednesday, February 26, 1986
Arrived here on Corregidor from Bataan for the first time on December 28, 1941. Was in the Middleside Barracks when bombed on December 29, 1941. Manned a machine gun position on the beach at Camp Point in the 92nd Garage area. Surrendered May 6, 1942.
Returned to Corregidor 44 years later (on Feb 21, 1986), accompanied by my wife, Joyce. Our return has been made very pleasant. Very sentimental and nostalgic. Patricia and Charlie are wonderful hosts. Thankyou for a return trip that will never be forgotten.
M Co. 4th Marines
First arrived in Philippines in May 1941. Landed on Corregidor 2 or 3 days before the Dec 29 bombing. Spent the rest of the war until the surrender on Port Hughes. Manned a machine gun as part of the beach defence. My wife and I returned to the Philippines in 1972 to tour Luzon. This, however, is my first time back in Corregidor since the war. It is also the most enjoyable. Pat and Charlie have been great, as have all the others who have contributed to our welfare.
|Joe R. McFall
"B" Battery, 60th C.A.(AA)
I first arrived on the Rock in September 1939 - was assigned to "B" Battery, 60th AA, Topside Corregidor. Made PFC in January 1940, and Cpl in June 1940, and Sgt June 1941. This my first trip back since WW11. I came with a friend named Bill Delich. Hes one of the finest men I have met in many days.
There are no finer people in the world than the Filipinos, especially those on Corregidor. I call this my second home. Hope see you all in May 1987.
Joe R. McFall
Palm Harbor, FL 33563
May 7, 1985.
My father, Capt. G.R. Ames, commanded "C" Battery "Chicago" - on Morrison Hill from 1939-1942 - 60th Coast Artillery. Our family (older brother Roland, Mother Kay, and I and Dad, lived on Middleside in bldg #119 Lower. And with the wonderful help of Mike Nargatan, Bill Delich, Al McGrew and Charlie Altamonte, we have retraced thru the jungle, all those important parts of this island, that had meaning for my family. We were able to visit the hospital where I was born. Mom remembered the general area of the upper level where the room and delivery room were.
Then we climbed up to the middleside area where we approached the area of our quarters. We were with a photographer, Steve McCuiry and writer Bill Graves, from "National Geographic" - who took us from Hospital to the Bank that Mom worked at (she managed the Philippine Trust Co. in the Topside Barracks) and to the Cine, where mum was able to re-enact her role as "Liz Jones" in a 1940 "theatrical" show - on the stage of the Cines bombed out shell open to the sky. As we toured around and met with the others on the tour at various points on the island, we were comfortable and happy. We thought perhaps wed be overcome with emotion - but it was a bitter-sweet feeling - a warm return home. And I decided to return for three days here at the Corregidor Inn - where I am happy and content. The breezes are blowing off the China Sea, as we sit by the light of the Coleman lantern. Charlies massaging Morglans feet - ("reflexology") - Al McGrew, Flor and I and Charlie are discussing how this place must be protected in a benevolent and constructive way - for posterity. I am content here because everywhere I see the scenery and feel the climatic similarity to the Virgin Islands, where I lived for 10 years. Hibiscus, bougainvilla, Cade¤ a de Amor, Frangipani, etc - all in bloom. The landscapes and seascapes, the outlines of cavite and bataan are reminiscent to me of the U.S. & British Virgin Islands in the eastern Carribean.
When I first left here in 1941, at 14 months old, my "memories" were infantile - but when I went to the Virgin Is, 31 months later, everything looked familiar. Now I realize I loved living there because Im sure what I "saw here as a child was connected with visual "sensorial" images that evoked feelings of contentment and happiness.
And then the war came - we were evacuated. Dad stayed behind and fought with him brave and dedicated men of "C" Battery until the surrender. He was in cabanatuan camp #1, Aryoku Maru, Erouro (?) Maru, and Brazil Maru, and died in Moji, Japan on January 31, 45, the day the Rangers liberated Cabanatuan.
Today we retraced the way up to Morrison Hill through the thick jungle growth and found "Chicago". What an experience. We found gun emplacements, the command post tunnels, mess buildings. What remained were foundations, metal powder drums filled with gravel, chicken wire - rusted and twisted - the landscape all rearranged by bombing and artillery - and tomorrow we look again for 119L, on Middleside.
Ive written too much but feel fortunate to have the help of all of these fine new friends, here and in Manila - to have made this experience so special.
My thanks to Bill, Al, Mike, Charlie, Patsy, Lolita, Jim Black, Flor. Patsy, my fellow March 19 Piscean - and anyone else who has so graciously made my trip home so special!
I will be back!! Salmat Po! Mabuhay
May 8, 1985
The old teacher here has to continue. Today we took a banca trip around Corregidor. The banca included two men from Cabcaben who really handled their boat with ease. We stopped and explored at Bill delichs searchlight Battery Pt. Also James Ravine. Then we continued on around after lunch with Lt. Col Sibol here and after we went up to find the actual site of 119L. And we did. Its completely destroyed - the upper story concrete collapsed onto the lower walls, etc, crumpled and distorted from their usual positions. Vines and trees have grown through whereever, inncluding bougainvilla & hibiscus. Most likely planted by my Dad. I was moved and both dazed and amazed. Its sad, but I now can say that I have seen it. One thing I found was screening - which I believe might have been part of my crib, when a baby from 1949-41. The crib was screened on five sides, like a cage. Screens were not used for anything else then, just capiz shell windows and shutters.
May 9, 1985
I am now tired and content - looking forward to returning there early tomorrow morning to really photograph the site.
Then hovercraft to Manila.
I am sad to leave at this time but Ill be back and want only to do all I can to help Patsy and Charlie and the others who are seeking through their foundation to preserve the island and build a youth organization that will work, and hopefully offer hope and pride for this gem of an island. Thats it til next time.
|?? P. Hill
Battery Crockett "B" - 59th C.A.C.
6 May 1985
The large guns on Corregidor kept the enemy from Manila bay. The AA guns kept the enemy flying higher and their bombs less accurate.
This delayed the advance of the enemy for several months, otherwise this may havebeen a different world today.
Credit must also be given to our searchlight unit for a job well done.
I always look forward to coming back to Corregidor, my second home.
?? P. Hill
|PFC Jesse S.
Co. C. 161st Airborne Engineer Battalion attached to the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment.
Jumped here at 0800 16 February 1945. Landed on the south end of the Golf Course. Two of the troops from my plane were killed on the jump when their parachutes failed to open. The drop altitude was 250 feet and there was no time for them to deploy their reserve chutes. They were SSGT Linsey and PVT Gambral, both family men with wives and children back in the States. Also three others from my engineer company were killed the first day. All five troops names are engraved on the 503rd memorial at the top side parade ground.
Three days later, 18 Feb 45, early in the morning the platoon I was with was ordered to escort the medics down to the injured troops down below on the side of the hill. Crossing the parade ground we received heavy Jap fire and we had to recover and went to the left through the undergrowth. I was the machine gunner and the platoon leader Lt. Burk told me to pepper the bushes with my 30 cal machine gun. While I was firing my gun jammed. I pulled the lever to start again. It jammed a second time, so I pulled the lever again. That damned gun quit again and wouldnt fire anymore so I flipped up the cover to see what was stopping the mechanism. I lifted up my head to see into the chamber when all of a sudden I was hit by a Jap bullet on the right side of my face.
It hit me on my right cheekbone behind and a little low of my right eye. It severed the optic nerve and continued through my face blowing out my left eye. Everything turned dark and I yelled out I was hit. The medics gave me first aid. Two of the troops walked me back to the CP Aid Station. After the doctors looked at me a second time, he said "Your war days are over and youre on your way home."
Its hard to believe that after 41 years, returning to Corregidor for the third time to be able to say that Ive been very successful in business and especially in my marriage. My wonderful wife, Ruth, has been my companion and friend ever since I came home on that hospital ship so many years ago. I owe more to her than I have room to describe here.
Our first son was born in 1946. His name is Daniel and he lives in La Habra, California with his wife Sue and his two children, Holly Marie and Mathew. Our second child was a girl. Ruth ("Pinky") was born in 1947 and now lives in Indiana with her husbane Steve and her children Mike, Karen, Scott and Stephanie. Our third kid was born in 1948 and now Jimmy lives in hawaii with his wife Rachel and two boys Carlos and Sammy. Unexpectedly, three years later our third son Gerard popped up and has been a maverick ever since, just like me. Hes training thoroughbred horses in Lexington, kentucky and still looking for a gal who can keep up with him and my two grandchildren, Carlos and Sam.
It was a dream of mine to come here with my children and show them the battleground where I fought so long ago.
Patsys wonderful hospitality has made this visit extra special. Whenever any of my family comes back to visit the "Rock", I know that Patsy and Mike will treat them as nice as they pampered me.
Written by Jim Castillo as told to by Jesse, my Dad.
Longwood, Florida 32750
After returning to Corregidor after 42 years, I think I am mixed up more than I was before coming back.
I always had a deep sense of shame of surrendering to the Japs. I suppose it is because of my stupid Irish Pride.
I always thought the Philippines
was the most beautiful place on this earth and the people do not have to take a back seat
"K" Battery 59th C.A.C.
First arrived on the Rock in early May, 1941. Was assigned to "K" Battery, Seaward Defense Searchlight on Battery Point. Made Corporal in August and was the Light Commander in October, anf to the date when "Skinny" threw in the towel. Joined the "Slopehead" army as a civilian employee on that date. When the "Slopes" threw in their towel in 1945, I re-inlisted in the U.S. Army and remained there until early March and took a discharge so that I could go about spending my back pay and seriously try to drink all of the booze in Illinois. (I failed.)
Returned to the Rock in October of 1978 for the first time and now on my 7th return trip. No longer a tourist, I am now balikbayan. Each trip has been better than the one preceding it. There are no finer people in the world than the Filipinos, especially those on Corregidor. As long as I am able to walk I will make this annual journey to the Philippines and to Corregidor, my home, away from home.
|Louis E. DUNCAN
Capt. USMC (Ret.)
17 Oct 1984
Today I came back to Fort Mills, Corregidor Island. This is the first time since I left here, when the island was taken by the Sapanese on 6 May, 1942. At the time I was the Sergeant Armorer of the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines. When we left this island all the island was bare, the trees had all been destroyed by shellfire + bombing. Today the island is a jungle. It is very hard to find landmarks that I would know from 1942.
Today I can see the places where my friends were killed along the road. It brings back many memories of friends who are now dead. I am glad that I was able to come back to see The Island once more.
Louis E. DUNCAN
Arrived Manila 26 Sept, 1941 on U.S. President Coolidge. Stationed Ft. Stotsenberg (Clark area).
Unit went first to Muntinlupa, Rizal and then to Lingayen. The 192-194s carried <unreadable> action into Bataan. See Miller "Bataan U???" U.S. Air in WW2, Vol 1 "Fall of the Philippines"
|M/Sgt Fred J Craft,
Serial No. 6558036
13 Feb 1985
Today I have done like General MacArthur. I have returned after 47 years.
I was stationed on Caballo Island, known as Fort Hughes. G. Battery 59th Coast Artillery.
I came here in may 1936 and left May 1938.
On Fort Hughes we had two 3-inch guns, two 6-inch guns, four 12-inch mortars and two 14-inch disappearing canons. My job was operating electric power plant. We were preparing for war in 1937 - with Japan. Today brought back fond memories.
M/Sgt Fred J Craft, (Retd)
|James C. Collier
Btry D "Cheney"
Served as an artillery gunner, observer and artillery spotter until war began in Dec, 41, on 12-inch D.C. guns.
Special assignment on a detail
with Major Julian, W/O Charles "Jose" Della Malva and Wm. Hall of Btry
"D", 59th. We were artillery spotters in the Topside lighthouse when Bataan
fell, Apr 9, 1942.(Check this date) We had a "ringside" seat for those escaping
from Bataan in the North Channel. They came any way they could: on bancas, boats, rafts -
some tried swimming - impossible. Three of the five men in the lighthouse were decorated
with the Silver Star, I wounded from intense barrage from 240 howitzer in Bataan. Only the
thick walls of the lighthouse kept us alive. The "mission" was a success. We
furnished accurate data for roving batteries of 155s, about the only guns still
firing in the last days.
(********Appears two pages stuck together************)
The shells landed on top of the magazines at Geary, buried themselves in the few feet of earth, causing an implosion - a downward force, thereby weakening the reinforced concrete roof to the point that it would no longer repel the incoming rounds. Between 20 and 30 men were killed in this explosion, the force of which was so great that everybody thought it was an earthquake. Lying on my bunk at the time, I was actually rolled over by the force. Some men claimed to be thrown physically from their bunks. Over 250 - perhaps 350-400 black powder charges blew in the left magazine facing the battery. Between late December and early January of 1942, geary had already lost 29 men from bombing.
Then Btry Geary had lost more than two thirds of its men by early May. My friend, ??? Dougberty, from Salem, Virginia, a corporal at the time, became first Sargeant of Battery Geary around the age of 21, unheard of in those days. But there werent any leaders left.
Wainwright surrendered the Rock May 6, 1942; Expecting another landing, my outfit came out of a dugout to begin digging in to repel landing forces below the topside Golf Course. Most of the men from the topside batteries by this time had quick-marched to Malinta Tunnel where they were in reserve as provisional infantry waiting to be ordered out of the East end of the tunnel to fight the japanese. Fortunately for them the war ended on 6 May. Most would have been killed if they had joined the fighting on the "tail of the tadpole". Communications and lines of supply had ceased to exist by early morning of May 6. Our radio was a garble of commands, pleas for medics, help and supplies that more than anything, it told the pathetic story, the futility of further defence. David Johnson, from Jackson Mississippi, was wounded, raked" by japanese machine gun fire down his left side, not far from the east entrance to the tunnel. He told me that as he lay "dying" or so he thought, the thought that his mom in Jackson would receive $10,000 from his G.I. insurance colsoled him as the blood oozed from his wounds.
Later, at Cabanatuan prison camp #1, David would casually reach down and pull a part of a bullet that had worked its way to the surface, from his arm or leg. It happened so frequently that he became somewhat accustomed to it.
These are a few highlights from the war. I could go on, but read what others have to say. Each story is a little different. I was released from prison camp near Toyama, Honshu, Japan on Sept 7, 1945, about 3 weeks after V.J. day. Was transferred back to the states, spending one year in army hospitals recuperating from the various diseases shared by most of the P.O.W.s during 3 1/2 years of incarceration.
James C. Collier
|Martin D. Eichman
CWO USMC (Ret.)
Feb 24, 1986
My last previous look at Corregidor was from the gangway of a Japanese Army transport in May 1942. Yes, the island has undergone change. It is once again a sort of tropical paradise.
I arrived with the 4th Marine Regiment, after a year and a half in Shanghai, in time for the first heavy bombing on Dec 29, 1941. I was able to witness first hand some of the major destruction of the "bomb-proof" barracks at Middleside. The rest of my war time on the island was centered on the 2nd Bn Hdq. in James Ravine.
Poor james Ravine - sides collapsed, partially filled-in, and tunnel inaccessible. Somehow though, the total destruction of battery geary saddened me more than any other point on the island. I guess Middleside and Topside barracks was the next most depressing.
The happiest place, of course, is the Corregidor Inn. What great people! What great food!
I was in Japan (P.O.W.) when the Philippines were started on their road to independence. I find great satisfaction to be here as the people of the Philippines regenerate their freedom, with a fresh beginning with a new government.
With all my heart, I wish you great success.
Martin D. Eichman
JOHN LINDGREN'S NOTES: Even though some of what I wrote in the log in 1987 was incorrect, I think my entry should be as close as possible to what I wrote then. But in 1999, for the sake of accuracy, I make these comments: «
3. I had tried but was unable to reach Battery Monja in 1997 and knew little of its size. While the Japanese had a small number of men in battery Monja, the bulk of the well equipped and trained force were quartered out of harm's way in two underground infantry barracks at Battery Point and James Ravine and a large underground shelter in Grubbs Ravine. These facilities could easily house up to four thousand men. «
4. The building, called the bunker by D Company riflemen, was built with heavy timber and completely covered with almost two feet of earth «
5. The overal plan for the island defence was to put poorly equipped second class troops close to the obvious amphibious landing site at Bottomside to delay the assault and then call on the troops who were sheltered completely safe from bombing and naval gunfire to attack the invaders quickly once they were ashore and most vulnerable. When the paratroops landed on the high ground atop Corregidor the reserve troops route to the Bottomside landing site was blocked. They would have to dislodge the paratroopers first; a highly unlikely feet of arms, if their plan was going to work. «
6. The 7000 figure is probably correct. I have correspondence from some of the Japanese Corregidor survivors. Several years ago they stopped letters to me at the request (as far as I can gather) from the department that is responsible for veterans affairs. I was told by Mr. K. Ishikawa to send letters through official channels. His outfit was made up, among others, of sailors whose ships had been sunk, servicemen released from hospitals; they had one rifle between four men. Sure enough he was stationed at Bottomside where the amphibious attack was sure to come. Luckily for him, he was in Engineer ravine at the power plant; the landing came on South Beach. The Japanese veteran's Association may well be the agency that furnished the official strength figure of 6850. I essentially had four survivors names and at least two of them used this figure. «
7. A quote from Virgil's Aeneid - "I sing of arms and the man" - reflecting upon the long contest between weapons and mankind - Ed ) «
|Corregidor - Then & Now GHQ | Coast Artillery - Harbor Defenses | 503d RHQ | 503d PRCT Heritage Bn. | Rock Force | Board|
H Version 02.24.07