w. 503D PIR Vet. Dick Adams, AJM, Peter Parson & Crew, Kwiecinski Family
Day One, Thursday the 13th Jan. 2011
Peter Parson alerted me of a visit to Corregidor by Paratrooper Richard (Dick) Adams and family and encouraged me to come along. Peter hoped to interview Dick on the island and brought his friends, partners and crew to film the event. They were Lucky Guillermo, Ernesto and Bernard (I hope I have the names right). Dick served in HQ Company, 3rd Battalion, 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) and jumped into combat on Corregidor on the 16th Feb 1945 and served, fought until the battle was won and they were relieved (about 21 days later). John Moffitt, a longtime Corregidor Friend, was also encouraged to come along and arrived on the island already on the 11th Jan.
Dick, his family, Peter, his partners and I all got on the 8am Sun Cruises Ferry to Corregidor at the CCP Landing in Manila on the 13th of Jan. After we got underway and situated, Peter looked for and met the Adams family, introduced each other and got to know each other. We had received descriptions, by text, from Steve and Marcia Kwiecinski and John Moffitt as how Dick Adams looked like. The description fit: tall, skinny, thin white hair and a white beard.
I got to meet the family also and learned that Dick and his wife are original from New York City and worked most of their life for General Motors. Their daughter Alyson is an active duty Air Force Officer and had already scouted out Corregidor before. She and her Mom had coordinated their plans to visit with information for Corregidor from Paul Whitman and the Kwiecinski family who reside on Corregidor.
Between, the Adams family, the Kwiecinski family, the Corregidor Foundation Incorporated (CFI) and Sun Cruises (operators of the ferry, Corregidor Inn, the trolleys and activities for their guests) it was decided for the Adams family to join the standard one day trolley tour as the first event. When our ferry arrived the CFI Staff (incl. Mr. Ron Benadero, the Kwiecinski family), the Sun Cruises manager on the island, Mr. Edgardo, and the Corregidor Friend John Moffitt were waiting for us.
We all hopped on the trolley and in the morning covered Topside, Mr. Steve Kwiecinski (who is the son of the Sergeant who manned the last 12 inch mortar firing on Battery Way on the 6th of May 1942) was our tour guide.
Topside, at the Rock Force Monument, (the monument honoring the forces that liberated Corregidor in a daring and bloody operation in1945) the a small remembrance ceremony was held with the Paratrooper Richard Adams placing a flower arrangement at the foot of the Memorial. Passengers of another trolley also participated.
The moving ceremony was arranged by CFI, some guards of the CFI Security guards and two Philippine Coast Guard Sailors were the honor guard. The Philippine and the US flags were raised. The on-island manager of the Sun Cruises Corporation was also present.
We had a chance to visit the museum at the Pacific War Memorial and we had a surprise. At one of the many pictures in the museum Dick recognized himself in a group of Paratroopers standing around a jeep with Gen. MacArthur when he returned to Corregidor to raise the US flag on the 2nd of March 1945.
For lunch the hotel guests took their meal there and us walk-ins ate at the MacArthur Café. In the afternoon we visited all the sites, east of Malinta Hill. Our trolley also took us to entrance of Kindley Field, where the new Jabidah Memorial is located. This memorial is dedicated to the infamous “Jabidah Incident of the 18th March 1968”. The memorial, previously only at defense position I M-I has expanded to defense position I F-I and has pictures and other artifacts displayed in it’s concrete bunker. Glass walls and doors have been installed in that bunker doorways. However they were not open yet to the public.
For those who wanted, and most did, participated in the Sound and Light show in the Malinta Tunnel. I also joined it, it costs an additional 150 Peso. I think that most who joined the show thought of it as a memorable experience. That concluded the standard day trolley tour this afternoon.
Then everybody settled in. We walk-ins had to make our deal with the MacArthur Café for quarters. They charge 1500 Peso for an air-conditioned room.
Later in the evening we all met and had a joined meal at MacArthur Café had our drinks and we all had a jolly good time. What was more important we all got to know each other better.
Paratrooper Dick Adams amazed us all, he is 88 years young and he is lean and tall. He obviously still enjoys beer and a good cigar. At home he seldom does it, his wife said. I think he felt like a young fit trooper again and really enjoyed this, his first return visit.
John and I, later even daughter Alyson joined Mr. Edgardo, the Sun Cruises on-island manager for a few more drinks and social talk.
A note on the weather. The North Channel always has my attention since I used to cross it a lot visiting Corregidor. Today it was affected by a medium strength prevailing NE winds and it was a bit choppy. In this prevailing condition I don’t have any reservation at all to cross the North Channel, I consider this condition safe for boat crossings. Other that that it was mostly sunny and a beautiful day!
ABOUT THE PHOTOSThe images in this article are the editors selection from Karl's Day 1 Photobucket Gallery
Peter Parson is a legend himself, he is the son of Chick Parson one of the other WWII Heroes. Read more on this topic.
All Images copyright the Author.