On 28 March 1945, Co. "A", 592d EBSR landed infantry
on Caballo Island.








Landing engineers on Fort Drum to lay hose to a pump
from flame throwing LCM.









Meanwhile the Task Group was continuing to run daily and nightly missions around the Legaspi area. On one occasion they took a mission to Libog to evacuate an infantry platoon.  They encountered no opposition but did hit some Jap underwater obstacles consisting of barbed wire and poles.  Luckily the resulting damage was negligible and every mission was successfully completed.  Later dates saw assault landings at Rapu-Rapa, Karoghog, Batan Island, and at Bulan so the men managed to keep busy with very little trouble.

On 27 March 1945 Company A took a crack at Caballo Island which lay a short distance from Corregidor and more or less a guardian of the entrance to Manila Harbor. Caballo Island, in the usual Japanese fashion, was honeycombed with caves and tunnels and because of this the American troops were on the 3rd. of April completely stalemated in their attempts to get the Japs out of the recesses in the island's surface.  The success of the operation hinged upon the construction of a super-flame-thrower. Again the 592d was called upon. LCM 503 was chosen for the task and work was quickly started on her.  Fuel tanks were installed giving the LCM a capacity of thirty-four hundred gallons. Along with this a powerful pump capable of throwing five hundred gallons a minute was secured and connected to the tanks. The tanks were filled with a mixture of three-quarters diesel fuel and one quarter gasoline. At 0815 on 5 April the Task Group landed on George Beach directly under the cliff on Caballo Island. The engineers started to work and by 1300 that day had laid eight hundred feet of four-inch pipe to a height of 175 feet from the barge up and over the cliff. The Japs on Caballo were firing mortars and sniping at the boat all the time it was on the beach.  The sea was rough and the beach rocky, but in spite of these conditions and the Japanese fire, the LCM was held on the beach without once breaking the pipeline.  On the first day twenty-three hundred gallons of mixed fuel was pumped into a cave. An incendiary grenade ignited this and the resulting explosion showered the LCM with debris from the cliff.  On the second day a similar performance was staged.  But on the third day, six thousand gallons of fuel were pumped into an opening and a larger demolition charge was used. When this exploded, it blew up a hidden Jap ammunition dump and the resulting explosion practically tore the cliff apart.

The assault on Fort Drum in the middle of April gave the Amphibians another chance to show their wares.  Fort Drum, erected on El Fraile Island, was a huge battleship shaped concrete fort in Manila Bay and getting the japs out of it looked like an almost impossible task. An LSM was furnished by the Navy and a swinging ramp was erected on top of the conning tower to serve as a bridge to Fort Drum. Thus the engineers were able to board the fort like the pirates of old boarding a prize. One LCM was chosen for a stand-by boat while four LCVPs were assigned the task of holding the LSM and another LCM equipped with fuel tanks and pump against the fort. while operations were tinder way. The plan of attack called for the lowering of a five-hundred pound charge of TNT with a half-hour fuse into the fort and then have the LCM pump fuel into the fort while the fuse was burning.  The hose was laid without much trouble, the charge placed in the fort and the fuse ignited.  The sea was, as usual, rough and the crew of the LCM was trying to assist the LSM so that she would not smash her bow on the fort. At the same time they were trying to hold the pipeline in place. As soon as the fuse on the five-hundred pound charge was ignited, pumping of the fuel into the fort was started. Then the fuel line broke!  A man was immediately sent up to cut the fuse and the line was hauled back into the LCM for repair. When the pipe was re-laid and the fuse re-lighted, pumping operations began anew.  However, the Occidental rupture of the fuel line had necessitated the cutting of about ten minutes of the burning time from the fuse line.  Now speed was of paramount importance.  The LSM recalled all the infantrymen from the fort and withdrew, but the LCM stayed up against the fort and pumped her tanks dry before leaving. She pulled away as rapidly as possible but was only about four hundred yards away when the fort blew up.  Two days later the concrete of the fort was still so hot that no reconnaissance could be made.  The crewmen of LCM 503 that carried out this operation were T/4 William Griffin of Centerville, Alabama, as coxswain; T/5 Robert Holmes of Mount Lebanon, Pennsylvania, engineer; and PFC John W. Chaffe of Richfort, Vermont, seaman-gunner. The fourth member of the crew, T/5 Rex Hammond of Columbia, South Dakota, had been hospitalized on Corregidor after the first day on Caballo Island where this same LCM was used.


13 April, 1945. Ft. Drum (El Fraile Island) detonates after oil is pumped into it
from LCMs of Co. "A", 592 EBSR. It was then ignited by incendiary grenades.

The 592d were then assigned the task of landing the 151st Infantry Regiment on Carabao Island at the entrance to Manila Bay and just a short distance from Corregidor.  There was no beach on Carabao Island, At the spot chosen for the landing there was a concrete sea wall ten feet high and six feet thick.  The plan called for the breaching of the sea wall before the landing.  The boatmen of Company A stationed at Subic Bay drew this mission. Three days prior to the assault they landed artillery men on selected positions along the south shore of Manila Bay from which point they could lay harassing fire on Carabao Island and contribute to the pre-invasion bombardment on the day of the landing.  When that day arrived, the island was first bombed and strafed by medium bombers while the cruiser Phoenix, two destroyers, and two infantry landing craft with rocket launchers shelled the sea wall and the facing cliffs. 1st Lieutenant Minton Clute of Detroit, Michigan, took the first wave into the beach at 0930 and found that the sea wall had been breached but that the beach was not suitable for vehicles. Opposition to the landing was light but a tremendous explosion of unknown origin occurred about an hour later causing many casualties. The troop commander ashore requested a LCM to make a reconnaissance of the southern part of the island and to investigate waterline caves. 1st Lieutenant Thomas Stafford of Charleston, South Carolina, and Sergeant Norbett Van Graafeland of Spenceport, New York, volunteered to take two LCMs for the job. They made a complete circle around the island and approached to within twenty yards of the cave entrances without drawing enemy fire.  Carabao Island was soon in American hands.