December 8-18, 1941

WAR 1941 – ?

Olongapo December 8, 1941

Arrived Cavite December 9, 1941
Cavite Bombed December 10, 1941

OLONGAPO – BINACAYAN

It will be extremely difficult to reconstruct a war as we saw it sixteen months after it happened – to replace oneself in a fox hole and try to re-feel the sensations caused by bombers, for an example. It is practically hopeless yet I am going to attempt to reconstruct those days lest they forever become lost. Regardless of how tough or hard those days were, there must be some good to be drawn from the experiences. I should hate to lose
or wholly forget that experience on Bataan and Corregidor for, in part, it is bound to have an influence in the years to come. I hope and feel that it will have a good influence — and not a bad one. Here in the Orient it was Monday morning, December 8, that Japan started her attacks on the U.S. At Olongapo it was regarded by most of us as the arrival of an inevitable conclusion — there was but little excitement, no particular dismay. I remember that I was more concerned at the moment with making a boat for Cavite that morning than I was with the possibilities of a war and what it might bring. On the way to Cavite, we were to stop at Mariveles, Bataan — the location Bataan, a province in Luzon, had no meaning in the world then; I believe it has now. During the trip to Mariveles we heard news broadcasts but very little information was let out. We learned of Pearl Harbor but the Navy Department withheld all results. Spent the first night of war at Mariveles and the next morning left for
Cavite.

On the way in we ran past Corregidor and did not realize that five months later it would be a bull’s eye. We went through the mine fields in the middle of a merchant convoy and did not like it much — suppose Jap bombers had tried to hit the convoy!

On December 9, 1941 we arrived at Cavite, where we were met by a Major, and hastened to report for duty to the C.0. and were immediately sent to AA outfits. I was with Battery C at Binacayan. Willie _______ a classmate, was the battery C.O. and the afternoon was spent in renewing an acquaintance with each other and the AA setup. The next morning Willie went into Cavite and left me in command — at around 1145 Jap planes appeared and we went into action. The Nip did a businesslike job on the yard; it burned for more than seventy-two hours. For us it was first action and, because of the height of the planes, etc., we did nothing but keep them up. We were left with a sense of futility which was renewed every time our eyes fell on the yard across the bay from our position. A toy pistol would have damaged their planes as much as did we. There was of necessity a bit of confusion in the yard — trucks would evacuate material and bring it to us for safe keeping, the drivers telling wild tales, mostly entirely without foundation, of chaos and looting. It had a bad effect on our morale — at one time I found it necessary to sound general headquarters to get the men away from these tale bearers.

Every day or so the Japanese paid us another visit — in between firing runs we were pretty well occupied with running the outfit. Our meals even this early were cut from three to two. We patrolled the barrio at night, put up
local defenses, investigated lights — including one about two miles out in the bay. I led the party, the boats capsized, and we spent the night on the suspicious boat.

During these days we knew practically nothing of the strategical or tactical situation — we heard rumors of enemy landings at Legaspi in the south and Aparri in the north, of the bombings of air fields in the Island of Luzon — nothing official, however. We had no idea of just where our job would be — it could not last at Binacayan. It was, however, quite a surprise when we received orders to move to Mariveles, Bataan, Luzon, P.I.

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