Diary of Felipe Buencamino III

January 27, 1942

HQ, MIS, Bataan

Vic’s birthday. I wonder how he is celebrating it. Am very homesick.

Fred has a good story depicting state of unpreparedness of Philippines when war broke out. He said he asked a friend: “What is your family doing to prepare in case of war?” And his friend replied: “In our house we are always preparing but not for the war but for the next party!”

The General expressed the opinion that ROTC training was quite impractical. Too much emphasis he said on “Squad right, Squad left”. “Many weeks were spent,” he pointed out, “preparing for this or that parade”.

I told the general that in cadre I was taught how to plant and beautify the camp garden. But none of us ever fired a single rifle shot. I told him I told this to the President when I graduated from cadre training in Murphy. My group belonged to the first batch drafted, I pointed out.

The general said that this war has shown that more emphasis should be placed on jungle fighting: silent deployment, sudden concentration, timely retreat, camouflage, infiltration, ambuscade, sniping.

Bad news: Japs have penetrated Mt. Natib through center of line of 1st regular division. Boys of 1st regular are in wild retreat. Many of them are given up for lost.

If this penetration widens, entire USAFFE line must fall back on reserve lines –the Pilar-Bagac road. This is our darkest hour. I’m praying for the convoy. Come on America!

(later)

Heard several front-line boys will get citations: 2 Americans and 6 Filipinos. Will try to get complete dope about their deeds. One Scout recommended for Congressional Medal.

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