January 7, 1942

51st division C.P.

Bataan

 

Japs are in Manila now, according to KZRH. I wonder how the family is. Seat of government has been transferred to Corregidor.

Jap successes in Luzon theater have been made possible by crippling of our airforce in first raids on Clark, Nichols, and Zablan. Many bombers were grounded. Right now, there are only seven fighters here in Bataan. Gen. Brereton, chief of airforce, has left for Australia. New air chief is Gen. George.

Saw hundred of men working on airfields in Cabcaben and Mariveles. Tractors were leveling ground. Giant cranes were roaring whole day. Labor crews were hastily building caves in mountain sides to serve as hangars for planes.

Meanwhile Japs dropped dozens of bombs in Cabcaben and Mariveles aerodromes. Huge craters made in middle of fields. As soon as Japs disappeared, men hurriedly covered bomb-holes and leveled ground with rollers.

Saw Jess Villamor and G. Juliano in quartermaster dump near Lamao field. Both fellows have been awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses for dogfights with Japs. Villamor was requisitioning for some uniforms. He had only two. They said they had no more planes and were waiting for shipments from Australia. I think the quartermaster chief denied their requisition, poor fellows. Found out Juliano is a cousin of mine. He said his dad and mine are cousins.

On my way back to our C.P., I had my sergeant sit on the engine so he can watch the sky for planes. It was a good precaution because two or three times, Jap fighters strafed the road. A truck ahead of us was hit by three bullets but the driver was uninjured.

Went to Gen. MacBride’s headquarters to arrange for a launch to bring the general to Corregidor. Col. Willoughby, MacArthur’s G-2, said the general’s presence was required in the Rock on the 8th. While I was in MacBride’s command post, AA shrapnel started raining near the Signal Corps tent. Nobody was injured. Everybody remained calm. Had a little discussion with a nasty American lieutenant while I was waiting for Major Raymond, MacBride’s assistant G-2. The lieutenant told me to stand at attention when in his presence because I did not notice him when he passed. I told him “To go to He–l”. He said he was sorry and explained that he thought I was “the fresh Filipino sergeant who was here yesterday. You look alike. Sorry.” I replied: “Your apologies accepted. Go to a doctor to get your eyes straightened.” He said: “Tough guy, eh?” I said “Nope, just been around.” “So, smart guy?” “Nope,” I replied, “just my poisonality.” The guy gave me up for hopeless and Major Raymond and Col. A. Fisher arrived. Fisher shook my hand and said: “Here’s a good friend of mine” and he introduced me to everyone. When he was going to introduce me to the nasty mutt, I said: “We’ve met, colonel.”

Missed my dinner because I arrived too late and the stupid mess sergeant didn’t keep anything for me. “I thought,” he explained, “you ate somewhere else already, sir.” I told him that from now one he must always reserve my food when I am not around because people in other divisions don’t offer food for visitors and where does he expect me to eat. The sergeant looked genuinely sorry. I guess I’ve got to stay hungry till tomorrow morning, heck. Missed Mama’s cooking more than ever.

 

(later)

 

Just arrived from lines. Reports received in C.P. that Japs have opened infantry fire. Went to the line. The men were cool and raring to fight. The night was lovely. Plenty of stars. Jap firing was very ineffective. Men asked only one question: “Where is the convoy?” They themselves answered the question with “Oh well, maybe in a week.” Must sleep now. It’s midnight. I’m hungry.

August 15, 1941

This is a significant day for our young 5-year old Phil. Army.  In consonance with Pres. Roosevelt’s order last July 26, the Phil. Army Air Corps (PAAC) is the first unit of PA inducted to the USAFFE today.  What is remarkable is the inducting officer is Gen. MacArthur himself who swore the PAAC under the command of Maj. Basilio Fernando with his 141 air pilots,  17 ground O’s, 1,200 EM’s and 64 planes. Aside from Maj. Fernando and my 17 Classmates led by Lts. Victor Osias, Tomas Tirona, Bartolome Cabangbang, Pedro Baban, Horacio Farolan  etc, among the others I know personally inducted today are Capts. Pelagio Cruz, Eustacio Orobia; Lts Benito Ebuen, Bienvenido Ferrer, P. Q. Molina, Jonas Victoria, Renato Bareto, Godofredo Juliano, Augusto Jurado, Manecio Raventar, Juan Guevara, J B Ramos, Jose Basa and Jesus Villamor.

It may be pertinent to remark here that PAAC was given early priority among the PA branches of service. It was organized in 1936 with Major William L Lee, USAAC on detail with MacArthur’s Military Advisors Office as its first Comdg O until 1938.  It was Maj Lee who trained our early Phil pioneer air pilots like Majors Zablan, Fernando, etc.  It was also during his time that Major Eisenhower earned his wings with PAAC.