17 February, 1945. LCI's beached on Black Beach.

 

 

2

Prior to moving to the port area, I was ordered to go to Regimental headquarters to pick up the mail for my company. When I got to Regiment, it seemed that everyone there knew that our outfit was going to Corregidor. So much for security. The only men who did not know where thy were going were the men who were going there.

On February 12, Lt. Cain told me to go to the port area find the LST that would transport the Battalion and act as loading officer. I WAS SCARED!!!! I didn't know a damn thing about boats and all I could picture was the boat I loaded getting to the middle of Subic Bay and capsizing, killing all the men on board. I reported to the skipper of the boat and told him I was the loading officer and that I knew nothing about boats. He had one of his men give me six pack of beer and suggested that I stay out of the way. WHICH I WAS ONLY TOO HAPPY TO DO!!!!

The Battalion boarded the ship on the 13th and we sailed on the 14th. The trip south to Mariveles was uneventful except that the men  my platoon complained because instead of a good breakfast (rumor had it the Navy always ate well) they were served beans. It appears that there is or was a Navy tradition, at,  least on that boat, that on Wednesday and Saturday beans were served for breakfast.

We arrived at Mariveles early on the 15th and left the ship via cargo nets and LCVPs. Mariveles, at the tip of Bataan was where the American and Filipino prisoners started on the Death March that resulted in the death of many of the POWs.

We dug in on the beach. That night Japanese speed boats that had mines attached attempted to sink the American ships that were in Subic Bay. As a result, we were kept awake most of the night by the sound of the Navy gun f ire, some of which flew over our heads, but we took no casualties.

At about 0600 on February 16, 1945, we entered the assault boats by platoons, one platoon to an LCVP. We left the dock at Mariveles by companies in the order that we were to hit the beach. "I" Company was in the second or third wave, as I recall. My boat joined the other three from my company, went a distance into Manila Bay and proceeded to circle while the other companies loaded up and joined us. The boats from each company formed its own circle and awaited the signal to start for the beach.

Corregidor is  a  small island, about 2 miles long and 1/2 mile wide; it is shaped like a tadpole with its head, which is also the high ground, facing toward the entrance to the Bay. Near the center of the island is a hill,  Malinta Hill, which contained a large tunnel often referred to as the hospital tunnel.

We were to hit the beach at 1000 hours. As we circled, the small Higgins Boats bobbed in the heavy swells,  giving the allusion that we were  riding some adult version of an out of control merry-go-round upon which none of us really wished to take a ride but because of circumstances beyond our control we were there. Men tended not to focus their eyes on anyone or anything, but each seemed to be locked in his own thoughts with his eyes looking inward.

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*Sufficient of Pfc Harold J. Duncan (32762943) KIA on 16 February 1945, late of New Jersey, was found to be buried in the Manila Cemetery at A 13, 38.