One strange aspect of this landing is that the 503rd RCT was not awarded a
bronze arrowhead for its participation in the Mindoro landing, nor was the
19th RCT. The reason given is that "there was no opposition encountered."
"There was no opposition encountered."
December 1944. USS LST-738 burning after she was hit by a Kamikaze off
the Mindoro landing beaches, 15 December 1944. USS Moale (DD 693) is
nearby. Note hole in LST-738's starboard side, just forward of the
large "738" painted there. Smoke in the left distance may be from
LST-472, which was also hit by the Kamikaze attack. : U.S. Naval
Historical Center Photograph - USN Photo NH 95259
(This same reason is given by the Army hierarchy for not awarding bronze
arrowheads to the 503d RCT for the Nadzab jump and Noemfoor jumps.)
One bronze star could be awarded for participation in an amphibious or
airborne assault landing. Quoting from the Chief, Historical Services
Division, Department of the Army in a letter to Colonel John A. Herzig, the
Chief, Lt Col Clayton R Newell, states: “Research indicates the 503d
Infantry is only entitled to one arrowhead for an assault landing, which is
for the action on Corregidor during the Luzon campaign.”
Lt Col Clayton R Newell's research, had it uncovered the whole truth,
should have noted the fact that numerous other units which landed on
Mindoro, some of them after the 503d PRCT, were awarded an arrowhead.
One need look only to
section of General Orders No. Department, Washington, D.C., 26 September
1940 entitled “Units Credited With Assault Landings:-
Mindoro Island - 15 December 1944, 0730 to
Philippine Civil Affairs Unit No. 9
7th Support Aircraft Party, 9th Tactical Air Communications Squadron
Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 94th Anti-aircraft Artillery Group
Company A, 98th Signal Battalion.
Company A, 583d Signal Air Warning Battalion
Company D, 583d Signal Air Warning Battalion
617th Port Company
3683d Signal Service Detachment, 3367th Signal Service Battalion.
3684th Signal Service Detachment, 3367th Signal Battalion.
3685th Signal Service Detachment, 3367th Signal Service Battalion.
3686th Signal Service Detachment, 3367th Signal Service Battalion.
3689th Signal Service Detachment, 3367th Signal Service Battalion.
3699th Signal Service Detachment, 3367th Signal Service Battalion.
3700th Signal Service Detachment, 3367th Signal Service Battalion.
3701st Signal Service Detachment, 3367th Signal Service Battalion.
3842d Signal Service Detachment, 3367th Signal Service Battalion.
148th Field Artillery Battalion.
Battery B, 166th Anti-aircraft Gun Battalion.
179th Coast Artillery Battalion.
235th Port Company.
Battery B, 237th Antiaircraft Artillery Searchlight Battalion.
Detachment, 267th Ordnance Maintenance Company.
Headquarters and 2d platoon, 301st Quartermaster Railhead Company.
389th Quartermaster Truck Company.
412th Medical Collecting Company.
2d Platoon, 453d Engineer Depot Company.
Each of these units was in the same convoy and came ashore at Mindoro under
the same, or better conditions as did the 503d.
Inconsistencies of this nature support the 503d's view of itself as a "Bastard
Regiment." In the corridors of Army power and bureaucracy, the
503d was like a child without a father - having no one beyond the rank of
Colonel to argue for the necessary and staple things required to operate a
unit - supplies, vehicle allocations, artillery support
and, when an operation was complete, unit recognition. Often in
the face of severe shortages, the 503d had to obtain service of supply
by less conventional means, and thus the unit established repute as
"COLONEL JONES AND HIS 3000 THIEVES", a title of which the members of the
503d became intensely proud.