Lou Aiken






















The most logical and acceptable way to view the Negros mission is to adopt Bill Calhoun�s analysis that it occurred in 4 phases, with the approximate assigned dates listed as follows:-



  8   April 1945


12 May 1945


13 May 1945


  9 June 1945


10 June 1945


   8 July 1945


  9 July 1945


15 August 1945


Prior to PHASE I, of course, was the move of the 3rd and 2nd battalions of the 503d PRCT from Mindoro to Negros. Accounts of this move do not agree. According to the 503d Historical Report (Operations) the RCT was alerted 25 March 1945 for a probable jump at Alicante Airfield, Negros Island in order to seize and secure the town of Saravia (on the northwestern end of the island) and link up with the 185th Infantry RCT (40th Div) in the vicinity of the Imbang River Bridge. The 3rd Bn. was scheduled to jump at 0900 and the 2nd Bn. at 1200.

 The 503d RCT Historical Report (Operational) states that after F.O. #10 was issued 5 April 1945, the jump was canceled on that same day because the enemy was not defending the coastal regions. The movement of the RCT, less the 1st Bn., C Btry and elements of D Btry, 462nd PFA (which were to remain on Mindoro as reserves) began on 6 April and was completed on 7 April. The units were flown by C-46's to Iloilo City, Panay Island (to the west of Negros) and then crossed the straits to Pulupanadan, Negros by LCI's. The 503d RCT was now under command of Major General Rapp Brush, commanding general of the 40th Infantry Division.

7 April 1945 – “Early this morning the battalion moved to SAN JOSE (ELMORE) strip, loaded on C-46's and left at 0755. After an hour and twenty minutes flying we arrived at a tiny airstrip near ILOILO CITY at 0915 . . . . After several hours we loaded on LCI's and crossed the straits to NEGROS ISLAND. This was a battalion move, and we landed on the open beach at Pulupandan about 1735.”

Bill Calhoun, F Co. 

“Company had enplaned at MINDORO with full combat pack and 'chutes in expected jump on NEGROS.  Planes diverted to ILOILO on PANAY, went to PULUPANDAN by boat and bivouacked in town square.”

(From D Company history)

This account from the D Company history provides a small point of conversation. If the jump had been called off on 5 April (according to the Regt Operations report) why did D Company enplane with 'chutes ready for an expected jump on Negros?  I can attest to the fact that is exactly what happened.  I could hardly forget the situation because I was about to make what I thought was going to be my first combat jump. I also could not believe how much equipment and ammo was attached to my body. It certainly wasn't like jump school.  Calhoun of F Company distinctly remembers the troopers on his plane were in full combat jump gear and that the pilot informed him during the flight that the jump was cancelled. I do not know about E Company… Another account of the transfer to Negros incorrectly states "The 503d RCT was airlifted from the Mindoro airdromes on 8 and 9 April . . . .", for the 3rd Bn. arrived on Negros on 6 April and the 2nd Bn. arrived on 7 April. I have no knowledge at this time whether or not the 3rd Bn. left Mindoro prepared to jump. They did, however, fly to Iloilo, Panay and cross by LCI to Negros, landing perhaps near Bacolod City.

 8 April 1945 – “We loaded on trucks early in  the morning and moved out on coastal highway, Highway #1, which went around the northern end of the island.  This was a good asphalt surfaced highway.  Almost all the Japs had retreated to the hills well before we landed.  A few suicide parties had been left.  Pulapandan was about 60 miles from Fabrica, where the large sawmill was located.  After moving about 15 miles we came to the capitol, Bacolod.  This was a fair size city, by far the largest we had seen since leaving Australia.  We traveled on the flat coastal plains . . . and we could see the mountains 10-12 miles inland and the plains gradually rising towards them.  Many large rivers had their origins in the foothills.  There were a number of large steel bridges spanning these rivers along the highway . . . We passed through Silay which was a town of about 20,000 people . . .  After proceeding east on Highway #1 several more miles we turned off on a gravel surfaced road and headed to�wards the mountains.  We moved through the old sugar cane fields several miles fording a broad, shallow river, the Imbang River and stopped and detrucked at our first bivouac area .  . . The road we were on was Tokaido Road.  This is shown on the Imbang River map as a railroad..”

Bill Calhoun, F Co.  


8 April 1945  Company moved from PULAPANDAN to NAPILES RIVER  by truck.  A perimeter was set up in the morning and the afternoon se�curity patrols were sent out approximately 1,000 yards. No enemy contacted..”

(Extract - D Company history)

I am going to assume that the 3rd Bn. had already moved from Pulpupandan to the vicinity of Silay and on the Tokaido Road. They would be the assault battalion for the initial part of Phase 1.

Major General Rapp Brush, commanding the 40th Infantry Division assigned the 503rd's zone of operation and primary mission 8 April 1945.  The 503rd was to destroy all hostile forces within its sector and protect the north (left) flank of the 185th Infantry RCT.






























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