September 23, 1944

Although the alarm sounded, the musician of the sky was actually playing its music elsewhere today.

How big were the casualties of both sides in the raids yesterday and the other day? After releasing conflicting figures, the local press adopted the data given by Tokyo, which had more precise information on what was happening here. Out of the 500 attackers, the number of American planes shot down, but the figures given seemed to be inflated. Yesterday, official sources reported that out of the two hundred planes, nineteen were shot down. Another exaggeration. The damage done in military installations was allegedly insignificant. However, anyone who saw the fires could not believe that.

More than 20 ships were sunk in the bay. The only information I have of the airfields is the report about Nielson Airbase, which I received from someone who lived about forty meters from the base. According to him, twenty-eight planes were burned, the strips were destroyed and the hangars were reduced to their framework. Several hundreds of workers and Japanese soldiers were killed by enemy machineguns. This base is the smallest among those installed around Manila. At both sides of the street along Baclaran, mounds of debris from a portion of Nichols Airbase could be seen. Fort Stotsenberg in Pampanga was greatly damaged by heavier bombs. Those who heard Radio San Francisco were more inclined to believe the figures of casualties in these three raids; namely, about five hundred planes, seventy ships, aside from the total destruction of Piers 1, 3, and 5, and the partial destruction of the monumental Pier 7.

More than two thousand port workers who lived and worked in the vicinity of the piers have taken refuge in the Cathedral where they are sheltered. The attacking forces have left them without food and without employment. Because someone ran amuck and killed a soldier, the Japanese have cordoned the vicinity of the Cathedral from all passers-by and searched a number of houses.

President Laurel has declared Martial Law over the whole Philippines, “there being an imminent danger of invasion, and such being required by public security.”

December 12, 1941

The next morning Dorothy drove me to the Army and Navy Club where I was to meet the truck. Then came our first parting. Dorothy was trying not to cry, and I, with a lump in my throat and trying to keep my voice from quivering, was trying to cheer her up. That was a sad, blue ride to Clark. It was raining and I swallowed hard, wondering if I would ever get back to Manila. Every barrio we passed through on the road we met crowds of Filipinos, and they would all hold up two fingers and shout “V for victory”. Nearly all the men were carrying clubs or large bolos and had on medals designating them as Volunteer guards. The Japs will really have a fight on their handsif they try to take these people. They all seemed to be eager and ready to fight. I still think that if the Army could have or would have put up a longer and better fight as the Japs came down the Valley from the north, the civilians would have played a large part in harrassing and maybe holding the Japs. That is to come later though and maybe someday I will find out just how the civilian population did act when the Japs came. The Army certainly didn’t set a good example for them, so you couldn’t expect them to do much.

Just before we got to Clark Field the Japs made a bombing raid on it but dropped their bombs from such a low altitude that many of them failed to go off. When we got there the place was rocked every few minutes by duds being exploded by demolition crews. I saw Clark Field for the first time since I had left it the first day of the war. What a change I saw! Clark was just a mass of pitted and charred ruins. I think it was the most desolate sight that I have ever seen. Lady Luck must have been with me when I decided to try that second and successful attempt to take-off the first day of the war. If I had stayed at Clark Field ten minutes longer, I would have been caught in the raid.

All the personnel from Clark Field had moved back into the mountains to escape further raids. We went there, too. The pilots were all back together now, but what was the plan for the future? No one seemed to have any idea. The camp was back in an old volcano crater and very well concealed. Everything seemed quiet. I spent the next week there doing nothing. A reconnaissance plane was sent out each day over the northern part of the island, but no further enemy activity as to landings was reported. Lt. Walt Cass from the 17th went out on one of these and failed to return. We all gave him up for lost.

Lts. Wagner and Church went on one mission to Vigan to dive bomb and strafe the Japs on the airport there. Lt. Wagner had made a similar raid on Aparri a few days before and had destroyed a number of enemy planes, so we all had high hopes for this second mission. On this raid Church was hit by antiaircraft fire on the dive toward the field and his plane began to burn. Instead of jumping, he went on over the field, dropped his bombs, and crashed. Both the Japanese and Americans paid tribute to his brave act, and it was reported later that the Japanese buried him with high military honors.

Clark Field was bombed daily during that week, but no further damage was done. Since the Officers Club at Fort Stotsenberg was still open and was near our camp, most of the officers spent a part of the day there. One day I was there getting a haircut when the bombers flew over.The barber took off for cover, and there I was for about the next two hours with half a haircut looking for the barber so that I could get him to finish the job. Long after the bombers had gone, he came crawling out of a sewer manhole and finished my haircut.

Rumors ran riot at the camp. First we heard that new troops and planes had come in and that more were on the way. According to reliable reports, planes were being assembled in Manila and were flying off Dewey Boulevard. This seemed a bit fantastic, but we believed it because we just knew that we should have reinforcements by this time. Also, during this week one of our bombers picked up a number of our pursuit pilots and took them south to Australia. The story was that they going down to lead flights of new planes up to the Philippines, and we believed that, too. They didn’t come back, and they still haven’t come back. This war has been one of waiting for reinforcements that just don’t come. At first we worried about it, but now I don’t think we even expect them and would probably be a surprised bunch if we did get some.

A few days after my arrival at Clark Lt. Shepherd, one of the 17th pilots who had been missing since the second day of the war, came into camp. He had seen a flight of bombers going north, had chased them to the northern part of the island and finally caught them. After shooting one down, he had been show down by the others and had bailed out in the mountains. He had spent over a week walking out to civilization and when we saw him, about all that was left of him was his bushy growth of flaming red hair.

While I was at Clark Field, more fifth column activity was brought to light. From the first day of the war the Japanese seemed to know more about our army and our operations than we did ourselves. Every night we could see signal flares going up, and it wasn’t the Japanese that were sending them. It was Filipinos. Most of this work was done by some ignorant Filipino worker who probably got a few pesos for being a traitor. This could easily be understood because he had always lived in poverty and would always live in poverty. A few pesos was probably worth more than life itself to him. The fifth column activity of some of the rich, high-class Filipinos was what was hard to understand, and their activities did the most damage. In one case, a radio that was giving the Japs information about our activity around Clark Field was trailed to the house of a well-to-do doctor in a village within sight of the field itself. There were several cases such as this, and all of these fifth columnists had everything to lose and nothing to gain by such activity.

Manila P.I. Dec. 8-41

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.

January 3, 1938 Monday

Segundo-Desk Private-1938_Page_006


Went to O’Donnell to see the road and determine its suitability for the maneuver.

Stopped at Dau and looked over the fishponds. Went to Hdqrs Ft. Stotsenburg to find out if there were any orders or changes re maneuver. Met Maj. Price Cav. who was at Riley with me. Met Col Daugherty 26th Cav.

Rode with daughters Ramon Araneta.