JUNE 1945








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10 - 16 JUNE 1945



10 June 1945


No. 61
091500 June 45
101500 June 45
"3. OUR OPERATIONS: Bn's continue building and improving their respective areas. The 3d Bn dispatched two rifle platoons, one to 213FA & one to 222FA for perimeter protection. See overlay. 3d Bn sent a reconnaissance squad to VICTORIAS-FABRICA area to survey for a motorized reconnaissance headquarters in VICTORIAS.


4. RESULTS OF OPERATIONS: RCT assumed responsibility of the tactical operation on NEGROS ISLAND as of 092400. Preparations are made to relieve other units of the 40th Division."



Fifty Filipino laborers clearing area on high ground across the river where one Bn tent area will be located. We are to remain here as tactical reserve for 76th Inf Regt Guirrella Force which has the mission of taking over the 160th Inf. operational area. The 160th Inf was releived and the 2d Bn, 503d assumed control of area.


Dog Co. alerted for move tomorrow morning. Mission to patrol highways and post bridge guards in the Pulapandan area.


"F" Co. alerted to send one reinforced platoon, one section LMG, 1 squad of mortars, with five armed jeeps for patrol duty on highways near Victorias."



"No activity."

"Remained in bivouac. Pass- Bill-Collector."

"2d Platoon plus one section of LMG's moved to Victorias. The rest of the company to follow tomorrow."



"F" Company entrucked and moved back through Bacolod and Silay along Hwy.#1, toward Victorias. East of Silay the company, minus the reinforced 2d platoon who had gone onto Victorias, stopped at a hacienda near Hwy.#1 and bivouaced for the night.

The house was a large one-story frame building. Like many other homes it was built eight or nine feet above the ground. As in most elegant houses, even though not cared for, the hardwood floors still retained a high sheen.

Several rooms had been partitioned in on the ground floor, to house servants. It was much like the task force headquarters home in San Jose, Mindoro.

The locals told us the hacienda was the former home of Brenda Marshall's family before the war. Brenda Marshall was a Hollywood star at that time, and had been born Ardis Ankerson Gaines in Negros.  (In 1941 she had married the actor, William Holden.)

Outside on the grounds was a large swimming pool and the remains of beautiful landscaping. The pool and the gardens must have been something special when they were cared for, but now several years of neglect had taken their toll. Wild grass and bushes had invaded and taken over the grounds.



11 June 1945


No. 62
101500 June 45
111500 June 45

"3. OUR OPERATIONS: 2d Bn assumed responsibility for securing of communications and supply route from PULAPANDAN (96.0=72:5) to FABRICA (unknown). Strong points established at BAGO RIVER (99.0-74.0, 40th DIVISION AMMO DUMP (12.6-87.7) and VICTORIAS (28.0-18.6)."


The PR refers to the map "Negros Island, 1/50,000." Evidently the RCT S-3 did not have a map of the Fabrica area at this time.


"Dog Co moved out using one truck to haul troops from (here) to Bacolod where additional trucks will transport them to Pulapandan."


Filipino laborers continue work on new Bn tent area.


F Co reinforced platoon departed for Victorias aboard jeeps.


Hot meals and fresh water supply will help the men get in shape after their long stay in the hills."

"Co. entrucked to move and Co CP set up at Bago River bridge 2 Kilos S of Bago. The 3d and 4th plts. took over guard duty at the 40th Div ammo dumo 2 Kilos. S of Bacolod."

"No Entry."

"1st platoon minus 12 men moved out & set up around Malago River bridge to act as bridge guard. 12 men from the 1st platoon moved to the Imbang River bridge. Third platoon set up on the Malago River bridge with the first. The mortar platoon set up just outside of Bacolod. Second platoon & Co. HQ. set up in rear of municipal building in Victorias."


I believe the "F" Company history may be in error where it says that the mortar platoon was set up outside Bacolod. One squad had accompanied the 2d platoon the day before into Victorias.  The other squads stayed with the company. 



The Malago River bridge was about two and one half miles west of Victorias on Hwy. # 1, heading towards Fabrica. The 1st platoon guarded this bridge and the bridge over the Imbang River. The Imbang River bridge was about eight miles beyond the Malago River bridge.  The Malisbog (Malato) River bridge was another eighteen miles further. Bacolod, Negros' major city, was about thirty-two miles south from Victorias. 

Silay was about twenty miles south from Victorias. All the steel bridges on Hwy. # 1 were intact except the one over the Himogaan River at Fabrica. The Japs had blown a span here, and until a replacement could be arranged, vehicles had to be ferried across the big river. 

Manila was called the "Pearl of the Orient"- and the port town of Dumaguette, Oriental Negros, was called the "Little Pearl of the Orient".  Victorias,  in turn, had been of the reputation as  the "Tiny Pearl of the Orient."

It had indeed been a tiny pearl, until the Japanese had set it to the torch.

 The population of Victorias in June 1945 was difficult to assess, but was probably in the range of between eight and ten thousand people. It is difficult to estimate the population of Philippine towns generally, as a great number of the poor live, or rather squat, in small nipa huts which are crowded into small irregular areas. Like other Philippine areas there were rich and there were poor with few middle class  in between, but Victorias seemed to have a higher proportion of the rich or well-to-do than elsewhere. 

There were efforts being made by the authorities, as tentative as a liberation authority could be at the time, to restart the agricultural industry on Negros, which had laid fallow during the years of the Japanese occupation. Sugar was not just an important Philippine staple, it was also a major export commodity, and Negros had been the major sugar producing region of the country.   It was thus not long before Capt. Bailey and I became acquainted with a Mr. Scott,  of the United States Department of Agriculture. Scott was an expert on Philippine agriculture , charged with getting the Sugar industry recommenced.

The Filipino sugar cane planters, favoured by years of privilege, power and protection,  were very wealthy indeed. With their large land holdings, and the lack of machinery, hundreds of people worked for them in an almost feudal-like environment.  The workers were hardly free agents, for their livelihood depended on the support of the owner of their property. The larger the land holding, the larger the main Hacienda around which the workers settled would become. The Haciendas were all named, and the workers thus would be of "Hacienda Rosario", "Hacienda Paz" and Hacienda Luisita, etc.

We found that many owners had more than one  plantation, and that families could acquire immense wealth through their several plantations.  Usually they built a large home on each plantation, and the workers lived nearby. These planters also had acquired homes in the main towns, and many times we heard of the owners also having residences overseas in Spain.

Victorias had a number of very fine town houses. The hub of the town was a large square, about two blocks in length running north-south and a block wide east-west. Just south of the square was a similar block containing the public school. Most of streets were paved with asphalt. Hwy. # 1 bordered the north side of the square.  Some businesses were located on the north side of this highway. Large homes, most of them two story, lined the streets on the east and west of the square and the school grounds. These houses continued on for a couple of blocks to the east. Also, east two blocks was the Catholic Church.  It must have been a beautiful building prior to the Japanese departure.

A large, two story yellow, stucco municipal building sat in the middle of the square. A masonry wall about five feet high surrounded the school grounds. The entrances through the openings were guarded by large wrought iron gates. Two blocks west of the square were the farmers' market and a number of other dry-goods businesses. The market was composed of corrugated steel roofed sheds built around a courtyard, about the size of a football field. The other outstanding structure was a tall cement tower which covered the cities' steel water tank.  

The  Japanese, for no military reason short of barbarity, had put much of the town to the torch when the 40th Division landed further west. The homes, the school, the businesses across the highway - all lay in ruins. Many shacks had been built in the ruins of the homes by using charred and damaged materials which had been salvaged.   The wooden parts and the furnishings in the church must have burned intensely, because the masonry walls had almost completely toppled. Only a few structures survived -  the municipal building was unharmed, as were the farmers market and the small businesses near it. The town water supply, a steel tank atop a water tower, had strafing holes in many places, though as we would soon establish, it was not damaged beyond redemption.    The torching of Victorias was a senseless act against innocent people, but we were getting used to the petty, vindictive and malevolent conduct of the Japanese.

 It was a if the Japanese had felt that if the Filipinos were not going to grow sugar for them, they should not be allowed to have a society that could grow it for anyone else.

 Early in the occupation the Japs had searched every house, even the nipa huts, and had cleaned them of everything of value, and much which was of no value to them at all. To the very poor, an old treadle operated Singer sewing machine, was their most prized possession.  The Japanese took them all, even though it was improbable they ever had the ability to do anything with them except to deny them to their poor owners. The looting of valuable furniture, fine clothing, jewellery and watches, we could understand.  We recalled Corregidor,  a collection point for the booty of Manila, so awash with booze and loot it was a wonder the island didn't sink. What we couldn't understand was the mean theft of personal items, down even to family snapshots,  kitchen and eating utensils - even the wooden items. The Japs took them all , as if they were intending to eliminate from Filipino Culture all individual and collective memory of things Western. 

The water pumps and other city equipment was gathered up, too.  All of this was hauled to Bacolod and placed in warehouses. The people were left with bare houses and little more than the clothes on their back. It was a wonder to us how cheerfully they welcomed us into their lives, and how eager they were to share what little they had left.  

As if the woes of the Japanese occupation had not been sufficient a plague upon the Negros landscape, there were the Filipino bandits.  Our grouping the guerrillas into regiments and calling them "Philippine Army" was a farce.   These bands of self-styled "guerrillas" were usually controlled by a self-appointed or franchised "colonel."  They ranged between "honest, brave and keen, but but untrained," to "criminal vermin."  It was difficult for us to realise that come what may, we would be leaving at some future point, and placing the population in their tender mercies.

 We soon found that many of the so called guerrillas had a talent for evading aggressive contact with the Japanese,  and instead spent their time levying 'taxes' on the general (ie unarmed) populace.  Many did not seem to even bother with the pretence - they simply brandished their guns and demanded goods and provisions, and anything (or anyone) else they fancied. To resist meant being branded as a collaborator and being shot on the spot.

 The morning after the company moved into Victorias, several of us walked over to the farmers' market. We saw an armed Filipino (guerrilla) knock an old farmer down and take several chickens the farmer was holding with their feet tied together. We yelled and the bandit ran. T/Sgt Wendell Wuertz had his TSMG and tried to get the Flip. He had to wait until the guy cleared the crowd, but by then the range was too great. The culprit escaped,  however, sans chickens.

Bailey issued an order that, with the exception of our intelligence agents,  all weapons brought into town were to be confiscated. The word evidently spread quickly.  Our "guerrilla allies" did not come to Victorias again, at least not armed. The people of Victorias quickly came to look upon us as their saviours, and Lt. Bailey was the "Great White Father".

This seemed to get us invited out to eat every night, and we had a chance to learn more of the area, and its heritage.  The native dialect of Negros was Western Visayan, but there was no language barrier. The Philippines was multi-lingual, (13  native language groups, and more than 170 languages, variations, and dialects) so English had become the common inter-island, inter-region language. Most everyone could speak, or at best understand it.   Since the commencement of institutionalised schooling in 1901, classes throughout the Philippine Islands had been conducted in English, for there had been no true multi-regional language in the country except Spanish, and that had been coveted by the wealthy influential and pretentious classes.  It was a matter of family pride if a six year old beginning the first  grade could speak good English.

 One of our early acquaintances was Antonio Joover, a local architect. The Filipinos had been left no photographs.  Instead, he drew a number of sketches showing what the town looked like before the Japanese plague had stripped the town of its fine or heritage value buildings.  The large, Spanish-type stucco covered homes, the school, the church, and the business section on the north side of the highway all had a beauty that made their loss all the more sad.

 We did help the locals get a water supply system back into operation. We got some welding equipment from the warehouses in Bacolod (on loan - to prevent free-for-all pilferage, this was now the property of the United States Government), and local welders patched the holes in the water tank. We also got needed pumps and an electric generator, and soon they had water.

 The 2d platoon reinforced by a light machine gun section from 2d Battalion Headquarters company, and a 60mm mortar squad from our mortar platoon was to patrol and keep the Japs out of the agricultural lands in the northwest corner of the island. The Japs had burned many of the haciendas and driven the people off, but there were still many who could not move from their only source of food and shelter.  Not every habitable building had been destroyed,  so the outlying areas still supported, in their own fashion,  a population that had remained at a safe distance from the Jap garrisons in the towns.

As long as the planters stayed the people living around the hacienda stayed. If they left, their  dependent workers did too. The powers that be wanted these people to stay put and to recommence planting as soon as possible.  

In some of the more remote haciendas, close to mountains and to the Japs,  we stationed three men to stay in a Hacienda to provide security. The men loved this duty. They were served the best and treated royally. The bridge guards loved their assignments, too. The local inhabitants, also treated them royally.

 Bill Bailey and I spent much time going our separate ways to visit the remote haciendas. It was hard duty. The planter-host always brought out his best alcoholic beverage which had been buried in some bamboo thicket. We did not want to be impolite, so we joined them. We learned quickly, in the interest of self-preservation, to limit ourselves as to how much we drank. Coming out of a cool house into an open jeep in the tropical sunshine and journeying to the next hacienda on the agenda did not mix with alcohol.

We tried to keep five jeeps towing trailers going. Each jeep had a pedestal-mounted machine gun. I know we has at least one 50 caliber, and I think two. The others were 30 caliber. This is where our machine gun section came in. The jeep usually carried four men including the driver, and usually five men rode in the trailer. A Filipino intelligence unit worked with us, and they were good at their business under the competent leadership of a young man named Jessie. The kept us informed of Jap movements, usually foraging parties, into our sector. The jeep patrols usually went after these parties, with mixed success.  Not every report of Japanese foraging was true, and those which might have been true weren't always timely.

Tony Lopez

"They went on to make me Sgt. at the time. We had many invitations by the citizens to be their guests at dinner. They sent me, or we volunteered, to go to Jessie's hacienda to patrol the farm lands. The C.O. let me take three men & myself and we stayed at Jessie's place and patrolled from there. I took were Guy Lary, Jack Hughes and Ignacio Quinones.


These were enjoyable occasions. The hosts prepared the very best meal they could. If they had hidden away prize possessions, as the planters had - wine, liqueurs, liquors- they brought them out. On more than one occasion the host brought out bottles of Coca Cola, the old six ounce bottles, which had been secreted away. 


If they had managed to hide their silver eating and serving ware, it was brought out and proudly used. One planter, Jose Ma Gaston, had a large hacienda called Hacienda Rosario which was located a half mile north of Hwy.#1, 10 kilometers east of Victorias. He placed his silverware and other valuables in the walls and replastered the walls. In a back corner of the Spanish style home was a rectangular tower which extended up forming a small third story. A false wall was built in this tower on the first and second floors, and a considerable amount of furniture was stored in these sealed rooms.


Tony Lopez




The Gaston Deliverance 

It was during the March/June 1945  period that something to which only passing attention was given at the time  began to develop in a direction that, 65 years later, became extraordinary.  At the time I was "F" Company's Executive Officer, and Bill Bailey was my Company Commander.

Prior to our deployment to the area, in early March, shortly after our return from Corregidor to Mindoro, Bill Bailey was one of a number of 503d officers taken on  B-24 missions from Mindoro to inspect the area for possible landing grounds and to familiarize themselves with the terrain.   From the air it had been easy to see that the Japanese had been burning the large haciendas in the area, and had torched some nearby.  The aircraft Bailey was in also had strafed a Japanese truck that was spotted heading from the highway to a large plantation house. The truck exploded. 

A few days later, on 7 March, we had been flown to Iloilo City, where we were disembarked and transferred across the Guimaras straits to Negros. The following day we were trucked to the lower part of what was to become known to us as the Tokaido Road, which wound across the rolling countryside ever upwards towards the island's mountainous interior. We didn't know it yet, but we had been thrown in to support the 40th Division, in what was to eventually become the worst misuse of US paratroops throughout WWII.

 Thus, not very long after, I found myself billeted at the Victorias Elementary School and assigned to provide protection to the area, and to its important personages not merely from those still marauding Japanese who had not entirely moved from the coastal areas to the mountainous interior, but also against roving bands of armed Filipino brigands more interested in plundering from the population than in fighting the Japanese.

At the time, Jose Gaston was the single most important person in my area  of responsibility, and I was soon to discover that his Hacienda Santa Rosalia in Manalpa was the ancestral home of the sons of Yves Leopold Germain Gaston.  Yves Gaston, a Frenchman, had settled in Negros Occidental and had been instrumental in modernizing the sugar industry there. During the Japanese occupation, the entire Gaston clan had moved there to the relative safety that the province offered,  the Japanese on Negros having until lately been mostly tolerable. It had also helped to spread the story that Jose had contracted tuberculosis, for the Japanese had a great fear of it, and gave it wide berth. Unfortunately, in Jose's case, it was true.

Thus I found almost a hundred people living in the hacienda itself and nearby in  its immediate grounds. It wasn't just a big house, it's role was almost that of a US County seat, or that of a manor house to a feudal fiefdom.   During the war the growing of sugar in the region had almost largely ceased,  and it was now important to get the region to a point where it could be restarted economically.  Sugar exported from Negros was more than 60% of the Philippines' output, and almost all of which was exported to the US.

The hacienda had its own swimming pool and a basketball court, which became a place where the men could work up a sweat in a fast game.  It also had extensive gardens,  large comfortable shaded verandahs, and a huge table in the upstairs sala above, around which at least two dozen men could dine in without difficulty.  The 503d play a plantation team.

During the day we patrolled Highway 1 in our five well equipped jeeps, dealing with reports of Japanese foragers who were still in the area, and picking up prisoners.  Sometimes we would take a break to the hospitality of the Gaston's where we would sit at the hacienda's immense table and discuss the business of the day over home-cooked meals prepared from the supplies available in our rations, mixed with vegetables and produce bought at the local market.

 Jose  was clearly well educated, well-connected,  well-travelled and as astute a judge of human foibles and politics as I had met in years.  His wife, Consuelo was both charming and attractive wife, as befitted such a man of his times, and they had gaggle of extremely charming (and correspondingly well chaperoned) daughters.  Jose, Consuelo and Babae.

It was around the table that I found that the Gaston family had watched in fear as it had seen the Japanese torch the neighboring haciendas, and how they saw their immediate fate as the Japanese had driven towards their house. Some had knelt and prayed for deliverance. 

Extraordinarily, that deliverance had come from the turret of a B-24.

Then, and thereafter, the saving of the family, its hacienda and the community that depended upon them from the Japanese torch was ascribed to the intercession of Saint * as much as to the intercession of Saint Bill Bailey in a B-24.  Not to mind, the incident had probably prevented a massacre of some of the almost one hundred people who had spent their war living in and around the hacienda, and of course the destruction of the hacienda itself.

In 2010,  there was a reunion at the Gaston's Hacienda Sta. Rosalia to celebrate once again the deliverance of their family and world from evil, at which the gaggle of extremely charming daughters, now in their 70's and 80's, again presided. Other than the vegetation, the hacienda is just like it was in 1945. The toast was to Capt. Bailey, Capt. Calhoun, and the 503d PRCT, and to those who did not return home.



12 June 1945


No. 63
111500 June 45
121500 June 45


"OUR OPERATIONS: 2d Bn released 185th & 160th RCT. AT Co's personnel at bridge security between PULAPANDAN & FABRICA. Troops were displaced as follows:

"D" Co CP at BAGO (00.0-74.6),

1 platoon Div Ammo Dump (12.1-87.9),

1 platoon BAGO RIVER BRIDGE (00.6-72.1),

1 squad at bridge vic (05.0-77.6) & 1 squad at bridge vic (10.2-82.9).

"F" Co VICTORIAS (17.8-18.8),

1 platoon at MULAGO BRIDGE (24.0-17.7),

1 squad at bridge (17.2-10.3),

1 squad at bridge vic (14.8-96.6),

1 platoon motorized recco at (27.8-18.8)."

This is the last Periodic Report available to the Authors at this time.



 1100- Col Jones had meeting with General Brush: awarded DSC and Silver Star."

This next Journal entry available to the Authors at this time is 12 July.

"The 4th platoon moved from the 40th Div ammo dump to take up guard duty on bridge between Bago and Bacolod."

"No Entry."

"Second platoon left Victorias on patrol at 1300 hr. to N.E. Patrol was unable to reach Cadiz & returned to Manapla for information & guide. Received information on Japs in area & patrol found & killed four."


13 June 1945


13 June 1945
" 1300 - Capt. LeVine read the Riot Act to Replacements, made assignments, and constructed poncho city."

"1500- 500 replacements arrived and 22 officers."

"Co. remained on guard duty at assigned positions."

There are no entries of any consequence until 6 July 1945.

No entry. The next entry will be 17 June 1945

"Numerous Japs reported in outlaying areas. Four patrols departed at 0800 to try to contact enemy. One patrol, found four dead Japs. Other patrols reported no activity."


14 June 1945



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15 June 1945

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16 June 1945


"Two road patrols were the only patrols today. Met no enemy resistance. Company observed memorial services."


Jim Bradley

"I remember patrolling around the local farm houses and finding dead and mutilated bodies of the Filipino men who had fallen prey to the Japs who were killing anyone who resisted them while they were stealing food from these people. We spent several night patrols trying to catch the Japs before they did their damage.

The people of Victorias were more than nice to us. I remember spending nights in their homes (with permission of course). They treated us like kings. Everyone wanted to come to their house for a meal. "Hey, Joe, you come to my house tonight for dinner" it was contagious almost and it was very hard to refuse them when we were unable to go and happened to be on duty at the time. Between were dances, fish fries, etc. I drank so much tuba I thought I that I was going to turn into a coconut. One girl who did our laundry while we were guarding the bridge had us over to her house for a meal. I think there were four of us. They all stood around and watched while we ate, the whole clan was there and I tell you we ate and ate and ate. We just barely barely made it back to the bridge."

"I next remember riding into Victorias, Negros on a jeep and feeling like the mighty conqueror because all the local population was standing on the road-side watching us pass by. We guarded the little bridge outside of town for a while. It was during the month of June one day in the afternoon there was a lot of excitement as there was a dead Jap floating down the stream. His body was bloated, his hands and feet were bound with wire. They had castrated him and put his private parts in his mouth. The Filipinos were up on the bridge cheering and jeering."

I recall several instances of Jap bodies floating down the rivers under the huge steel bridges. The river were big and wide here as they neared the sea.


At first we had trouble problems with some Filipinos coming in saying there were so many Japs at this or that place. Our patrols would go out and find nothing. Perhaps Japs had been there at sometime but not recently. We were wasting our resources on false alarms.

On one occasion a Filipino came in, duly excited, and reported armed Japs at one of the Hacienda Paz's (there were several). The hacienda and surrounding buildings had been burned, but a concrete loading wharf next to a narrow gauge rail-road was still intact. The Flip said the Japs had prepared positions under this wharf, including a machine gun.

I led the patrol out. We took a jeep and a trailer. The informant even went with us as far as the railroad. We followed the tracks for some distance until the loading wharf came into sight. After observing the position for a time and seeing no signs of life we cautiously approached. There were no signs that anyone had been here in a long time. The weeds were waist high. We never saw the man who gave us the information again.

 Regiment gave us help in overcoming this problem by sending the intelligence team. They had a '36 or '37 model two-door Chevrolet sedan. Under their young commander, Jessie,  they covered a lot of territory and provided us with accurate, actionable information. They became so efficient  at sorting out the real from the Quixotic, we quit relying on information brought in by others.