All last night great explosions of oil and ammunition dumps in the Maraquina Valley; Terrific fires the length of the valley; This is a very noisy morning, explosions of bombs and blasting demolition charges fill the air with fumes of high explosive; crude oil and gasoline;
AT 4:30pm, just after supper, ten fighting planes came over, just above the roofs, only about 100 ft high there were more STARS than we have seen in three long years; they circled and dipped and signaled to show us that help was indeed at hand; one dropped a note in a wrench saying army would be in Monday morning, we were all crazy and paid no attention to the frightened demoralized Japs; some of their officers were in the path below our window looking at our planes, no smiles now, only fear and sullen looks; only a day or two more of starvation by these s—-b. THANK GOD.
Not a shot was fired at our planes, we have complete control of the air, our boys were telling us by their stars that victory is complete, nothing these yellow murderers of helpless people can do to stop our army; WE cheered and cried, as sorry a looking bunch of skeletons as can be seen anywhere in this war; but most of us still have the guts our brave ancestors gave us and can see this finished.
We were all too excited to sleep early, and were all talking and arguing about the planes we heard the tanks to the north, but many tanks had been going back and forth past the camp, Jap tanks, for tanks; the Jap guards rushed out of their cars parked in front of the Ed. Bldg., and the Filipinos were outside yelling “The Americans are here”; Shorty Strongman was the first to see our tanks at the gate and we were trying to keep him quiet when the tanks crashed through the front gate, with lights on and machine guns flashing; the Japs at the gate threw some hand grenades and fired a few shots but were wiped out; this was a little after 8:00pm, FEB 3, 1945.
We were so busy watching the tanks come up the road toward the Main Building that we forgot about the Jap guards; after some shooting near the Main Building, where they killed the Lt. Abuco, who was the meanest officer in the Camp, the tanks came to our building, three of the tanks came into the driveways to the front door and began firing machine guns; then we saw that the Jap guards had not gone away in the cars but had retreated into the second floor and were barricading themselves at all the stairways and the halls and rooms; some came into our rooms, they were armed with rifles, machine guns, bayonets, had grenades and swords. Our tanks stopped firing and the officer in the center tank, just below us, about thirty feet from us as a bullet flies, ordered “COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP, I’LL GIVE YOU FIVE MINUTES”; we knew we were still prisoners of the Japs, hostages of sixty-five desperate savages. There were about three hundred of us, some women and children from Shanty Town having come upstairs.
We here in the Education Building with freedom within 30 feet of us are the hostages, to be killed if Japs think it will save their face; at least they are going to try to use our lives to make a deal for theirs. There is much noise in the other parts of the camp, some scattered shots and much shouting; we told the tank men who we were and where to shoot at the Japs; there is much machine gunning, the 50 cal bullets from the tanks come right through the concrete walls, the glass windows downstairs are broken, the Japs shoot from behind barricades of desks and mattresses; the prisoners on the third floor are getting it worse than we as the bullets fired upwards go through the floor and are hitting some in the legs; the tank in from of the main door to the lobby fired its cannon once; only one Jap that I saw came out, the little one with a mustache supposed to be a doctor, we can look out from behind the pillars on the balcony right down on our tanks and also see the flashes from the Jap machine guns only a few feet from us at the windows over the main stairs; the machine gun bullets come through about five inches of concrete like it was cheese, the concrete chips and ricochets fly past us and some are hit but not hurt much.
The Japs made a barricade just outside our door in the hall, of boxes and mattresses; we are not allowed to pass thru it to the bathroom.
We can hear our men in the tanks talking to each other about where to shoot; infantry are deploying behind the rolls of air strip webbing and the shacks, the town this side of the river is being destroyed by terrific explosions of Jap time bombs, the sky reflects the great fires, the Japs yell “Banzai” and other different words, and our boys keep on with bursts of machine gun bullets, outside the camp also firing and much yelling;
The Japs finally made us all lie down in our bunks and said “You sleep”, we stayed in bed alright, did not sleep all night. We were expecting to be slaughtered any minute; if some screwball had grabbed a Jap’s gun or struck one we would have been massacred; a Jap sat on the foot of my bunk where he could peek over the balcony railing and shoot at our tanks, later he got a stool and sat on it beside me. If our infantry had rushed the building we would have been killed by the Japs before our boys got up the stairs.
The Jap cars parked in front were loaded, some with chow, and prisoners from the liberated part of camp lost no time in raiding the chow truck and even waved at us with beer bottles, the fighting could not keep those starving ones from chow.
The long night passed somehow, the shooting was in spurts only and the FOURTH of Feb, 1945 dawned on the toughest spot I have ever been in; being used as a breastwork and hostage by crazy Japs is no fun, any way you look at it; there is sort of a truce evidently between our tanks and the Japs, the boys in the tanks now look out, smoke and talk to us, they are not infantry but are the 8th Cavalry of the First Cavalry Division, say they are known as MacArthur’s Butchers and take no prisoners.