Paul J. Cain *



The Author was the Company Commander of "I" Company, 34th Infantry Regiment on Corregidor.






Map 80
Recapture of Corregidor
16 - 28 February 1945











The invasion fleet heads towards Corregidor'.











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.










The traffic wasn't always one-way









34th Infantry Regiment on Corregidor

Paul J. Cain


On 15 February 1945 the 3rd Battalion plus "A" Company , Cannon Company, and a Company of light tanks of the 34th Infantry Regiment left Olongapo and Subic Bay on three LST's and sailed south to Mariveles on the south tip of the Bataan Peninsula.

The 34th Infantry troops were under the Command of Lt. Col. Edward M. Postlethwait, a graduate of West Point class of 1937. Col Postlethwait served three years at Fort McKinley in the Philippines Islands. In 1940 he returned stateside and joined the 3rd Battalion 34th Infantry Regiment as a Company Commander, later rising to Battalion Commander.

Mariveles had been, some 3 years before on 9 April 1942, where General King Commander of the Fil-American forces had sued for a truce.  It was also at this place and time that the Bataan Death March began.

At 8 a.m. on 16 February 1945, 3rd Battalion, "A" Company, 34th Infantry Cannon Company and a platoon of Tanks, loaded troops and equipment on LCM's for the move of some five miles across North Channel of Manila Bay to Black Beach on the south bottom side of Corregidor. Each landing craft had a vehicle along with troops which loaded the craft to capacity.

As the 34th Infantry crossed the channel we saw a flight of B-24 American bombers fly over Corregidor and drop their load of 500 lb. bombs,  completely covering the island with a cloud of dust and smoke. Following the B-24 bombers at 8:30 AM, the C-47 transport planes dropped the 503rd paratroopers on Topside.

Our first man on Corregidor was Donald Sletten from Thorton, CO.,  a member of a dive team whose job was to go in ahead and search the landing area for underwater mines. When he and one other man surfaced they found the landing boat that brought them in had left without them. They quietly slipped ashore and hid until the Infantry unit beached. 

Our first wave of 34th Infantry troops were scheduled to hit Black Beach at 10:30 AM and were 2 minutes early, but no one except the Japanese objected.  We consisted of "K" Company (Commanded by Captain Frank Centanni from Cleveland, Ohio) and "L" Company (Commanded by Capt Louis Stern from Champaign, IL) with the mission of getting to the top of Malinta Hill and securing same.

The second wave followed, "I" company commanded by Lt. Paul Cain from Ivesdale, IL.

"I" Company lost its Jeep and driver Pfc. Cresenzo1 to a land mine as it left the landing craft. "I" Company mission on landing was to move across beach to clear and secure North Dock area.

"A" Company commanded by Gilbert Heaberlin had one of Cannon company's SPM'S (self propelled mount) on landing craft with them. It also hit a land mine on leaving the landing craft and ended up laying on its side on beach. "A" Company's mission was to clear and secure landing beach area.

By this time the Japs were in action and beach as well as third and fourth waves were sprayed with heavy machine gun fire from caves on both flanks. Fortunately the Navy had a couple of gun boats and a destroyer off shore and were able to quiet the guns for a while.

Lt. William Soboleski from Naticoke, Pennsylvania, a member of Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion had a mission with his mine detection team to mark and remove all mines from the landing area. Crawling under heavy machinegun fire he and his crew were able to mark a path through the mine field and later removed 216 mines.

Pfc. Dan Carr2, a rifleman with "K" Company was killed by a bullet from a machine gun as he crossed the landing beach to Malinta Hill.  Dan Valles called for aid man, Ray Cash.

Lt. Phil Nast,  a platoon leader of "I" Company, from New York was hit 2 hours after landing, with shrapnel from a mortar shell and was evacuated on a stretcher to the Hospital ship offshore. He still had his boots on!

"I" Company had a man killed and two wounded and were pinned down from machinegun fire from the main tunnel. "I" Company requested a tank, but was told beach had not yet been cleared of mines. Some 60 min latter advised tank available and brought up and quieted that machinegun.


This article is an updated version of Paul Cain's article published by the 24th Infantry Division Association. The text of the original article is available here.

1.  No "CRESENZO" appears in the KIA database provided by the 34th IR. A search of the enlistment database does not yield the singular  surname "Cresenzo" so it is possible the casualty is one of the two "De Cresenzo's listed." Research continues.

2.  Enlistment Records indicate that John H. CARR (born 1921) enlisted in 1943 from Lubbock, TX. He gave his country of residence as Okfuskee, Oklahoma. He was allocated Serial Number 38346970. The KIA database reflects this enlistment accurately. The Author recalls that  "the information on Dan Car I got from Dan Valles who was Car's squad leader in "K" Company 34th.  Dan Valles is now deceased, as is Jim Sullivan who was also present at same time & place.  I could have been (incorrect) spelling Car's name."


(Above) Sequence of LCI's heading towards the beach during the last minute bombardment.