Feb 16, 1945
Our tents were pulled down yesterday so
we slept in the open. We drew our chutes and "Mae Wests" yesterday. At
0930 we moved down to the battalion C.P. and started loading on trucks.
We will jump about noon. The third
battalion jumped at 0800 this a.m. 1st Bn. jumps tomorrow. Major Caskey
came over at ten and wished me luck and we moved off for Hill Strip.
We got there about 10:30 just as the planes were coming in from jumping
the 3rd battalion.
I'm pretty cool. Kinda feels natural. I
know He will take care of me our plane, #23, came in and we started
getting our equipment on. As our truck pulled up to stop, I could see it
land, and that it was tattooed by a line of holes on the fuselage in a
diagonal pattern a few feet forward of the tail assembly. Machine gun
reception. As a distraction, a W.P. grenade went off and burned somebody
pretty badly over by Ed Flash's plane.
At 1100 we took off. All the men were
ready to go except me and I didn't have my chute and equipment on yet.
During the whole flight I felt pretty good and "sweated" very little. I
think most of the men were in pretty good spirits, too. As we flew along
I kept getting on my equipment. the heavily loaded men had to have
assistance in climbing up the steps into the plane. The crew chief and I
stood on the ground and pushed them. I clambered up sans equipment.
About 1200 we did a lot of jocking around. The planes seemed to be
trying to get in some sort of formation. F Company was jumping the "B'
Field, a golf course. Bill Bailey was in the lead F Co. plane. He lead
the first stick out feeling the company C.O. should get down early. The
planes came in on trail and on account of such a short field make three
passes - jumping 8 men at each time. I was jumpmaster, with Todd
and seven men on the first, Johnson
and seven on the second, and
myself and the 3rd.
Todd and I were kneeling in the door
behind a bundle of mortar ammo. Then we started passing over
cruisers and destroyers and saw Bataan out to our left. All of a sudden,
1230, Todd said "There it is!" and I saw a bare cliff rising out of the
sea coming out from under the left wing. Then I could see "topside" and
chutes strung out all the way from the sea, up the cliffs, and on A and
B fields. My plane followed Bailey's which contained McCurry, McDonald,
Boone, Iverson, Yocum, and Narrow as well as a Signal Corps photographer
named Yednack, along with company headquarters. We could hear small arms
fire and I first thought it was fire fights on the ground. Then a bullet
cracked through the plane and I said oh! oh! Then we were passing that
small space called "B" field. I counted six seconds after we passed the
go point, then two more seconds pushing the bundle out and Todd delayed
another about another second and went. That stick hit perfect. We
circled and in about fifteen minutes came in on our next run. This time
I pushed the second bundle and Johnson and his stick went. I jumped them
just a little bit early. As we turned circling to make our third pass, I
saw the plane in front heading back along our approach track from
Mindoro. Smoke was pouring out from a motor.
About 1300 we made the
third approach and I took my third stick out on about a nine second
delay. When I told my stick to "Stand in the door!" I was leaning out
slightly looking ahead. The man behind me moved so close I could not get
squared away and, consequently my left side was ahead of the right side,
and I had to almost dive out. I saw silk flash by my feet so I must have
been standing on my head, and she opened.
I looked down and wow! Bomb craters, tree
snags, and boulders going by below. There was a strong wind. I sure
wanted to get that landing over, which I did by swinging into a crater
near the officers club swimming pool and slamming into its rock side
with my right side on my M-1 rifle
6 and got both the breath and
snot knocked out of me.
A guy from "E" Company cut me out of my
harness and I collected the stuff out of my kit bag, got it on, and
weakly crawled out the crater. The M-1's stock was completely shattered
with the sling holding the stock and barrel together.
I could hear
intermittent firing and some of the men were getting hit on the field. I
We assembled and about 1400 moved down to the last
house in officer's row.
About 30 minutes later Bailey gave me
orders to take a patrol of two squads out, and search Wheeler Battery
and the A.A. position to the left. This was all in plain view of us from
upstairs in the house.
Shortly thereafter Bailey ordered Ed
Flash to take his 2nd platoon and occupy the NCO Quarters.
We pushed out under sniper fire from the
A.A. battery and started to work on them. We used bazookas and our flat
trajectory mortar and kept them down and advanced, either killing them
or running them off. During the advance our right flank was exposed to
Wheeler Battery, the battery stood high above our plane of advance, so I
sent Freihoff with three men .
Lt Browne had sent word that he had been
in Wheeler Battery and it was clear.
So Freihoff, Huff, Handlon, and Thomas go
into it, and a machine gun immediately opened up, and Handlon was
instantly killed. Freihoff and Huff jumped into a room of the magazine
under gun port #2, and were trapped. Thomas got out and came out and
reported the situation to me. I pulled everybody out of the A.A. gun
positions and we worked our way up a wood knoll facing
We got in a shell crater on top of the berm and the bazooka man fired
several rounds in the area of the battery control
station where the m.g. was located, with no results. Sgt Phillips
and Sgt Johnson
and some more men worked on up further. I was sitting in the back of the
crater and Thomas and Todd were looking over the brink of the crater.
Thomas had just shown me the door to the room where the two were
trapped, and he was now showing Todd. Then splat, and Thomas's head
seemed to melt and he turned around and fell face forward down into the
bottom of the crater and blood gushed out of his mouth. Of course we
knew immediately that he was dead. That hurt.
The bazooka not having much effect, I
went back to battalion to get a flame thrower. After getting one,
Bailey and I arrived back, almost at dark. They worked the flame thrower
up and it wouldn't work. That got me. Soucie had one rifle grenade, W.P.
and it was just on dark. We got in the road and I told Soucie to fire
the grenade into the battery between the Jap machine gun and Friehoff
and Huff. While I prayed, he fired it - but he had failed to pull
the pin and of course it didn't go off. A little later McCarter and
Phillips crept up very close and threw grenades, fired up all their
ammo, got a dead man's carbine and fired up that ammo, threw rocks, and
everything they could get their hands on into the Japs.
Freihoff and Huff ran out during this and
got out. I was never so glad to see anybody in my life. We moved back
about 100 yds. and spent the night inside our perimeter, which joined
the 3rd platoon, who linked to D Company in a perimeter around the
officers row. We had small attacks that night that didn't do much
damage. A couple of the men got wounded from the company."