(Top, left.) In the annals of Corregidor, wherever there was trouble Charlie "Doc" Bradford kept turning up. It seemed to all of us that there must have been three of him.

(Top, right.) Ed Flash's troops were the first "F" Company men into the area of upper Cheney Ravine, between the NCO Quarters and the Ravine. SSgt Gulsvick, High, Rovolis, and Musolino had all been killed when they landed short of the field. The next morning, hearing cries for help, Flash and four men planned to reconnoitre  and rescue, but were needed (an ordered) elsewhere.   It was near 1200 hours by the time they could mount their rescue. Flash, crawled down into the ravine and dragged SSgt Ledoux out on a set of bed springs. All four rescuers were wounded, Flash so badly he spent almost a year in hospital.  Ledoux's wound's were fatal. He died during the rescue.

 

Feb. 17 1945
 

Got up after considerable moving around. Todd, Jensurd,6 and I slept together in front of the last house in officers row, that house being my C.P., and the Company C. P. A lot of Jap snipers were back in the A.A. batteries and they were doing a lot of shooting at the last house.

Early, I had taken a couple of men and worked out to a large crater  west of 28-D. We had several bullets crack by and knew we were seen, so we were keeping a low profile. Suddenly, a familiar voice called out, "Bill, what's going on?" I looked up and Doc was standing seemingly ten feet tall on the edge of the crater. It took me some earnest talk to convince him to get down. 

A  LMG was also firing at us from down below "B" field. We had an artillery machine gun section with an air cooled .50 out on the second story porch of the my C.P. house. The 3rd Plt. moved out to face Wheeler Battery. I shan't forget seeing Campbell moving around that morning before he moved his platoon out 6 One of my men, Hill 6 got hit twice in the arm by this Jap LMG.  The artillery moved a gun upstairs to fire on Wheeler Battery. The 75mm howitzer wouldn't do up there because the cement banister was too high and prevented the barrel from being depressed enough to fire into the battery. One of their men got it square through the head while they were disassembling the gun. Sleepy's 6 mortars were firing on the AA batteries and when the Japs would jump up and run the .50 cal MG and riflemen would get them.

    They said the 3rd Plt. was going to attack Wheeler Battery and I pleaded with the battalion C.P. to have it dive bombed, but to no effect. Freihoff and his men had told me that the magazine room in which they were trapped was filled with large canisters of gun powder for the big guns. In our briefing we were told that fighter planes back on Mindoro were on call, and some did receive support from P-47's dropping napalm - man! what one napalm bomb would have done to Wheeler! I use the word "pleaded" because it best describes my feelings. I had tangled with Wheeler and knew it strength. 

 About 1030 Sleepy was exposing himself to observe for his mortars and the LMG below "B" field got him with one slug in the right ankle and about four or five in the left thigh, taking out a chunk of the leg bone. I was nearby. Sleepy was in great pain, and he asked me to light a cigarette for him.  He could hardly handle it, and his lips were turning blue, so blue they seemed black.  As the aidmen worked on him, suddenly Doc Bradford appeared and took over, and they took Sleepy across the Parade Ground to the 59th Barracks.6 I was deeply concerned.

From the 2nd floor of my C.P.,  we saw a group of people run across the gun floor of Wheeler Battery.  We though it was the 3rd plt. men assaulting. Then as they ran up the stairs to the top, automatic fire opened up and and tumbled 5 of the 6 down. I groaned inside. We found out a little later that they were Japs and were we relieved. 6  

About 1130 Campbell got it square through the head and another officer 6 from Regt. Hqd. Co., who was with him, got it in the head. In  the meantime,  word came through that Sgt. Hoyt 6 had been killed and Ed Flash had been wounded in the arm

In a short time Ed arrived at 28-D and I was relieved to see that he was walking. He showed me where a bullet had entered his arm about 2-3 inches superior to the elbow and exited on the distal side, but it had touched no bone. He said he could make a fist, but could not spread his fingers. Soon after he went on across the Parade Ground to the battalion aide station, I saw Doc Bradford and asked him when would Ed be back.  Doc said. "He won't be back. That bullet damaged the radial nerve, Ed will be in for a series of operations. He's going home and will be in a hospital for probably a year. 6

Now there was just Bailey and me. 1Lt. Wm. LaVanchure, company exec, had jumped with the 3d Bn that morning as had all 2nd Bn company exec's. Both his ankles were so badly sprained that he was out of action for the entire operation. Thus "F" Co. had lost three officers in one morning.

    After Lt. Campbell was killed, T/Sgt Shropshire got jumpy and withdrew his platoon without orders. So Bailey sent me,  the only platoon leader left to take them back and keep them there until orders came through as to whether or not we were going to assault Wheeler. I sweated that one out.

We were all without water and very thirsty. We moved up and I got into a block house, rather an ammo house and was pretty jumpy. About 1500 word came through that Lt. Gifford was coming to take over and that "D" Co. would do the assaulting. He got there about 1539, made his recon,  and we all withdrew so they could put artillery fire on it. I was sweating it out for Gifford and Mara because I knew there were lots of Japs in the battery. The artillery couldn't get in to do any effect, so they moved up and assaulted against very little resistance. That night we found out where the Japs were. They took the entire battery. Gifford's platoon was on the top of the parapet about 1600, and the Japs were in the battery.

 About 1739 I moved my platoon to the A.A. position and we went in as well as we could. Japanese occupation of the area had long ceased due to our combined mortar, machine gun, and rifle fire. Lt. Lee was out there with a .50 cal. MG 6and I had 2 LMG's. 

My platoon hqd. went into night position watching a draw at the head of Crockett Ravine between us and the last house in officers' row. We picked a ditch which ran along directly in rear of the AA revetment. The old 3 inch gun was still intact in this revetment. 

Dark came.

The wind rose and tin started rattling . We did a little hand grenade throwing and the MG's fired a lot.

Navy star shells would burst at various intervals illuminating the area, and we would try to visual inspection during the short time of light. I wondered what was happening to Gifford and his men. 6 When I placed the right side my perimeter near the gully between the A.A. area I could see small whiffs of smoke still rising from our end of the battery. Evidently, something was burning within at least one magazine. It burned for about five minutes and during this time I raised up and looked around the well lighted area and saw no Japs. About 2200 we could feel a trembling of the earth and soon a grating sound, then hell broke loose. A huge sheet of flame about 100 ft. high shot out of Wheeler. My men who were near the battery pulled back.

About fifteen minutes later the flames shot out again. After the great fire, I went to sleep and slept well.  It wasn't quiet, there was a .50 firing pretty much all night. 6

The next morning we could still smell burning flesh and when we approached Wheeler, we could hear the popping of frying meat, so there were many Japs who never made it out.  There were some forty dead Japs lying around our side. Some had been killed before and some by machine gun fire from my section and some by a .50 cal. that Danny Lee fired all night. Todd got a few souvenirs but I was not interested. I was just tired and thirsty.

The first battalion came in late yesterday afternoon and with them the larger part of my first squad who got to me this morning.

We were relieved this morning by "C" of the first battalion. Relieved. Relieved of what? To move over and clear another sector!   Around 1500 hrs my platoon attacked and secured a hill with no opposition. The hill was the magazine of Battery Smith.
 

 

And so my Corregidor diary ended. I wish I had carried it through Negros, but the war had grown gruelling and full of grief. Friends were disappearing.  A sense of loneliness was setting in which would grow until finally it was over...over, never...even then it was hard to accept it...I still cry.

R.D. Thomas of the mortar platoon plays
 tourist at one of Boston's A.A. guns. The observation
control room atop Battery Wheeler is in the background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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14.     Pfc Roy Jensurd, medical aid man attached to my platoon. 5

15.     1st Lt. Wm. Campbell was a replacement who had recently joined us on Mindoro. 5

16.     Pfc Lloyd Hill. 5

17.    1st Lt. Clinton Miller.  5

18.      In the annals of Corregidor, wherever there was trouble Charlie "Doc" Bradford kept turning up. It seemed to all of us that there must have been three of him. 5

19.     Years later, a story was circulated "according to Black" that six Japs tried to surrender at Battery Wheeler and were shot down by the Americans. I saw and say otherwise. 5

20.     2d Lt. Dorval R. Binegar, Demo section RRQCo.- another replacement who came in with Campbell. See Article "The Second Lieutenant 5

21.      SSgt Hoyt (from the 2nd plat.)5

22.     "Doc" Bradford was so prophetic.5

23.    "Lee from Hq. Co"-- in "F" Co we did not know he was transferred until the next day. He showed up out there that evening with a .50 cal. mg (a bundle which "D" Battery 462nd PFAB had not found). I had no idea of why he was out there with us. He had arrived with the replacements shortly before the Corregidor operation came up. Had Bailey known of  Lee's assignment to "F", I'm sure he would have been assigned to either the 2nd or the 3rd platoon. In fact when I arrived back at Btry Hearn from Btry. Smith late in the afternoon of the 18th, and  found Lee there with my reinforcements, I still had no idea that he had been assigned to "F" Co. I thought he was on loan from Bn. Hq., as Mara had been in "D" Co.   We were grateful for Lee bringing us the .50 cal, as it was utilized throughout the night.5
 

24.      Gifford had used smoke before they rushed down the berm, across the road and  rails, up the stairs and across the gun port, and up the stairs to the top of the parapet.5

25.       The next morning I found out that Gifford and his men had to run down the very steep face of the parapet facing the sea, to escape the explosion. One of his men broke his leg. Incredibly, they weren't alone, for about 30 Japs who had been hiding in Wheeler Battery had run out when the fire started ran down the hill too.5