16 February, 1945. Mine Sweepers come in close during
preparation for the Corregidor landings.




















































and some pay the price










The spot chosen for the new camp had been in peacetime a rifle range operated by the United States Marines. It was located halfway between the towns of Subic and Olongapo on the shores of beautiful Subic Bay.  The sloping green hills only a short distance inshore gave the camp area a sort of primeval beauty. The Boat Battalion was camped a short distance away from the rest of the regiment in a coconut grove which was their pride and joy. Major Mann had done his work well, and after several days of arguing with the company commanders he even succeeded in getting the mess halls in one straight line. The regiment occupied this camp from February through April, and, since Manila Bay was not yet open, much lighterage work was done at that base. Here the men also got their first real taste of Filipino social life, customs, and, of course, liquor. Visits to the surrounding towns were an almost nightly occurrence. A sure sign that the Amphibs were out of New Guinea at last came when several of the men ventured opinions in favor of marrying and settling down in the Philippines. The stay at Subic Bay was one of the richest periods in the history of the 592d Regiment.  It was from this camp that some of the best known missions were run.  Only years in the Army can develop the humor with which the boatmen and shore engineers left Subic on the backward trail to La Paz to bring up the supplies and ammunition that they had so recently unloaded at that location.  The trials and tribulations of the Boat Battalion with their water taxi service to the ships in the bay, Captain Charles C. Ferrall's nightmarish beachtower in the form of a Chinese pagoda, the "No Labanderas in the Area" sign, and the "on pass" trucks to Manila through Zig-Zag Pass all bring fond memories of old Rifle-ran Beach.

The battle for the opening of Manila Bay was now in full swing and on 15 February 1945 the 592d started to contribute its share when the first Task Group "A", which was composed of Companies A and F with attached personnel, moved down to Mariveles at the foot of the famous Bataan peninsula. This group was under the command of Major Henry M. Seipt.  The landing at Mariveles was delayed for a few hours because the Jap shore batteries managed to drive off the Navy minesweepers.  They were soon silenced by Naval gunfire and the assault continued. Of the six LCMs in the convoy, five were loaded with 592d equipment and personnel.  On entering the harbor the sixth LSM struck a mine and the resulting explosion killed over forty men and destroyed much valuable equipment. We were fortunate once again in that no Amphibs were on that particular LSM.  First Lieutenant Albert Cappelli and his boat wave returning from the beach rescued many of the survivors. T/4 Joseph R. Crummie, Company B, in LCM 713, which was one of the boats in Lt Cappelli's wave, pulled alongside the burning ship and did outstanding rescue work.

When the boats finally moved into the beach, the approach proved to be so shallow that the LCMs grounded fifty yards from shore while the LSTs and LSMs were "beached" at the one hundred yard mark.  That gave the shore party a real unloading job.  The 592d message center personnel did fine work in this operation. The weapons carrier on which their SCR 193 was loaded dropped into an underwater bomb crater just before it reached the beach soaking the radio in salt water. Immediately the radio men stripped the radio, rinsed the parts in fresh water, dried them out, and soon had the station operating. In spite of this ducking and the fact that the tactical situation necessitated moving the location of the radio station three times in the first two days, the station was closed for a minimum length of time.

On the morning after the Mariveles landing, Task Group "A" sent twenty-five LCMs to participate in the assault on Corregidor.  Leaving Mariveles early in the morning they landed parts of the 34th RCT "on the Rock" at 0830. The value of right living was well shown on this job because the opposition and obstacles were never tougher.  All waves encountered heavy machine gun fire from the caves along the beach and many hits were scored on our LCMS.  One barge turned up with forty-eight bullet holes in her hull, but only one below the waterline. T/4 Joseph Kaplan of Richmond Hill, New York, was shot in the stomach and died the next day. Five other boatmen were wounded but fortunately all survived.

The Navy did not know whether or not LSMs could land on Black Beach on Corregidor, so Colonel Keyes offered to take in the crash boat "Cotuit" (now the "Sweeney") and find out. 1st Lt Paul C. K. Smith of New York City was at the helm during the reconnaissance.  Criss-cross machine gun and small arms fire from the beach raked their course, but T/4 Thomas Benedict of Bay City, Texas, flanked by Colonel Keyes and Lt Colonel Tucker, stood on the bow casting the leadline and they got in and out again with the desired information. T/4 Robert Collins of East Hampton, New York, and T/5 Howard B. Calkins of Bangor, Maine, were at their twin fifties during the run.

The Shore Party on Corregidor also did a wonderful piece of work.  An example of the beach conditions on Corregidor may be seen from the work of Sergeant Ira E. Reed, Company F, of Kerns, Virginia. Under the flanking fire from small arms and machine guns which were located in caves on either side of the beach.  Sergeant Reed was directing his men in their task of unloading bulk stores and vehicles from the landing craft. They did not seem to be making much progress, for the heavy water distillation units and other trailers without prime movers were presenting a particularly difficult problem.

"If we only had a bulldozer," he said to himself, "we could get those things off of there in jig time."

He looked up and down the beach. All the other dozers seemed to be busy.  Then he spotted one that was apparently idle.  He was in luck, but look where it was - fully exposed to enemy fire and in the middle of a Minefield where six other vehicles lay in wreckage sat the dozer.  Maybe he could get it out and maybe not. He felt it was worth the try.  Picking his way across the mine-strewn beach, he was subjected to a renewed burst of enemy fire, but that did not faze him. Reaching the dozer, he climbed aboard and as rapidly as possible he got it started and withdrew to the beach.  With the help of this equipment the unloading was speeded up and the landing craft were able to retract a short while later.

As all waves came into the beach they were riddled with enemy machine gun bullets from the left flank. The beach itself seemed to be exploding as vehicles unloading from the LCMs set off land mines buried in the sand. LCM 474 of the first wave ran into trouble on the beach when the crew could not raise the ramp.  They were having difficulty trying to back out of range when T/4 Clyde Hyatt, Company A, coxswain of LCM 685 in the second wave spotted the distressed barge.  In spite of the heavy enemy fire, Sergeant Hyatt moved in and took the disabled boat in tow getting it safely out to the maintenance barge.

The trials and tribulations of being an Amphibian were again well illustrated when the fifth wave hit Black Beach On the approach to the beach the boats were running parallel to a high rocky cliff which extended out for about seven hundred yards. LCM 734 was the left flank boat and was an ideal target for the Jap machine gunners. By the time 734 hit the beach there were several holes in her hull and some of the infantrymen in the well deck had been wounded. There were land explosions on the beach as vehicles coming off the boats hit land mines and blew up.  The coxswain of 734 called repeatedly for the vehicles on his boat to unload but neither of the two jeeps moved. Apparently the driver of the first jeep had been hit because he could not be found. PFC Robert J. Meheran, Campany A, Hartford, Connecticut, was still at his post behind the twin fifties, but realizing that his boat was blocking the narrow beach and endangering lives, he jumped into the first jeep and drove it off the ramp.  Returning to the ramp he was thrown to the ground and wounded by a terrific explosion behind him.  The driver of the second jeep had hit a land mine. Both vehicles and the other driver were blown up in the explosion.

T/4 Gerard Cavan, Hq Co Shore Battalion, of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, had charge of the Communications Section for the Shore Party which landed on Corregidor. Though under intermittent rifle and automatic weapon fire from well concealed enemy positions surrounding the small beachhead, the party immediately opened up in the 610 radio net and stayed in twenty-four hour contact with Mariveles for the duration of the operation.  T/5 Frederick H. O'Neil, also of Hq Co Shore Battalion, of Binghamton, New York, was killed by enemy fire on the second day and for thirty-six hours, Sergeant Cavan operated the radio until another relief operator could be sent over from Mariveles.

It was soon after the landings on Corregidor that Lt Colonel Tucker and his Survey Unit had all their fun. Late in February the unit was proceeding to Orani to survey the harbor there.  About a mile from Corregidor they picked up a Jap who was floating around on a log. The Jap, upon being searched, struck T/3 Glenn Cornett, Hq Co Boat Battalion, of Anco, Kentucky, several jui jitsu blows. Cornett quickly "subdued" the Jap and the party proceeded.

About noontime the survey party observed a long canoe-type boat which was trying to avoid mortar fire from shore.  It looked like an enemy barge, so Lt Colonel Tucker, T/3 Robert E. Rhodes, Company B, of San Francisco, California, and T/5 John F. Buggie, also of Company B and from St. Joseph, Michigan, attacked the boat in their LCVP. Five Japs jumped into the sea but the remaining occupants continued to fire at the oncoming LCVP.  These five were picked up and the battle suddenly ended when the other Japs destroyed themselves with two hand grenades.

On the way back to Mariveles this same party found three Japs on a raft off Pilor. The Japs refused to surrender and, since ammunition was getting a bit low, the problem was solved by ramming the raft with the LCVP. Only one Jap rose to the surface - and he did not live long.  They next sighted twenty Japs swimming in the sea about a mile off Corregidor.  These Japs were "rescued" with comparative ease. Colonel Tucker and his party returned to Mariveles with a total of twenty-six prisoners to show for their day's work.