"BOOZE & BOOTY"
_________________
Don Abbott

 

 

 

 

 

There are so many facets to the Corregidor story, most of them will never be touched.

After I landed close to the parade ground in the morning wave, I made my way up to the lighthouse and reported to Erick (LTC John Erickson) the CO of the third Battalion.  As had been discussed during the planning, I found out where his Battalion was located so when "E" Company landed I could let them know the situation. Then, with nothing definite to do, I wandered down to the Mile Long Barracks and through where the PX had been located.

On the North side of the Barracks I found a 462nd 75 mm gun set up.  The men had found all the pieces and had it ready to fire.  As I walked up to the gun one of the men held up a bottle of brandy they had been working on.  He said, in a bit of drunken way, "Hey, LT have a swig of  this--it's pretty good!" 

We have not mentioned this before but there was booze to be found all over the place and some of it was very good.  I remember scotch, for example. There was Suntory Scotch with a label saying "the finest Scotch Whiskey available outside Scotland". 

Battery Way was in our sector.  We  had been through the Battery many times but not all the way into all the rooms (you didn't poke your nose into some of these places).  When the Infantry outfit arrived to takeover from us, one of their men went deep into the rooms and found one filled with San Miguel beer.  Roscoe Corder, a beer drinker from wayback, had a fit.

There were all kinds of interesting Japanese goods to be found.  For example, one squad  room near the 503rd CP held hundreds of white shirts. The problem was they were Japanese sizes and not one of our men in a hundred would be able to get into a shirt.  (I tried.) Another room held bolts of fabric, some of it very pretty.  I cut off a few yards and stuffed it in my pack.  I brought it back to the States and my wife had it made into a dress. At least two huge Jap Coast Artillery field glasses turned up.  They weighed about a hundred pounds or I'd have brought it home.  The objective lens was about 6 inches.  You could see trucks moving on Bataan, for example. 

John Lindgren 
 

6 NOV 99

 

I'm glad I didn't tell Al (McGrew) about the caches of whiskey, champagne and huge stores of first class canned crabmeat. I am sure Al didn't get into any of that either. You weren't in the Army in those days when it was bugger the enlisted swine and more whiskey for the officers.

The Headquarters Company 2nd Battalion mortarmen got into the spirits store and fired all kinds of mortar rounds as they celebrated. But those were the later days on the Rock. My company, hard luck "D" never found any of these bounties and in fact "F" Company not only found trucks but booze as well.  

Calhoun writes that they found among other things some Bacardi Rum [the navy always went first class]. "F" Company's Richard Lampman in a letter to Bill (Calhoun) had this to say.

"I didn't even try and sell any of the drink I had!! There was one of our 75mm gun crews [i.e. 75mm pack howitzers] who I thought the most unlucky group on the island. They had to scrounge parts from three other guns in order to have one work. They kept taking it apart and setting it up, then taking it apart and setting it up again. I remember laughing at them about 'wearing the gun out taking it apart so much.' * They didn't beat "H" out of me so when I got the spirits I gave them four bottles to soothe their nerves. I got 'mouth' for giving it away. A group of 'Hard Luck D Co got a few bottles too."

Had I known I would have given a month's pay for a bit of strong drink at the time and Bacardi at that. Unfortunately I didn't even hear about this bonanza until four decades later. A huge supply of San Miguel beer was found somewhere on Topside. Someone talked when they should have been listening and higher headquarters was alerted. In a trice, please pardon the expression, trucks appeared** and began hauling the beer down to Bottomside where it was loaded on boats and enjoyed by the straphangers at IX Corps and Sixth Army; a sad day for the Liberators indeed. I must say that I did sample the exquisite canned crabmeat. Unfortunately by the time the lower ranks got it the island was unbelievably infested with flies. It was utterly impossible to spoon out food from a can without it being covered with black flies. The unburied corpses of thousands of Japanese marines were being eaten to the bare bones by maggots soon to become flies. The corpses were literally covered with maggots that undulated like ripples from a stone tossed in a pond. I hate to think how many pounds of these flies our troopers swallowed with their meals.

It wouldn't do for Doug to be bothered by these nuisances and just before he was to have George Jones raise the colors some airplanes appeared over the tiny island dropping a magic white powder from their tails and miracle of miracles! No more flies! .

ttfn
John (Lindgren)

* The gunners set the howitzer on the second story porch of quarters 28 D [the westernmost set of officers quarters] that looked down on Battery Wheeler two hundred or so yards to the west. The guns had to be taken apart to be manhandled, they were too heavy to lift when assembled. - JL

**There has been some light-hearted controversy over whether there were trucks remaining on the Rock as at 16 Feb 1945, how many and in what condition, and whenever the word "truck" is used in polite conversation, it is advisable to genuflect or duck. - Ed

 

   
 

BOOZE AND BOOTY | THE TRUCK | THE CORREGIDOR BRASS TURKEY SHOOT | FT MILLS PLAQUE | BOB HOPE AT NOEMFOOR | NO SUICIDE CLIFF | 'DOC' BRADFORD | MYSTERIOUS WAYS | MY FIRST COMBAT PATROL | THE DEATH OF BENNY SLOWE | MIRACLE AT NOEMFOOR | THE DEATH OF KARSTEN HALL | SONGS & SLOGANS |WATER, WATER NOWHERE | NO SMOKING! | BRONZE STAR AT BANZAI POINT | ON THE BEACH AT CORREGIDOR | REUNION GOSSIP 1949  |  CORREGIDOR WHISKEY

 

 

 

         

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