With Bataan on the brink of
falling, Captain John H. S. Dessez, the commander of the Navy Base
at Mariveles requested permission to transfer his 500 sailors to
Corregidor. Approval was granted with the condition that these men
would be part of the beach defense force. On 10 April, the 4th
Battalion was formed under the command of Major Francis H. "Joe"
Williams. His command was built with nine Army officers and 16 Navy
officers and warrant officers commanding 272 enlisted men. This
joint service battalion bivouacked in Government Ravine near Battery
Geary and began to train for ground combat.
Four companies were organized
in the battalion and lettered Q, R, S, and T. Companies Q and R were
commanded by Army officers and S and T by Navy officers. Rifles
still packed in cosmoline, a greasy protective coating, were issued
to the sailors. This presented interesting cleaning problems to the
inexperienced mariners. However, rifles were all that was issued to
the battalion in the way of equipment. There were no helmets,
cartridge belts, or even first aid kits.