M-7 MISSION TO TOPSIDE
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John D. Reynolds

For many years, I have compiled and written a column in Don Lassen's great STATIC LINE newspaper. The name of the column is THREE WINDS OF DEATH, and during the course of the years it has granted me countless opportunities to learn and write of  extraordinary  episodes which occurred during the retaking of Corregidor  - and not just one those of the 503d PRCT. One of those episodes, involving  3rd Plt. Cannon Co., 34th Inf. Reg. (with the 3rd battalion, 34th for this operation) began with my receiving a letter from Bill Roseboro of Halet, NC:

 

"I'm a STATIC LINE subscriber, and that is where I got your name and address. Before getting to the purpose of my letter, a bit about myself. I am a former trooper, but don't go back to the WWII days. In fact, I had almost 20 years service before I went to jump school. That was in 1966, and I stayed on jump status from then until my retirement in 1971. I have served with XVIII Abn Corps Arty, 82nd Airborne Div., (1st Bn, 505th Airborne Inf), 173rd Abn Bgde, (3rd Bn, 319th Abn Arty), 3rd SF Group, and HHC, XVIII Airborne Corps. In 1950 and 1951 served with 'A" Battery,11th Field Artillery and with Company G 19th Infantry, 24th Infantry Division. This brings me to the point of my letter. Last month I attended the annual 24th Infantry Division reunion, held this year in Savannah, Georgia. While there I had the pleasure of meeting William Hartman, who was with Cannon Company in WWII. Bill is an old Artilleryman, having served back in the horse-drawn Artillery. During my conversation with him he mentioned being in action on Corregidor at the time of the parachute assault by the 503d Parachute Infantry. This is how he told the story to me. I hope I'm reasonably accurate. I only jotted down a couple of notes, so this is mostly from memory:

Bill said that the event took place around the 15th or 16th of February, 1945. (I looked up the dates and found that the Jump was on the 16th with maybe another on the 17th, so it was more likely the 16th or 17th). Acccording to Bill, the troopers were cut off and were badly in need of medical supplies. He received orders to send someone through the lines with the supplies, up the hill to the troopers. Cannon Company was equipped with self-propelled 105's, and I guess this was the closest thing to a tank that was available to attempt the mission. Hartman decided that the gun section to send forward was him and his men. They made three trips in with the supplies and also evacuated four WIA's. On the first trip he was accompanied by two troopers. They had missed the DZ and wanted to get back to their unit. They volunteered to go with him, and also to go ahead of the gun track and look for mines in the road.

On the trip up, Bill said they received a lot of machine gun fire but everyone, including the two troopers, made it through. There was no fire on the return trip. The other two trips were the same. Heavy machine gun fire going up, none coming back. The configuration of the track armor was such that some or the 105 mm ammo was partially exposed and the MG fire shot the rotating bands off the projectiles.

Bill is interested in knowing if anyone from the 503rd remembers this incident, and in particular would like to locate the two troopers who went with him, or at least to know who they were should they not now be living."

 

Hartman and those who accompanied him had done a tremendous job and very likely saved some lives of troopers who required the blood plasma.  I, of course, answered Bill's letter and sent him a copy of pages 119 and 120 from Gerard Devlin's book BACK TO CORREGIDOR, which chronicled Hartman's mission of mercy. In my THREE WINDS OF DEATH Column, I invited either or both of the two troopers, if they were still alive, to contact me. (I also reminded Bill Roseboro that the term cut-off" was not exactly the proper way to describe the situation of the 503d.)