The written accounts don't always accurately reflect the reality, particularly those prepared by an overworked staff officer more concerned with a forthcoming operation than a completed action. In the belief that history should not be deliberately ignoring facts and evidence which are amply substantiated, Col. Herzig took up the correspondence to question the basis upon which the 503d had been denied entitlement to the bronze arrowhead for the Mindoro operation, whereas numerous other non-combat units in the same operation had been treated differently.




"3713 South George Mason Drive
Apt. 310-W
Falls Church, VA 22041

22 April 1989

The Chief of Military History Attn: DAMH-HSO
20 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20314

 Dear Colonel Newell:


Reference your letter to me of 21 March 1989 regarding the 503d Parachute Infantry in World War II.

In this reply to my earlier inquiry, you state that the 503d landing in Nadzab, New Guinea was "unopposed" according to your office's Special Studies Chronology. I had given one example that, in addition to other action, Sgt. Esward W. Wojewodzic of B Company was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for deeds against the enemy that cost him his life. Which takes precedence, the DSC or the Chronology?

 On the 503d at Mindoro in December 1944-January 1945, I enclose a copy of our "official" history of that operation. Please not the "official" date given in the opening paragraph, "12-15 January 1945", is incorrect and should read "12-15 December 1944." A reviewer could perhaps take such an incorrect date and use it in all good faith in a subsequent document, such as a chronology.

 Again, as 1 mentioned in my earlier inquiry, page 3 of the attached mentions that B Company suffered 4 killed in action and 16 wounded when we inflicted some 40 casualties upon the enemy when we destroyed their radio station that was alerting their Luzon anti-aircraft forces of the approach of our planes. We also freed the towns in which the enemy was garrisoned. Does this fall under the interpretation of what "unopposed" means?

 As we have seen above, the written account does not always reflect the events that they are supposed to record. As another example, please note the last sentence in the enclosed regimental S-3 periodic report at para 5(a) (1) (a) and on the reverse which I have marked that states that B Company patrols and Philippine Scouts are pursuing the enemy.

Then compare this with the part I have marked on page 3 of the Historical Report which states the Philippine Scouts pursued the escaped Japanese. I know this latter comment to be in error and the periodic report to be true because I led those patrols. I cite this only to make a point that a report , prepared by an overworked staff officer more concerned with a forthcoming operation than a completed action, may be the basis on which "official" history is written. The matter at question here is that the 503d did encounter opposition and whether our personnel are entitled to the bronze arrowhead for the Mindoro operation.

 Are there any instances where "official" history has been rewritten to reflect reality?

 I would appreciate a copy of the directive that prescribes award of the bronze arrowhead.

 Thank you for your attention.


    John A. Herzig

Incl: 503d History Rept. 1 Feb 45

503d S-3 Periodic Rept. 


cc: Gen. Jones"







The Chief Of Military History And The Center Of Military History
Washington, DC 20314-0200

May 16, 1989

Organizational History Branch


Colonel John A. Herzig
USA Retired
Apartment 310-W

3713 South George Mason Drive Falls Church, Virginia 22041

Dear Colonel Herzig:

This is in reply to your request of April 22, 1989, for veri­fication of the established citeria (sic) for the bronze arrowhead given to units having participated in an assault landing.

 Enclosed are the extracts from Army Regulations 672-5-1, which describe the bronze arrowhead and the criteria used in awarding it to a unit. One aspect that should nor be overlooked is that the "forces committed should be spearheading a major assault into enemy 'controlled territory." The 503d Parachute Infantry's actions in the Mindoro campaign consisted mainly of reinforcement and assistance to the guerrilla forces in their attempt to clear Mindoro of the Japanese. In Chronology 1941-1945, a volume of the United States Army in World War II series, there is no indication that any of the 503d Infantry's activities on Mindoro fell within the stated criteria needed for the bronze arrowhead.




Clayton R. Newell

Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army Chief, Historical Service Division











The "Chief, Historical Service Division" evidently had not read the mission of the Mindoro operation; moreover, his ignorance of the fact that airpower based on Mindoro was the key to the Luzon invasion betrayed a decision made without evidence, seeking some (or any) form of justification.





"DAMH-HSO (TAPC-PDA/18) (870-5a) 1st End

SUBJECT: Assault Landing Credit for the 503d Parachute Regimental Combat Team for Operations on Mindoro Island

DA, Center of Military History, Washington, DC 20314-0200

FOR Commander, U.S. Total Army Personnel Command, ATTN: TAPC-PDA, 200 Stovall Street, Alexander, VA 22302-0471



1.     Reference is made to a letter from Colonel John A. Herzig to Brig­adier General William A. Stofft, formerly of this office, dated 30 June 1989 (copy enclosed).


2.     This office does not have any official operational records. We have, however, researched the records of the National Archives and Records Administration in order to answer the questions posed in your correspondence.


 3.     Enclosed is a copy of the official report on the Mindoro operation. There id no definite answer as to why some units that were on Mindoro Island on 15 December 1944 received assault landing credit while others did not It should be noted, however, that we have no record of any units being awarded assault landing credit during World War II unless the land­ing was opposed. Pages 13-16 of the report include a list of those units that participated in the operation on Mindoro, very few of which received assault landing credit. [Note: The spokesman admits there is no answer as to why some received credit. The Army Regulations are plain in describing the award, so plain that either all of the units landing on Mindoro should have received the award, or none of the units should have received it.] 


a.        The Mindoro operation arose from the necessity of establishing an advanced base north of Leyte from which to provide direct air support for operations in the Manila-Central Plains area of Luzon and to provide close air and naval protection of sea routes to Luzon through the Sulu and China Seas. The Mindoro Task Force, which included the 503d Para-chute Infantry and the 19th Regimantal Combat Team, supported by a naval force and the Fifth Air Force, was given the mission. [Note: Give Colonel Nelson credit for reading the reports and learning the mission]. 


b.        Because of poor weather conditions the 503d and the 19th RCT were not dropped, but made an amphibious landing on Mindoro. The report states that the 503d "reached the town of San Jose at 1200, without encountering hostile opposition, and thereafter advanced to the final phase line." (page 17) Additional support as the lack of opposition comes in a later paragraph of the report stating; "the complete absence of Japanese naval and ground opposition to the initial allied landing at Mindoro attests to the degree of surprise attained . The area was vir­tually undefended. Indications were that most enemy forces fled to the hills when the preparatory naval bombardment began (page 21). [Note: To those who participated there were three enemy forces to contend with: air, ground, and naval].


(Page 2)



SUBJECT: Assault Landing Credit for the 503d Parachute Regimental Combat Team for Operations on Mindoro Island


c.        Naval Task Group 78.3, while en route to Mindoro, encountered sporadic enemy suicide air attacks, sustaining damages and casualties. Two LSTs were destroyed, and several other vessels were damaged or des­troyed as a results Japanese air action. (page 19) It is possible that the units that were awarded assault landing credit were in this task force. Further research into naval records may verify this. The anti-aircraft artillery units, cited on page 23, whose weapons and equipment were destroyed by enemy air attack on the convoy may have been part of this group. Antiaircraft artillery defended the landing area from 43 enemy air raids between 15 and 31 December. The medical units took care of the casualties that arose from the air attacks. [Note: The discrepancy in number of air raids has already been pointed out. The attempt here to explain why some units were awarded the bronze arrowhead smacks of a drowning•man grasping for straws. Research of naval records will reveal that the entire task force was united in one large formation of ships as described on page l6 of the "Leyte-Mindoro: account, Book Three, "Operation Love." Few of the members of the convoy would describe the heavy Japanese air attacks as `sporadic'.]


4.          The documentary evidence currently available does not appear to be sufficient to overturn a decision made over 45 years ago by men who were on Mindoro. If your office decides to amend WD GO 109, 1946, to include the 503d Parachute Infantry, the 462d Parachute Field Artillery Battalion and Company C, 161st Engineer Battalion, the question will arise as to why all the units that participated in the operation did not receive assault landing credit. Any changes made to the orders should have solid and convincing rationale. [Colonel Nelson just stated our question: "why all the units that participated in the operation did not receive assault landing credit? We believe we have "solid and convincing rationale" as opposed to bureaucratic rhetoric, and the time-honored bureaucratic fear of an "open the floodgates" episode bringing further workload.]


5.          The letter referenced in paragraph 1 points out an additional problem in adding units to those that were awarded assault landing credits for Mondoro. Colonel Herzig cites Nadzab as another "assault landing" for which the 503d Infantry should receive credit. There is currently no such landing recognized by the Army. If unopposed landings are now to be considered in the award of assault landing credit, there may be hundreds of such landings like Nadzab during World War II. The research involved would be incalculable even if all the documentart evidence were available. It does not seem prudent to make an exception for Mindoro and Nadzad and omit all other unopposed landings. [Note: "there may be hundreds of such landings like Nadzab.." Would the colonel, please, submit one other such unopposed landing which involved a parachute Infantry regiment and a troop carrier wing of the Army Air Corps? We submit one: Noemfoor Island. It should be kept in mind that parachute jumping under combat conditions creates additional hazzards to life. While the colonel is submitting a parachute landing ("such landings like Nadzab), would he, also, submit an amphibious "unopposed landing" which was carried out by two regimental combat teams and a aviation engineer brigade, some 15,000 men supported by a naval fleet, the 7th U.S. Fleet, and a large number of Army Air Force fighters and bombers?]



Colonel (P), Field Artillery

Chief of Military History"

5 Encl

1-3. Enc

Added 2 encl

4. Ltr, 30 Jun 89

5. Report, Sixth Army





The Chief of Military History, Colonel Nelson, has now become Brig­adier'General Nelson in the following letter. The heading is the same as the letter beginning page 65; therefore, this letter begins:




The Chief Of Military History And The Center Of Military History
Washington, DC 20314-0200

****, 1989

Organizational History Branch


"Mr. James W. Bradley

503d Parachute RCT Association

World War II Association, Inc.

2 Lupine Circle

Novajo, California 949447


Dear Mr. Bradley:

 This is in response to your letter concerning the 503d Infantry on Mindoro during World War II.

 Enclosed is a copy of our response of January 25 to Military Awards Branch, Total Army Personnel Command, concerning the assault landing on Mindoro. While over 100 units participated in the oper­ation on Mindoro, only about 25 percent of these were awarded assault landing credit.

 If someone questions something in one of our publication, an editor or historian checks the sources. If an error in fact is found, the correction is made in subsequent editions of the volume.




Harold W. Nelson

Brigadier General, U.S. Army Chief of Military History


Enclosure  (a copy of the Chief's report to the Military Awards Branch pages 55-67).







It was even an uphill battle to ensure that what was recorded as the history of the Regiment accurate.  In July 1978, the Regiment had a Reunion, and during the course of it, a document entitled "History of the 2d Battalion (Airborne) 503d Infantry" was circulated. The problem was that it contained so many mistakes, a formal approach had to be made to the U.S. Army Centre for Military History to have it corrected.   More.