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.





At about. 0930, one of them men said, "Here they come.. He was referring to a battalion of the 503d Parachute Regiment which was to jump onto the high ground and thus take the pressure off us as we landed at South Dock. On the left flank of the beach was the High Ground, on the right flank was Malinta Hill. Colonel Postlethwait, our Battalion Commander, told us at our briefing that we were not to stop for wounded. That unless we managed to get off the beach and take the high ground at Malinta Hill we would be sitting ducks on the beach.

We stared in awe as the troopers spilled out of their plans and fell a short distance before their chutes opened. That is the lucky ones had their  chutes open. Some of the chutes were streamers.

While this was taking place, the navy continued to rake the Island with fire from its heavy guns. Simultaneously, aircraft hit the island with rockets, bombs, and napalm. I observed an LST equipped with rockets turn parallel to the beach and fire a broadside from its rocket launches. A section of the beach at least the size of a football field turned black as the rockets exploded. The vessel reversed its course and repeated the devastating salvo.

At about this time, someone noticed that some of the paratroopers overshooting the drop zone and appearing to fall into the sea. That were problem was corrected when the transport planes began to drop seven rather than ten men on each pass.

On the western tip of the Island, there was a small spit of land on which the Japs had placed some sort of anti aircraft weapon. It was delivering heavy fire on the transport planes as they flew overhead. One of our destroyers slowly approached the spit of land and from a distance of 500 yards or so fired three rounds. When the smoke cleared there was no longer a gun,  nor a spit of land.

I felt my boat straighten out and begin its run for the beach. I gave the command to lock and load. As the boats approached the beach, they increased their speed. There was no sound other than the roar of the motor,  none spoke. The men crouched low,  fearful that we might take fire from the shore. I began to yawn and was unable to stop, no matter what I did. I was not tired. Far from it,  my adrenalin was surging but the yawning persisted.

I overheard one of the  men  say to another, "Look at the Lt., he's bored". I felt it better to leave him with his mistaken impression rather than tell him exactly how I felt at the time. (Years later in a psychology course, I learned that some individuals yawn when frightened - as I was never frightened, I must have been under some sort of stress.)

The sailor in charge of the boat yelled  "hold on" and the boat ground to a halt, the ramp dropped away and we ran like hell to get off the beach. A short distance from the water I found myself approaching a mess of live shells that were strewn all over the ground. I suspect a Jap ammo dump had been hit and the shells were thrown about. My choice was between running straight through the mess,  trying not to kick one of the shells or to try to run around them.  I chose to run straight through them, praying all the way.  I was lucky.