"FATE OF THE CORREGIDOR FLAG"
_________________
Charles R. Rambo 

 

 

FROM OUR  E-MAILS DEPT.

Subject: Fate of US flag raised on Corregidor

Hello!

Recently I have come into contact with a militaria dealer and collector who may have the flag (or one of the flags) that was flown from the flagpole during the ceremony when MacArthur returned in February 1945.

This flag was acquired sometime around 1987-88 to the following account: The collector visited a garage sale in the vicinity of El Cajon, CA and asked the older woman present if there were any military items.

The woman said she had a flag sent home by her late husband in 1945 accompanied by a letter stating that this was the flag flown during MacArthur's ceremony on Corregidor. She could no longer find the letter but gave the information that she could recall. The husbands name was 2nd Lt. Melville Croucher, 2nd Battalion 151st Infantry. The old lady was moving to Nevada and thus the garage sale. She gave the collector the phone number of her son in case more information was needed because her husband used to tell the son about his experiences. Subsequent attempts to contact the son resulted in the son expressing anger that the flag was sold by his mother and he refused to provide any further information. My own research indicates that the 2nd Bn. 151st was sent to relieve the 503 or the 34th Inf. on February 24th before the ceremony. The 2nd 151 subsequently garrisoned the Rock and assaulted Caballo island in march. Obviously the historical importance of this flag ( if it is the one) cannot be overstated! If anyone can remember what may have occurred to the flag that was raised on the day of the ceremony or indeed remembers the 151st. or a certain Lt. Melville Croucher, lease let all of us know so that we may be able to find out more evidence to determine if this may indeed be the flag. Please pass this on to other who may be able to shed some light on this!

Many Thanks,

Conrad Buehler

REPLY TO E-MAIL 

Conrad,

I was really shocked when I read your e-mail "Fate of Us Flag raised on Corregidor."

As the 503rd Regimental Headquarters Commandant and RCT Communications Officer reporting directly to Colonel Jones, I was appointed by him to be in charge of the Flag Raising. As such I gave the commands prior to General MacArthur's command to raise the flag. This flag was carried by T/5 Frank Guy Arrigo when he jumped in,  accompanied by Pfc Clyde I. Bates. The flag can be identified by the sniper fire the first day.

As the Color Guard and I were assembling, an Army Major approached me, handed me a flag and told that this was the flag that would be raised, not ours. I assured him that our flag and not his would be raised, he told me that his flag was to be presented to General MacArthur, and then we would take down his flag and we could raise ours. 

I protested to Col. Jones who didn't know anything about this but said if the flag was for General MacArthur I should raise it. We raised that flag and the ceremony was over and the troops dispersed.  Later I found out that it was not for the General but was the personal flag belonging to the Major. 

After we left Corregidor our own flag remained behind and that is the last we saw or heard anything about it. As far as any other flags (claiming to be the flag that was raised on Corregidor) I have no knowledge of this. I tried for many years to obtain information on the the whereabouts of our flag,  to no luck. Many years ago at one of our reunions I was told by one of our 503rd members that he had seen our original flag flying over the fireplace of one of the members of the original 503rd. I was unsuccessful in tracking that and have long since forgotten the name of the person who allegedly had it. The name Melvin Croucher does not ring a bell with me.

I am still angry about this.

Charles R. Rambo
Original member of the 503d

 

Paul,

I believe you were asking about the flag raised by Frank Arrigo and Clyde Bates about 1430 hours 16 February, 1945. This is the one I have some knowledge of.

The official raising was 2 March, and you know all about that one. Look in Templeman's "Return To Corregidor" at the picture of the jeep #1  where Gen. MacArthur sits in the right front seat, MG Marquat sits in the left back seat, and George Jones sits in the left back seat. To the right is a tall officer wearing a steel pot with the chin strap fastened. This is 1st Lt Charlie Horton.

I just got off the telephone with Bill MacDonald and renewed my memory of the events. Charlie Horton was exec. officer of  Battery C, 462nd PFA. He was given orders to take the take a detail and take down the 1st flag,  2 March.  He did, but was not told what to do with it. It evidently was forgotten, and Charlie still had the flag when he went home. Some years later he asked Jones about what he should do with it. Jones advised him to give it to the Infantry School Museum. He had taken the flag to chapter reunions, and everyone was familiar with it.

So Charlie presented the flag to the museum. It was rolled up and stuck in the corner of a display case. Several of our chapter members were disturbed by the lack of proper display and care. Redhorse Phillips was really upset, advising everyone to not give anything to the museum. The results was that the Pacific War Museum (Nimitz) got  some artifacts that otherwise would have gone somewhere else.

Bill Calhoun

 

THE INFANTRY MUSEUM HAS SINCE MOVED TO LARGER PREMISES, AND SO HAS THE FLAG

 

 

From: Annable, Edward C Mr CIV USA TRADOC

Sent: Monday, August 03, 2009 8:55 AM

To:  (e-mail of Daniel MacRaild)

 

Subject: 48 Star Canton U.S. Flag Flown on Corregidor Island in 1945

 

Mr. Daniel MacRaild:

 

Sir, per your email request for information on 24 July 2009, the United States flag with 48 star canton flown over Corregidor Island donated by Major (Retired) Charles T. Horton on September 1, 1983, was accessioned into the collection of the National Infantry Museum as 83.041.0001 and cataloged as BEN 1983/00331. He signed the gift agreement as Charlie T. Horton. This flag is on exhibit in the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center, Chadbourne and Associates case number AC.04.02.03.01. It is in the World War II gallery in the Pacific Theater of Operations. It was on exhibit in the old museum.

Thank you for your interest in the National Infantry Museum and the information you provided in your email. The staff of the museum would appreciate any additional information that you can provide on the national flag. Who raised the flag? What date was the flag raised? What unit was the individual(s) assigned to? Where on Corregidor was the flag flown? I gather from your email that the flag was lowered on 2 March 1945? 

 

Edward C. Annable, Jr.
Registrar, National Infantry Museum

MR. MACRAILD THEN PROVIDED THE MUSEUM WITH THE FOLLOWING:

Return of the Flag

 

Fear and courage, at best, are inexplicable qualities. The challenge of danger which dismays some men, will attract others as though they were competing for a prize.  Such was the case with regard to raising the flag at Corregidor -- an assignment which promised unusual hazards and which required the most reckless exposure to enemy fire. Yet despite the risks, various squads vied with each other in seeking the assignment. Among others, a group in Service Company entered their request a week before the mission, and succeeded, through one of their officers, in obtaining tentative permission to carry the flag on the jump; but their hopes were dashed when this private little arrangement reached the ears of the top sergeant of the Regimental Headquarters Co., rightful custodians of the honors and, incidentally, traditional rivals of the Service Co.  First Sgt Carl N. Shaw a tall, pleasant-featured, blond fellow of Hqdts. Co., looked like the incarnation of a boy scout's dream of a paratrooper. In his quiet, good-natured manner he carried a surprising inflexibility of purpose, and an even more surprising determination in getting what he wanted. "I'll see the Colonel about this," Shaw announced; but first he stopped at the Service Company C.P. (command post) to tell his friends there what he thought of their conniving, as he chose to call it.

"You low life buzzards would steal the center pole out of the Colonel's tent if you could get away with it," he began, "but I'm telling you, you're not going to get away with it--this flag stealing business. It's lucky I heard about it before you underhanded dogs had got the flags hid somewhere. You know blasted well that its our privilege to carry the flag and always has been--and we don't have no notion to give it up."

"Well, don't let it get your gun, Sarge," his rival answered, laughing at the indignation he displayed. "We ain't got orders from the Colonel yet."...

"No, and you wont!" Shaw retorted positively. He went straight to the Adjutant and then to the Colonel, and pressed his claim so vigorously that custody of the flag for the mission was conceded to his company;--then, without wasting any time, he got the flag itself and folded it in his pack--"So no other skunks can make off with it."

The headquarters group were so busy after landing from the jump that they could not break away; but after a few hours when there was a slight lull, Sgt. Shaw called two volunteers who had asked for the job, and guided them down to the western end of the parade ground. Here he had noticed a stout, tall old telegraph pole standing out, gaunt and grim, in the open. By this time, Jap resistance had begun to wake up and a few snipers were firing toward the parade ground.  "You fellows may be under a little fire, so hustle with the job!" Shaw said as he passed the flag over to T/5 Frank G. Arrrigo and watched Pfc Clyde I. Bates his assistant, uncoil the rope. The pole was already spiked for climbing, and the two boys went up it like a pair of monkeys. At first their action was not noticed, but before long the perimeter rang with the sharp, high-pitched report of a Jap sniper's rifle. Another report came, and then another, meanwhile our ground fire was directed toward the sniper's hiding place, though no definite target could be seen. The two boys hurried their work, but made sure the flag was secure. At last and with a final fling, the flag tossed its folds into the plunging breeze. Here, on the very edge of the perimeter, the flag remained for the next two weeks. Combat patrols filed past it in the morning on their way out to look for Japs; and before dusk, in the evening, they returned, bearing their wounded and their dead. Machine guns and rifles volleyed around it. Mortars and artillery shells arched overhead. A few stray shots, (either ours or the Japanese) cut through its folds. Once, the high tide of a Jap banzai charge swept to the very base of the staff, then recoiled in a welter of its own blood. Not until the real battle had ended did the orders come to move the flag higher on the parade ground for an official "flag-raising," which was broadcast all over the world;--but the real flag raising was here, without benefit of publicity. It was here, in the midst of the fighting, that the flag seemed to grow from a mere symbol into a great, living personality. Here I shall always love to remember it, "beautifully ensovreigned" , as Whitman phrased it and with the thrill of an incredible battle around it.

 

Extract from Combat Over Corregidor by Charles S. Bradford M.D., published by the Corregidor Historical Society/503d PRCT Heritage Bn and available through http://www.blurb.com/books/145863

 

The Heritage Bn has raised the flag on 16 February every year since 2001.  See our 2008

 

 

 

         

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