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14 July 2006

My name is Debi Donnelly and I live in Springfield, Mass.  My dad, Alfred D. Allen, was with the 503rd Airborne Infantry.  He passed away on April 24th of this year. I enclose his Obituary.

In the book, The Return to Corregidor by Harold Templeman, under the Third Battalion Headquarters & Headquarters Co, my dad's name is listed as T-5 Allen, Alfred D. 

I would like to find anyone who may have known him during that time.  Unfortunately, I never sat down and talked with my dad about his war experiences.  He left me some books on Corregidor, some papers, as well an Japanese Arisaka rifle with a sniper's scope. He was one of the first 25 paratroopers from the 503rd Airborne Infantry to land.

Debi Donnelly
[email protected]


17 July 2006


Thank you for your reply. 

I just can't believe you got my dad's name, picture and obituary in your Taps section so quickly.  Thank you so very very much.  I just burst out crying when I saw it as I know other family members will do.  I am so touched and honoured.  Thank you. 

I found a map amongst my father's papers.  It is quite large.  On one side it says on the top PhotoMap.  It shows the island of Corregidor with all the different areas around the island.  Like Battery Pt.,  Morrison Pt.,  Rock Pt. , Cape Corregidor, etc. And it has a lot more also.  On the reverse side, on the top it says Special Map and the island of Corregidor is done in white and on the inside it shows all red lines and black lines.  I wrote down the names and addresses of the men that signed this map on both sides.  Some were on the light side and some I just could not read as their writing was too bad. These are the names I can make out:

Arthur T. Carver, 526 Homerwood Ave,  Trafford, PA     
James A. Mescal, 114-75  145th St. South Ozone Park 20, Long Island, NY
Edgar MacAdam, 2072 Greenwood Rd, Upper Darby, PA      
Lt. HC Collins, 1800 N  10th Street, Waco Tx.   
Frank M. Giel  6022 N. Austin Ave,  Chicago, IL.    
DJ Van Brocklin (Hook), 2545 Taylor,  Detroit, MI
Sgt. Doug Lindsay  1196 Jefferson Ave,  Brooklyn, NY.   
Frank L. Gruse,  188 Parkway.  Oshkosh, Wisconsin  "Eagles Club"
Hans Pellikka,  Menanga, MN.  
T/Sgt. Rallin Bennett,  Russell Springs, Kentucky.
Glen Wilson, Lafayette, Indiana R.F.D.4.    
Mike McKenna,  555 Auldwell Ave, Bronx (55)  NY
John W. Gray,  Gilman City, Missouri.    
Elmer C. Conte, 1517 Oregon St.  Oshkosh, Wisconsin
CAPawlagyle, 55 Reservation St.  Buffalo, NY.  
Clifford Otef,  425 Rexford St.  Akron, Ohio
David Reid, 426-61 St.  Brooklyn, NY.  
William Ballan, 1051 Fourth S.W.,  Mason City, Iowa
Shelby Gill, Tucumcani, New Mexico.   
Ted Misiukl, 6 Staple  Squire St.  Adams, Mass
Harry M. Love,  Robinson, IL 63W.   
Eddie Carlson, 4920 W. Ohio St, Chicago, IL
Arlo Robinson, 914 Ash St.  Macomb, IL       

and the last one which was funny

JUST YOUR CHICKEN SHIT PAL, John Malete  4608 Belmont Ave,, Chicago, IL

Debi Donnelly
[email protected]



3 August 2004

Could you please put me in touch with Mr. John D. Reynolds?  I would like to thank him for his "A Partial History of The 503rd Negros Mission Phase IV July 9, 1945 to Aug. 15, 1945. 
My Dad, Byron Peebles brought Lt. Turpin back.  The patrol was 6 men from F Company.
Diane (Peebles) Koobas, Mississauga, On.,




20 July 2003

For several decades efforts have been made to change the by-laws of the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team, WWII in order to allow former members of all later 503rd units, and all have been rejected. The proponents of change are still and plan to call for a vote at the coming national reunion. (The vote failed and accordingly the constitution remained unchanged.)

Bob Flynn sent an e mail to [email protected]  applauding them for their action in Iraq. He also noted the name of Sgt Ray Eubanks on their web “is written in type which is much smaller than the others and difficult to read.”

Bill Calhoun sent Bob this e-mail:

“Bob, I am still bothered over this. It so displays the possessive attitude of the 173rd Airborne Society as the central figure in the heritage of the 503rd history, and I am expressing my opinions. Many of us have concerns with the Society of the 173rd since we were informed they were handling the administration of the Army Regi-mental System whereby honorees are chosen from our membership. We were not asked, so when we complained we are “stupid.” Their attitude is that the 173rd is the parent unit whether we like it or not. Putting Ray Eubanks in small letters seems to indicate their assumed superiority. It is hardly likely one of their 13 MOH recipients would be so neglected.  Certainly, I want the 503rd to be remembered forever—no one wants that more than me; however, I am not going to sit quietly and be gobbled  up.”

          Three days later, July 7, Captain Edward F. Buck answered Bob and sent a carbon copy to all whom Bob had sent a copy of his message telling him in effect that they would change the web page when they had time (“Mission right now takes precedent over changing font). The second paragraph was addressed to Bill:

“For Mr. Calhoun: Please refrain from sending e mails that belittle the efforts of the 173rds, we’re working very hard here in Iraq. Your email is the first derogatory comment I have received about the 173rd—I’ve been here for 2 ½ years. Your email/attitude is not only surprising, but disappointing also. Please channel your energies into something a bit more useful—like praying for the double amputee we just sent to Landstuhi a few days ago, or the engineer that just lost his foot in a landmine last week.


Cpt Buck


          One of ours had forwarded my criticism of the 173rd Society to him, and he took it as an affront to the active 173rd.  I am not going to engage in a verbal battle with a soldier in combat; therefore, I apologized and commended the action of the unit in their combat. Later, in order to that he be further assured, I sent a message stating I was praying for his unit, for the amputees and would by names if he’d send them, and I was praying for Edward Buck.

          The 503rd PRCT was formed in August 1944 by the inclusion of Company C, 161st Parachute Engineer Battalion (later 161st Parachute Engineer Co.) and the 462nd Parachute Field Artillery. The 503rd PIR was deactivated 24 December 1945. During the following years the regiment, or battalions of the regiment, were activated and deactivated as 503rd Airborne Infantry, or 503rd Infantry, serving with the 11th AB Div, 82nd AB Div, 24th ID, 25th ID, the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and the 2nd ID.

          The Army Regimental System presently operates under AR 600-82 (5 June 1990). No notice of this system by which unit associations honor living members until Mr. Ken Smith, president if the Society of the 173rd AB Brigade, contacted DA and “reinvigorated the system.” The Society set up the following in their by-laws:

“ARTICLE IX                           Awards and Honors

The Society of the 173rd Airborne Brigade (Separate) shall administer awards programs established by the Society, or act as agents for other organizations and entities in selecting candidates from the Society for honors and awards established by the Army.”

          Our Association president agreed. When Bill Manz became president, he demanded to know why we were submitting recommendations to the Society, and why was the 173rd conducting our business without approval of our membership.

          Many members were disturbed. Many remembered the effort in the West Coast Chapter to combine our 503rd and 173rd during the 70’s, an effort which was defeated. In 2002, the president requested each chapter to consider changing our by-laws which limit regular membership to those who serve in the 503rd PIR during WWII and join the 173rd in forming one great unit. This was so soundly defeated that it was considered to be dead. Not so. Some are planning and working to bring this very change up at Omaha.

We have great appreciation for the present 173rd and their service to our nation. Our concern is the 173rd Society, and our wish is that they would mind their own business. The 503rd PRCT made history and became the ROCK REGIMENT represented by the ROCK PATCH when the retook Fortress Corregidor. That is why the regiment is a permanent regiment today. Small wonder a larger unit wants to take us over. The question to me is how does a brigade get in the regimental system?

We honor Ray Eubanks and Lloyd G. McCarter as our perpetual Honorary Colonel and Honorary Sergeant Major. We honor our brothers who died serving our combat team during WWII as perpetual Distinguished Members of the Regiment. We who survived are all equal in rank.

The argument that we would be preserving our history by joining a larger organization is belied by other great units whose actions stand on their own: Alexander’s great victories in the 4th century, B.C; Washington’s victory at Burgoyne in 1777; Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg July 3, 1863; the Rock of the Marne (3d ID), July and August, 1918; Anthony McAuliffe’s answer of “nuts” at Bastogne; the Rock Regiment though outnumbered 3-2 taking the Rock. Great events are not preserved by associations. They are preserved by great and seemingly impossible achievements. We have our niche in history. Let others follow us in gaining their own place.

Nevertheless, some of our brothers disagree. If they wish, they are free to join the 503rd Heritage whose patch is not our beloved Rock Patch, and they are still free to belong to our Association, but don’t change it.

John Lindgren made a Mission Statement several years ago which I fully accept: “One thing we often lose sight of is that the association is not a money raising organization nor do we need to be recognized or loved by other organizations. Its mission is provide a setting for an old man’s club.

To gather ever now and then to recall, with their comrades, the days of their youth. It is that and nothing more. We will not have too many quarrels with this mission statement if old men tell themselves they pay their dues to see their comrade and swap war stories.”

          We absolutely oppose any change in the Association by-laws which change membership requirements.  

Proud we’re allowed,

 R.E. Broadwell         Ed Llewellyn           Bill Calhoun



Webmaster's Comment: 503d Heritage Bn does not use the beloved Rock Patch as its own, for it is not entitled to distinguish itself by adopting that patch as part of its identity. It does, however, encourage, promulgate and promote the use of the Rock Patch where it can to reflect the 503d PRCT.
Contributors - Don Abbott - John Lindgren - Sleepy Linton - Tony Sierra - John Reynolds - Jack Herzig


A number of the men in the test platoon were transferred to the 501st Parachute Battalion after the Parachute Battalions were formed in 1941.

Most of those ended up being sent to Panama, beginning in June 1941, and subsequently joined the 503rd as it was being transferred to Australia in October/November 1942.

After duty in Australia the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment jumped at Nadzab, New Guinea in September 1943.

By that time the former members of the test platoon, in the 503, had been serving overseas for more than two years.

About that time directives from the War Department authorized rotation, to the states, of men, who were serving overseas, based on the length of time they had served overseas. This directive could have been made for especially for the members of the former 501, including the test platoon men since they all had more time than over seas than other 503rd men.

Consequently, there was a mass exodist of these former test platoon men to the states.

While the original directives expected the men to be further rotated back to the overseas units, after a spell in the States, I do not know of any who returned.

Don Abbott

There were five test platoon men in the 501 and that went from Panama to Gordonvale. One page is missing on my 501 shipping list with 60 men from Headquarters Company 501 Parachute Battalion so there might be others. The five are [1]Kelly [2] MSG Grady A. Roberta, no company shown [3] T5 Frank Kassel Jr. HQ Co [4] CPL Donald L. Coles B Co [5] PFC Steve Voils  B Co  All company designations are 501. The only test platoon man on Jerry  Riseley's 2d Battalion [published on October or November '43] mentioned by name is Kelly who is the only one  in Riseley's journal. - John Lindgren

William King,  Lloyd McCoullough and Lem Pitts were three of the test platoon with us - "Sleepy" Linton.

I recall I conversed with one of the old troopers from the 503d at Larsen's Awards' dinner. He said he was from the test platoon and had served with service company.  His name is Lloyd McCullough.  When we attended the 50th airborne muster in Washington D.C., I happened to be with a bunch of troopers chatting with General Ryder, who had been the officer with the test platoon and he embraced McCullough with great affection as only two close war comrades do. I think McCullough is still living, I hope so. - Tony Sierra

Tony Sierra and Sleepy are absolutely correct. Lloyd McCullough was a member of the original test platoon and served in the 503d. Almost his entire career was under a canopy. It was my privilege to award him a DMOR - a Distinguished Member of the Regiment during my presidential term. McCullough had joined the U.S. Army in 1933 at the age of 20 and served in the 29th Infantry. He volunteered for Airborne training and was a member of the original Test Platoon in 1940. After attending Parachute Maintenance School at Chanute Field, Illinois he returned to Ft. Benning and was made First Sergeant of "B" Company in the 501st Parachute Battalion. He helped form the 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment, and made  combat jumps at Nadzab, Noemfoor and Corregidor and the beach landing on the island of Mindoro. Post-war, he was assigned to the Airborne School at Ft. Benning as a W.O.JG and over next seven years advanced to W.O.4 as he served as parachute Maintenance Officer. He helped set up a Parachute Maintenance Department in Ft. Bragg in 1953 and was transferred to Athens, Greece in 1955 where he was involved in setting up a Parachute Maintenance Depot for Greek paratroopers. By 1959, he was back to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base testing 'chutes and heavy drop equipment. He was injured in a water jump testing special rigged parachutes for pilots flying over water, and required several surgical operations. He  retired as a CWO-4 in 1963. I last heard from him in 1998. Keep waltzing -  John Reynolds

I have met, or known of, a number of the test platoon men along the line| and have a difficult time remembering when and where.  I believe Aubrey Eberhard and William (Red) King were in the 503rd at one time or the other - Don Abbott

Don, I don't think Red King joined the 503rd because the replacements who joined us after Nadzab still spoke of him being at the school - Jack Herzig


Jack Herzig



I'm happy to see  interest in my poor story about Paluan.  By the way, I recently received an E-mail from a fellow, now in California,  who was born in Paluan and whose mother remembers our liberation of the town.  He says our KIAs were buried in a shady spot behind his mother's house.  I'd thought that they were taken out that first night along with our wounded. I was sent off to chase down the Japanese survivors the day after the fight and was out in the hills until  the enemy had all been accounted for about ten days later.  Then we were picked up, in two bunches on separate days by PBYs, and flown back to our camp around San Jose on Mindoro until we left for Corregidor in mid-February.  After the war, our army disinterred Blum, Ferguson and the guy from Hqs.  I have no knowledge now as to what finally happened to them.


see the page
Bill Calhoun's Comment:  This picture (Trooper Hamel) shows our jump equipment well; the trooper is standing with his left hand holding the risers. Object above right shoulder appears to me to be an object in the back ground. Right hand and knees support the chute. Otherwise the reserve would slip from the belly band and fall to the ground. The belly band has been unbuckled and hangs down (it is still through the slot in the back cover of the reserve chute). Kit bag hangs down to the knees behind the reserve chute. Chest strap though handles of kit bag which drags it down. If the reserve chute were buckled in place, chest strap would be higher. The reserve chute tightly attached to the body of the jumper above the kit bag kept the kit bags from flying up and hitting trooper in the face on opening shock. If properly attached, all went well. Trooper wearing field shoes with canvas leggings--not unusual in the Pacific. In Europe the airborne divisions commanders would not put up with such. I do not know about MG Swing.


Rebbie S Benoit
[email protected]


Dear Mr. Whitman,

    Thank you for all your great work to create the 503rd Heritage web site.  My father Raymond Basham was with the 503rd during WWII and is a member of the 503rd PRCT Association.  My father does not have a computer nor access to the web site so I down load all the latest news and photos and mail them  to him in Kentucky.  He looks forward to and enjoys everything from the site. 

    Dad attended his first reunion with the 503rd at Fayetteville, N.C. in 2000.  He regrets that he has been unable to attend any of the reunions in the past but he was elated to "Get with the guys" in Fayetteville. My Mother and I attended the reunion with Dad and enjoyed everything right along with him.  We regret that we did not get to be introduced to you while there for we would like to have personally thanked  you for all your hard work for the 503rd.  From reviewing the site  it is plain to see that we are not the only people enjoying your good works.

    I am writing to thank you as well as to request information.  My father has not received a newsletter or any information from the 503rd Association about the reunions.  We are interested in contacting any of the officers to get some information.  Could you provide an email address to me of someone who could help us out?

Thank you again for all your work and assistance.

Linda Basham,  SSgt., USAR, Ret



[email protected]


20 September 2002
Jo Ann Cheek
Hello Mr. Paul Whitman,

I am Bill Cheek's daughter-in-law, Jo Ann (Cheek). Bill has recently been plagued with health problems and I am trying to get in touch with someone who might be able to help. He has talked about the reunion in Missouri , for quite some time now and he has been in the hospital for the last  3 weeks . I know he still wishes he could attend, but I just don't think he will be able to travel at that time. What I would like is for you maybe to mention to some of his battalion buddies to maybe send a card, letter or maybe even a phone call to him,  would just make his day!!!!

He doesn't know I am writing this , and I would just like everyone to know how much everyone meant to him at the reunions. He is suffering from congestive heart failure and pneumonia , even though up until this last year he was doing absolutely great. He celebrated his 81st birthday on Aug.31!! We are all so proud of him and want him to share a laugh or to with the ones who knew him way back when...   So I am writing this purely on a hunch.    Thank you so much, and feel free to email me back anytime..

 May God Bless ,
Jo Ann Chee

12 October 2002
Jo Ann Cheek

I am writing to tell you of Bill Cheek.

He passed away this morning October 11, 2002, at about 1:00 am. He found out about 3 weeks ago that he had mesothelioma (cancer) of the lung. He also had congestive heart failure-- both illnesses were just too much.  He will be at Adams-Brown Funeral Home ,Highway 431, Albertville  Alabama, 5:00-9:00p.m. Sat. Oct. 12 and funeral will be at the funeral home at 2:00 pm. Sunday Oct. 13.

Thanks for  forwarding this , he did get some cards from you all during his hospital stay. He enjoyed hearing from his old buddies, he read them  all. He will be greatly missed... I appreciate all your efforts.  Thank you ,

God Bless Em All!! 
Jo Ann Cheek

[email protected]
26 August 2001

My step-dad T/5 Frank G. Arrigo along with Pfc Clyde I. Bates climbed up one of the few still-erect telephone poles near the parade ground and attached to its top a US flag that flew there day and night for the rest of the Campaign. My dad passed on to Jesus in 1986 after a short bout with lung cancer.  I don't have any photos of my step-dad, although calling him step-dad is somehow not right as he was the only father I really ever knew.  He was a very good man. Both my parents have passed on and the photos that were taken were given to my brother, and Lord knows what he did with them. I've just started exploring the web site. Dad told us that he had helped raise the flag on Corregidor and was mentioned in the encyclopedia for doing so. Dad didn't talk about the war often just vague references to it.

Reply: I will scan my copy of the photo of his climb later today, and you will have it within a day. You can’t see the faces, but at least you will know. There is an article mentioning your father at

That was more info than Dad ever told us. We never knew he had carried the flag with him nor that there was snipper fire when he helped raise it. I hope you can locate it for History's sake. Again thank you for helping me learn more about my Dad. I will put it away for my grandson so he may have some knowledge of my dad, his great grandfather.

[email protected]

te George Mikel,
KIA Corregidor
22 Feb 1945
My Uncle George Mikel or Mickel (spelled both ways) served with the 503rd  Parachute Inf. Reg. Co. F.   He was killed Feb. 22, 1945 in the Sheeney Ravine on Corregidor Island. 

His commanding officer Lt. Wm. Bailey  wrote a letter to my mother explaining how he was killed. 

He was awarded posthumously the Silver Star for gallantry in action which happened three days before his death. I was  wondering if there would be anyway of finding out if any his comrades are alive and have any memories of him.      

Agnes Caya Zimmer


Paul Whitman sent me a copy of your letter to him. I knew George Mikel well, perhaps better than others unless it was Phillip Todd. George was in Co. B, 501st Parachute Battalion when it became 2nd Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment. George was the platoon sergeant of our mortar platoon until shortly before we jumped on Corregidor. After we landed on Mindoro 13 December, 1944, F Co occupied a position on the regimental perimeter facing the sea five miles west. My platoon's position was across the road and railroad coming from the beach to San Jose. The mortar platoon was attached to us. As a consequence, their platoon headquarters was with mine. We underwent 343 Jap air raids during the first 19 days. George, Phillip, and I talked a lot. George  loved the company. He was quiet and reserved, but he talked freely with us. We learned of his wife in Australia. He was very concerned because he had not gotten permission to marry, so the Army did not recognize the marriage. The thing which concerned Phillip and I the most was that George predicted that he would be killed.

A short time before the Corregidor jump, George came to me to have a private conversation. After telling me how much trusted me, he said he had requested to be reduced to the grade of private and assigned to my platoon. The company commander, Bill Bailey refused his request. He asked me if he screwed-up would I keep him from getting kicked out of the outfit and take him into my platoon. I assured him I would never let him get booted and would certainly see that he was assigned to my platoon, but I told him of his great value to our company as our mortar platoon sergeant and asked him to stay put. Within a day or two George went AWOL for four days (as I remember). I assigned him, now a private, as an extra runner in my platoon headquarters. I wanted him handy in the event we lost a squad leader.

I wrote much about this in "My Day with the Rattlesnakes." Read that and then ask me anything you wish. We never lost a man which did not cause me grief, but George was among the close ones --thoughts of him still bring tears. My memories of him are crystal clear.

I am happy to hear from some of his family.

Proud I'm Allowed
Bill Calhoun 

Brig. Gen. Ramon M. ONG (Ret) 
Armed Forces of the Philippines


Reply to The Brig. Gen.


Hi guys!

 I have always wondered what happened to the 503rd PRCT since I met some of you way back in 1978. I was a LTCOL with the Special Warfare Brigade (Airborne), Philippine Army when a group of you guys and your wives paid a courtesy call on our unit in Fort Bonifacio, Metro-Manila, just before you made your sentimental journey to The Rock. Then you invited some of us to share your farewell dinner prior to your return to the USA. During that dinner, we awarded each of you with the Armed Forces of the Philippines Parachutist Badge, complete with official orders (we got your names from our unit Guest Book which you guys had to sign)! There were quite a few tears during that pinning ceremony and some of them were mine. Many years have passed, but I have never forgotten you guys. I am retired now, just like you, and soon my time on Earth will be up just like most of you, and then we shall meet again in that great Marshalling Area in the sky... but this time, we shall all have real Wings! So, before that happens, let me say one more time - Thank you guys for liberating my country, thank you for saving my people and thank you for fighting and dying so that we Filipinos may live! Mabuhay ang 503rd Regiment Combat Team! Mabuhay ang USA! Mabuhay ang Republika ng Pilipinas!

Robert Bruce Larter T-5 503rd Company "C" First I would like to thank everyone for their dedication and hard work in making the WEB site and those men that gave the ultimate sacifice. My father was T-5 Robert Bruce Larter 503rd Company "C". He passed away on 30 Sept 1984. Through the years he had talked about his Army career with respect for his fellow men. I have always wanted to know if there was anyone that remembered my father. I have his journal that gives a brief description of what went on. If there is anyone who remembers my father, I would be thankful for the e-mail.

Charles A. Larter

Tony Sierra

14 Aug 2001


Fellow troopers and other buddies,

For the next ten days we will be unavailable on the E mail and otherwise. We are going across the border for a visit with Elizabeth's Elderly father. I would appreciate it if you would continue with your bountiful mailings...believe it or not it has become a big part of my day. Additionally I hope to bring back some novel items of interest to most of you, especially the tequila drinkers. We have been busy as a one handed mortarman in preparation for the trek to Biloxi. 

Also I have enrolled in the VA hospital plan (tentatively) I lucked out and found a very professional young doctor, who concurred with me that I should try them out before I severed connections with my current primary med. Everything is going well with the present medical services I have, except I feel as many of you do, that one never knows what lies ahead and we must , as we did with the regiment, have reserves however remote the need may appear at the moment. It is like having an extra platoon right behind you in the event! I will from time to time try to deliver a small dissertation on the situation at the VA facilities. 

I sense that many of you have shied away from the VA because of its decades old reputation. So far I have received nothing but smiles and great courtesy. It almost seems they have been waiting for us old vets. If things continue to work out at the VA. I think many of you should consider its services After all it is set up for us and they realize they do not have too long to tend us. Incidentally, contrary to what impression you might have gotten in my first paragraph, I am not crossing the southern Border (Mexico), It is the northern Border!!!(Canada)

Tony Sierra
D Company


Tony Sierra

CHARLES HICKLING BRADFORD '26mcl (Magna Cum Laude), M.D. '31, died May 17 in Plymouth, Mass. A retired orthopedic surgeon, he served as a captain in the army medical corps in World War II and afterward was affiliated with Boston City Hospital until his retirement. He leaves a sister, Elizabeth '28.




Harvard Magazine

Harvard University

Cambridge, Ma.



Dear Sir/Madam,


There was no way I could refrain from writing this note, after reading Charles Hickling Bradford’s obituary in your September 2000 issue.  I realize your publication does not center on Military issues, or personnel, and probably does scant research about the passing of an alumni.

           I am a former rifleman in the 503rd Parachute Regiment and was attended several times by Captain Charles Bradford, our cherished battalion surgeon.  He was a treasure to our regiment and stated, on several occasions, the years he spent as a paratrooper were the most fulfilling in his illustrious career. 

You always found Captain Bradford wherever situations were at their worst.  He charged across embattled fields with his medical bag swirling about him as he dashed toward some tornup paratrooper.  He particularly distinguished himself on the Island of Corregidor where he was one of the few medical men who survived the jump. He wanted every one to call him “Charlie”, but we respected him too much for that; he was and still is Captain Charles Bradford, M.D. receiver of several medals for heroic action.  He was too modest to ever talk about this, but all of us knew it and sorrowed greatly when he passed on last year. 

I hope he is not so lightly forgotten and trust that some one at Harvard University will see the proper honor is given to an alumni who brought enormous credit to your institution. 




Tony N. Sierra

P.O. Box 1562

La Jolla, California



Don Abbott


Arlis Kline


11 AUG 00



In my haste to get some photos of Gordonvale off to you yesterday I neglected to comment on the book "Retaking the Philippines" by William Breuer you mentioned. Yes, I have a copy and see it was given to me by some veterans of the 173rd Airborne, a bunch of whom signed it. I have met Breuer several times but I didn't have him autograph this book.

General Jones asked us to write a few words for Breuer, and at other times a few words for l other authors such as MG "Fly" Flannagan and Gerard Devlin, both of whom have written books with some coverage of the jump on Corregidor. Unfortunately, I think all these books are no longer in print.  I have haunted used book stores and have managed to put together a fair library. One of the best books, because of the extensive research behind it, is "Corregidor, The Saga of a Fortress". This was written in 1967 by twin brothers, James and William Belote, both of whom were History Professors. Needless to say that book has been out of print for many years. I found my copy used.

The report on your injuries in Breuers book is, undoubtedly, closer to the truth than the report of my landing after the jump. At the time I talked with Breuer I had not been back to Corregidor. I now know I was a long way from being blown over the cliff but it sure seemed close in 1945. Your problem was considerably more serious than mine and Beuer covers it well.

I don't think I saw you hit the roof of the Barracks but I watched the second wave jump in the afternoon from a position about in the middle of the Barracks. I saw a couple of men hit the building, one who had a streamer. 




Verne White
Don Abbott
Bob Flynn


30 July 00


Sure would like for the original cat in the chute patch to come back to life. After all there is more to the 503 than Corregidor, even if it was our finest hour.


Verne White

The "Cat Patch" was dreamed up by the Walt Disney Studios some time around 7 Dec 41. Then, or around then, they came up with other "Cat Patches". It wasn't hard. They used the same background and added the number of the outfit.

I'm not trying to brag about the length of time I was in the 503rd beginning with the Battalion. But I was in the Battalion when the patch came out. I need help on this but I am almost certain it was not an official patch. I don't believe we wore it on our Class A uniform. I seem to recall sewing it onto one of the old field jackets but nowhere else.

As far as I am concerned, they can keep the Catch Patch and the "Five Fort" insignia too for that matter. That was dreamed up in Washington and I don't, really, know who was, or is, authorized to wear it.



You probably have a very valid point.  When I got back to the states, as a woundee, I wore the cat patch proudly on my class A's right up until I was medically discharged in July of '45. Nobody told me it was not an official patch and it did draw a lot of favorable comment during that 4-5 month period. You old timers know better than I what was official for the 503. My uniform had so many different patches over my 2+ years that I should have had snaps for each time my outfit changed.



Don and others, 

I have seen a photograph of Harris Mitchell sitting in an orderly room busily engaged in writing. He is wearing a leather flight jacket with the "cat patch" sewed to the left breast of the jacket. Local commanders had the authority to approve insignia worn by the troops in their command; nothing "official" was necessary. This practice was the basis for the stand I took in the research of the "Rock Patch" painted by Tom Mc Neill on Mindoro following the Corregidor campaign. Hugh Breslin criticized my committees' findings in a letter to the Static Line about a year ago. General Jones approved the "Rock Patch." He told me this at the reunion in Little Rock. He also stated that he asked Bill Bossert to improve the drawing of the eagle on the "Rock Patch." The fact that field commanders can approve insignia "for local wear," is well documented.  Elden "Buzz" Campbell also made reference to wearing the "cat patch" on the leather flight jacket while serving in Nadzab. So, there you have some leads. Those of you who know Buzz or Harris can easily satisfy your intellectual curiosity. Copy me in on what you find. 

Bob Flynn


Tony Sierra
Bob Flynn

17 July 00



 It has occurred to me that it is time to expand to new "horizons".

 The older men are leaving us and in some cases even if they are still  here they have forgotten events that should be recorded.  As I sit with margarita in hand and contemplate the passing of time I realize that many good troopers who came in too late for Corregidor and as you might figure are a bit younger are silent so far.  The Negros campaign, which was in great part fought by these newer men, was the longest stay in the field the regiment suffered.  Many of these fellows hold back a bit because we have delved so much on Corregidor and to some extent on Noemfoor.  There are some great moments from Negros that must brought out and preserved. I am sure with a bit of proding these men will shine in the telling as they did in the doing.  Think about it.

Secondly, how would it be if we researched and related the awards, say from the Silver Star on up that the fellows earned.   There are not that many.  Rumor has it that the 503 higher-ups were rather chintzy with recommending of awards.

 It would add to the web if another section could gradually be built up as the stories come up.   Several of these awards were earned in Negros (Hadrava and Lt. Mara, etc ) and I am sure there are some I know nothing about.

This is just fodder for your brain.  Do with them what you wish.

Tony Sierra


Tony, et al,  

I would be very, very careful about singling out any of our members for awards perceived for combat heroism at this date so late after the end of the action.  You know, as many of us do, that some of the heroic feats of our comrades were not rewarded with decorations.  No-one who has witnessed such action will doubt that combat bravery is not unheralded in the hearts and memories of those who were witness to it.  We have an obligation to our special comrades to perpetuate their names and the name of the Combat Team. The Combat Team and the safety of their comrades was so special to them that they chose to risk their well-being for its continuation.  

In June 1991 at the reunion in Scottsdale, Arizona, General Jones asked to see the manuscript of my article on the history of the 503rd which had been published in the book, "USA Airborne, 50th Anniversary." My wife "Buddy" and I received the General in our room and spent over two hours reviewing and commenting on the text and the accompanying photographs in the manuscript.  When we had finished the examination of the manuscript General Jones asked me if I intended to have it published.  I replied that there was a lot of "filling in"  to be done because the editor for the publication had limited each unit to designated measured word content.

General Jones offered to contribute to the publication of the manuscript and he also made this remark which is pertinent to this discussion;  General George Jones said, "I think I was stingy in the awarding of medals for heroic action in combat against the enemy.  If I had known how generous other combat commanders in other units were  in recognizing the actions reported by  field commanders, I would have been more generous."

Bob Flynn

I have agreed to open the 503rd on The Rock website to all matters 503d,  and will publish any article submitted.  Chet Nycum's  recollections and photographic collection have spearheaded the new policy, and will, I hope, herald many other contributions.  The obligation to special comrades to perpetuate their names and the name of the Combat Team can, in my opinion, be accomplished through the website, it being one of several ways - but the only one to which I have access.   If I have an opportunity to be generous through the publishing of an original piece of writing,  or the opening of some careful scholarship to the consciousness of the general public , I shall.  

Being in Australia, there are limitations upon me, of course.  There is no-one who would welcome some American based assistance more than myself.   

Paul Whitman




Memorial Day  has passed and some of our guys did a little honoring our lost mates.  Charlie Rambo and Bob Donavan placed a wreath on the 503rd monument in Arlington Cemetery. The wreath is 24 inches across on a metal stand. It had red, white and blue flowers and a large red white and blue banner with gold letters, 



[email protected]



My name is Steve Vance and Arlis Kline is my Father-in-law. We saw your web site today when using a search engine. He's been at our house since the 4th of July and will be staying until July 18th. He lives in New Zealand now and it has been 2 1/2 years since his last visit. He is like a walking history lesson with so many facts. He remembers so many details about the 462nd/503d PRCT that he has been telling me this week, so when we discovered your web site, he pointed out a lot of things on the map. Thank you for that web site. It's very interesting.

Steve Vance


"H" Co. 


"B" Co.

10-11 JULY 2000


To: [email protected]
Subject: My Dad

Hello, I am the son of Raymond M. Basham. He was a member of the 503rd RCT 1st. battalion B company on Corregidor. He is still alive and well at 77 years young living in Bowling Green Kentucky. He has shared some of the stories of those tragic times. I would like for anyone who could share any information with him to please e-mail me at (address supplied) 

Thank You 
Gary R. Basham


Paul Whitman sent an e-mail and a copy of your e-mail to him in regards to your father -- Raymond Basham of "B" Company 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team in World War II. There is definitely a possibility that back then I met Ray because during nostalgic periods I’d look up fellow Kentuckians just to see if we had any mutual friends. Kentucky, being small, there was always that chance. I served in "H" Company which was in the 3rd BN so we really weren’t too close on most occasions.

There are ten names of troopers from Kentucky listed in the 1998 503 membership directory and at least one of them has passed on.  He is Ralph Bates from Louisville. I attended his services along with Bill Manz of Richmond, Ky. Bill is now president of this organization.

There were many 503ers from our state but time has taken its’ toll and some seem to have just disappeared. War and what your father experienced affects each one of us differently. Some wish to be around the people they suffered with and some don’t want to even think about it. Then again, some change as they get into the golden years. These thoughts, of course, have never really left their minds but were pushed back in the inner recesses. I honestly believe the friendships we made then will never be completely forgotten and tend to be accentuated as years pass. 

Sorry, Gary, I have a bad habit of rambling at times when talking or writing about the 503. Wish I could be of more help to you and I’m sure others who served in "B" will be in touch with you and your dad. Two men I recall from your area were in "H" One was named Fant and he was from Glasgow. Was shot in the head but survived as far as I know. Haven’t heard from him since the war. The other was a lead scout - his name, Denham and his home was Eighty Eight, Kentucky which is not far from Glasgow. He, and his partner in scouting, MaGinnis - his home Parker’s Landing, Pa, - were killed instantly while on patrol during the Noemfoor operation in July 1944. They both died from the same burst of machine gun fire.

Thanks again for writing Paul - you wrote the right person for any info about Raymond’s unit. He spends an untold amount of hours in trying to keep the 503 veterans in touch with each other.If you, your dad or any the family get to Louisville please call or come by. You will be most welcome..

Jim Mullaney
[email protected]


Thank you very much for your reply. I am sure Dad would like to communicate with you gentlemen. You mentioned in the reply how each man that went through what you all did ,"handles the memories in there own way," I can definitely relate to that with Dad. I and the rest of my two sisters and one brother have always had great respect for him and an unconditional love for him, and I think it stems in part to the character building experience to say the least that you men went through when so young. Dad has always cherished living or I should say shown us that he felt fortunate to be alive and at times on camping or fishing trips spoke of the poor guys that didn't make it back to see loved ones and raise a family. He will still talk to me and my brother about these things when asked, but never has he volunteered any war stories on his own. I am 44 years old and graduated high school in 1973 , the very summer that the Vietnam war draft was abolished, so I can only make a feeble attempt at imagining what hell you guys went through. I`m rambling on so I `ll close for now, but I `m sure Dad would like some info. on you all`s whereabouts, reunions and such. He has always talked about going to one and now I think he would. I live in Clermont, Florida at present and you have
my wife`s e- mail address here and I will give you my sister-in- law`s e-mail also, her and my brother live next door to Dad and Mom, it is  [email protected]

 Maybe we can get that ole Paratrooper to a reunion and see some of you fellows before "Father Time" catches up with all of us! Thank you again for replying and keep on with your research. 

From one of the "Children of Corregidor", 
Gary R. Basham

RAY BASHAM  can be reached through [email protected] 


Tony Sierra
 D Coy

to CT&N
17 JUNE 00



I am glad you are putting up the KIA list with information of the trooper. I particularly wanted to write about Sgt. R. V. Holt (my squad sergeant.)  I believe the story about his death in the assault on Battery Monja is worth telling.  I will write it up soon and forward it. His death has never left my mind even after fifty years.

Tony Sierra
D Company





My first memories on Corregidor are of my landing. Exactly where I landed leaves me wondering how detailed do you want me to get.  All I can say is that it was the area referred to as "A" site,   the area to the Southeast if you were viewing the drop from Malinta Hill.   I could not have asked for a better landing spot.  I came in flat on my back against a  bomb crater.  My first sight after landing was a trooper with a camera pointed  at me.  If you have the video taken by the headquarters trooper watch for the close-up of me landing on my back in a bomb crater.   Look closely and you will see the point where I viewed the photographer.  The clincher in recognizing me is to look for the leggings, WW1 type. If you have seen any of the pictures taken on Topside during the  landing, look for the trooper making the landing I described and wearing WW 1 leggings.  They could not supply me with jump boots in time for the jump.  My jump boots were completely worn out and all they had in my size was army shoes, and WW1 leggings.  I have seen my landing on TV "The Big  Picture" and also "You Are There", and I bought a series of videos called "Great Battles Of The Pacific", the shot of my landing is in that also. Seems I was meant to be a star, though the only problem is, I feel, I am the only one who is sure that it is me. 

I have trouble separating my first night from any other night,  I feel your question is aimed at getting me started on my Corregidor story. Let me state  that things were tense the first night but became more relaxed as time went  by. 

Almost as soon as I landed I was set upon by Headquarters troopers helping me out of my chute.  After freeing me they pointed me toward the South (the  mainland side of A Landing site) where my company was taking positions. I took a position looking down the slopes toward the water.   As I lay there waiting for something to happen I saw a trooper climbing, using his rifle as a pick jamming the barrel into the ground and pulling himself up the grade. Without thinking I told the man next to me to give me cover and laying my tommy gun down went down and got him on my shoulder and carried him up to the first shelf below Topside. I ran west along this shelf to a bomb crater and deposited him in the crater, then I cleaned the dirt out of his rifle barrel and took a ready to fight position.  No more than I began to relax two men jumped down into the crater and started asking questions, my name and where I was from in the states. I honestly think they were news photographers.  If they were, the pictures must have gone bad, as I have never seen them or heard what happened to their story.  The action that day moved us toward the Amphib. Landing site. My position was directly above the site where I had a birds eye view of the landing. I had no contact with Japs the first day.

This part was easy. From here on things get a good deal rougher. 

Chet Nycum,


Jim Mullaney 
H Coy 

to CT&N
17 MAY 00



Thanks for the e-mail concerning how the history of World War II can be told and what ranks can do it best.  I personally think everyone who was "there" has a tale or tales to tell.  Nearly all of us saw things and heard things that their fellow troopers possibly missed, overlooked, or just forgot.

Don Abbott, John Lindgren, Verne White and a host of others all have related interesting accounts of their days on the Rock. Personally I haven’t as yet read any article on your website by a 503 man that wasn’t of great importance to me. They are all good.

You mentioned getting Joe Conway and Bill Bossert into the e-mail fold. I’ve pretty much lost track of Bossert but Joe is a different story. I talked to him about two weeks ago and he is not in the best of health. He is on oxygen 24 hours a day and has an aneurysm in his stomach.  He still works his garden plot and keeps plenty busy. He has never mentioned having a computer but I’ve told him about your ventures many times.  Believe me, Paul, Joe could tell some stories. We went through Jump school together - he was my platoon leader, company commander and battalion commander.  He served in the Korean conflict and then stayed on active duty till retirement. Joe has paid many visits to my domicile and we have talked of the war. We’ve drank beer - paid our dues at Churchill Downs - and even hosted a small re-union (with the help of John Watson - another "H" man) here in Louisville years ago. John’s home was Indianapolis and Joe lives in Estill Springs, Tenn. Louisville was chosen because it is nearly in the center of the states we drew 503ers from… It was a wonderful meeting but sadly most of those who attended have passed on. John Watson died about six years ago shortly after his wife, Helen, expired. 

Got a letter from Ben Guthrie (author of Three Winds of Death) yesterday. He is considering a run of about 500 more copies of the book. Nothing decided as of yet but it is on his mind. (The line forms after me - I pledge to do everything I can via the website to assist Ben to market his book - Ed)

Getting back to the subject at hand - I can’t see that any rank has an edge on telling a good story of what the 503 accomplished. Please tell all your contributors to continue doing exactly what they have done in the past. The most important thing is to get more of them to scour their minds and share their anecdotes before it is too late… 

Jim Mullaney


Verne White
to CT&N

14 MAY  00



Another big thank you from a grateful 503rd'r. You are, beyond doubt, the epitome of the amateur historian. Once the many facts and pictures are collected there is no question but what you will be the one point authority of what happened on the Rock. 

Of course, the regimental leadership will have much to say (as has already happened) about the operation, but yours will be the input from those of us who were down on the ground in day to day face offs. Military protocol will not allow the top officers, wonderful as they are, to express their men's feelings and experiences. 

Col. Jones, rest his soul, will forever be remembered by me as one of the bravest men I've met. On our sortie down the hill he was ever the consummate soldier. Not that he and the other officers would not have done the things we did, it was just that they had other responsibilities than doing all the myriad of things required of the enlisted ranks.

Anyway you have my undying thanks for your efforts. My grand children and their descendants also thank you as they are now learning about one of their ancestors and his life.

Verne White

Verne overrates my qualifications, but not my ambitions to make this site the one point INTERNET authority on what happened on the Rock  - Ed


Don Abbott 
to  CT&N

18 MAY 00



Unless they have already put their thoughts on the Corregidor mission down in writing, or other media, Verne need not be concerned with any remarks by the "Regimental Leadership". Consider the following:

Task Force CO  Jones Dead
deputy CO Tolson Dead
EXO Britten Dead
S-1  Levine Dead ?
S-2  Donovan  Dead ?
S-3  Clark  Dead
S-4  Atkins Dead
1st BN CO Woods  Dead
A Coy Bossert Alive
B Coy Cates Dead
C Coy Rucker  Dead
2nd BN CO Caskey  Dead
D Coy Turinsky Dead
E Coy Hill Dead
F Coy Bailey Dead
3rd BN CO Erickson Dead
G Coy Doer Dead
H Coy Conway Alive
I Coy Murphy Dead

 We had better hold on to Bill Bossert & Joe Conway!

Don Abbott

NBC recently announced that WW2 veterans were dying at a rate of 30,000 per month.  Hold on to Bill Bossert and Joe Conway? Not enough! Quick, somebody get them hooked up to e-mail! There are plenty of books about campaigns, but relatively few about the men who actually fought them. Most not available to anyone other than the rare book collector. At last, with the internet, with this website, there is now a means to educate people en masse to understanding what the men on Corregidor's ground thought, felt, suffered, experienced, and fought against in their nightmares for years afterwards.  My quest for 'troopers to write their thoughts on Corregidor can be justified on any number of valid reasons, but it remains that for some,  "what they experienced there, they have spent their lifetimes leaving there".  It makes me all the more thankful when the website can feast on the titbits from the table.- 

Ed & Verne>


Tony Sierra
to CT&N

It has occurred to me that your 503rd call page should devote some ink to incidents about a second battle the regiment fought in, "Negros".  Many consider this a tougher campaign for its length, it lasted several months, with many troopers constantly out in the field, chasing up and down those horrid mountains on what seemed an endless killing drudgery. Additionally, many of the newer troopers who were not at Corregidor were outstanding at Negros and there are many incredible tales they have to offer.  For starters, there is the story about Lou Hadrava. He was recommended for the Silver Star, which he received fifty years later.  Lt. Jack Mara and Hadrava both, from the 503 were submitted by the hierarchy of the 40th division, under whose command we served at that time.  Both of these men are some of the stars of the regiment and their deeds are very moving.

There are many incidents about the Negros campaign that are worth preserving and we must tap the memories of those who were there before they too go as many of the older troopers have gone.

Tony Sierra





4 AUG 00


Anyone who served in "H" company who jumped on Corregidor please drop me a line.


Pfc. Sam Cunningham 
503rd "H" RCT

Sam Cunningham

944 11th Street

Imperial Beach, Ca 91932



[email protected]


Sam Cunningham,

Saw your e-mail to Paul Whitman: Been many a year since hearing from you. That California address through me off for a minute because your home was Selma, Alabama when we were touring the Pacific. Let me hear from you when you have time....

Jim Mullaney - H Company

Louisville Ky. 



Well, Sam Cunningham did have time to contact Jim, and this is what became of it:




19 October 2000:


You put and e-mail letter on the site from a Sam Cunningham. Sam wanted to hear from anyone who served in ""H" company. I contacted the writer who is Sam's grandson. About a week later - on a Sunday afternoon - I got a phone call. Sam and I talked a good hour. He phoned because he is not into computers and just felt like talking. Seems he stayed in the service for better than twenty six years and was in all the airborne units at one time or another.Wounded in Korea - others sharing a dugout were killed. Lives in California now -- his home was Selma, Alabama when he was in "H".. Had some info on our 1940 friends but not all that much. I filled him in and gave addresses of the one I hear from regularly.


Another mission accomplished by the Brisbane website.


Jim Mullaney - H Company

Louisville Ky. 



Bob Flynn
to CT&N
04 MARCH 00


I second Don Abbott's appraisal of the web site as an outstanding internet experience.  The portrait of the combat operations is presented in an accurate, historical perspective. The resolution of the pictures of Fred Hill's are pristine and well-composed. The narrations are precise and artfully crafted.  My one insertion would be to correct the designation of  the 161st Parachute Engineer Company.  (Corrected - Ed) By the way Don Abbott omits the participation of the 161st Engrs jumping in the first wave on Corregidor.  I jumped in the first wave, and missed the topside by about 50 meters. While getting rid of my parachute I saw my company commander, Capt. James S. Beyer, struggling up the slope.  Together we labored up to the topside. We had not gone too far on top when we saw a body partially covered with a parachute.  The parachute had failed to open.  Captain Beyer peeled the canopy from the fallen soldiers face to reveal the unfortunate death of my platoon sergeant Charles Lindsay. We covered his body with the chute, looked wonderingly at each other, murmured a silent prayer,  and proceeded with the mission. 

Bob Flynn,
503d Historian
(and 161st Parachute Engr Co.)

Jeff Holbrook to CT&N
07 FEB 00




My father was a paratrooper with the 503rd and helped to retake the island. I don't know what group he was in, however I do have a few photos of the jump and shots of the boys on the ground. My father's name is Delmar Holbrook and he came from Illinois. Thanks for a great site and keep up the good work!  We can never forget what these men did!

Jeff Holbrook


Victor Erdahl to
10 MAY 00

I knew Del well.  He was my assistant gunner on my light 30 machine gun,  Headquarters Co. 2nd Battalion. 

We lost contact after the war. I always wondered what happened to him. At one of our reunions I asked Bernie O'Boyle if he had ever seen him. he said del had visited him once in Chicago but he did not have his address or phone number. 

Jeff, I hope your letter doesn't mean your Dad has passed on.

Victor Erdahl
Hdqs. 2nd


Brock Mullis
to CT&N
25 FEB 2000

[email protected]



My father, Duane R. Mullis served in the 503rd throughout the war. He passed away in 1974 and I wondered if anyone would have a roster that would have his name and designation within the 503rd. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Brock Mullis, Missouri


James Mullaney to CT&N
31 DEC 99


Wish I were going with you on the Corregidor trek next week. You asked about my landing there in 1945.

I jump-mastered the seventh plane of the first drop at 8AM.   Jumpmasters went out last on this particular mission.  So I was approximately the 49th man to land on the Rock as "H" Company planes dropped seven men each pass.  I landed right in the middle of the Parade Field in front of the "Mile Long Barracks". They really aren't that long.

At any rate if you get the opportunity walk out to this area, drink a beer and think of your correspondent in old Kentucky.  Have a good trip and take care



Don Abbott


Subject: Pvt. Samuel L. Knott, Jr.


Bill & Bob

While I didn't know Samuel Knott in person I know a bit about him and how he died. He was reported killed on the Morning Report of 26 Feb 45 for "B" Company. He was buried in the American Cemetery in Manila. For the information of people who have not seen the Cemetery, it is a beautiful place. Labor, by US standards, is cheap in the Philippines consequently a lot is used to keep this one in immaculate shape. 

Knott's name appears in "Return to Corregidor", the book put together by Templeman in 1945.

I believe it was Louis Aiken who told me Knott was from North Carolina.

Since Knott was killed on 26 February it can be assumed he was killed in the catastrophic explosion at Monkey Point when the Navy Intercept Tunnel was blown up, killing a lot of Japanese troops in the tunnel and a lot of American Paratroopers from the First Battalion.  I would really suggest calling or writing to Louis Aiken. He has a very detailed memory of the people in "B" Company and will, undoubtedly, remember Samuel. 

Louis B. Aiken, Sr.
21465 LA16
Denham Springs, LA 70726


Don Abbott
to CT&N
14 NOV 99


Had a long telephone call from Guy Crull, the Murder Inc. Sherman Tank driver. You would not believe how excited he was to talk with someone who knew about the incident. It was hard getting a word or a question in edgewise. He was taken to Hollandia where he spent many months being treated for his troubles. Among other things, he lost most of the flesh from his right arm. While he was in Hollandia he met a bunch of our men who had been badly wounded.

Yes, you do have some significant successes you can be proud of with the CT&N page. You have uncovered several people who discovered just what they had been hoping for as a historic resource. You, also, have provided an outlet for some of the pent up memories of some of us old WW II has-beens. In the latest, I gather Crull's daughter is going to drag out his memories of that fateful day he happened onto a practically unremembered postage stamp of an Island in the Philippines.

All your hard work is paying off--thanks.



Tony Sierra
to All Troops
28 FEB 00


Subject: Green Light on his recent by-pass op



The cargo plane tilted slightly to the left and slowly lost altitude, the green light was on and we were all jammed tightly chest to back.   The jumpmaster counted off, I don't rightly recall how many (1-thousands).   In the blink of an eye I was out the door and headed much too fast to the rock below.

When I awoke I was in ICU. I knew I had made one more jump and everything was now okay.

Fellow troopers and friends, I can not find words to express the humility I feel when so many of you prayed and were concerned for me.   I know many of you have also experienced these by-passes, so now we have one more tie that binds us.    Al and Marjean McGrew brought a very moving card signed by the troopers meeting that met that very day at El Toro.   The boys meeting at Apache Junction also sent a great card signed by their group meeting on the next day.   My computer is over loaded with E mail and I have not had time or energy to go through their many wonderful expressions of friendship. 

Actually, I am grateful but not surprised; after all we are troopers


Tony Sierra and Elizabeth Deedman


The "Tank Pilot's Daughter"
to CT&N
6 NOV 99

Mr. Whitman,
  1. I have been researching Corregidor for my father.   He was on Corregidor when his Tank was blown up in fact.  He came in with your CO the 503 regiment paratroopers, his company was 1st Cavalry 603d tank Co.  (Murder Inc..)  His tank was blown up, he said,  on Monkey Point. (Kendley Field). He was the only survior in his Co.  He is reading a book called "Corregidor",   I think written by Gen. E.M. Flannigan.  The tank was blown up Feb 26 1945  and it was mentioned  in the book that they cut him out of the Tank.  Any information would be grateful...

Patti Donath


Tony Sierra
to All Troops
20 DEC 00




Once again it is my sad task to let you fellows know that another mighty trooper has left us.

Ray Mitchell, D company, 2nd platoon, died on 24 december, 1999.  As those of you who had the pleasure to know him, recall he suffered greatly the last four to five years and showed up at the reunions hooked up to his oxygen tanks but participating in all the activitiies nonetheless.   Ray was a brave man not only in combat where his second platoon often used him as a way ahead scout, but also in his battle against awfully painful and exerting health problems.   He often said to me," As long as I have a breath left in my body I will attend the reunions."   The last time he joined us was at Valley Forge.   His son, Joe drove him, prone in the family RV.   I visited him in the unit where I had a drink of "Shine"... I felt I was in a hospital room, nevertheless he ventured to parts of the reunion, appearing jovial and happy, although some of us knew he was hurtin', as he used to say.  

Ray Mitchell was buried at Andrew Johnson National cemetary, Greenville, Tennessee. His daughter Sheila asked that I notify his fellow troopers. He really cared for all of us.

Tony Sierra


Don Abbott
to CT&N


Am I the first 503RCT person to check in with you?  I jumped with the first wave of paratroopers who landed on Corregidor on 16 February 1945. I was one of the lucky ones and did not get a purple heart on the Island. I was, however, evacuated on 1 March with a case of hepatitis.  In the meantime we had one skirmish or another most every day.  Our most difficult time was on 26 February when we attempted to take Battery Monja on the South Shore Road at Wheeler Point.  We killed a lot of Japs and had a bunch of casualties.

After WW II ended I got out of the Army and worked in a large paper company.  After retirement, we traveled.  One of the trips, in 1984, was to Australia where we had spent about a year in 1942/43.  During one period in 1943 we spent about six weeks in Brisbane (actually I spent most of that time at the jungle school and assigned to an Australian Army Company).

While in Gordonvale in 1984 I learned about the 503rd Parachute RCT Association, joined and have been active ever since. My first trip back to Corregidor was in 1987 when I spent about 10 days on the Island.  In total I think I have been back 8 times.  Several of those times I've spent about a month.  I believe I probably know more about the place than any other paratrooper.  As you may have learned there is a fairly large group of people who are very knowledgable about the harbor defenses of Manila Bay including, of course, the star--Corregidor.

I note that you have taken the "Brief History of the 503rd RCT", I wrote, from "The Drop Zone"  Good--I like to have people know who we were. Your web page has some great photos.  A number of these I have or know about but the private collection is very interesting.

Don Abbott

[This letter was the first of many from Don, who has become an active contributor,  not just on matters involving the 503rd, but in the general history of the island. - Ed]


Verne White
to John Lindgren


BT Cave




Sorry if the long message mislead you. Yes we, 1st Bn, went topside on the 18th. The 19th was when the detail from C(?) went down the trail to the perimeter road or South Road above the water line. As we went by the BT Cave we were fired on and the detail went up the ridge to Topside. On the 20th  I took Jones down the trail we had climbed on the 19th. So I was wounded on the 20th and evac'd on the 21st. Your MR (Morning Report-Ed) dates and general info are correct. What was incorrect on the 20th's report was how I was wounded and whom I was with and where we were at the time.

So if you have the MR for the 19th it should show me and another Hq S2 guy being assigned as observers to a detail with, what I think was C company to go down hill to the road for recon.

By the way, are there any troopers active from the 503 PIR who 

were in New Guinea? My friend Phil Seff would more than likely like to be in contact with them.

Verne White


Jack Herzig
B Coy
to Verne White



Hi V,

I don't know if I fall under the "active" category but I was assigned to the 503rd in May/June 1942 - that is 1942- had the pleasure of the Paula Laut voyage, made the overland jump in Gordonvale and the weekly travels into the local scenic jungles, went to Port Moresby and made the jump at Nadzab, back to Brisbane, up to Buna and Hollandia, jumped on Noemfoor, landed at Leyte, then Mindoro, and the B Co assault on the radio station up the Mindoro coast at Palaun where we lost four dead and 13 wounded, thereby eliminating the 1st Battalion from jumping first on Corregidor, landed at Corregidor and then went down to Negros where I was among five of us in B Co who were the first to be returned to the USA.

If you have access to the internet, try  In case you're not sure, try me at [email protected] or (other details withheld for privacy reasons).

Jack Herzig











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