"D + 60 YEARS"
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Paul C. O'Friel

 March  02, 2005 was the 60th Anniversary of the official raising of the US Flag on Corregidor.  

 

 

 

 

 
Page A2 Philippine Daily Enquirer, 3 March 2005

RP, US soldiers mark Corregidor liberation

Philippine and US soldiers raised their flags yesterday on Corregidor Island in ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the island's liberation from Japanese forces in World War II.

On March 2, 1945, General Douglas MacArthur, the wartime commander of allied forces in the Pacific, raised the American flag on Corregidor, three years after he was ordered to leave it as the Japanese were invading the Philippines, then a US colony.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone, and the envoys of Britain, Australia and New Zealand -- wartime allies of the United States -- offered wreaths at the Pacific War Memorial, where a brief program was held beside ruins of US garrisons.

Beth Day Romulo, president of the Corregidor Foundation, recalled "that glorious day when Corregidor Island was finally retaken" following 14 days of fierce combat between Japanese and US forces, including paratroopers from the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team.

Military historians say that of 6,550 Japanese soldiers on the island, only 50 survived. The paratroopers lost 169 men.

Romulo said Corregidor, also known as "The Rock" and now a tourist destination, should be preserved as a "dramatic reminder of the horrors of war and the courage of those who lived and died here."

Ricciardone said commemorating the sacrifices of US and Filipino soldiers was an opportunity "to rededicate ourselves to paying that same price they paid to upholding ever and always the cause of freedom and democracy" by strengthening alliances "including some of those who were our adversaries in World War II."

The Americans held a separate ceremony for the paratroopers attended by Major General Elbert N. Perkins, commander of the US Army Japan and 9th Theater Support Command.

The 503rd Veterans Association said in a message read by Ricciardone: "The sons of America, like their fathers and grandfathers, face a new war, a war against extremist terrorism."

"Once again, good men -- our best and brightest -- struggle so that others may live in liberty," it said.


See the full text of the message delivered by Ambassador Ricciardone

 

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PRESS RELEASE:

AMERICAN EMBASSY, MANILA                                                       FOR 2 MARCH 2005

 

 

U.S. ARMY RANGERS, AFP IN JOINT PARACHUTE JUMP TO COMMEMORATE 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF MACARTHUR’S FLAG RAISING ON CORREGIDOR

Corregidor, Philippines -- A detachment of U.S. Army Rangers and AFP paratroopers will commemorate today’s 60th Anniversary of MacArthur’s Flag Raising on Corregidor March 2 in a joint jump.  More than 50 soldiers will join senior U.S.   officials as well as Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at Topside Barracks to honor the sacrifice and success of the battle for Corregidor.

         Attending with U.S. Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone will be Major General Elbert N. Perkins, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Japan/9th Theater Support Group; Colonel Matias Velasco, Chief of the Joint United States Military Assistance Group; and Colonel Terry Cook, U.S. Defense Attaché.

        Also participating will be numerous veterans from this historic event, Republic of the Philippines’ government and military leaders, elected officials plus military and diplomatic dignitaries from allied nations: Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Italy.

                Other events include a Joint/Combined Color Guard presentation, a concert by the 296th U.S. Army Band, and a wreath laying ceremony by dignitaries at the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team (PRCT) Memorial. This commemoration is one of nine key Philippine Campaign commemorations scheduled during 2004-2005.

          Six decades ago on March 2nd the 503rd PRCT, the “Rock Force,” jumping from an altitude of 400 feet dropped an assault force on the Topside Barracks’ parade grounds and nearby golf course.  A battle ensued and within minutes, the 503rd paratroopers had killed the Japanese commander and a large majority of the Japanese troops.  After 14 days of fierce fighting, Corregidor was declared secure, and the 503rd raised the American flag in the presence of General MacArthur at Topside Barracks.  March 2, 1945 was nine days short of the third year anniversary of MacArthur’s departure from Corregidor in 1942.  The Battle for Corregidor involved one of the most complex and successful airborne operations in World War II.  

 CW4 Edward J. Leferink of Missouri commands the 296th U.S. Army Band, which is based in Camp Zama, Japan.  It was activated in 1941 as the 96th Coastal Artillery Band at Camp Davis, North Carolina.  During the Second World War the band participated in the Western Pacific Campaign and in modern times has served in Japan.  For more information, visit the 296th U. S. Army Band

 KARL WELTEKE'S REPORT ON THE CEREMONY
 DEDICATION OF GERTUS JONES' POEM "CORREGIDOR"
 

 

 

 

 

         

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