The 317th Troop Carrier Group "Jungle Skippers" deliver their cargo to the landing zones of Topside. The unit comprised the 39th, 40th, 41st and 46th Troop Carrier Squadrons.


























Black Beach, looking towards Caballo Is., occupied the former area of Barrio San Juan. The barrio had been evacuated and levelled pre-war to provide clear lines of fire across the south channel.





Tensely, the regiment had waited at SUBIC for word from BLT #3. The first message came in at 1350.

Much more tensely, BLT #3 had waited out the night of February 15th, dug in on the MARIVALES Shore, across the North Channel from CORREGIDOR, waited for dawn and the LCM’s, and 1030, and the landing, and what lay beyond.

Next morning, out on the water, headed for the South Channel and BLACK BEACH, watching the paratroopers of the 503d come down through perilous crosswinds from a scant 300 feet, watching the shells and bombs as bombers and rockets do their devastation, the men sat tight as their assault boats moved don and around and forward and inward toward the beach. And somebody uttered aloud the prayer they’d all been making, someone said – "I hope it all works."

It did.

"L" Company had the honor of carrying the flag ashore. It landed, two platoons abreast as planned, and moved immediately inward. "K" Company came in right beside it. The hour was 1000 – 30 minutes earlier than expected. "I" company came in the second wave – with the heavy weapons of "L" and "K". "M"was in wave number 3, "A" and the BLT command group in 4, the remainder of the team in the 5th.

The landing beach east of South Dock had proved unsatisfactory for use. The beach west of the dock seemed ideal, at first, from every standpoint, including enemy opposition. The first wave came in without receiving heavy fire or serious opposition. They crossed a thick field of conical mines, so poorly camouflaged they were easily avoided, and found beyond a heap of ugly misshapen, unidentifiable, sun-baked rubble which had been made from buildings and installations by the bombs and shells.

As the 4th and 5th waves approached the shore, the enemy cut loose a fusillade of heavy machine gun fire, most of which originated on the eastern shore of BREAKWATER POINT. Vehicles coming off the boats of these waves began to detonate the mines in the fields the (first) troops had crossed. One of the tanks was knocked out – then an SH(?). An anti-tank gun, the jeep that pulled it, and the man who drove the jeep were blown sky-high. Several other vehicles were knocked out or damaged.

"M" company, with 3 men wounded in the boats before they hit the beach, were scrambling ashore as machine guns from SAN JOSE point on the right flank joined the guns from BREAKWATER POINT in crossfire over the beach, and mortar shells began to drop on the beach and among the boats approaching it.

Despite the havoc wrought by the mine field and the hazard of the accurate enemy fire, "M" company’s machine gun sections quickly assembled and found cover. The mortar platoon, with bulkier accessories, were slower but no less calm and efficient as they came through the cross-fire and went into positions, making use of the huge bomb craters in the IBH (?) sector for cover. The company set up the beach defense and awaited the need of their support of the riflemen up ahead. They had two more men wounded, 1 killed, 1 missing, after they hit the beach.

As the successive waves came in, mortar shells took a sharp toll, wounding two of the officers of the staff – narrowly missing the commanding officer. The silt and rubble of BLACK BEACH was hot. Hot under the beating sun – hot under the flying steel.

Meanwhile, companies "L" and "K" progressed well against stiffening opposition. "L" company’s first platoon fanned out to the east and made for the road that skirted the southern end of MALINTA HILL. The remainder of the company began the excruciating climb up the southwest slope of the hill.

The platoon on the road, reaching its sharp bend at SAN JOSE POINT, received sudden machine gun fire from the mouth of one of the minor tunnels and was denied further progress. The platoon set up a road block beyond the tunnel, leaving 6 men to guard it. The action had cost them 1 BAR – 1 man wounded.

The rest of the company gained the top of the hill at about 1130. On the way up they knocked out a 75mm gun and captured a knee mortar, both of which were in caves. The second platoon, climbing the western slope, and received small arms fire – the third had encountered resistance from a pillbox and a tunnel mouth. Neither sustained casualties.

"K" company had its immediate objective the northern reaches of MALINTA HILL and MALINTA POINT. Its 3rd platoon moved around the base of the hill to secure the point. The rest of the company climbed. On the way to the top of the BLT objective, they met only light resistance. From the west entrance to the hill's central tunnel came a burst of machine gun fire. Rockets, fired point-blank into the position silenced the guns for a while. Two squads dug in above the tunnel mouth to keep the Japs inside - or get them as they came out. The company went on to the top.

The third platoon, rounding a curve on its way to MALINTA POINT? met heavy fire from the entrance to "Hospital Tunnel." They worked past the fire and around the point, leaving a gauntlet of enemy steel between the rest of the battalion and themselves - a perilous but not impossible gauntlet. Coming around the point on high ground, they approached what remained of some buildings by the read. Under good cover among these ruins, they stared into the gaping mouth of another tunnel - this one opening in the northwest end of the hill. Although it was apparently from this tunnel that future Jap counterattacks stemmed, and though the platoon had excellent fire coverage of the position, the "K" company men were under fire and out of communication for the greater part of the ensuing 2 or 3 days. They were able neither to put an end to fire from the tunnel nor to keep all of the Japs inside.

The message - "EVERYTHING SUCCESSFUL. BLT #3 ON OBJECTIVE AT 1300." - was received at OLONGAPO at 1946 hours. During the hours of the enemy actually became more intense in his activity and counter- measures.

With the exception of the elements of companies "K" and "L" which were on MALINTA HILL, the BLT remained liquidly mobile, shifting elements to meet threats and situations as they arose - which was with great variance and in rapid succession.

"I" company had landed, dispatched one platoon, as planned, against machine gun positions on the west flank of the beach. The remainder of the company established the IBH and moved out, on relief by company "A" to occupy a spot of high ground about 300 yards south of north dock.  From this position, they looked straight into the opening of the central tunnel and covered the "Hospital Tunnel" opening, from which General Wainwright had surrendered 3 years before. (This was the largest opening in the northern end of MALINTA HILL. It faced toward the east and 'Topside')

"I" company exchanged fire for some time with the gunners who'd fired on "K" from the central tunnel. Only a small aperture remained at the top of this tunnel mouth, the rest having boon sealed off by previous bombardment. The BLT Commander ordered a tank forward. The tank fired into the tunnel. The fire from the tunnel quieted.

"A" Company had had all three platoons on a southern extension of the same high ground. Around midday, all of "I" company moved westward to the lower reaches of the 'Topside' mountains on the IBH west flank, and "A" company expanded its occupation of the high ground across the island's midrif.