I AM THE
TANK PILOT
_________________
Guy C. Crull
1st Calvary Division
603 Tank Co.,

 

                Murder Inc., crosses the beach on Corregidor. Sgt. Waddley is the tank's commander. Guy Crull is driver.
Crull will be the only crew-member to survive Corregidor.

 

 

I joined the Marines and was rejected in 1942.  I then came home and enlisted in the Army.

They took me and trained me as a driver of a M4A1 Sherman tank. 

After leaving Ft. Knox, Kentucky we were shipped over to the Pacific theatre and were assigned to the 1st Calvary Division, 603rd Medium Tank Company (Mechanised). 

My crew and I fought in the New Guinea campaign as well as participate in the Leyte Gulf invasion of the Philippine Islands. 

It was quite an experience. No two days were the same. Some days it would be 135 degrees and we couldnít even open the hatch. You live like a bug. We would come out and get a tan and it would melt off in days in those tanks. Being an infantry man is where it is at, you have got Mother Earth to walk on Ė there is always a hole to jump in and there is all that fresh air.

At night when we were out on a mission, we would dig a hole about two feet down and then back the tank over top of it. That way it gave us cover.

We shot a lot of Japanese who would try and plant charges on our tank.

 Everybody in the crew was saying how they just wanted to die and be done with the war. I told them "Not me, Iím going home, Iím not done.Ē

 

"TANKS FORWARD! " - The tanks move to engage the enemy.

CORREGIDOR, 26 FEBRUARY, 1945

At a little after 1100 Major Davis was standing on a knoll on top of the concrete upper entrance of the tunnel, watching the artillery and air strikes preparing for his final attack down toward Kindley Field.

The troopers of the 1st Battalion in the area were relaxed; they felt that the worst had to be over. After all, we could see the tail of the island, our ultimate objective. Once there, Corregidor would be re-won, the island would be secure. 

But the Japanese in the tunnel under Monkey Point ridge were not quite finished.

At about 1105, my tank  fired its main tank gun down into the sloping revetted entrance into the Monkey Point tunnel. Occurring almost simultaneously with the explosion of the shell against the door of the tunnel, a violent underground detonation lifted the top off the ridge.

 

Both of our tanks were tossed into the air like toys. The one I was driving was blown into the air and tumbled end over end and came to rest down the ridge, trapping  all of us inside.

The blast, according to other survivors and witnesses, was more violent than the one that detonated in the Malinta tunnels. The explosion sent Japanese and paratrooper bodies, arm, legs, and torsos flying into the air. The entire island was shaken as if an earthquake had struck.

They borrowed an acetylene torch from a Seventh Fleet destroyer and cut our tank open to get me out. They tell me it was incredible that the rescuers found that I was still alive. My right arm was near severed, I had numerous skull fractures, and my lungs burned like hell.

Sgt. Waddley (sic), my tank commander, was blown in half, and died from shock  when he saw both his legs were gone. Jenkins was the gunner, and he lost his legs. Larry Farris  was assistant driver.  When the explosion happened the 75 mm went through him backwards. Lagrange was the loader.  The gun mounting blew and crushed his head.

I woke up 8 days later with a pretty nurse shaving me and I surely thought I was dead, and gone to heaven.

When the Navy hospital ship "Comfort" came in they sent me to New Guinea hospital. I was there for 9 months, not getting any pay as they thought I was dead. I also never got my Sgt. 1st class strip.

I just got torn apart.  I suffered from two major skull fractures, a twisted spine and other broken bones. I cannot describe to you how bad a skull fracture hurts.  My right arm was damaged so badly that it had to be grafted back on.  I was in so much misery.  I remember days of walking three to four blocks to have x-rays taken of his injuries. Because of the time our tank spent in the air, I became known as "the tank pilot". One of my highlights during my nine month recovery was a radio program that I and the rest of the men in the hospital would listen to. They would say  "This one is for the tank pilot."

Every day since that morning, I have had to live with the pain. And for a long time, the dreams would not leave me alone at night. It was a funny feeling to wake up and realize I was at home and safe. It was hard to get back to sleep after that.

I have been in touch with a few of the 503rd paratroopers who saw/heard the explosion. They are amazed that I am still kicking after all these years.....to tell the truth, so am I.

 

 

THE KNOWN CREW MEMBERS
OF
MURDER INC.

 

Cecil A. Wadley

ID: 38020357

Entered the Service From: Oklahoma

Rank: Sergeant

Service: U.S. Army, 603rd Tank Company,

            1st Cavalry Division

Died: Monday, February 26, 1945

Buried at: Manila American Cemetery

Location: Fort Bonifacio, Manila, Philippines

Plot: D Row: 3 Grave: 258

Awards: Silver Star, Purple Heart

 

 

Delbert R. Jenkins

ID: 38019986

Entered the Service From: Oklahoma

Rank: Private First Class

Service: U.S. Army, 603rd Tank Company,

            1st Cavalry Division

Died: Monday, February 26, 1945

Buried at: Manila American Cemetery

Location: Fort Bonifacio, Manila, Philippines

Plot: D Row: 4 Grave: 47

Awards: Purple Heart

 

Guy Crull died 8 March 2006.  Refer TAPS.

His recollection is © 2005 Guy Crull Estate.