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24 - 30 DECEMBER 1944



24 December 1944



0730 hr

 Intermittent long plane raids lasted thru the night, opposed only by searchlights and ack-ack. Our expected P-61’s are not operating above Mindoro as yet.


 “D”Company patrol under Lt. Gifford radioed no enemy sighted, although area was thoroughly covered. Natives report Japs haven’t been seen for a week.


 “D”Company patrol returning- no activity.


 Password till 15 0800 I – pellet slingshot.

A flight of C-47 transports are landing on our #1 strip, and are loaded with bombs and turkey. The Christmas dinners sunk by the Japs in their suicide dives a few days ago are being replaced.  If at all possible, our troops receive turkey Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the Quartermaster is very resourceful in supplying the turkey under adverse conditions.


(The QM could be very resourceful when the CG, MacArthur, gave an order.)


#58 0830 hr

 To complete a Bn check of attached weapons, “E”Company is being queried. 


 Bn S-2 desires a sketch of roads within Bn areas, and assigned that task to intelligence men assigned to companies.

#60, #61, 0900 hr


#62 0902 hr

 The mortar group sent to “F”Company yesterday is not needed, and Lt. Goodman requests permission to return them to control of Hq Co. Permission has been granted by Commanding Officer.

#63 0915 hr

 The attached weapons of “E”Company included six .50 cal machine guns and two 60mm mortars, all from 866 engineers.

#64 0930 hr

 “E”Company will assume 250 yards of the perimeter now occupied by Hq Co, 2nd Bn, and message asks if “B”Company is picking up .50 cal’s to place in its additional area of responsibility.

#65 1045 hr

 Memo of Western Visayan Task Force dated 22 Dec must be read to all personnel and written report submitted. This memo requires all men in uniform at all tiomes except swimming, and to carry arms and helmet at all times. To be prepared for possible airborne attack.

#66 1130 hr

 An SCR 511 is being sent to Company “E”to facilitate communications.

#67 1135 hr

 Artillery Batteries that have been ranging in across the Bugsanga, have been contacted, and it is OK for “E”Comapny to send a patrol today to (85.0-10.0). Lights at night time, during air alerts have been observed on a hill at that location, and may be a check point for Nip bombers.

#68 1400 hr

 “E”Company reports the two .50 cal machine guns in question were included in his extended boundary last night, and says perimeter is now too large. The mortar men withdrawn from “F”Company to Hq Co, 2nd Bn will assume the additional perimeter that has been allocated for one night to “E”Company.

1600 hr

 The Bn has been issued one pound of turkey per man. The cooking of the birds is a large problem, because the kitchen is not coming in till U=22, and only two burners are available. “D”Company desires to cook the turkeys themselves, and the kitchen will roast turkeys for Hq Co tomorrow morning and “F”Company in the afternoon. “E”Co will get their turkey Tuesday morning Dec. 26th. Candy and cigarettes will be issued at the meal, but cranberry sauce did not materialize

1730 hr

 A squadron of P-38’s just buzzed the strip returning from a strike, and 7 victory rolled. Our Air Force is administering paralysing blows to the Jap Air Force on Luzon, in preparation for the large scale invasion there soon after the New Year. With its 2 strips in operation, Mindoro is now able to assume its place in the softening process

900 hr


Christmas Eve, and it is just like any other night. The Jap harassing raids have begun, and searchlights and ack-ack are being utilized beneficially. Moonlight will bathe San Jose till 0400 hr tomorrow morning.”

In reference to the victory rolls above anytime the pilot shot down a Jap plane he was entitled to one victory roll.


Co on perimeter and no enemy activity. The 1st Platoon rejoined the Co and had made no enemy contacts.”

We are still working from dawn to dark on our positions. We hoped to get mail today and something special in the way of rations. We got more air raids. They really came over tonight. It was almost one continuous raid until 0330 Christmas morning. The Japs are giving us a special Santa Claus visit. Maybe we will get mail tomorrow. Mail from home is an immeasurable lift to morale. we know the ships are (further account could not be deciphered at this stage as the text was blurred).

Our defensive position was on old sugar cane fields. The ground was relatively level, but there were swells and sways where Japs could crawl under the fire along the fire lanes. The bulldozer took care of this so that the fire lanes were level. Other low places were they might find protection and gather to dash through the fire lanes were covered with mortars which were laid in on these targets. The grass was about waist high on these old fields.




25 December 1944



0800 hr

 No activity during the night except air raids.

0900 hr

 Neighboring Filipinos have been invited to attend our turkey dinner today. They have been most liberal with their minimum supplies during our 10 day stay on Mindoro, and Brig. General Dunckel desires our appreciation to be expressed in this manner, and good will be engendered. Many of the command had already been invited to Filipino homes for dinner.

#69 0940 hr

 Candy and cigarettes are available at RSO for Christmas dinner.

#70 1000 hr

 Password till 26 0800I- Spelling pupil.

#71 1200 hr

All engineer equipment needs will be referred to executive officer, 503 RCT for action. No loans or borrowing of engineering equipment will be permitted, per Western Visayan Force order.

1300 hr

Enemy continues light raids over our positions, with very limited success. Jap aircraft destroyed over Mindoro, San Jose area, since Dec 15th, U-day, are 62 definites- 21 by MTB squadron, 21 by AAA, and 20 by interceptors. If this is any indication of the Jap losses over the rest of the Philippines, their Air Force is being dealt many deadly blows. Admiral Halsey’s Carrier Forces are still pounding Luzon and other Jap concentration points.

1400 hr

The turkey dinner proved to be very delicious, although the cranberry sauce and apple turn-over scheduled by the quartermaster will be delivered at a later date. 23 neighboring Filipinos were guests of our kitchen for dinner.

1800 hr

Colonel Britten was called to regiment by Col. Jones and informed of a change to be initiated tomorrow afternoon. Lt. Col. Lawrie, Regt’l executive officer, is going to return to the States, to attend command and general staff school at Ft. Levenworth. Lt. Col. Britten, 2nd Bn C.O. will temporarily go to regiment as executive officer, and Major Caskey will assume command of the 2nd Bn.

2030 hr

We had a parachute scare that was quickly exploded by radar control. A large Jap plane came over our perimeter from the west at a high altitude, and as the searchlights picked it up, large white objects, resembling parachutes were dropped at regular intervals.

The alert was not issued until we would know definitely whether or no parachutists had been dropped, and our O.P. and adjacent units were contacted to acquire additional information. Fifteen minutes later radar definitely identified the objects as “Windows”; - metal sheets or tin foil dropped to interfere with radar equipment by jamming air ways. The light reflecting on the windows made a similarity to parachutes, and radar said a few parachute bombs may have been dropped.”

Co on perimeter and no enemy activity.

It was Christmas morning and we were enjoying the luxury of sleeping late. Our Aussie bulldozer operator arrived about 0730 and awakened me with a cheery “Merry Christmas”.  After coffee with us he went to work. This was an Aussie who loved coffee. He told me that was the reason he volunteered for the job. It was because we had coffee. We kept the billy can of coffee hot. The day was hot early as usual. It was hard to realize that this was Christmas Day.

We took the afternoon off. It was Christmas, and we had battalion’s blessings.

This afternoon we were sent some turkey, bread, jam, and coffee. After eating many of us went into San Jose. Most of us had never been into the small town. We had not seen a town with painted houses since we left Australia nine months ago. The town’s people all seemed to be out and dressed their best. Some of us went to battalion headquarters which was located on the outskirts of town. We had more turkey, bread, and jam here. They gave turkey, bread, and jam to all comers. Major Caskey, 1st Lt. Laurence Browne, 1st Lt. Tom McNery, and the cooks rustled up some candy from somewhere and gave it to the kids. Late that afternoon there were quite a few kids there. They would get in line, get candy, and then rush back and get in line again. They had to throw some of the “kids”who shaved out of the line. About 1700 hr each platoon issued several uncooked turkeys. We cooked them on a spit over and had turkey for several days.




26 December 1944



0800 hr

 Usual harassing raids were experienced during night, but nothing else of significance.

1000 hr

 Captain Byers and 111 officers and enlisted men of the 161st Parachute Engineer Company will be attached to 2nd as of Wednesday, 27 December. They will lay barbed wire at “F”Company position.

#72 1100 hr

Companies have been notified an inspection will be made tomorrow of company and platoon ammo dumps, and fire brakes, and availability of ammunition to guns.

#73 1145 hr

 Password till 27 0800 I - Little Lady.

1600 hr

All additional ammunition designated to be placed at gun positions are now there, fire lanes are completed, road blocks constructed where considered feasible, and the 2nd Bn is completely prepared for any eventuality.

1745 hr

 A Navy B-24 scout plane from a China Base just landed at our strip. it reports a Jap Naval Task Force of one battleship, two cruisers and about nine destroyers 120 miles northwest, steaming for Mindoro at twenty eight knots. The scout plane will refuel, take on bombs, and shadow the convoy. The pilot said he will drop his load on the battle ship. Our C.P. is right beside the bomb loading dispersal area, and we will get the information first-hand.

1815 hr

Colonel Jones alerted the RCT as ordered by C.G. Task Force, because of imminence of Jap Task Force. All battle positions will be manned. The Nip Force is about 5 hours out of Mindoro.

1830 hr

Four additional .50 caliber machine guns will be sent out to “D”Company to reinforce its company strong point across the Bugsanga, with 6,000 rounds per gun.

1845 hr

 It is just about dark now, but a 3/4 moon is beginning to light up the area like daylight. Every B-25, P-40 on Mindoro’s strips will load bombs and attack the Nip warships. The strips do not have lights, but jeep lights will mark its approaches, and coupled with the bright moonlight should be enough to enable plane to take off and land. The Japs must figure on hitting our shores during darkness. We have not put up fighters to combat the night harassing raids of the past ten days, and Nip G-2 may figure our planes not capable of taking the air after sunset.  They did not consider a 3/4 moon, that will be up until 0500 hours tomorrow.

1850 hr

 The Jap Task Force has the newest type battleship with it, with fire power equal to the largest ship the U.S. has afloat. The absence of transports with the Jap force indicates an attempt to shell our shipping and shore installation, and withdraw before dawn. A rendezvous with troops carrying ships is also a capability of the enemy.

1900 hr

 Twelve B-25’s took off with full bomb loads, from number 2 strip (this is the San Jose Strip which was adjacent to our defenses), and fighters are rising from the other strip, with navigation lights on. Strangely enough the Jap nightly harassing raids, usually in full swing by this time, have not materialized. We have about 180 planes on our 2 strips, and they are being bombed up and sent out every couple minutes. The air above is jammed with our planes heading out to meet the enemy, with red and green navigation lights twinkling.

1945 hr

Our B-25’s have dropped their bombs from 100 feet, skipping them in, a specialty for that type of craft, strafing on the way in. They are on way back to bomb up. The B-24 dropped its stick from 8,500 feet. Results undetermined.

2030 hr

 Our B-25’s have landed, and are going out again. The pilots say the Japs have a terrific ack-ack barrage, and some fighter cover.

2040 hr

Our fighters are engaging the enemy 25 miles north of San Jose, strafing and dropping 500 pounders.

2050 hr

The two strips are just a jumble of planes landing, bombing up and taking the air again. The gas and bomb supply is not too adequate on the island, and only the bombers are refueling.

2100 hr

The fighters report the battleship has turned back, 25 miles north of San Jose, but the cruisers and destroyers are bearing down.

2110 hr

Except for the Navy Scout Plane, the Army Air Force is alone in attacking the convoy. The position of any U.S. surface craft is unknown, with the exception of approximately 20 P.T. Boats based on our bench, and it is quite certain none of our larger surface crafts are close enough to intervene.

2120 hr

 The planes are landing and taking off in a steady stream. They will shuttle bomb and sttraf until attack force is turned, our fields are shelled to uselessness, or bombs give out.

2130 hr

 A Nip lone bomber followed a B-25 in, and dropped his stick just off the end of the strip, not damaging the runway or planes.

2140 hr

 The Jap Task Force is still coming on. The ack-ack of the intense air-naval battle is now visible, and the strafing of our fighters is criss-crossing the air.

2150 hr

 Task Force warned that enemy force is now within striking distance, all troops will be in fox holes to repel invasion. Two Jap surface craft are on fire, but holding place in Task Force. Our planes are continuing to straf and bomb. A few Japs raids have been made on our strips but runways and planes undamaged. All our planes will strafe convoy as long as possible, and when the strip comes under Jap fire, all our planes will fly to Leyte.

2220 hr

 The Jap Task Force has been in shelling range for quite a while, and is now passing off blue beach, and has not shelled our area yet. Our aircraft is giving the warships a heavy strafing and bombing, as the battle progresses off our shore. Amber flares are being dropped by enemy planes or shell all over the area of WVTF.

2240 hr

 B-25’s reported a lot of small arms fire as they came in low, and may indicate troops aboard the enemy destroyers.

2250 hr

 The Jap Task Force has now withdrawn to 10 miles off San Jose, and the battle is continuing out there. All our defenses are on lookout for a beach landing or parachute attack. One or two hundred paratroopers could do unlimited damage to our revetment areas, with all the confusion attendant to the hurried refueling and rebombing, on a new airfield without complete facilities installed as yet. Every truck available has been commandeered to haul bombs and gas drums from the dump to revetment area. A thin coat of dust is on the strip, and the props of our bombers and fighters swirl it into a haze, hindering operations.

2320 hr

 Two destroyers are reported heading full speed at white beach, and all is held in readiness. In the event of an enemy landing, “F”Company will revert to control of 1st Bn, and coordinate defense with that unit previously prepared road blocks along the routes of approach will be swung into place by our engineers as the enemy lands.

2340 hr

 Three Jap ships are now burning offshore, extent undetermined. Radar detects another group of ships about 50 miles north: direction indefinite. it could be transports to follow on the warships now offshore

2400 hr

There are large flashes along white beach, and the Japs are believed to be shelling shore installations.

White flares from the enemy ship are lighting our Task Force area like daylight. Shelling is moving north now, and inland whistling over our heads. It sounds like 5 inch and is coming uncomfortably close. A grass fire has been started by a flare about 200 yards north of our Bn C.P. The airstrips have not been hit yet, and B-25’s and fighters are still landing bombing up and taking off. The Air Force is doing a herculean job. Some B-24’s and B-26’s from Leyte are due anytime to hit the convoy.”


Air raids continuing. We see big dog fights. Hill Strip, several miles south of San Jose has most of the fighters. All the P-47’s are based there and some P-38’s. This strip was in operation three days after we landed. San Jose Strip was in operation five days after we landed. Occasionally low flying fighter planes chasing after Jap planes will strafe us unintentionally as they fired at the Jap planes. One day while I was conducting our battalion commander, Colonel Britten, and our company commander, Lt. bailey, on a tour of our defensive positions, and we were out in the open fields well away from any cover when a Jap plane flew low over our heads. Right behind him and a little above were several P-38’s firing at him with all guns blazing. We naturally hit the ground instantly, but the bullets threw dirt and grass on us. Luckily no one was hit, but all were shaken.

We spent the day working on our fortifications. We put out anti-personnel mines, the deadly Bouncing Betties, in front of the barbed wire along the fire lanes. The multiple trip wires radiated out from the mines. When one of these fine copper or brass wires was tripped the mines activated firing a cannister up in the air about four feet where it exploded throwing about four hundred steel ball bearing out in ever direction. They would literally shred anyone near them.

That afternoon as it was growing late a Navy Privateer, PB4Y (our B-24), came in over us and landed. We had finished our days work quitting early because of the season, and some of our men had walked over to the strip and checked out the Navy plane. Soon they came back with the news the crew had given out. The Privateer had come from China. About eighty-five miles out (west) in the South China Sea they had spotted a convoy consisting of several cruisers, destroyers, and four troop transports. The Army Air Force officers could not believe this, because they were patrolling this area daily. The Navy pilot was gassing up to return to China. He asked for a load of bombs to use on the Japs when he passed over their fleet. The Air Force had a squadron of RB-25’s (reconnaissance bombers) based on San Jose Strip. The powers decided that it would be prudent to go with the Privateer and check out his story. They returned soon and verified that the Japs were out there and heading straight for Mindoro. The squadron commander was not there when the planes left, but he was back now anxiously awaiting their return. So the fleet was out there! Well how many hit? Did the sink anything? The amazing reply was that they were unable to make a run, because the flak was too intense. After he came out of orbit and was able to speak coherently he got into his plane and led the eleven other planes back to attack the fleet. Every plane we had on Mindoro joined in attacking the fleet. Where was the 7th Fleet? They were supposed to be out there watching for a Jap invasion fleet. There had been reports of such a fleet ever since we landed on Mindoro. We had the feeling that someone got caught off guard.

The Army planes were flying continuous round trips. Come in, rearm, and go right back. They only took time to gas-up when it was necessary. The noise at San Jose Strip and I’m sure Hill Strip, too, was loud and continuous. The trips became shorter and the air more congested as the Jap fleet moved closer. We were told later that the transports had disappeared. Evidently after our heavy attacks started they high tailed it back towards China. The warships were boring in at high speed. The PT boats (MTB’s) had moved out in the attack, too. Some were attacked by out planes. Shortly  before 2300 hr an awesome silence dropped over us. The planes were gone, evacuating back to Leyte. From our 1st platoon headquarters which was directly in line with the runway and only two or three hundred yards away we could see no movement, no lights, no noise. Was everyone gone? This could only mean one thing. The Japs were coming within shelling range. We waited in suspense but not for long. Feeling lonely and abandoned we did not know that the transports had turned back, so to us invasion was imminent. No 7th Fleet, and now no planes, we were now alone to face the Japs. Suddenly the shells started coming over. They sounded like freight trains whoosing overhead. The Japs had one problem. The range seemed to be correct, but their azimuth was off. The impact area was too far left across the Bugsanga River. At our position as well as E and D Companies on the river the shells seemed to pass overhead. 2nd Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Company were east of the air strip in the outskirts of San Jose, so they received the same “thrill”we received from the shells passing overhead. They shelled us continuously for twenty-three minutes. The only damage we found was a completely destroyed deuce and a half truck which someone had swiped and stashed away in the brush across the river in front of D and E Companies. They said about the most undamaged piece was a headlight.

The 1st platoon was bunkered in with one exception. Platoon headquarters was on the bank of a stream under a large tree. The mortar squads were here with us, and we had dug slit trenches. Within hours after the shelling ceased there were some pretty fair dugouts in the banks of the stream. As soon as the shelling ceased T/Sgt Todd and I headed for the road block. There were Army Transportation Corps people, a Navy Chore Control party, M.P.’s, and other service personnel between us and the beach that would have to come through before we closed the road. We needed to be there to oversea the closing. We received word that the Japs were landing and our 90mm AA guns were preparing to cover the beaches with fire. They would fire the shells with proximity fuses cut to explode in the air above the ground. Now we had to wait until all our troops were safely through our defensive line and then close the road by dragging the barbed wire concertinas into place. We had a large supply of ammunition and were ready. It looked like a lot of heavy labor was going to pay off.

In a short time we learned that the report of the Japanese landing was false. When we returned to our platoon headquarters somewhere around 0300 to 0400 hours we found our dugout about finished. Our platoon runner, Edward Thompson, was proclaimed the fastest digger. Tropical Peterson declared that he was through sinning. Everyone was wide awake and in a good humor. We laughed at many things that had happened. Thompson told us when the shells were swooshing over that he’d give his next year’s pay to Admiral Nimitz if he’d come drive the Jap fleet away. No more alcohol sales either.

Another comical happening was that the Air Force’s shower area was riddled. Not far from our position they had built a large shower area, and had fenced it with six foot high burlap. This outer fence enclosed several shower areas which also had burlap walls around them. While our planes were circling out to the enemy fleet and back there was almost a continuous landing pattern of planes. As two planes came in in single file suddenly they switched on their landing lights, dropped personnel bombs, and strafed the runway. They then hastily flew off. The bombs wrecked the shower area. We laughed, because we bathed in the river and figured they could, too. Of course in a day or two the engineers had restored their shower area.

The Air Force had moved some P-61 Black Widow night fighters to San Jose strip. There were four P-40’s at Hill Strip. That night the Black Widows shot down all four P-40’s.





27 December 1944



0015 hr.

 The shelling is increasing in intensity, and every one is happy to have the extra depth added to the slit trenches during the approach of the Nip Force. Five inchers are screaming through the air and landing well back inside the perimeter. Beach defenses have not been shelled. The air strips are the targets, most likely.

0200 hr

  The line of shelling is moving north and has passed our C.P. area, and is landing across the Bugsanga River. Our airstrips were in complete operation during the attack.

0025 hr

 All our planes will load up once more, bomb and strafe, and go down to land on Leyte. Our strips have been having crack-ups on landings, and other troubles. The shot-up planes will have better opportunity for repair on Leyte.

0140 hr

 Catalinas from Leyte are up after the Nip Force, and will shadow it till well past daylight. The Task Force is now well northwest of San Jose, and still under attack by our land based planes.

0200 hr

 A Jap lone bomber is overhead, tracked by our searchlights. All our planes have left for Leyte, so he is too late to bomb the strips.

0730 hr

 A fighter cover of 12 P-38’s are overhead. Planes are coming up from Leyte, to reoccupy our 2 fields now in good shape. P-47’s are coming in to land with 500 lb bombs, slung under belly.

0745 hr

 All 2nd Battalion companies were checked after shelling last night for casualties and only one minor shrapnel wound in nose was received by Elliott, 2nd Bn Hq Company. Other units contacted also escaped unscratched.

0800 hr

“D”Company sent in a 5 inch illuminating shell case, and the parachute that suspended the flare. The Japs used these flares to range in their batteries. Many slivers of 5 inch H.E. have been found in the area and it seems miraculous that we escaped with one minor injury; The slit trenches are all going a little deeper today. One more shelling alert, and the men will need ladders to get out of their holes. Great acts of heroism were displayed by the Army Air Force last night, in dealing the Nips a deadly blow, one of which deserves special mention. The plane with 50 missions to its credit was coming in low to ship-bomb, strafing in the approach, when a 40mm tore a huge hole in the nose, knocking the pilot unconscious and incapacitating the co-pilot. The waist gunner took over the controls, and landed the plane on our strip, with the advice of the co-pilot. That kind of guts wins battles.

0830 hr

 Recapitulation of last nights action, from 503d RCT; Jap losses were 2 destroyers definitely sunk, 2 burning, of which one was a cruiser and all ships hit by bombs. Our losses were 3 MTB’s, some of the crews rescued, and 2 planes definitely lost, and 3 probables. Jap plane losses are undetermined. The plan of the Jap Task force is unknown. Whether or not enemy troops were landed up the coast is a matter of conjecture.

0930 hr

 About 30 navy Corsairs were on our strip, readying for a strike at Luzon. Almost every fighter that lifts from our fields today have a 500 lb bomb slung under the belly. All Jap bases within striking distance of San Jose are being hit.

#74 0940 hr

 Password till 27 0800 hr (?) - Yellow Belly.

#75 1115 hr

A friendly Task Force of 3 cruisers, and 6 destroyers are in the harbor. A battleship and a couple carriers are on the horizon. If they arrived about 8 hours earlier, the Jap Task Force would have been fair game, after our land based planes definitely sank 2 Jap destroyers, and hit every other ship in the force.


1300 hr

Bn positions are being improved and camouflaged. Concussion from the 5 inch naval shells knocked down all our camouflage last night. At Hq company the concussion loosened the pindle latch on a .50 cal machine gun, and tilted the gun on end. Our defense is as good as we can make it, but positions can always be improved.


1320 hr

Patrols are crossing the Bugsanga from E Company to check on possible enemy troops landed to the nort of our perimeter. During the shelling, and battle last night the enemy could have landed a large harassing force by small barge.

1400 hr

P-38's came in on our field with 1000 lb bombs slung under their wings. They had been out trying to locate any of the Jap convoy within range, but were unsuccessful. The last report today on the Jap battleship had it 250 miles west of San Jose, heading in the direction of Singapore, trailing oil. After the battle of the Philippines in October, in which our fleet decimated.the Jap surface craft attempting a shelling on Leyte harbor, China based liberators sank part of the remnants as they attempted to seek haven in Indo-China repair bases. Last night Catalinas left Leyte to shadow Jap Task Force, so good news may be in the offing.

1430 hr

Lt Col Lawrie left this A.M. for the States, despite events of last night, and Lt Col Britten is Regt'l Executive Officer while Major Caskey is 2nd Bn C.O.

1930 hr

A Nip plane just peeled off at about 6000 feet and whistled right down our near runway, dropping a string of bombs. Damage unknown. Every night the first lone raider seems to evade our radar.

2030 hr

The Japs have been over more frequently tonight than any night since U-day. They must think our positions incapacitated after shelling of last even­ing. A string of bombs, obviously intended for the squadron of P-38's at the end of the strip, 100 yards from our C.P., straddled our immediate area, but no damage was in­flicted, outside of a hole in the RSO's roof, across the street.

#76 2115 hr

"F" Company was notified to contact Capt. Byers of engr company and have him phone Col Jones on urgent business.

#77 2145 hr

Engineer company will be notified to move to adjacent road immediately from which trucks will transport them to the hill strip. They will releive "G" Company as local security for the airfiels, while "G" Company will move closer to the beach as a 503d RCT reserve.

2300 hr

A message from Col Jones directs Lt. Berry to move out immediately across the Bugsanga to (81.2-10.4) and establish an O.P. He will take intelligence enlisted men with him, and Lt. Ferguson with 4 F.A. liason (sic), for artillery obser­vation. This O.P. will overlook routes of approach that will be open to enemy forces, if they proceed on our position from the north. No definite information has been secured on the enemy capability of landing up the coast, and moving troops overland against our perimeter. Hq's Company has been notified that the O.P. group will pass through its perimeter, as has "D" Company, although Lt. Berry should not contact the latter.

"26 Dec 44 Co remained on perimeter and sent out several small patrols. During the night the Company was under a Jap Naval Task Force bombardment for 45 minutes. No casualties were suffered.

27 Dec 44 thru 30 Dec 44 Company remained on perimeter. Small patrols were sent out but no enemy were contacted."


 From 27 Dec through 30 December we continued to work on our defenses. We placed another foot or two of dirt on the bunkers and strengthened everything we felt the least doubt about. One thing that got our attention happened at the 37mm shot gun bunker. We had roofed this bunker with a layer of railroad crossties, covered them with corrugated steel roofing, and then placed about two feet of dirt on top of the metal.

As the 90's were firing one night about this time, something crashed through the roof of the dug out and landed near one of the crew members. He felt around in the pitch darkness and put his hand on a piece of shell about as big as a man's hand. He got his hand off quickly, but still received a pretty severe burn. The metal had penetrated our impregnable roof, so we set about making them more impregnable.

We had to take care not to walk out on the west side of the double apron barbed wire fence, because that is where the Bouncing Betties lay in concealment.

Our last task before we left these positions was to take up the mines. We had a sketch of all the locations In putting them out a detachment of engineers oversaw Our work, since mine laying was new to us, at least Bouncing Betties was new. They laid some of the mines, too. After we were relieved and another company took over our position what happened? A Bouncing Betty which had been overlooked and not put on the sketch was tripped by one of the relieving company members. He was hardly scratched, but the front of his fatigues were shredded. We lost a lot of respect for these mines, but on Negros we were to find out what a deadly weapon it was. This soldier was one lucky man. We were all lucky. It is a terrible tragedy to kill one of your own.





28 December 1944



Battalion S-1 Journal: "0800 hr Lt. Berry contacted Bn C.P. from his O.P. no activity.
0900 hr About 12 transports entered the harbor, probably the U+14 convoy arriving one day early. The 503d will have tents, cots and barracks bags on the U+14 convoy. Our kitchens will arrive U+22, and all organizational equipment on U+30. Our weather since U-day has been ideal, with one short rain marring the entire 13 days.
0930 hr A most flattering commendation was received by Col Britten today from Captain Terry of the USS Custer. The source of the commendation makes the Bn very happy, for Captain Terry is an old Navy man, who has transported Marines, and all other type troops on his assault transport. Captain Terry was communications officer on our valiant carrier Saratoga, when it went down in the early days of the South Pacific campaign. A commendation "That the 2nd Bn, 503d Parachute Infantry is of the finest of military organizations I have had contact with during this war", from an astute and efficient commanding officer like Captain Terry is one of the highest tributes an organization can achieve, and our men and officers may well swell their chest with pride.
#78 1000 hr Number of men of 2nd Bn overseas 24 months or over was requested by regiment. The 2nd Bn still has 160, as composed below:


    "Hq Co." "D" Co. "E" Co. "F" Co.
  1st 3 graders 18 13 5 7
  Sgts & T-4's 6 11 3 4
  Cpls & T-5's 9 4 1 0
  Pvts & Pfc's 13 49 11  6
  TOTAL 46 77 20 17
1100 hr One complete platoon of "E" Company will be on call from Regiment tomorrow for purpose of hauling parachutes from the ship to warehouse in town, that will be used as packing sheds. With the strips here in good shape, the 503d RCT could em-plane in very short order for any parachute mission on Luzon where the next offensive will strike.

password till 29 0800 hr- Killer Diller.

1300 hr B-25's are back on our strip again, with numerous P-39's, P-40's, P-47's and Marine Corsairs. The marine pilots were bewailing their absence when the Jap battleship, of which the Jap Navy only has 14, was within range of San Jose. They have a partial Naval background, and are more aware of the enormity of damage to the Jap fleet were battleship sunk, especially the latest type. The Corsairs are especially equipped for dive-bombing, while the P-38's and P-47's that attacked the task force are not.
2100 hr Nothing of importance has happened since early today."
"Company remained on perimeter. Small patrols were sent out but no enemy were contacted."


29 December 1944



Battalion S-1 Journal: 0800 hr

"0800 hr 29 Dec A court-martial will be the fate all personnel caught with unauthorized rations, according to a regimental directive. Complaints from the Quartermaster dump claim some 503d personnel, among others, have pilfered and begged rations. The "B" ration we are now being issued is difficult to breakdown into small groups, which is necessitated by our lack of central cooking. If this difficulty can't be surmounted. "C" and/or "K" rations will be issued instead."


  Every so often regiment would come out with a dire warning which "scared us to death." I suppose they had to put something on paper to satisfy higher headquarters, but it was a joke to us. Since things were settling down now we did not care what kind of rations they were issuing, B, C, or K. We would manage to better our rations. Good rations were beginning to come in and rear base wanted them for themselves. As for begging we never begged. The journal continues:
  "The latter two rations will supply ample food for each meal, but do not have the variety Of "B" rations.
1015 hr Two Nip fighter just dived out of the blue, strafed the revetment area beside our Bn C.P., and took off, unnoticed by radar, ack-ack or fighters. A Betty Bomber camE over an hour ago, and was knocked down by a P-38, as it turned tail for Manila.
#80 1030 hr Password 'till 30 0800 I- Jolly Fellow.
#81 1145 hr Bn intelligence Officer desires all patrol leaders to submit a verbral or written report of terrain features, roads, streams encountered , in any mission outside our perimeter. We will plot all likely approaches of enemy reported to have landed night of Dec. 26-27, when Jap Task force shelled San Jose. Crew of a B-25 reported troops landed 25 miles north of San Jose, 25 miles south of San Jose, and on Southwestern tip of Ilin Island, off Mangarin Point.
1300 hr A Nip bomber, flying north over our perimeter was knocked down by a P-38. That runs the total to about 25 Japs who have crashed in the foothills north of the Bugsanga.
#82 1820 hr Total blackout will be in effect through out entire Western Visayan Task Force area, from 1900 hr to 0700 hr daily.
1915 hr The usual dusk Nip whistled down our runway, dropped his eggs, and headed for Manila. He gets by radar every night.
2000 hr A liberty ship loaded with explosives which was set afire by a suicide dive , is beginning to blow up, off Caniniwit Point. It resembles shelling 3 nights ago."
"Company remained on perimeter. Small patrols were sent out but no enemy were contacted."



30 December 1944



0800 hr

Major Caskey and Lt. Bailey met Col. Jones on Blue Beach this morning to coordinate a new defensive set up, necessitated by utilization of 21st Infantry in the perimeter. Details will be noted when Bn C.O. returns.

0815 hr

The daily morning visitor we call "the courier" was finally shot down over Hill Strip by ack-ack. He has been arriving every morning at same time.

#83 0830 hr

Password 'till 31 0800I- Million Miles.

0900 hr

Survivors from sunk Jap destroyer in Task Force of the 26th states Jap mission was to sink American shipping off San Jose which their intelligence estimated as 4 cruisers, 10 destroyers, 4 large transports, 25 medium transports, and 30 small landing craft or MTB boats. We only had 4 Liberty's and approximately 20 MTB boats,Text Box: 41.
 yet sank 25% of the attacking force, and damaged every vessel. If our cruisers and destroyers, estimated by the enemy, had been present, not a Nip warship would have escaped.



Jap harassing raid last night dropped many fragmentation bombs in our immediate area. One detonated about 12 inches from Lt. Hill's slit trench, and the Hq C.O. still has trouble hearing, because of the concussion.


One of the Jap suicide pilots, captured when his nerve failed during a dive, stated he was 17 years old, and only had 4 months flight experience. Most of the suicide pilots are 14 to 17 years of age, according to the Nip information gathered from Jap suicide pilots, who lost the urge, while over Leyte or Mindoro, roughly classifies the pilots in three groups. The first are "Eager Beavers", fresh from flight school, with a burning zeal to join their honorable ancestors. We call them paratroopers in the U.S. Army. Next are the conscripts, who are practically forced into it, through misconception of family honor, face and all the other quirks instilled into Nipponese since childhood. The last group of suicide pilot is constituted by those who have not performed favorably against the enemy. They will find just enough gas in their tank for a one-way mission- a variation of honorable hari-kari.

1000 hr

Major Caskey returned from his meeting with Regimental C.O., and is shifting two 2nd Bn companies tomorrow as a result. "D" Company will come back this side of the Bugsanga River, and reoccupy its old position, now being manned by Company "I", 21st Infantry. "F" Company will be relieved of its perimeter position, and bivouac near Bn C.P. as reserve, less 2 platoons, which will afford local security for WVTF Hqs.


A tanker set afire by a suicide dive this afternoon is flaming in the harbor, and a heavy pall of black smoke reaches over 10,000 feet. A couple Nip planes were over, but just took pictures of damage inflicted, and moved out.


"Company remained on perimeter. Small patrols were sent out but no enemy were contacted."









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