Diary of Felipe Buencamino III

March 20, 1942

HQ, Bataan, MIS

Impressive meeting of all Bataan generals held in heart of one of the Bataan mountains. Wainwright, Commander-in-Chief of USFIP, presided. (Name of USAFFE has been changed to USFIP –United States Forces in Philippines).

The Commander-in-Chief announced that henceforth Bataan and Corregidor shall be separate commands.

Wainwright will transfer his headquarters to Corregidor. Major General Edward King will be given command of Bataan.

Old General King was silent. Then he stood up and with tears in his eyes said:

“Somebody is angry with me in Washington. I am going to be given the honor of being the first American general to surrender the American flag.”

No one spoke. All the other generals remained silent.

Then the chief Quarter Master Officer spoke. He revealed that we had only so many more sacks of rice left after which there was heaven to pray for rice. So many more tins of sardines and salmon for only a few more weeks. So many more shells for the 1:55’s and 75’s for just so many hours of firing per day. So many more cases of ammunition for infantry troops to last for just so many days.

“Gentlemen,” he said dramatically and coldly, “We are at the end of our rope!”

Nobody could speak. It was defeat staring the generals in the face and their reaction after more than 98 days and nights of ceaseless and courageous fighting against innumerable odds was –silence.

Planes –Japanese planes– filled the sky with their metallic roar but none of the general’s could speak in the face of these dramatic revelations.

Then an old general said: “I am the oldest. Let us take to the dug-outs. It would be a calamity if all the Generals were to die with one bomb.”

The Japs flew on to Corregidor.