16 February 1945




"There was a layer of dust on our fatigues, in our ears and on our faces even before we woke up to face the sun of the 16th February 1945. The tents had been dropped the prior day, making us recognize once more that we were just temporary residents of that flat and grassless plain. Sleeping on canvas cots in the open, we woke up soon after the sun rose, for there was work to be done. Also rising was the temperature, and with it the wind and the dust. We had bathed and washed our fatigues in the Bugsanga River the day before, and our bodies and fatigues would not be clean again until 9 March when the lucky ones would have another chance to bathe and wash - in the very same river. Only then, and for the rest of our lives, there would be many friends absent. Sadly, many who arose that morning would never bathe or wash their clothes again, and would be buried in their filthy, salt encrusted fatigues. But the great day had dawned."








In 1945 we jumped without knowledge of the names of Corregidor's batteries and most of its installations.  None of the buildings were named on our maps, nor any of their purposes.  Except for Malinta Hill and Topside, we did not know the names of its ridges, hills and ravines.  The names of its trails were a complete mystery to us.  The army had determined that a comprehensive map was too  great a secret  as to be known by those to be sent to do the job.  Later we would find out that even Colonel Jones was not in possession of such secrets as the names of the Batteries, or of the purposes or designations of the buildings and installations, or of the quickest ways between two points.  Only occasionally, when we had the good fortune to find a painted sign, were we able to give a place its proper "map" name.  It never stopped us though, and we would come up with an assortment of names, and we would get the job done.






3rd Bn. 503d RCT loaded on trucks and proceeded to airstrips.



3rd Bn & F.A.- Eng arrived at strips and began to emplane.


 Flights 1 & 2 took off.  Weather clear and winds light.


Flights 3 & 4 took off."

0730 Our tents had been struck and we has no reveille or for that matter breakfast; we had been issued 4 meals of K rations starting at noon today and for breakfast - someone had the brilliant idea of giving us flour.  It was a bright sunny morning and hot.


"Moved to the battalion CP at 0930 and loaded on trucks. With most tents down, the area looked so desolate.  The wind was blowing pretty hard and dust was heavy.  We will jump at noon. The 3rd Bn jumped at 0800. They can't call this mission off now.  We are committed to go in behind the 3rd Bn, and they are already there.

1st Bn is to jump tomorrow. Major Caskey is commanding our battalion on this mission. LTC Britten is Regimental Ex 0. Major Caskey came over to our trucks about 1000 and wished us luck. The trucks then moved out for Hill Strip. We got to the strip about about 1030 as the planes were coming in from delivering the 3rd Bn. We could see bullet holes in some of them, so we knew they had drawn fire. Our plane #23 came in, and we started getting our equipment ready.  The pilot told me a lot of jumpers were blown over the cliffs and asked me if I would like for him to drop down fifty feet.  I said yes, but I believe all planes were ordered to do this.  As we were struggling to get each other aboard with our heavy equipment and parachute load which was so awkward, we noticed one of the ground crew members was hammering on something on a fifty-five gallon drum over by Ed Flash's plane.  We heard a pop and saw him fall with smoke pouring out of his mouth. He had picked up a white phosphorus grenade and his hammer detonated it. He died quickly. A classmate of mine in dental school was a ground crew member in the 40th Squadron.  He told me he died instantly as we felt he did."

Company broke camp 0930 moved via truck to Hill Strip, and emplaned at 1115. Co. jumped on Corregidor Island at 1200.  Met negligible ground resistance.  Lt.Cote, Bitu, Dablock, Joyce, Ackerly, Clearwater, Gray, Schupp, Ziroli, Howard R. Hunt, Irwin, Jacobs, Neal, Shook, were injured on the jump.  Keller, F., and C.C. Martin were missing on the jump.  Very high winds and rough terrain, made jumping hazardous.  Co. moved out and set up perimeter above the breakwater south of Corregidor Lighthouse.  No enemy contacted.

"1100 hour We took off.  Soon we were over the sea on the hour and half flight. As we were flying over the sea we could see P-38's above our flight.  Up at a much higher altitude were P-47's.  The P-47 reached its maximum performance at and above 20,000 feet. Our plane, like the others, was filled with twenty-four jumpers and two bundles.  Everyone was calm, and there was some joking going on.  Many would light three cigarettes off one match, and the few who would not were kidded for their superstition."




Whereas each rifle company was assigned six planes, the larger  battalion headquarters and headquarters company required nine planes. In order to balance the attacks on each jump zone, five of the planes carrying headquarters company and one plane carrying headquarters and demolitions totaling six planes jumped on "A" Field. The remainder of headquarters company in the other three planes jumped on "B" Field. Each of the planes assigned to the battalion carried two bundles to be shoved out on the first and second passes.  The last three planes of F company (numbers 25, 26 and 27) were in the third flight. 

Also in the third flight were four planes carrying part of regimental headquarters company and four planes carrying service company.  There was no separation  in the columns, i.e., the trail of planes was uninterrupted.

The 462d PFA in the 2nd lift all jumped on "A" Field, just as they did in the first lift. Four planes were assigned to the Battery D who jumped in the 2nd lift.  Nine planes were assigned to Battery B, all of whom jumped in the second lift.  Two planes carried the battery headquarters, who were in the second lift. Whereas the non-artillery planes in the second lift carried two bundles, each artillery plane carried nine bundles.  Like E Company who also jumped on "A" Field, the 2nd Battalion HHC had many men and much equipment  missing following the jump.  As their journal states at this time they had only been able to recover one 8lmm mortar.  Some of the light machine guns were probably missing, as well. 





 Flights 1 & 2 arrived over target area which previously had been shelled by the navy and bombed by the air corps.  Both navy and air corps stood by for immediate call in case of emergency at pin point targets.  Opposition was light due to surprise and only a few Japs came out of the caves and sniper fire killed a few of our men.  These were immediately wiped out.  Due to drift caused by high winds some jumpers drifted into Japs near Searchlight Point and were killed by Japs in bunkers.  No. undetermined.


Initial phase completed and jump fields secured.


 Second lift-2nd Bn., Reg. Hq. Co., Serv Co and F.A. entrucked and proceeded to airstrips.


 3rd Bn 34 Inf made landings on San Jose beach Corregidor Island against little opposition and secured the dock areas and entrances to Malinta Tunnels.


 Flights 1 & 2 of second lift of 503RCT took off from airstrips at Mindoro I.


 Flights 3 & 4 of second lift of 503RCT took off from airstrips at Mindoro I.

Fitzhugh Millican

"After I landed I saw a 'trooper hit a cement wall about four feet tall and ten feet wide.  I thought the crash had killed him.  When I got to him and cut him loose I saw it was Sgt. Petzelt, who'd led the second stick out. He came to, jumped up and ran across the parade ground under sniper fire to the assembly area.

 When I got to the assembly area I told Lt. Ball, who'd lead the third stick out  (evidently Ball jumpmastered all three sticks as many officers did in the 2nd Battalion),  that we needed to go after the missing men.  Ball had seen where the men landed and knew there was no hope, and gave me a direct order to stay there. 

 "Our first squad lost our mortar.* So, unable to set it up,  with the squad's other members we searched the part of the long building that we were in,  with Pvt. John R. McKeown acting as our scout.  We found a large room full of boxes of beer, gin, and a soft drink.  We were afraid to drink it because it might be poisoned. 

McKeown said "I'll drink some, and if I'm not dead in five minutes we'll know it is safe."

He drank out of a bottle and said "This is beer," then another bottle and said "this is gin," and finally the third bottle and said "This tastes like 7-Up!" 

He kept drinking and didn't suffer any ill effects, so we all joined in.  We took all we wanted and then told others of our find.  We helped one of the other mortar squads set up their mortar at the end of the building. Had the Japs attacked that night, they would have had one helluva battle.  The E company mortar men were ready!"


"1200 hour: The planes began to jockey around for new positions maneuvering into two columns of single files, or trail formations. The left trail would jump on A Field, the right trail on B Field.  It seemed to me that time passed rather quickly.  T/Sgt Phillip Todd and I were kneeling in the door behind two bundles of mortar ammunition. Then we started passing over cruisers and destroyers.  For some reason I thought of the westerns I had seen in which Indians were attacking the surrounded wagon train.  We saw Bataan off to our left where a beachhead was established yesterday.

1230 hour:  Suddenly Todd said, �"There it is!" I saw bare, white cliffs rising out of the sea, coming out from under our left wing. Then I could see Topside and chutes strung all the way from the sea, up the cliffs and on "A" and "B" Fields.  We could hear small arms fire, both rifles and machine guns. I first thought it was all fights on the ground then a bullet crashed through the plane and I said "Oh! oh!"  Todd looked down at me and gave a big smile.  He was standing in the door and I was kneeling with my head stuck out between him and the right side of the door.  He was going out first on the first pass.  I would gladly have traded places with him. Then we were passing over the the small space called "B" Field.  I counted six seconds after we passed the "go" point, delayed about two more seconds, shoved out the first bundle, delayed another second, slapped Todd on the thigh and yelled "Go!"  The stick hit perfectly.  We were flying into a twenty-five mile an hour wind which really blew the chutes back along our line of flight. 

Our plane circled and in about fifteen minutes came in on the next run.  This time I shoved the second bundle out and jumped S/Sgt Chris Johnson and his stick.  I jumped them a second early, but they all made it okay.  Johnson went over the edge not far and got back okay.

1300 hour: We made the third approach, and I was really glad.  I was tired of passing over this island and getting shot at. I was standing in the door and slightly turned to the right looking back at my stick and gave the command, "Stand in the door!" The next man jammed up so close to me that I could not turn and square myself in the door.   I delayed nine seconds, yelled "Go!" and took my stick out.  I jumped trying to turn left and must have gone out head first, because I saw silk flashing by my feet,  but the chute opened without delay. I looked down and WOW!  Passing by me rapidly were bomb craters, tree snags, and boulders. I seem to be standing still and all this was rushing by me.

The wind was strong.  I sure did want to get this landing over, and I did in a hurry. From the low altitude jump we were not in the air long.  I went down into a large crater, slammed into its rocky side with my right side splintering the stock of my Ml rifle. It knocked the breath out of me and I thought broke some ribs.  I did not breathe easy for days. My chute was still full of air and trying to drag me up the side of the crater. Someone from D Company got down in the crater and cut my risers off just above my shoulder harness.  I collected the stuff out of my kit bag after getting out of the harness, snapped my musette bag on my harness and weakly crawled out of the crater.

Although shaken I was very glad to be down on the ground safely and without injury. Now to get to the assembly area. There were stumps, tree stubs, rocks, and chunks of concrete with one inch reinforcing bars exposed in places. Some of the steel bars protruding making them deadly spears. There were some serious wounds and fatalities due to some jumpers being speared on landing. The repeated bombings and shellings Corregidor had taken in '41 and '42, and in past weeks had wrecked the surface and left a heavy dust cover on everything. There was intermittent firing and some men were getting hit on the field. I got Richard Peterson out of his harness. We assembled at the assembly area. 

In my platoon acting Sgt. Wright, of the 2nd squad, Pfc Roland Reynolds of the 3rd squad, and Pfc Phillip Smith of 2nd squad, had been injured on the jump. S/Sgt Charles McCurry, Pfc Bill McDonald, Pfc Ralph Iverson, Pfc Marion Boone, Pfc Paul Narrow, Pfc Theodore Yocum, and an Army Signal Corps photographer were missing along with jumpmaster, 1st Sgt Albert Baldwin. They were in plane 22, F Co.'s first plane.

For reasons I do not know, Bill Bailey led the 1st stick out with Henry Poisant right behind. The second pass, the second stick was jumpmastered by (unknown). Baldwin was set to jumpmaster the 3rd, but on the second pass the plane's left engine had been hit and it was unable to make this third pass, so they did not jump. The plane returned with the third stick aboard."

Richard Lampman

"I do not remember who jumpmastered the group I was in?  I thought I was in 1st Sgt. Baldwin's group, but as they went back to Mindoro, I couldn't have been. 

I remember being 4 or 5 in the stick and when I landed helped a trooper that had one of those sharp pointed trees in his leg all the way through. He could not stand or lay down.  I managed to break it so he could lay flat on the ground. I also helped one of the "old timers" who had broken his ankle. This was Acting Sergeant James Wright who was a 501st Parachute Battalion man.  He was in the 2nd squad along with me.  The wind was blowing their chutes and I was afraid they would become more seriously wounded or killed.  It only took a few minutes amidst all the yelling to let them alone..."






It is well here to pause and clear up the jumpmaster question.  In the 3rd battalion it was important that the officers be on the ground quickly in order to organize the defenses.  Since the 2nd Battalion was jumping into a secured area there was much more importance attached to getting the men on the field.  It is known in F Company that all platoon leaders stayed in the planes and jumpmastered each stick.  The company commander, Bill Bailey, did lead the first stick out in F Company's lead plane.   It was a battalion order for the platoon leaders to jumpmaster, but that does not make it a certainty that the other companies did.   Evidently the company commanders all jumped first.  As already stated, the 2nd Battalion company executive officers did jump that morning with the 3rd Battalion acting as jumpmasters of their sticks.  This was done in order for them to have the areas reconnoitred, so that the company could proceed immediately with their mission.  It went very well for all, except in F Companies where the executive officer, 1st Lt. William E. "Red" LaVanchure was taken out of action by two badly sprained ankles.




Our tents have been pitched and we had no reveille or for that matter breakfast, we had been issued 4 meals of K rations starting at noon today and for breakfast someone had the brilliant idea of giving flour. It was a bright sunny morning and hot. By 0930 we had folded and stacked cots and, naturally, policed the area, then we mounted trucks and rode out to the air strip. In very orderly fashion, we got in our planes. The  men looked happy and neither nervous or uneasy. At 1225 we took off.

Take off time is wrong. RCT S-3 journal gives take off time as 11:30 and the company histories generally agree, as does Calhoun's diary


Flying time one hour and 5 minutes.. Our company jumped on two fields�three passes over each. We had at least 24 to 27 men in each plane and two bundles. There was  a north wind blowing to the tune of 16 knots. We jumped right into small arms fire at all places except the parade ground. Assembling was a difficult task. Even now at 1820 we two or three unaccounted for. We know of 22 casualties, but we were lucky. I believe it was the worst jump of any airborne operation. There is still firing going on around us. The Japs have some pill boxes on the perimeter which we must knock out.

Some of us ate K rations�the boys of the 3rd L.M.G. Platoon barbecued a chicken. At 1930 it was dark.�blackout, no lights, no fires. Our disposition at the time was � Co, C.P. set up in barracks. 3rd L.M.G. on perimeter, 2nd L.M.G. with �D� Co, 1st L.m.g. with E Co. The mortar platoon had only one complete mortar so they set up just outside the barracks. We found a lot of T shirts, bed spreads, towels, etc. which we used for sleeping�sleeping, no one got much sleep. There was sporadic firing going on all night�on all sides between a platoon of �E� Co. and the Japs who had come up through the night. Facing north to our left front was a pill box and entrance to a tunnel. Our perimeter faced directly to it. We opened up on it and started a fire. For one hour and a half it burned steadily with huge detonations. Anything in that tunnel is well roasted by now.


The company entrucked for San Jose airstrip.


The battalion is emplaning.


All planes are taking off.  Only half are taking off from San Jose strip.  The other half is taking off from Hill strip.


The plane loads began jumping. We are making three passes because the field is very short and the wind velocity is high.  This jump area is undoubtedly the roughest any parachute unit ever jumped on.  There is a cliff at one end, shell holes, rubble, half cut-off trees in between and at the other end a three story barracks building. Another unusual factor is that our planes were fired upon by light Ack, Ack while they were making their passes.  The men on the way down were under small arms fire from over the cliff and knee mortar fire was being laid on the jump field.


The platoons have organized and are now in their positions. The Company C.P. has been set up in the partially ruined barracks once occupied by the 59th C.A.  The third platoon moved out with the mission of seizing the hospital. A patrol out of the first platoon went back to the drop area to bring in Rabinko and Pace who were pinned down by M.G. fire.




1st Lt. Donald F. Abbott, was executive officer of E Co., 2d Battalion, and the writer of the official E Co. journal.  Though E Co. did not  arrive until the second wave, Abbott, along with the other executive officers of 2nd Battalion, jumped in the first wave so that they would be on the ground and aware of the tactical situation when their units arrived. 

"The second and third Bn's jumped on the famous Corregidor Island, P I.  When the second Bn. jumped we were under small arms fire and Knee Mortar fire.  Our casualties were five men MIA- Sgt's Gulsvick, Ledoux, Pfc's High, Musolino, and Rovolis and 21 men injured on the worst jumpfield in history."

1120 hr, 16 February, 1945:  Company "F" took off from Hill Strip en route to Corregidor Island, Philippine Islands.  Pfc McClain LWA while in flight by enemy antiaircraft fire. 1400 hour, company jumped & was assembled by 1500 hr.  11 men had jumped. Company moved into officer's row & went into position for the night, first platoon in an attempt to take Wheeler Battery lost two EM killed in action from Company F...




The meaning obviously is that 11 men were injured on the jump,  since that is the correct figure.  The 'two EM killed' were Pfc. Glenn Handlon who  was killed in an ambush at the mouth of the battery, and Pfc. Albert Thomas who  was killed during the efforts to get the trapped men out of Wheeler Battery, not to capture it.  This, written by their own company who certainly knew their names, and should have recorded the circumstances better, illustrates that even the official histories are not gospel.  How easily offhanded comments become history.

Battery Wheeler