William T. Calhoun



When I started my diary, I had just survived the life defining experience of Corregidor. I did not make an entry from 1 February until March 30, 1945, but had made notes on Army yellow message pads and in a small spiral note pad.  I was young and probably not as aware of the fickleness of memory as I am today.  It is handy to look back upon it even now.




Mar. 30, 1945

"I look back now to the last time I wrote in you. We messed around and about Feb. started getting ready for a mission. We were briefed and our mission was to jump on topside of Corregidor Is. Wow!"


Taking a break near 28D, and forming up for our first "F" Company patrol. Within fifteen minutes,
Glen E. Handlon (pictured) would be dead, killed by a MG at the "big battery,"  Wheeler.

Battery Wheeler - during a lull in the fighting, the parapet is occupied by 503d Troopers,
whilst beneath them, the Japanese are being reinforced through a tunnel - never found.




Feb 16, 1945

Our tents were pulled down yesterday so we slept in the open. We drew our chutes and "Mae Wests" yesterday. At 0930 we moved down to the battalion C.P. and started loading on trucks.

We will jump about noon. The third battalion jumped at 0800 this a.m. 1st Bn. jumps tomorrow. Major Caskey came over at ten and wished me luck and we moved off for Hill Strip.
We got there about 10:30 just as the planes were coming in from jumping the 3rd battalion.

I'm pretty cool. Kinda feels natural. I know He will take care of me our plane, #23, came in and we started getting our equipment on. As our truck pulled up to stop, I could see it land, and that it was tattooed by a line of holes on the fuselage in a diagonal pattern a few feet forward of the tail assembly. Machine gun reception. As a distraction, a W.P. grenade went off and burned somebody pretty badly over by Ed Flash's plane. 6

 At 1100 we took off. All the men were ready to go except me and I didn't have my chute and equipment on yet. During the whole flight I felt pretty good and "sweated" very little. I think most of the men were in pretty good spirits, too. As we flew along I kept getting on my equipment. the heavily loaded men had to have assistance in climbing up the steps into the plane. The crew chief and I stood on the ground and pushed them. I clambered up sans equipment. About 1200 we did a lot of jocking around. The planes seemed to be trying to get in  some sort of formation. F Company was jumping the "B' Field, a golf course.  Bill Bailey was in the lead F Co. plane. He lead the first stick out feeling the company C.O. should get down early. The planes came in on trail and on account of such a short field make three passes - jumping 8 men at each time. I was jumpmaster, with Todd 6 and seven men on the first, Johnson 6 and seven on the second, and myself and the 3rd.

Todd and I were kneeling in the door behind a bundle of mortar ammo. Then we started passing over cruisers and destroyers and saw Bataan out to our left. All of a sudden, 1230, Todd said "There it is!" and I saw a bare cliff rising out of the sea coming out from under the left wing. Then I could see "topside" and chutes strung out all the way from the sea, up the cliffs, and on A and B fields. My plane followed Bailey's which contained McCurry, McDonald, Boone, Iverson, Yocum, and Narrow as well as a Signal Corps photographer named Yednack, along with company headquarters. We could hear small arms fire and I first thought it was fire fights on the ground. Then a bullet cracked through the plane and I said oh! oh! Then we were passing that small space called "B" field. I counted six seconds after we passed the go point, then two more seconds pushing the bundle out and Todd delayed another about another second and went. That stick hit perfect. We circled and in about fifteen minutes came in on our next run. This time I pushed the second bundle and Johnson and his stick went. I jumped them just a little bit early. As we turned circling to make our third pass, I saw the plane in front heading  back along our approach track from Mindoro. Smoke was pouring out from a motor. 6  About 1300 we made the third approach and I took my third stick out on about a nine second delay. When I told my stick to "Stand in the door!" I was leaning out slightly looking ahead. The man behind me moved so close I could not get squared away and, consequently my left side was ahead of the right side, and I had to almost dive out. I saw silk flash by my feet so I must have been standing on my head, and she opened.

I looked down and wow! Bomb craters, tree snags, and boulders going by below.  There was a strong wind. I sure wanted to get that landing over,  which I did by swinging into a crater near the officers club swimming pool and slamming into its rock side with my right side on my M-1 rifle 6  and got both the breath and snot knocked out of me.

A guy from "E" Company cut me out of my harness and I collected the stuff out of my kit bag, got it on, and weakly crawled out the crater. The M-1's stock was completely shattered with the sling holding the stock and barrel together. I could hear intermittent firing and some of the men were getting hit on the field. I got Peterson. 6 We assembled and about 1400 moved down to the last house in officer's row.  6

About 30 minutes later Bailey gave me orders to take a patrol of two squads out, and search Wheeler Battery and the A.A. position to the left. This was all in plain view of us from upstairs in the house. 6

Shortly thereafter Bailey ordered Ed Flash to take his 2nd platoon and occupy the NCO Quarters. 6

We pushed out under sniper fire from the A.A. battery and started to work on them. We used bazookas and our flat trajectory mortar and kept them down and advanced, either killing them or running them off. During the advance our right flank was exposed to Wheeler Battery, the battery stood high above our plane of advance, so I sent Freihoff with three men . 6

Lt Browne had sent word that he had been in Wheeler Battery and it was clear. 6

So Freihoff, Huff, Handlon, and Thomas go into it,  and a machine gun immediately opened up, and Handlon was instantly killed. Freihoff and Huff jumped into a room of the magazine under gun port #2, and were trapped. Thomas got out and came out and reported the situation to me. I pulled everybody out of the A.A. gun positions and we worked our way up a wood knoll facing Wheeler's rear. We got in a shell crater on top of the berm and the bazooka man fired several rounds  in the area of the battery control station where the m.g. was located, with no results.  Sgt Phillips 6 and Sgt Johnson 6  and some more men worked on up further. I was sitting in the back of the crater and Thomas and Todd were looking over the brink of the crater. Thomas had just shown me the door to the room where the two were trapped, and he was now showing Todd. Then splat,  and Thomas's head seemed to melt and he turned around and fell face forward down into the bottom of the crater and blood gushed out of his mouth. Of course we knew immediately that he was dead. That hurt.

The bazooka not having much effect, I went back to battalion to get a flame thrower. After getting one,  Bailey and I arrived back, almost at dark. They worked the flame thrower up and it wouldn't work. That got me. Soucie had one rifle grenade, W.P. and it was just on dark. We got in the road and I told Soucie to fire the grenade into the battery between the Jap machine gun and Friehoff and Huff. While I prayed, he fired it  - but he had failed to pull the pin and of course it didn't go off. A little later McCarter and Phillips crept up very close and threw grenades, fired up all their ammo, got a dead man's carbine and fired up that ammo, threw rocks, and everything they could get their hands on into the Japs. 

Freihoff and Huff ran out during this and got out. I was never so glad to see anybody in my life. We moved back about 100 yds. and spent the night inside our perimeter, which joined the 3rd platoon,  who linked to D Company in a perimeter around the officers row. We had small attacks that night that didn't do much damage. A couple of the men got wounded from the company."



          F   O   O   T   N   O   T   E   S          

1.    I heard several weeks later that it was an Air Corps guy who died . Some years on, in the late 1940's, a fellow dental student  told me he was in the same squadron as the unfortunate man. He said the phosphorus had burned into his lungs and death was immediate. 5

2.     T/Sgt.   5

3.     SSgt.    5  

4.     There is another SC photo of the same group sitting while flying along. There were also movies made. So six men of my first squad were not with us until they came in with the 1st squad. Yocum and Narrow would die in Grubbs Ravine on the 23rd. White was hit in both ankles going to Narrow, and 2Lt MacKenzie, l.m.g. platoon leader would die there going to the aid of McKenzie. Iverson woulr die on Negros when a mortar shell fell in his foxhole. Baldwin died last year. Boone died several years ago. McCurry and McDonald still live. in the front of Templeman's RTC, is the Baldwin picture with the troopers lined up ready to jump.As I said in my diary, In the rest of the planes of F Co. the officers jumped every stick, the feeling being that the DA's were secure.    5 

5.    I carried an M-1 Garand rather than a carbine.    5

6.   We would find out in May that Richard "Tropical" Peterson was fifteen years old when he jumped on Corregidor.    5

7.    Building 28-D.    5

8.     Bailey told me to take the 3rd platoon back out to Battery Wheeler, I asked to take my platoon. In our previous operations I had never had experience with the third. It seemed the 1st and 2nd were always used together,  in combat situations, in guarding task force headquarters in San Jose, Mindoro, and even in being the advanced party for loading on the "USS Custer" to go to Leyte. I just was not very familiar with the 3rd platoon.  Bailey turned down my request because my platoon was already in position facing the Battery B ("Boston") area and had suffered casualties whereas the 3rd had not.     5

9.     Flanagan gives an account of commanding a composite force made up of E and F company men fighting off the Japs soon after landing. E Company jumped on A Field,  D on B Field.      5

10.    (that was all I had of the first squad because Sgt. SSgt McCurry and the rest of the squad 1st were missing from the jump along with 1st Sgt. Baldwin)    5

11.       While we waited at 28-D, I walked out to Battery Wheeler past the end of the berm where I could see down the length of the battery. I saw Capt. Spicer's body. While I was looking at the EMT tag attached to his web suspenders with amazement - he had made the tag out and signed it. Larry Browne came from the area of the battery control station, and we discussed Spicer's body. He told me he had been through the battery and it was empty. We learned later there was a tunnel there. 5

12.     SSgt Phillips had just returned from leave in the States and was not yet assigned within the company. 5

13.     SSgt 5