Bataan Echoes from New Mexico

It seems the nature of the internet to be similar to the sea, with repeated searches of the shore sometimes yielding a fact that the ocean of the internet churns forth.

Such was the case the other day, when a typical Google search yielded the sad news of the passing of yet another Bataan veteran and Death March survivor, Charles F. Sanchez of Albuquerque on 16 October 2015 at age 96. He had only recently been honored in Congress – belated perhaps but recognition nonetheless. The experience Charles Sanchez had during the war was so difficult, he only talked with his sons and family members who joined the military – he never discussed it with his wife or two daughters.

Charles F. Sanchez was one of the last remaining 25 survivors of the Bataan Death march in the Philippines during World War II. On his return to the U.S. at age 28, he was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.  (M. Sheppard, Albuquerque Journal)

Charles F. Sanchez was one of the last remaining 25 survivors of the Bataan Death March in the Philippines during World War II. On his return to the U.S. at age 28, he was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. (M. Sheppard, Albuquerque Journal)

Sanchez was a member of the New Mexico National Guard’s B Battery in the 200 Coastal Artillery Regiment (Anti-Aircraft). About 1,800 men were in the two regiments (200th and 515th) of the New Mexico National Guard which the US government sent to reinforce the Philippines in late 1941, and which fought in the Bataan Campaign. Only half of them survived the war. Now that Charles Sanchez has departed, there are but 24 men left from these two regiments, about half of them residing in New Mexico.

His story can be read in some more detail at a couple of the references below. But in review of the comments made to the article in the Albuquerque Journal, there was reference to another Bataan story, of Captain Frederick B. “Ted” Howden, Jr., father of three, who also served with the 200th Coastal Artillery as the Regimental Chaplain. Chaplain Howden apparently had the opportunity to be evacuated from Bataan but declined, saying “They are my boys and I’ll stay with them.” He survived Bataan and the Death March but not his imprisonment in the Davao Penal Colony.  Despite suffering from malnutrition like all the others, he gave of his own meager rations to help others.  However, Chaplain Howden succumbed to disease and neglect, and died on 11 December 1942 of pellagra and dysentery. These many years later, his granddaughter Melissa A. Howden searched for his story.

Captain Frederick B. "Ted" Howden, Jr., was the Regimental Chaplain of the 200th Coastal Artillery (AA) Regiment.  He surived the Bataan Campaign and Death March, but not captivity.  (Courtesy Angelfire.com, The Names Project)

Captain Frederick B. “Ted” Howden, Jr., was the Regimental Chaplain of the 200th Coastal Artillery (AA) Regiment. He surived the Bataan Campaign and Death March, but not captivity. (Courtesy Angelfire.com, The Names Project)

Ms. Howden assembled enough information to make a documentary film titled “Be Home Soon: Letters from My Grandfather.” Her film is about war and faith, love and loss, family myth and legacy. Perhaps it can help others to connect with their family member or friend who perished in the Bataan Campaign or the aftermath. Her effort is certainly to be commended. You can view the Be Home Soon website which features a trailer of the video documentary at:
http://www.behomesoonthefilm.com/

So, then, the periodic internet search begets one Bataan article, leading to discovery of a documentary film made, related to the 200th Coastal Artillery. What other stories and secrets from Bataan will yet be discovered?

References
Sheppard, Maggie, “‘Very gentle’ survivor of Bataan Death March dies, age 96,” posted at: http://www.abqjournal.com/665171/news/bataan-death-march-survivor-dies-age-96.html?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_term=Autofeed#link_time=1445753590

Recognizing Charles F. Sanchez in Congress, at: https://the-constituent.com/speeches/208066/recognizing-charles-f-sanchez-by-representative-michelle-lujan-grisham

Corporal Charles F Sanchez – POW Summary, at: http://www.japanesepow.info/index.php?page=directory&rec=17133

Frederick Howden, database entry at: http://www.angelfire.com/nm/bcmfofnm/names/h.html

Hometown Heroes of Bataan

News Talk Radio 530, KMJ (580 AM/105.9 FM) out of Fresno, California, has a fantastic weekly veterans radio show, called Hometown Heroes. The show honors our World War II veterans for their service and sacrifice, as it make sure their stories are not forgotten and preserved to share with current and future generations.

http://www.hometownheroesradio.com/

Hometown Heroes airs Saturdays, 6 pm – 7 pm, according to the current schedule. Be aware this time could move around periodically, either earlier in the day or even on a Sunday, depending on station programming.

Mr. Paul Loeffler is the host of Hometown Heroes, a weekly radio show honoring the men and women whose service and sacrifice have secured our freedom.  You’ll hear him say frequently on the program:  “No matter where you’re from in this great country of ours, no matter how big, or how small your hometown might be, there are heroes around you.”  (Courtesy KMJ Radio Fresno)

Mr. Paul Loeffler is the host of Hometown Heroes, a weekly radio show honoring the men and women whose service and sacrifice have secured our freedom. You’ll hear him say frequently on the program: “No matter where you’re from in this great country of ours, no matter how big, or how small your hometown might be, there are heroes around you.” (Courtesy KMJ Radio Fresno)

KMJ radio’s Hometown Heroes Host Mr. Paul Loeffler does a superb job interviewing a World War II veteran each week and the great part is that the veterans do most of the talking. Mr. Loeffler has accomplished many interviews already, as you will see on episodes page for the show (see below for link). A review of the listing quickly reveals several Bataan-related veteran interviews.

Lt. Lloyd Stinson (1918–2001) in a 34th Pursuit Squadron Seversky P-35A in combat over the Philippines, 1941.  (Wikipedia)

Lt. Lloyd Stinson (1918–2001) in a 34th Pursuit Squadron Seversky P-35A in combat over the Philippines, 1941. (Wikipedia)

EPISODE #5, 11/18/2007: Bataan Death March survivor “Wild Bill” Begley of Fresno, CA (originally from Hyden, KY). (27:49 in duration, cut short by a NASCAR broadcast, unfortunately) He was assigned to the 34th Pursuit Squadron as a radio operator. On Bataan he served in an infantry capacity. At the start of the war he weighed 180 pounds, and was down to 110 by the time of the Death March. He survived three and a half years of brutal captivity and by the end of the way was down to only 68 pounds.

US Army aircraft sound locator apparatus and searchlight, 1932. Before radar was developed in World War 2, acoustic horns like this were used to detect the sound of approaching enemy aircraft at a distance. Stereo horns, one attached to each ear, allowed the observer to judge the direction of the aircraft. The horns were used in pairs; the horizontal pair to determine direction and the vertical pair to determine elevation.  (US Army via Wikipedia)

US Army aircraft sound locator apparatus and searchlight, 1932. Before radar was developed in World War 2, acoustic horns like this were used to detect the sound of approaching enemy aircraft at a distance. Stereo horns, one attached to each ear, allowed the observer to judge the direction of the aircraft. The horns were used in pairs; the horizontal pair to determine direction and the vertical pair to determine elevation. (US Army via Wikipedia)

EPISODE #114, 5/15/2010: Bataan Death March survivor Julio Barela Las Cruces, New Mexico, remembers the horrors of his years in captivity during World War II, and his daughter’s perspective on what happened to her father. He was assigned to Battery A of the 200th Coast Artillery with a searchlight crew. He was one of only 800 of 1,800 men of his unit who survived Bataan, the Death march and the rest of captivity including the “Hell ships” and captivity in Japan, to come back from the war. (36:42 in duration)

In this interview there is mention of the Bataan Death March Memorial at Las Cruces, New Mexico, which is the only federally funded monument dedicated to the victims of the Bataan Death March. The monument was dedicated in April 2001.

Statue of Bataan Death March walkers, located at Veterans Memorial Park, Las Cruces, N.M. This monument, the first nationally-funded shrine to the Death March, was dedicated in April 2002, and displays actual footprints of Bataan survivors. Photo by Linda Douglass, IMCOM.  (Nationalguard.mil)

Statue of Bataan Death March walkers, located at Veterans Memorial Park, Las Cruces, NM.  Left to right, a Filipino soldier looks over his shoulder to see if any danger is approaching them from the rear.  The American soldier being carried in the middle is downtrodden and grateful to be alive, though at times almost wishing he wasn’t.  The soldier on the right with the WW I-helmet with eyes of steel is looking down the road watching for guards and any impending danger.  (Photo by Linda Douglass, IMCOM, via Nationalguard.mil)

A very poignant element of this memorial is the trail in front of the men in the monument. On it are the footprints, some in boots, some in bare feet, of actual Bataan Death March survivors.

The Bataan Death March Memorial at Las Cruces, New Mexico is the only federally funded monument dedicated to the victims of the Bataan Death March. The monument was dedicated in April 2001. The memorial embodies the values of gallantry, sacrifice, and heroism.  The footprints by boots and bare feet were made by actual Bataan Death March survivors.  (Courtesy mllora.com)

The Bataan Death March Memorial at Las Cruces, New Mexico is the only federally funded monument dedicated to the victims of the Bataan Death March. The monument was dedicated in April 2001. The memorial embodies the values of gallantry, sacrifice, and heroism. The footprints by boots and bare feet were made by actual Bataan Death March survivors. (Courtesy mllora.com)

This web log writer was pleasantly surprised to discover the interview of a Philippine Army soldier who served in the Bataan Campaign. It’s perhaps uncommon, and unclear how many interviews of Filipino veterans of Bataan are available, but here is a good one to listen to!

Filipino artillery crew along a coastline loading a shell during a 1941 training exercise, part of the ongoing preparations for war on the eve of the war in the Pacific.  (Carl Mydans, LIFE)

Filipino artillery crew along a coastline loading a shell during a 1941 training exercise, part of the ongoing preparations for war on the eve of the war in the Pacific. (Carl Mydans, LIFE)

EPISODE #336, 10/11/2014: 93-year-old Atilano “Al” David of Albuquerque, New Mexico, explains how he escaped from the Bataan Death March. A Filipino soldier who served as a sergeant in the 33rd Infantry Regiment of the 31st Infantry Division (Philippine Army). On the Death March he was too sick to continue and after a day or so his comrades helped him to escape by pushing him into bushes along the roadside – he was then helped by a family named De La Cruz who sheltered him a few days before he made his escape to join the guerrilla forces. (51:31 in duration)


There are other Hometown Hero interview episodes to listen to. One is of a US Navy veteran who served on the light carrier USS Bataan (CVL-29). He was a radio technician and Petty Officer Third Class when he was initially assigned to Bataan.

A Japanese Yokosuka D4Y Suisei (Allied reporting name "Judy") crashes close to the U.S. Navy light aircraft carrier USS Bataan (CVL-29) on 20 March 1945.  (US Navy via Wikipedia)

A Japanese Yokosuka D4Y Suisei (Allied reporting name “Judy”) crashes close to the U.S. Navy light aircraft carrier USS Bataan (CVL-29) on 20 March 1945. (US Navy via Wikipedia)

EPISODE #226, 8/18/2012: 87-year-old Alan George of Visalia, CA relates how he earned a Purple Heart in the Battle of Okinawa aboard the USS Bataan when he was wounded after his ship was struck by four 5-inch shells on the port side which were fired from other ships in the formation trying to hit the kamikazes attacking the formation – eight men were killed and 26, including George were wounded. It was a reminder that friendly fire isn’t, but stoically accepted in a very chaotic battle situation. (52:31 in duration)


To view other KMJ Hometown Heroes veteran interviews, see the episodes listing at:
Source: http://www.hometownheroesradio.com/episodes/

So a hand salute and heartfelt thank you to KMJ Radio and Hometown Heroes host Paul Loeffler for this excellent program! Keep up the good work which helps share and preserve our incredible military heritage!
References

The Bataan Death March Memorial at Las Cruces, New Mexico, information and images, at: http://www.mllora.com/bataan_virtual_tour/bataan_3.htm

Student volunteers join to clean Bataan March monument, at: http://archive.lcsun-news.com/las_cruces-news/ci_25351956/student-volunteers-join-clean-march-monument
Images

Paul Loeffler, at: http://www.kmjnow.com/2015/02/02/hometown-heroes-with-paul-loeffler/

34th Pursuit Squadron P-35, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/34th_Pursuit_Squadron
Searchlight unit, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Army_Coast_Artillery_Corps

Coastal Artillery searchlight, at:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Army_Coast_Artillery_Corps

Close view of Bataan Memorial in Las Cruces, NM, at: http://www.nationalguard.mil/AbouttheGuard/TodayinGuardHistory/April.aspx

Bataan Memorial in Las Cruces, NM, at: http://www.nationalguard.mil/AbouttheGuard/TodayinGuardHistory/April.aspx

Philippine Army gun crew, at: http://www.gstatic.com/hostedimg/8a018b9687d6d63e_landing

CVL-29 under attack, at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USS_Bataan_%28CVL-29%29_under_attack_in_March_1945.jpg

Bubonic Bataan?

In a way, it is good that the Bataan Campaign of 1942 ended when it did. In the 1990s, newly discovered documents revealed a Japanese plan for the use of biological warfare against the Fil-Am forces on Bataan.

Imperial Japanese Army Unit 731 complex in Manchuria, where many atrocities were carried out.  (    )

Imperial Japanese Army Unit 731 complex in Manchuria, where many atrocities were carried out. (Courtesy Unit731.org)

The infamous Imperial Japanese Army’s Unit 731 in Manchuria was probably the source of the development and supply of the deadly weapons. If you’ve never heard about Unit 731 you will be shocked to find out what happened there. It’s not for the faint of heart, but knowing about it will help to ensure that it doesn’t happen again, anywhere! A 19 minute 30 second video, not related to Bataan, outlines the horrific operations at Unit 731:

Unit 731 Japanese Torture & Human Experiments (Warning/Babala! Graphic images and discussion) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCkGiiabV40

In the Research Library of the Japanese Defense Agency in Tokyo, Ika Toskija and Yoshimi Yoshiaki discovered documents in the early 1990’s which indicated that Imperial Japan planned to use biological weapons in the Philippines against the Fil-Am troops on Bataan.

Information from various sources indicates beginning in March, 1942, after Japanese forces had been quite bloodied on Bataan by the stubborn Fil-Am defenders, they planned to release 1,000 kilograms of plague-infected fleas. Another source indicates the plan called for release of 200-pounds of fleas carrying the plague, about 150 million insects, in each of ten separate attacks against Bataan’s defenders.

Male Xenopsylla cheopis (oriental rat flea) engorged with blood. This flea is the primary vector of plague in most large plague epidemics in Asia, Africa, and South America. Both male and female fleas can transmit the infection.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, via Wikipedia)

Male Xenopsylla cheopis (oriental rat flea) engorged with blood. This flea is the primary vector of plague in most large plague epidemics in Asia, Africa, and South America. Both male and female fleas can transmit the infection. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, via Wikipedia)

But Bataan fell before the plan could be implemented. There’s no ready detail on all the elements of this plan, and what level of authority approved the use of such a weapon – it was probably approved at echelons above the Japanese commander in the Philippines, General Homma. It is not known who if anyone requested it either, whether from Japanese forces in the Philippines or elsewhere. Thankfully the Fil-Am forces and many civilians on Bataan were spared this biological scourge.

Nevertheless, Japan used biological weapons tested on victims at Unit 731 elsewhere, specifically in China as retaliation for Chinese support of the Doolittle Raiders who attacked Japan with B-25 medium bombers on 18 April 1942.

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Hornet launches a USAAF B-25 Mitchell medium bomber during the Doolittle Raid, 18 April 1942.  (US Navy, via Wikipedia)

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Hornet launches a USAAF B-25 Mitchell medium bomber during the Doolittle Raid, 18 April 1942. (US Navy, via Wikipedia)

The bombers were launched from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet and were to recover in China after they attacked Japan. The Japanese were enraged their homeland had been attacked, and the rage was focused on China where most of the raiders made their escape.

from mid-May through September, 1942, the Imperial Japanese conducted Operation Sei-go in China in retaliation for the support to the Doolittle raiders, and also to seize airfields to prevent future attack on Japan. In June and July of 1942, Japanese forces used aircraft to deliver cholera, plague and dysentery, as part of Sei-go. An estimated 10,000 Chinese were killed by these agents. But even the Japanese could not contain the death to the Chinese – when the wind shifted some of the dropped pathogens fell upon their own forces; other troops moved into areas where the diseases had been sown. As a result, 10,000 Japanese soldiers were affected -1,700 of them died, mostly from cholera.

Imperial Japanese Army soldiers of the JIA 13th Army during the Zhejiang-Jiangxi operation (Op Sei-go), 30 May 1942, in Jīnhuá, Zhèjiāng Province, China.  (Wikipedia)

Imperial Japanese Army soldiers of the JIA 13th Army during the Zhejiang-Jiangxi operation (Op Sei-go), 30 May 1942, in Jīnhuá, Zhèjiāng Province, China. (Wikipedia)

The Japanese never really gave up on use of biological weapons during the war, though their efforts were largely frustrated. In 1944, after the fall of Saipan, there was a plan to send a submarine to the island to land teams to spread biological agents against American forces. But the submarine was reportedly sunk before it could accomplish the mission.

Imperial Japanese Navy sailors go down with their submarine.  (Courtesy plhb.tripod.com)

Imperial Japanese Navy sailors go down with their submarine. (Courtesy plhb.tripod.com)

In 1945, another plan was to use gliders with pathogens and send them into Iwo Jima, but encountered problems getting the gliders from the Japanese Home islands to Matsumoto Airfield near Harbin, Manchuria, where presumably Unit 731 would have filled them with the nasty bugs. Use was contemplated in the battle for Okinawa, but did not occur.

Japan's Kokusai Ku-8-II glider.  During World War II Japan manufactured over 700 of these 18 passenger combat glider.  Several of them were found abandoned at Nichols Field. Near Manila, after the surrender of Japanese forces in the Philippines.  (U.S. Air Force via yankee-yankee.com)

Japan’s Kokusai Ku-8-II glider. During World War II Japan manufactured over 700 of these 18 passenger combat glider. Several of them were found abandoned at Nichols Field. Near Manila, after the surrender of Japanese forces in the Philippines. (U.S. Air Force via yankee-yankee.com)

Another 1945 plan was to make a biological warfare attack by submarine on the US west coast called Operation Cherry Blossoms at Night. The planned attack date was 22 September 1945, to use aircraft and even a landing party to spread the pathogens, but the Japanese surrender on 15 August 1945 kiboshed that venture before it could even get started.

A 1/350 scale model from Tamiya of the I-400 aircraft carrying submarine, which could carry three Aichi M6A Seiran attack floatplanes.  (Courtesy Britmodeller.com)

A 1/350 scale model from Tamiya of the I-400 aircraft carrying submarine, which could carry three Aichi M6A Seiran attack floatplanes. (Courtesy Britmodeller.com)

War is a terrible thing, and as bad as it is, there are fiendish people who would make it even more terrible, terrifying, lethal and deadly, even at the expense of the innocent. May God help us to limit this destructive impulse such as is revealed in the horror of Unit 731 and the Imperial Japanese plan to use biological weapons on Bataan.
References

Lockwood, Jeffrey A. Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War, page 119

Monahan, Evelyn. All This Hell: U.S. Nurses Imprisoned by the Japanese, page 138

Unit 731, Wikipedia page, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731

Unit 731, at: http://www.unit731.org/

Unit 731: One of the Most Terrifying Secrets of the 20th Century, at: https://www.mtholyoke.edu/~kann20c/classweb/dw2/page1.html

Plague, Wikipedia entry, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plague_%28disease%29

Tsuneishi , Keiichi, “Unit 731 and the Japanese Imperial Army’s Biological Warfare Program,” at http://www.japanfocus.org/-tsuneishi-keiichi/2194/article.html

Zhejiang-Jiangxi campaign, wikipedia entry, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhejiang-Jiangxi_campaign

Operation Cherry Blossoms at Night, Wikipedia entry, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Cherry_Blossoms_at_Night
Selected Images from other sources

Doolittle Raid launch, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_raids_on_Japan

Sinking Japanese submarine crew, at: http://plhb.tripod.com/p2.html

Japanese glider, at: http://www.yankee-yankee.com/stosil3.htm

I-400 sub and aircraft, at: http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/8856-tamiya-1350-ijn-submarine-i-400/page-2

The Importance of Unit Insignia

Through the ages, the lineage and honors of military units have been reflected in their insignia, which are considered heraldry. The term “heraldry” is explained in more detail at: http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Catalog/HeraldryIntro.aspx

In the case of two of the primary Fil-Am military units that participated in the Bataan Campaign and distinguished themselves on the battlefield, their insignia reveal a proud lineage going back to the American Civil War in the early 1860’s.

This heritage of the 45th Infantry regiment (Philippine Scout) and 57th Infantry regiment (PS) is explained by Chris Kolakowski in his 15 October 2015 web log posting, carried in Facebook on the Philippine Scouts Heritage Society (official) page. His post is titled “Civil War Echoes: Philippine Scouts” and you can read the full posting on his web log at: http://emergingcivilwar.com/2015/10/15/civil-war-echoes-philippine-scouts/

The lineage and honors of a military unit represented in insignia are so important that in 1919 the US Army created The Institute of Heraldry. Initially an Army-dedicated functional office, its responsibility has grown now to provide heraldic services to the Office of the President of the US, US government agencies and all branches of the US armed services. To learn more about The Institute of Heraldry, see the official website at: http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/

As one example of what information one can find at TIOH website, let’s examine the 45th Infantry Regiment (PS). Under the tab “Search Heraldry” a 15 October 2015 search for “45th Infantry Regiment” yielded two results, “Coat of Arms” and “Distinctive Unit Insignia” which describe in detail the unit’s distinctive emblem.

The distinctive insignia of the US Army's 45th Infantry Regiment.  (Courtesy US Army)

The distinctive insignia of the US Army’s 45th Infantry Regiment. (Courtesy US Army)

The explanation of the Coat of Arms of the 45th Infantry Regiment (PS) is as follows:

Description/Blazon

Shield
Azure in sinister chief an abaca tree (Manila hemp plant) Proper in base a mullet of the field fimbriated Argent, on a canton of the last the Roman numeral X of the first behind which paleways a Roman sword in sheath Gules (for the 10th Infantry).

Crest
From a wreath Argent and Azure a demi-lion Or grasping in his dexter paw a burning torch Argent, fire Proper.

Motto
STRONG TO ENDURE.

Symbolism

Shield
The Regiment was organized in 1917 at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, by transfer of personnel from the 10th Infantry. The shield is blue for the Infantry and the parentage of the Regiment is shown by the canton. The early station of the Regiment was the Philippines; this is indicated by the abaca tree which is a source of great wealth in the Islands and which grows native in no other place. The star in the base of the shield is the blue star of the old First Philippine Infantry.

Crest
The crest of the Harrison family, General and President William Henry and General and President Benjamin Harrison, is a lion. This is also the upper body of the crest of the Philippines, a sea lion. The device of the State of Indiana is a torch. These are combined to form the crest of the Regiment.

Background
The coat of arms was approved on 10 April 1922. It was rescinded on 19 August 1975.

//BREAK TO NEXT HERALDRY ELEMENT//

The explanation of the Distinctive Unit Insignia of the 45th Infantry Regiment (PS) is as follows:

Description/Blazon

A Gold color metal and enamel device 1 1/4 inches (3.18 cm) in height consisting of a shield blazoned: Azure in sinister chief an abaca tree (Manila hemp plant) Proper in base a mullet of the field fimbriated Argent, on a canton of the last the Roman numeral X of the first behind which paleways a Roman sword in sheath Gules (for the 10th Infantry). Attached above the shield from a wreath Argent and Azure a demi-lion Or grasping in his dexter paw a burning torch Argent, fire Proper.

Symbolism
The Regiment was organized in 1917 at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, by transfer of personnel from the 10th Infantry. The shield is blue for the Infantry and the parentage of the Regiment is shown by the canton. The early station of the Regiment was the Philippines; this is indicated by the abaca tree which is a source of great wealth in the Islands and which grows native in no other place. The star in the base of the shield is the blue star of the old First Philippine Infantry. The crest of the Harrison family, General and President William Henry and General and President Benjamin Harrison, is a lion. This is also the upper body of the crest of the Philippines, a sea lion. The device of the State of Indiana is a torch. These are combined to form the crest of the Regiment.

Background
The distinctive unit insignia was approved on 12 September 1923. It was rescinded on 19 August 1975.

Every member of a given military unit should be familiar with their unit’s insignia and the heritage which it represents. Family members of unit personnel who are proud of their military member’s service can take pride in the unit as well when they learn of this lineage and honors. The Institute of Heraldry offers a great resource which can help people learn about the heraldry of American military units, which includes units that fought in the Bataan Campaign.
Reference

45th Infantry Regiment (Philippine Scouts), Philippine Scouts Heritage Society website, at: http://www.philippine-scouts.org/the-scouts/regiments-units-bases/45th-infantry-ps.html

Bataan Veterans visit Japan

This week nine US Army and Marine Corps World War II veterans who are former prisoners of war, including two Bataan Campaign veterans, arrived in Japan as guests of the Japanese government.

American former POWs with their US escort and Japanese representatives assemble for a group picture at the Commonwealth War Graves in Yokohama, Japan, 12 October 2015. (Courtesy American POWs of Japan web log)

American former POWs with their US escort and Japanese representatives assemble for a group picture at the Commonwealth War Graves in Yokohama, Japan, 12 October 2015. (Courtesy American POWs of Japan web log)

The visit, from 11-18 October 2015, is the sixth such visit by former POWs to the homeland of their WWII Imperial Japanese captors . The visits represent an effort at reconciliation between the former POWs and Japan after the brutal treatment the men experienced at the hands of Imperial Japan during the war.

Of the men participating, two are Bataan veterans. Carl Dyer, 91, arrived as a US Army soldier in Manila on 12 May 1941, and served in the 12th Quartermaster Regiment (Philippine Scout) on Bataan, supplying gasoline to the troops. After Bataan surrendered on 9 April 1942, he escaped on a water barge to Corregidor where he was ultimately captured.

Dyer’s stay in the Philippines after the 1941-1942 campaign was brief. On 7 November 1942 he was taken by “Hellship” to Japan, where he was transported to the Osaka area for the duration of the war as a slave laborer on several different projects, from breakwater construction to a graphite factory to a stevedore on docks.

Reconciliation: Former American prisoners of war (L-R) William Howard Chittenden, 95, Carl Dyer, 91, and Joseph Demott, 97, join others to pray at the Commonwealth War Graves in Yokohama near Tokyo Monday. (UK Daily Mail)

Reconciliation: Former American prisoners of war (L-R) William Howard Chittenden, 95, Carl Dyer, 91, and Joseph Demott, 97, join others to pray at the Commonwealth War Graves in Yokohama near Tokyo Monday. (AP via UK Daily Mail)

Dyer survived the war and was flown by aircraft to Manila, and later by ship back to the US to spend many months in military hospitals. He was discharged from the Army on 15 March 1946.

The other Bataan veteran, George W. Rogers, 96, arrived in the Philippines on 1 October 1941. On Bataan he served with Company L of the 31st Infantry Regiment (US). He survived the 65-mile Death March. In a 2014 interview he remembered “One hundred and twenty kilometers may not seem too long, but when you’re hungry and (have) no food, no water, that’s a long way, particularly when there’s a bayonet that could end your life if you fell back or fell out of ranks.”

Tortured: Ten per cent of the prisoners who were taken to Japan are estimated to have died. Above, Japanese soldiers stand guard over American war prisoners in 1942. (UK Daily Mail)

Tortured: Ten per cent of the prisoners who were taken to Japan are estimated to have died. Above, Japanese soldiers stand guard over American war prisoners in 1942. (UK Daily Mail)

Rogers spent four months at Camp O’Donnell before being moved to Cabanatuan, and recalled in the same 2014 interview “In my mind, it was not hopeless, because I was content that if God wanted me to live, I would,” Rogers said. “He would see to it that I would. All that he expected of me was to wake up every morning, do the best I could, do everything in my power to live that day, and that’s the way I worked. You have to have the will to live in a situation like that. I can’t express enough words … to have you feel what it was like to be in that concentration camp.”

On 17 July 1944 Rogers was taken for voyage by “Hellship” via Formosa to Japan, described as such at the American POWs of Japan web log: “During the 18-day trip with barely any food or clean drinking water, extreme heat, rampant illness — both physical and mental—he said “I almost lost it, and then … I got a peace that came over me, and I just felt everything is going to be alright, just relax,” Rogers said. “As far as I’m concerned, God was at work again.”

Recounting memories: Former American prisoner of war George Rogers, 96, of Lynchburg, Virginia, speaks at the Commonwealth War Graves in Yokohama near Tokyo Monday, October 12, 2015. (AP via UK Daily Mail)

Recounting memories: Former American prisoner of war George Rogers, 96, of Lynchburg, Virginia, speaks at the Commonwealth War Graves in Yokohama near Tokyo Monday, October 12, 2015. (AP via UK Daily Mail)

After arriving in Japan, he became a slave laborer at the Yawata steel mills in Kyushu. B-29 bombing of Yawata on 8 August 1945 heavily damaged the mills and created fires that created a great amount of smoke that obscured the area, including nearby Kokura, which was the primary target for the second nuclear bomb on 9 August 1945.

As a result, Kokura was spared, and perhaps George Rogers too, though Nagasaki was struck as an alternate target. (Maybe as many as 12 Dutch POWs were killed at Nagasaki – one American POW survived the blast, Army soldier Joe Kieyoomia, a Navajo from New Mexico, Bataan veteran and Death March survivor from the 200th Coastal Artillery.)  Rogers survived the war, his 6 foot 3-inch frame worn down to a mere 85 pounds. Doctors didn’t expect him to live past age 45 to 50, but he beat the odds and is now in Japan on this visit.

Horror: Thinned to the point of emaciation, liberated U.S. prisoners of war line up inside the forbidding walls of Bilibid prison in Manila to pose for Navy photographers of February 8, 1945. (Bettmann-Corbis via UK Daily Mail)

Horror: Thinned to the point of emaciation, liberated U.S. prisoners of war line up inside the forbidding walls of Bilibid prison in Manila to pose for Navy photographers of February 8, 1945. (Bettmann-Corbis via UK Daily Mail)

Of the other men on this journey, four are “China Marines” captured in China at the outbreak of the war, one soldier and Marine who were captured on Corregidor and one Army Airman captured in Java. Emotions about being in Japan 70 years after the war ended varied among the men.

The visit started with a visit to the Commonwealth War Graves in Yokohama, Japan, as seen in this brief video in which George Rogers and another former POW had a chance to speak:

Former POWs Attend Memorial In Japan (AP)

On Wednesday, 14 October 2015, in Tokyo, there will be an open dialogue meeting with the nine former POWs at 6:30pm at Temple University, Japan Campus, Mita Hall, 4-1-27 Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 5th Floor.

What kind of outcome from this goodwill gesture is hard to measure, as every man had a different experience. Whether reconciliation and/or forgiveness takes place is a decision each will make as they meet with Japanese government representatives (and perhaps some from pertinent Japanese industries), if they haven’t already, or if they will at some point, if at all. But at long last it appears that the Japanese government is trying to reach out to some of the people, including Bataan Campaign veterans, who survived the time of their brutal captivity at the hands of Imperial Japan.

These nine men represent the men, and some women, who became POWs during the war, including those who survived their captivity and all too many of those who did not. We salute them, and wish them the best on what must be a deeply emotional experience this week in a peaceful Japan.
References

Yamaguchi Mari, “Former American POWs visit Japan, recount memories,” published 12 October 2015, online at: http://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/former-american-pows-visit-japan-recount-memories-1.372911

“Sixth American POW Delegation to Japan,” American POWs of Japan website, published 12 October 2015, at: http://americanpowsofjapan.blogspot.com/2015/10/sixth-american-pow-delegation-to-japan.html

Mitchell, Greg, “Hidden History: American POWS Were Killed in Hiroshima,” published 5 August 2011, online at: http://www.thenation.com/article/hidden-history-american-pows-were-killed-hiroshima/

Brown, Emily, “Overcoming the odds: World War II veteran horrors of war and God’s protection over him,” published 4 November 2014, at: https://www.liberty.edu/champion/2014/11/overcoming-the-odds/

‘There are no hard feelings to our captors’: Former American POWS visit Japan to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II,” UK Daily Mail, published 12 October 2015, at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3269471/There-no-hard-feelings-captors-Former-American-POWS-visit-Japan-mark-70th-anniversary-end-World-War-II.html

“Joe Kieyoomia,” Wikipedia entry, at:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Kieyoomia

A Lady Named Bataan

The Bataan Campaign, though unsuccessful for the Fil-Am defenders by April, 1942, was an inspiring example to the citizens of the Philippines and the United States. “Remember Bataan!” became a rallying cry during world War II, and the name Bataan was often invoked in a myriad of ways to commemorate the sacrifice, and focus the energy of the nations as they strove to repel the Imperial Japanese invaders.

The United States Navy chose to name one of its aircraft carriers Bataan to remember the fighting spirit of the Fil-Am defenders. A fighting lady, the warship United States Ship Bataan, CVL-29, was an Independence-class light aircraft carrier (CVL), converted from the hull of the USS Buffalo, CL-99, a Cleveland-class light cruiser planned for construction. The United States built nine of these light carriers converted from light cruisers in order to speedily bolster the carrier fleet. The Office of Naval Intelligence data sheet for the Independence-class provides a ready summary of characteristics:

Office of Naval Intelligence data sheet on Independence-class light carriers - USS Bataan (CVL-29) was one of them.  (Courtesy World of Warships)

Office of Naval Intelligence data sheet on Independence-class light carriers – USS Bataan (CVL-29) was one of them. (Courtesy World of Warships)

As for the particulars on USS Bataan, from the USS Bataan Association website, comes this explanation of the name of the ship:

USS BATAAN CVL-29 THE UNITED STATES SHIP BATAAN WAS NAMED IN HONOR OF THAT GALLANT GROUP OF AMERICAN AND FILIPINO FIGHTING MEN WHO DEFENDED THE PENINSULA OF BATAAN. IN THE EARLY DAYS OF THE WAR, THESE MEN PUT UP ONE OF THE MOST MAGNIFICENT BATTLES IN THE WHOLE HISTORY OF HUMAN WARFARE. DEPRIVED OF AIR SUPPORT, FACED BY VAST SUPERIOR NUMBERS, SHORT OF AMMUNITION, SUPPLIES AND FOOD, THESE BRAVE MEN FOUGHT A BITTER STRUGGLE AGAINST INSURMOUNTABLE ODDS, BUT, A STRUGGLE THAT PROVED THE FIGHTING METTLE OF FILIPINO AND AMERICAN ALIKE. BATAAN FELL, BUT THE SPIRIT THAT MADE IT STAND FOR MONTHS AGAINST THOSE OVERWHELMING ODDS — A BEACON TO ALL THE LIBERTY LOVING PEOPLES OF THE WORLD — THAT SPIRIT, INVINCIBLE, THE SPIRIT OF BATAAN, CAN NEVER FALL. IT IS TO THE MEMORY OF THE BRAVE HEROES WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES AT BATAAN THAT THE ACTIVITIES OF THE USS BATAAN, IN OUR ENDEAVOR TO ASSIST IN MAKING THIS WORLD A BETTER PLACE IN WHICH TO LIVE, ARE DEDICATED.

On Sunday, 1 August 1943, Bataan was christened and launched at the New York Shipbuilding Corporation in Camden, New Jersey. Miss Maria Osmeña, daughter of Philippine Commonwealth Vice President Sergio Osmeña, served as the Maid of Honor in the ceremony.

CVL-29 was launched at NY Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, NJ on 1 August 1943.  The Maid of Honor, Miss maria Osmena, daughter of Honorable Sergio Osmena, then Vice-President of the Philippine Commonwealth, and the ship's sponsor, Mrs. G. Murray, wife of RADM George Murray.  (USS Bataan WWII cruise book, via Fold3)

CVL-29 was launched at NY Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, NJ on 1 August 1943. The Maid of Honor, Miss maria Osmena, daughter of Honorable Sergio Osmena, then Vice-President of the Philippine Commonwealth, and the ship’s sponsor, Mrs. G. Murray, wife of RADM George Murray. (USS Bataan WWII cruise book, via Fold3)

Aboard the new vessel were two plaques giving moral support to the ship’s name and her purpose.  One carried remarks by Manuel Quezon, President of the Philippine Commonwealth, and the other from Navy Secretary Frank Knox.

Miss maria Osmena, Admiral Draemel, Homorable Sergio Osmena and Captain Schaeffer admire Bataan's new plaques from Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon and Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox.  (USS Bataan WWII cruise book, via Fold3)

Miss Maria Osmena, Admiral Draemel, Honorable Sergio Osmena and Captain Schaeffer admire Bataan’s new plaques from Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon and Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox. (USS Bataan 1952 cruise book, via Fold3)

The remarks by President Quezon on the plaque were as follows:

Bataan Quezon Plaque

The remarks by Navy Secretary Knox were as follows:

Bataan Knox Plaque

Bataan joined the fleet on 17 November 1943, the month the US landed at Tarawa and Makin in the Gilbert Islands as the American juggernaut gathered steam in its return across the Pacific. She was commissioned into service on that day at Pier #2 at the Philadelphia Navy yard. The ship’s first commanding officer, Captain Valentine H. Schaeffer, USN, made the following remarks:

“THE UNITED STATES SHIP BATAAN IS NOW IN COMMISSION. THE DESIGNERS, SHIPBUILDERS, AND WORKERS HAVE DONE THEIR JOB. OUR WORK IS NOW CUT OUT FOR US: PLENTY OF IT. I CAN PROMISE YOU DRILLS AND MORE DRILLS, AND THEN SOME DRILLS, INTENSIVE TRAINING ACTIVITY TO UTILIZE TO THE UTMOST THE LIMITED TIME THAT IS AVAILABLE.

“A LARGE PERCENTAGE OF HIS SHIP’S COMPANY ARE INEXPERIENCED. FOR MANY OF YOU, THIS IS YOUR FIRST TOUR OF DUTY ABOARD A FIGHTING SHIP. HOWEVER, WE ALSO HAVE ON BOARD A NUMBER OF OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN WHO ARE SEASONED VETERANS OF MANY OF THE MAJOR BATTLES OF THIS WAR.

“WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN A NAME WHICH HAS AS MEANING TO IT — BATAAN. THE USS BATAAN COMMEMORATES A CAMPAIGN THAT HAS BECOME A SYMBOL OF THE FORTITUDE AND ENDURANCE OF FREE MEN IN THE FACE OF OVERWHELMING ODDS. IT HAS A RENDEZVOUS WITH DESTINY THAT SHALL NOT BE DENIED.

“FROM THE SOUTHWEST PACIFIC COMES THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE FROM GENERAL MAC ARTHUR; ‘I FEEL THAT IF GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY, THE USS BATAAN WILL ADD FRESH LAURELS TO THAT HALLOWED NAME’.

“I UNDERSTAND THAT MAC ARTHUR’S HEADQUARTERS IN AUSTRALIA STILL ANSWER ALL PHONE CALLS WITH THE WORDS ‘BATAAN SPEAKING.’

“BEFORE LONG THIS SHIP GOES INTO ACTION, THE WORLD AGAIN WILL KNOW THAT BATAAN IS SPEAKING — THIS TIME FROM THE DECK OF AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER BEARING THAT NAME.

“BATAAN FEEL, BUT THE SPIRIT THAT MADE IT STAND FOR MONTHS AGAINST THOSE OVERWHELMING ODDS — A BEACON TO ALL THE LIBERTY LOVING PEOPLES OF THE WORLD — THAT SPIRIT, INVINCIBLE, THE SPIRIT OF BATAAN CAN NEVER FALL.

“IT IS IN HONOR OF THESE MEN THAT THIS SHIP BEARS THE NAME THE UNITED STATES SHIP BATAAN. IT IS A FIGHTING NAME AND WITH GOD’S HELP, WE WILL MAKE IT A FIGHTING SHIP.”

Accompanying Captain Schaeffer at a reception after the commissioning ceremony were Commonwealth Vice-President Sergio Osmeña and daughter Miss Rosalina “Rosie” Osmeña. Their presence lent an appropriate Philippine element to the proceedings and the mission of the ship.

Captain Valentine H. Schaeffer, USN, the carrier's Commanding Officer, cuts the cake at a reception following her commissioning ceremonies, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 17 November 1943. Looking on are Philippine Commonwealth Vice President Sergio Osmeña and Miss Rosie Osmeña. (US Navy, via NavSource)

Captain Valentine H. Schaeffer, USN, the carrier’s Commanding Officer, cuts the cake at a reception following her commissioning ceremonies, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 17 November 1943. Looking on are Philippine Commonwealth Vice President Sergio Osmeña and Miss Rosie Osmeña. (US Navy, via NavSource)

Of note, Rosie Osmeña, now Rosie Osmeña Valencia, celebrated her 90th birthday in June, 2014. After the war, she married her father’s junior aide-de-camp, Dr. Elpidio Valencia, who was 11 years her senior. Dr. Valencia chose wisely, as there’s something special about a gal named Rose – the couple was married for 65 years before he passed away.

Birthday celebrant Rosie Osmeña Valencia (left) with her amigas Lulu Tinio, Offie Recto, Lorna Laurel and Elo Fernan (Courtesy PhilStar)

Birthday celebrant Rosie Osmeña Valencia (left) with her amigas Lulu Tinio, Offie Recto, Lorna Laurel and Elo Fernan (Courtesy PhilStar)

After workup training for her new crew, which included the ship’s first two fatalities in an aircraft landing accident, Bataan deployed to the Pacific and joined the US Navy fast carrier task force in April, 1944. She operated Grumman F6F Hellcat fighters and Grumman TBM Avenger torpedo bombers during her World War II service. Footage taken of her sister-ship USS Monterey (CVL-26), gives a little idea of flight operations aboard such light carriers:

Bataan participated in actions at Hollandia, New Guinea, the invasion of the Mariana Islands and the epic carrier clash in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, after which she returned to the US and underwent refit at the Hunters Point Naval Dry Docks near San Francisco.

USS Bataan (CVL-29) underway, date and location unknown.  (Courtesy NavSource)

USS Bataan (CVL-29) underway, date and location unknown. (Courtesy NavSource)

The work finished, Bataan sailed to Hawaii where from 18 October 1944 to 1 March 1945 she served in a training capacity supporting carrier pilot qualifications. Thus she ironically missed the campaign for liberation of the Philippines which began in October 1944. It was probably just a matter of timing and availability for the Navy to assign her training duties at this time.
Bataan returned to action in the western Pacific on 18 March 1945 with air strikes on Japan in preliminary operations for the invasion of Okinawa. The Japanese did their best to oppose these actions against their Home Islands, and Bataan’s gun crews had the opportunity to knock down their first enemy aircraft in the air-sea battles that occurred.

Carrier Strikes on Japan, March 1945 — A Japanese Navy Judy (Yokosuka D4Y3) bomber passes near USS Bataan (CVL-29) during an unsuccessful dive bombing run on Task Force 58, while the U.S. ships were operating off Japan on 20 March 1945. The Japanese plane was soon brought down by anti-aircraft fire. Photographed from USS Hancock (CV-19). Bataan is the ship in the center of the view.  (US Navy, via NavSource)

Carrier Strikes on Japan, March 1945 — A Japanese Navy Judy (Yokosuka D4Y3) bomber passes near USS Bataan (CVL-29) during an unsuccessful dive bombing run on Task Force 58, while the U.S. ships were operating off Japan on 20 March 1945. The Japanese plane was soon brought down by anti-aircraft fire. Photographed from USS Hancock (CV-19). Bataan is the ship in the center of the view. (US Navy, via NavSource)

As part of Task Group 58.2, her crew witnessed the devastating Japanese air attack on the fleet carrier USS Franklin (CV-13) on the morning of 19 March 1945. At one point after the franklin was struck and burning, she suddenly veered towards Bataan, but alert crewman maneuvered Bataan out of the way and avoided a collision with the stricken Franklin.

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Franklin (CV-13) burning and listing on 19 March 1945. (US Navy via Wikipedia)

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Franklin (CV-13) burning and listing on 19 March 1945. (US Navy via Wikipedia)

She was heavily involved in Okinawa operations and late war strikes against the Japanese Home Islands. Bataan’s aircraft also played a part in the large-scale naval air attack on the Japanese superbattleship Yamato which sank that mighty ship on 7 April 1945.

US Navy SB2C Helldiver dive bomber prepares to attack Imperial Japanese navy battleship Yamato north of Okinawa on 7 April 1945.  Yamato, at left, is already smoking from damage as well as her own anti-aircraft gunfire.  (Courtesy Pinterest)

US Navy SB2C Helldiver dive bomber prepares to attack Imperial Japanese Navy battleship Yamato north of Okinawa on 7 April 1945. Yamato, at left, is already smoking from damage as well as her own anti-aircraft gunfire. (Courtesy Pinterest)

Bataan was not immune to the casualties of war, among aircrew, and on 17 April 1945, the ship’s company as well. On that day a stray 40mm anti-aircraft gun shell exploded over the ship’s forecastle and the signal bridge as a Japanese air attack was repelled. Seaman First Class R. B. Short died of wounds killed and another 14 were wounded. He was buried at sea and is remembered on the tablets of the missing at the Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines. He received the Purple Heart for his sacrifice.

An F6F-5 Hellcat fighter aircraft of VF-47 is seen on the deck of the USS Bataan (CVL-29) as an Honor Guard carries S1c R.B. Short's flag- draped body from a bomb elevator.  There is a Marine Detachment rifle squad ready for the ceremony of burial at sea, 18 April 1945.  (US Navy, via Flickr)

An F6F-5 Hellcat fighter aircraft of VF-47 is seen on the deck of the USS Bataan (CVL-29) as an Honor Guard carries S1c R.B. Short’s flag- draped body from a bomb elevator. There is a Marine Detachment rifle squad ready for the ceremony of burial at sea, 18 April 1945. (US Navy, via Flickr)

On 14 May Bataan was in formation with famous carrier Enterprise (CV-6) when a kamikaze hit the “Big E” just before 0700. The immediate result was captured for posterity by a photographer on Bataan, PhoM3c Joe Midolla. It was the hit that put Enterprise out of action for the rest of the war.

The forward elevator of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) is blown circa 120 m into the air after a kamikaze hit on 14 May 1945.  (US Navy, via Wikipedia)

The forward elevator of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) is blown circa 120 m into the air after a kamikaze hit on 14 May 1945, as seen from USS Bataan. (US Navy, via Wikipedia)

This was also the day when Bataan suffered its greatest number of casualties during the war, eight dead and 26 wounded from shell fire on the port side amidships received at 0816. With the kamikazes all around, “friendly” anti-aircraft shells were flying everywhere, and even if not aimed directly at the ship, what goes up must come down. Bataan lost of total of 34 men during World War II, between air group and ship’s company.

In June, 1945, Bataan sailed for Leyte Gulf for replenishment and recreation. During her stay in the Philippines, she entertained a visit by the President of the Philippines, who by this time was Sergio Osmeña, the former Vice-President, and family members.  The touring party comprised Mrs. Edilbertio Osmeña, daughter-in-law of President Osmeña; Mr. & Mrs. Juan Veloso, son-in-law and daughter of the President; and Miss Veloso. Conducting the guests on the tour of the ship was Captain Ward C. Gilbert, USN. Also accompanying the party were various Philippine and United States officials.

Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Edward Iglesias, USNR, accompanies Miss Estefanie Veloso, grandaughter of Philippine Commonwealth President Sergio Osmeña, as she inspects the cockpit of a Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter, while touring the ship on 10 June 1945. Bataan had just completed her tour with Task Force 58 on 30 May.

Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Edward Iglesias, USNR, accompanies Miss Estefanie Veloso, granddaughter of Philippine Commonwealth President Sergio Osmeña, as she inspects the cockpit of a Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat fighter of VF-47, while touring the ship on 10 June 1945. Bataan had just completed her tour with Task Force 58 on 30 May.  (US Navy, via NavSource)

Bataan also hosted another Filipino visitor, entertainer Mr. Pascacio Alinangohan who was a guerilla captain during the war. He led a troupe of dancers, singers and entertainers that put on a show for the crew of the carrier.

Officer of the Deck, Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Howard W. Milke, USNR, welcomes entertainer Pascacio Alinangohan, a former guerrilla Captain whose stage name is "Professor Paz", as he boards the ship in 1945.  The plaque behind them features a quotation from the speech given by Philippine President Manuel Quezon at USS Bataan's launching ceremonies on 1 August 1943.  (US Navy, via NavSource)

Officer of the Deck, Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Howard W. Milke, USNR, welcomes entertainer Pascacio Alinangohan, a former guerrilla Captain whose stage name is “Professor Paz”, as he boards the ship in 1945. The plaque behind them features a quotation from the speech given by Philippine President Manuel Quezon at USS Bataan’s launching ceremonies on 1 August 1943. (US Navy, via NavSource)

Bataan earned six Battle Stars for her combat service in World War II. After flying former Prisoner of War supply missions over Japan, and participating in Operation Magic Carpet bringing home American servicemen from overseas, Bataan was placed in reserve, out of commission at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on 11 February 1947. But with the changing security environment of the Cold War, she was recommissioned on 13 May 1950. A month later, the Korean War began, and Bataan once again sailed for the Pacific.

She arrived at a Bataan-like time in the war, December, 1950, for action over the Korean peninsula, when UN Forces were under heavy siege from Chinese Communist ground forces. She joined Task Force 77 and played a vital role in supporting US Marines and other forces in their fighting departure evacuating from the port of Hungnam, commencing operations with USMC Vought F4U-4 Corsair fighter-bombers on 22 December 1950. She remained in Far east waters until June, 1951, returning to the States. It was on this first Korean combat deployment beginning in March, 1951, that USS Bataan worked with another warship named Bataan, but that is a separate story for another post.

US Marine Corps Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsairs of VMF-312  being readied aboard USS Bataan (CVL-29) for a strike against enemy supply routes during the Korean War.  (US Navy, via NavSource)

US Marine Corps Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsairs of VMF-312 being readied aboard USS Bataan (CVL-29) for a strike against enemy supply routes during the Korean War. (US Navy, via NavSource)

Bataan returned to the Far East for a second Korean War deployment, which lasted from February to August, 1952. At first she embarked an anti-submarine squadron for participation in Anti-Submarine Warfare training exercises, but by the end of April embarked F4U Corsairs once again for combat operations off Korea, operating in the Yellow Sea on the west side of the peninsula. Five personnel were killed in this deployment.

Underway in January 1952 with F4U-4B Corsair fighter-bombers of VMF-314 on board. Photo was taken as she was working up in preparation for her second Korean War deployment.  (US Navy, via NavSource)

USS Bataan underway in January, 1952, with F4U-4B Corsair fighter-bombers of VMF-314 on board. Photo was taken as she was working up in preparation for her second Korean War deployment. (US Navy, via NavSource)

One more time Bataan returned to the Far East, in November, 1952, for more ASW training. In February 1953 she again embarked F4U Corsairs for combat over Korea until May of 1953, when she sailed for the States. One pilot was lost in action on this deployment. All in all Bataan received seven battle stars for her Korean War service.

USS Bataan (CVL-29) photographed on 22 May 1953, as she was en route to Naval Air Station San Diego, California, following a deployment to Korean waters. Note crew paraded on the flight deck spelling out the word "HOME" and an arrow pointing over her bow. Aircraft on deck include 19 Grumman AF Guardian anti-submarine planes and a solitary Vought F4U Corsair fighter (parked amidships on the starboard side).  (US Navy, via NavSource)

USS Bataan (CVL-29) photographed on 22 May 1953, as she was en route to Naval Air Station San Diego, California, following a deployment to Korean waters. Note crew paraded on the flight deck spelling out the word “HOME” and an arrow pointing over her bow. Aircraft on deck include 19 Grumman AF-2 Guardian anti-submarine planes and a solitary Vought F4U Corsair fighter (parked amidships on the starboard side). (US Navy, via NavSource)

This completed her naval service and in April, 1954, USS Bataan was decommissioned and placed into reserve, where she rested until being sold for scrap on 19 June 1961.

It took some years but in 1997, another USS Bataan, LHD-5, joined the US Navy, an amphibious assault ship of the Wasp-class.

USS Bataan (LHD-5), in the Atlantic, preparing for deployment, 17 July 1999.  US Navy Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Dennis Timms, via Wikipedia)

USS Bataan (LHD-5), in the Atlantic, preparing for deployment, 17 July 1999. US Navy Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Dennis Timms, via Wikipedia)

She is homeported in Norfolk, Virginia, and thus the name Bataan lives on in a US Navy warship, to remind another generation of that epic campaign of World War II. In addition to helicopters. She also embarks AV-8 Harrier attack jets, so like her WWII/Korean-era predecessor, still has the capability to strike an enemy from the sky.

Harrier Operations USS Bataan (LHD-5) (Beware your hearing!)

So let us remember the valorous Fil-Am defenders of Bataan anyway we can, land, air or sea!
References

USS Bataan Association, CVL-29 and LHD-5 website, at: http://www.bataancvl29.org/index.html

USS Bataan (CVL-29), Wikipedia page, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Bataan_%28CVL-29%29

USS Bataan (CVL-29), NavSource Online: Aircraft Carrier Photo Archive, at: http://www.navsource.org/archives/02/29.htm

Jacinto, Frannie, “A birthday full of memories for Rosie Osmeña Valencia,” PhilStar, 18 June 2014, at: http://www.philstar.com/fashion-and-beauty/2014/06/18/1335859/birthday-full-memories-rosie-Osmeña-valencia

CVL-29 USS Bataan, embarked air groups in World War II and Korea, at: http://www.wings-aviation.ch/22-USNavy-Carrier/Fleet-Carrier/CV-29-USS-Bataan.htm

USS Bataan (LHD-5), Wikipedia page, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Bataan_%28LHD-5%29

Independence Class CVL, ONI data sheet, at: http://forum.worldofwarships.eu/index.php?/topic/717-uss-independence-cv-22/

R. B. Short, American Battle Monuments Commission Burials and Memorializations database entry, at: https://www.abmc.gov/search-abmc-burials-and-memorializations/detail/WWII_133351#.VhYDBWvm7Pc
Images

Bataan 18 April 1945 burial at sea, at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dougsheley/6705214045

The USS Bataan, 1 August 1943 – 17 October 1945, cruise book, at Fold3 subscription website.

USS Franklin afire, at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USS_Franklin_%28CV-13%29_burning_and_listing_on_19_March_1945.jpg

SB2C Helldiver over Yamato task force, at: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/444378688208357421/

USS Enterprise at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USS_Enterprise_%28CV-6%29_hit_by_kamikaze_1945.jpg