Corps photographic team, under the command of Lt. Dick Williams,
flew into Mindoro two days prior to the operation. Accompanied
by five other members, Williams was "not exactly sure" of the 503d's
mission. He had never jumped before, and he all too soon discovered
that Corregidor would be his first combat jump.
"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
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
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."