Official U.S. Navy Photograph


Too many of us left Corregidor behind by means of Hope.


When awake I noticed a great amount of activity at the far end of the hold. Some time later, a medic approached and said that I was about to be moved. I had not had a great deal of pain. My main discomfort came from the fact that it was difficult to breathe.  My left lung had collapsed. Because I had not had a shot for pain since I was first hit, I asked the medic if I could have a shot before I was moved. It arrived almost immediately. I don't know what they gave me, but it was great. I just didn't give a damn. If the doctor had said they were going to out off my head and sew it back on,  I suspect that I would have told him to go at it.

They moved us top side and I saw heaven. A big white ship loaded with beautiful women all looking down at us. I was transferred to the white cloud, half expecting to be issued G.I. wings and a harp. Not so. The ship was for real. It was the Hospital Ship "Hope" and the beautiful women were army nurses who were going to Lingayen Gulf to join a hospital there. It turned out that many of the nurses had sailed from Frisco on the same ship, the General Howse, that had carried me and many of my buddies to Hollandia where they disembarked, while we went as replacements to the 4th Reple Depl. at Tacloban. A number of them came to visit me and to ask about many of the other men. But, I digress. I was carried below to clean sheets in a soft bunk. Soon a big, and I do mean big, and very pretty navy nurse came to my bunk, took one look and disappeared. She soon returned with a basin of hot water and a cloth and began to give me a bath. How she knew that I had not had a bath in a month I'll never know. The bath was followed by a bowl of strawberries with cream.  It might not have been real cream,  but after a diet of "C" and "K" rations it sure tasted like cream.

 Some of the other patients were not so fortunate as was I. Across the isle from me was a man whose whole body appeared to be covered with gauze I was told that he was Navy and had suffered severe burns over most of his body.

 Some time later, a day or so,   I was picked up by a corpsman and carried to x-ray. The medics wanted to know where the fragment had lodged in my body. Unfortunately, because the left chest cavity was filled with fluid, the x-ray revealed nothing. So a doctor soon appeared at my side with a slender piece of metal and said that he would probe in order to try to determine the direction the fragment had taken. He then proceeded to insert that mental object into the hole in my chest. I felt no pain, but there is something very unpleasant about watching a piece of metal disappear for a number of inches into your body. I suspect the problem was that because the wound was so close to my heart they couldn't quite figure out why I was still alive.

Regardless, my stay on the Hope, about a week or so because we went to Lingayen to drop off the nurses, was not at all unpleasant. I had to sleep sitting up to relieve the pressure on my heart but it beat sleeping where the rest of my outfit was. I was on a soft diet, baby food mounds of yellow (carrots) and green (peas),  pureed stuff,  not too tasty but D bars weren't so hot either.

My only unpleasant experience on the Hope was when a nurse told me that the ship was unarmed but she felt that was all right because it was brightly lit so the Japs would know it was a hospital ship and would not fire on it. I didn't bother to tell her that aid men removed the red crosses from their helmets because they made good targets. Except for that it was a somewhat pleasant cruise. The trouble started when I landed in a general hospital in Hollandia, New Guinea.

I was in the 54th General Hospital for a number of days when a Doctor, I capitalize Doctor because as I recall he was a Light Colonel and is due that respect, came and said that they would have to aspirate me because of the fluid in my lung.  What did I know, they never talked about aspirating anyone at Benning when we studied combat medics. So I said, "Go at it, Sir!" The next day I began to question my rash decision, I really had no say in the matter, when an orderly brought a tray to my bedside. The tray was covered, I wish it had stayed that way because when the Doctor came and took off the towel,  I saw the biggest hypodermic needle ever invented by man. I was even bigger than the needle with a hook that they told you about in basic training. The Doctor was a caring and feeling man, for a Light Colonel, he asked if I would prefer to have him stick that bayonet in the front of my chest or in the rear. My mother, Mrs. Nast, not having raised any heroes,  a nut maybe or I wouldn't have gone to Benning; I elected to have him approach me from the rear. It was not too bad for me because I didn't have to watch but the rest of the guys in the ward did. They soon learned to read a book or hobble to the head when they saw my tray coming. The first time it was done, it was done four times, the Doctor kept asking me how I was doing. I kept saying, "Fine, Sir, keep going," and so he did. Shortly after he finished, I began to have trouble breathing and began to spit up a white foam. A nurse saw this, picked up my hand, saw that the nails were turning blue and took off. She returned with a few other people and an oxygen tank and mask. And all was right with the world again. I appears that my heart had been pumping against the resistance of the fluid in the chest and when too much was takeen off at once, the heart began to race with the result that the blood could not pickup sufficient oxygen and so for a short time I was in DEEP TROUBLE.

Regardless, I spent four or five weeks at the 54th and was then transferred to a General Hospital in New York State. I did not return to limited duty until September of 1945. And was medically discharged in March of 1946.

Philip H. Nast