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IN MEMORY OF 
Bill Delich

"K" Battery, 59th Coastal Artillery

Died July 8, 1999.R.I

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Memory is a strange Bell
Jubilee and knell

- Emily Dickenson

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Bill was 83, an age he hardly expected to attain. His last journey to Corregidor was early April, 1999, and he was accompanied by his son Bill Jr., my wife Marjean and myself.  It was a farewell trip for each of us, and although he was very weak, a very enjoyable experience. The highlight was a visit to Battery Point by banca.  Bill's faithful Filipino friends carried him from the banca to his site, the location of Searchlight #1.  During the defense, Bill's crew were to turn the light on and light the way for the MacArthur Flotilla to proceed through the mine field. Instead, when the light came on, it was lighting the flotilla!      After the surrender, Bill was at Cabanatuan Camp lll, then later taken to Nichols Field, and then to Japan. 

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THE CHAPEL AT CABANATUAN - DAUMIER

 

Bill was a valued friend to all us, but specially to me. Calling him when depression set in, was like a burst of fresh air. He often lifted me from despair, and misery.

Bill will be profoundly missed not only by the "Circle", but also by all Americans who visited the Philippines during the past two decades, and many who reside in the Islands. Bill shared his resources with the inhabitants of Corregidor,  including the school children.  He put Battery Point on the map, and his wonderful, humorous  stories, and his laughter will echo from hills of Corregidor through eternity.

Al McGrew

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FROM PATSY'S LOG

First arrived on the Rock in early May, 1941. Was assigned to "K" Battery, Seaward Defense Searchlight on Battery Point. Made Corporal in August and was the Light Commander in October, and to the date when "Skinny" threw in the towel. Joined the "Slopehead" army as a civilian employee on that date. When the "Slopes" threw in their towel in 1945, I re-inlisted in the U.S. Army and remained there until early March and took a discharge so that I could go about spending my back pay and seriously try to drink all of the booze in Illinois. (I failed.)

Returned to the Rock in October of 1978 for the first time and now on my 7th return trip. No longer a tourist, I am now balikbayan. Each trip has been better than the one preceding it. There are no finer people in the world than the Filipinos, especially those on Corregidor. As long as I am able to walk I will make this annual journey to the Philippines and to Corregidor, my home, away from home.

Mabuhay
Bill Delich

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WHY GIVE VOICE TO THE MEMORIES?

 The knowledge of surviving veterans, whose time is shortly upon them, is a living treasure. Their memories, but our treasure. One of the obligations of the generation that follows them is to record their human experiences, their humanity, not just their history. Fragments of their humanity are our treasures in trust, valuable only when we can renew their experience by passing them on.  So called historians can come along a hundred years later, and tell us what their 'history' was. Yet those of us who can sit with the veterans, today in their 'virtual' parlour,  can record their humanity if we listen closely. There's a climactic soliloquy in the 1982 cult-movie Blade Runner which goes to explaining the reason I'm trying to gather, and at the same time, educate what to many may seem an esoteric "knowledge" of the Rock.  The astonished Blade Runner is watching helplessly as a tired looking Baty slumps down in a lotus position before him.  Still cradling a dove, Batty smiles, almost bashfully, before saying:

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate.  All those...moments will be lost...in time...Like...tears...in rain.   Time...to die."

Bill Delich's eyes saw Old Glory over Manila, the Defense of Corregidor, the desperate departure of America's Caesar, the Surrender of an entire American Army, the unrelenting and unforgiving brutality of the Empire of the Rising Sun, the commonplace experiences of death at Cabanatuan, the voyage of a damned Hell Ship, and much more that is not spoken of. He returned like many others to Corregidor, where he gave generously of himself, which perhaps was his way of remembering what his eyes had seen, and not having to speak of it.    

-Ed-  

14,000 American POW deaths resulted from imprisonment under the Japanese, out of approximately 33,000. By way of comparison, of 96,614 American POW's captured by the Germans, only 1121 died in captivity. A third of the survivors died within a year of arriving home.


(Based on Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Foundation of New Mexico figures)

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Further experiences of veterans revisiting Corregidor can be found on this site at Patsy's Diary and Night at Wheeler Point

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