these aren't the exact verbatim words spoken but they are close to it.
Well, it didn't take me long to recall the
subway incident on Noemfoor. However, I was still somewhat skeptical and felt
that Mac was trying to convince us that he had flipped his lid and was section
eight material. We took him back to his old tent area and found his entrenching
tool. I told him he had better have it when we hit whatever beach it was we were
supposed to hit. Charlie Boyes just shook his head and mumbled something to
himself and walked away.
"B" Co loaded on the APD; it was an old, oval
deck, 2 stack vessel. I guess we were on board for less than 72 hrs, or perhaps
less than 48 hrs, just sitting at anchor, I can't remember. Word comes down that
there has been a Jap breakthrough up the line at Ormoc Bay. We are off loaded so
that the ship can be used in that immediate area. It may have transported some
of the 77th Division troops into the Ormoc area. I heard that the old ship
incurred damage or was sunk in the fracas, or at least that was the explanation
We were not off loaded in our old Company
area, but up the beach at a new spot a short distance from the old area.
Perhaps it was the second day in the new
area that Mac comes up missing and, of course, we realize now that he is acting
very peculiar to say the least. Someone suggested that he may have gone back to
the company area. That's exactly what he had done and he left a trail to make
sure that someone would follow him. He left bits and pieces of gear strung out
as he moved toward the old area, he even disassembled his M-1 and left it strung
out to make his trail. However the trail played out as he either ran out of
articles to drop or decided the trail was marked sufficiently. The native
personnel near the old area were questioned and, yes, some of them believed they
had seen an American soldier such as we described, but they had no idea where he
was now. Some of us kinda believed that he may have been in one of the native
huts with perhaps someone he knew.
Anyway, it's getting late and the search
party decides to return to our company area. Very shortly after we return, ole
Mac comes walking in, singing and laughing, talking loud and none of it making
making any sense. The troops give him the eye, wondering what comes next.
He calms down and I assign him to an area
where he can be observed and watched throughout the nite. All seems to be going
well, and then about midnite he starts singing and laughing all over again. Ole
Teddy Kazor, one of the men who was keeping tabs on Mac, came to me and says,
"Aiken we got to do something about that crazy feller, damn if I'm gonna let him
keep me awake all nite."
Actually, Kazor used much stronger language
than I have accredited to him.
I go down to where Mac is leaning up against
a big palm or coconut tree and he is still laughing and singing. I told him to
sit down and shut up. He did exactly as he was told. I told him that if he
didn't shut up and behave himself for the rest of the night, that I had no
alternative but to take him out into the boondocks where I would tie him to a
large tree so he could sing and laugh all he pleased, and disturb no one else
but himself. He looked at me and said "O.K. I'll be quiet." He kept his word and
there was no more disturbance for the rest of the nite. However I doubt very
seriously if Teddy Kezar slept very much the rest of that nite.
Comes morning and Mac is escorted to the
company C.P. There the CO, the 1st Sgt, Sgt Rice, myself and others watch Mac
climb aboard a jeep that had been summoned for for the purpose of escorting him,
presumably, to some psychiatrist's office further up the line.
As the jeep rolled gently down the beach on
Leyte Island, P.I., with Mac sitting in the backseat, he turned and waved
I can imagine he was saying to himself, "I
built my subway on Noemfoor, I rode it to Leyte, and now I'm gonna ride
that sucker all the way to San Francisco, U.S.A.!"
"You know he probably sang and laughed all
the way back to the Good Ole U.S.A. as he rode home on his Noemfoor
This story wasn't made up, but actually
occurred. I may have embellished it a bit here and there. Forty-six years is a
long time ago and it's kinda hard to remember all the exact details.
Louis G. Aiken, Sr
Co "B" 503 Prcht Inf
P.S. I have no idea what
actually happened to Mac when he left "B" Co. riding on that jeep. However if
anybody could ride a subway from the U.S.A., Mac did it.