This running account of events is being started at this time being a set of correlations of events extracted chiefly from the Diary of Lt. Col. Jack Schwartz, Maj. E.R. Wernitizanig, Lt. H.E. Sigrist an others together with my own memory of events and places. The accuracy of events & places may be slightly questioned as time and any description of events will be related with a strenuous effort not to indulge in exaggeration. This is not intended so much as an actual diary but a portrayal of my own impression and reactions in general.
[This is followed by an entry dated December 8, 1941]
About 2:00 A.M. was awakened by distant explosions & shaking of the building. Jumped from bed & ran outside. Explosions & gun fire from Nichols field accompanied by a myriad of red flares. Staid up discussing the situation with some apprehension. At 4:00 A.M. all hands called to Sternberg as casualties started arriving from Iba & Clark Field. These continued to come in all day keeping the O.R. constantly busy. Very difficult to keep admissions straight & impossible to keep locator cards accurate due to the large number of transfers. Patients were brought in in trucks, ambulances, etc. The trucks having several layers of patients most of whom had gruesome wounds. Many had shrapnel wounds of the buttock. During the morning all the patients from the Naval hospital at Canacao were brought into Sternberg. Most were put in estate Mayor annex. About 12:30 we sighted 54 two motored bombers flying high. No clouds & was difficult to watch them because of sun. Was a beautiful sight paradoxically. They flew from the north almost directly over head and it was laughable the way our A.A. went to work. The bursts were seen at all points of the campass & those that were in the general direction of the planes were several thousand feet short. No pursuits went to intercept them for as we learned later, practically all our air force had been wiped out by the previous days bombing at Iba, Clark, & Nichols Fields. For some unexplained reason our B-17’s & pursuits were held on the ground all lined up nicely so that a minimum amount of bombs were required. (This is hearsay about the plane destruction). The bombers dropped a few on Nichols completing their devastation there & went out to Cavite & after a dry run came back over the Navy yard & really unloaded. They skipped the hospital & then hit the radio towers. It was an accurate sample of bombing completely putting the place out of commission. There were several thousand workers in the yard at the time and the amount of casualties were untold. About 4:00 P.M. casualties were brought by boat to the A & N Club landing and to the navy pier between pier 1 & pier 3. These continued to come by boatload thruout the nite. The injuries were terrific –Many compound fractures & barge loads of dismembered corpses were brought over & stacked in vehicles to be carted away to the morgue for identification & burial. I was at Port Area evacuating a boat loaf of about 100 patients at midnite when the sirens came on. I sent the loaded ambulances on to Sternberg & after some consultation, the skipper decided to push out into the bay until the raid was over & then return & unload the remainder. I took the remaining ambulances up to the Luneta to wait as we figured port area was due & it is hard to stay hitched in a place like that.
December 8 — Upon appearing for breakfast at our comfortable? (Little did we realize at the time luxury in which we were living) Genl Luna Ora I was presented with a copt of the Bulletin flaunting large headlines of the attack on Pearl Harbor & announcing that US & Japan were at war. This should not have been surprising in view of the fact that for about one week we had been working until 5:00 P.M. & having a surgical & medical O.D. in addition to the usual O.D. and reports of planes (not American) flying high over various points of Luzon. The existence of these planes were pooh poohed as imaginary. However, we were still very much surprised & could not actually realize that were at war. Much excitement at Sternberg & about 9:00 A.M. Rec’d official mimeograph from HPD, announcing that a state of war existed between U.S. & Japan. Col. Cooper appeared in full field regalia pistol & all. He was first person I saw with all equipment & I’ll always remember him standing on the steps with his helmet sitting high on his head like Hooligans tin can. Word received during the morning that Camp John Hay, Clark Field & Iba were heavily bombed. This was confirmed and during the afternoon Maj. Hubbard & Lt. W.E. Wilson with a compliment of nurses & corpsmen were sent to Stotsenberg to help care for the casualties. For several days now I have been relieved of all professional work & have had duties of Registrar, Rec & Evac. officer, (O Det. Pts., Custodian of pty fund etc. No change in Registrar work or in R & E work today. Following dinner played bridge with Maj Craig, Maj Schwartz & Capt Burg as usual. Using new cards (Kenn) Abley sent for X-Mas. As evening wore on hands became quite moist making handling of cards difficult. It must have been apprehension altho’ could use the excuse that was very got with all windows closed in order to effectively blackout the bldg. Bridge game broke up about 11:00 P.M. & we all went to bed. Before could get asleep air raid sirens came on full blast. We jumped up and ran to the Agriculture bldg but no planes came. This occurred several times during the nite.