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Robert H "Pug" WOODS

Major, HQ and HQ Co 1st Bn. 503d PRCT
near Water Tower Hill,  Corregidor

24 February 1945


It is much better to adopt  the radio man's [Andy Amaty] laconic summary:

"You'd o' sure guessed there was a war on." He was in communication at the time with our 81mm. mortars in the rear, who were attempting to zero-in on a Jap mortar nest some 150 yards in front.

"Just about then," as he told the story, "a shell landed so close to our hole we thought we was hit. I felt the major's elbow nudging me, and asked 'are you all right,' and when I told him 'yes' he said 'how about the switch- board?' Some guns started jabbering, and I had to shout back at him, 'it's all right too, Major.' After that my buddy said, 'That ain't no Jap shell,' and the Lieutenant that was with us said, 'guess it was a short.' We was plenty scared, with that shell dropping so close, and someone said, or I thought I heard it, or maybe I was just saying it to myself out loud. 'I hope to God they ain't zeroing-in on us.' "

"We never heard it coming or nothing, but the next moment it seemed as if the earth blowed up. Joe fell across my feet, but he was still alive, 'cause I felt him move. The others was all dead. I reached down to Joe as soon as I come to, but he dropped over, and he must have not lived more than a minute, 'cause he didn't move anymore. I don't know what saved me, but I didn't even get scratched. It's the second time I've been lucky that way. I'm a son-of-a-gun if the Nips can kill me."

No one will ever know the details, but the investigation of fragments the next day indicated that this was probably one of our own mortar shells which had either fallen short or gone astray, an accident which cannot be wholly prevented in the blind-man's buff of night warfare, but one which seems particularly tragic whenever it occurs. The loss to the First Battalion was especially great.

"Doc" Bradford
Combat Over Corregidor




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Last Updated: 09-04-10