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On November 28, 1941, 1700 (5:00 PM), the gun boats USS Oahu and USS Luzon, left Yangtze River and headed to an unknown destination.

"We had received a weather report telling us bad weather was to be expected on the trip.

"The first 2 days were fine, but soon we were to hit the Formosa Straits, which was known to be the roughest stretch of ocean in the Pacific. While in this stretch of ocean, we ran across a Japanese destroyer who quickly surrounded us and wanted to know by radio what port we had come from and what port was our destination? We observed that the Japanese ship had all its guns aimed on us. Quickly we manned our guns and thought a battle would start, but the Japanese destroyer passed us and we breathed much easier. About 20 ships were in this Japanese force.

"One ship that impressed me was a vessel of some 20,000 tons which had extremely large davits, and in the davits were suspended what I thought could have been one-man suicide submarines. I had a 8mm movie camera and took pictures of this Japanese destroyer.The Japanese ships all looked like they were ready for action, and appeared to be heavily loaded."We continued our voyage with the prospects of bad weather ahead.Word was passed to go over all gear and to secure same.

"With our thin steel-plated hull, the crew and officers were wondering if we could get through the Formosa Straits.

"While in the Formosa Straits, we rolled 47 degrees and lost most of the top side gear. After several hours of wild pitching and rolling; the forward hold, ship's officer and forward crews compartment were flooded.

The word was passed to abandon the forward crew's compartment and the officer's compartment. The compartments had water-tight doors, and after the occupants of the holds had left, the doors were quickly dogged down and secured.

"As we rounded Formosa, we saw the "Ex-President Hoover,", which was held in the jaws of rocks and was slowly being lashed to pieces by the pounding waves.

"The Japanese were trying to salvage the ship, but only certain times of the year could they work due to extreme weather conditions. As it was, they could only get certain kinds of salvage craft near the ship.

"We received word by ship's radio, that the mine sweepers "Pidgeon" and "Quail" would meet us 200 miles from Manila.

"The USS Luzon we were accompanying was taking a severe pounding, but it was believed it could make port.

"We rode the rough part of the trip out and pulled in to Manila harbor. We asked for a pilot to escort us in the heavily mined seaway and dropped anchor opposite Ferry Landing Cavite.

"The trip took 5 days and 4 nights.The date was December 4, 1941, just 3 days 7 hours before America and Japan would be at war.

The morning of December 8, 1941, Manila news boys were screaming "Pearl Harbor Bombed." Of course those of us who were ashore had no inkling what had happened, and we could not believe the papers until we returned to ship and were told, "We are now at War"

"War Time".

"All our guns were manned and we were standing by for possible air raids.

After my return Monday morning December 8, 1941, from liberty, I was never to have liberty in Manila again, until the end of the war.

We would experience countless air raids. One day Japanese dive bombers came in over Manila Harbor and tried to sink old World War I destroyers consisting of the USS Perry, USS John Paul Jones, USS Pittsburg and USS Pope. After being bombed for several hours, the gallant ships escaped to sea and waited for night to fall to come back to Manila Harbor. They were damaged bad and would have to be repaired in the Navy yard.

"Every ship around Manila fired heavy antiair-craft fire at the Japanese dive bombers, but to no avail. They escaped in the clouds.

"That night, the destroyers limped back into port. The ship would be quickly repaired and would try and make Australia, as to stay in Manila would be fool hardy!!

"The Japanese were determined to destroy all U.S. War Ships possible.

"These old but fighting ships later played an prominent part in the battle of Massacre Straits. They distinguished themselves in battle and after taking a toll of Japanese attacks, they were sunk.

"One of the larger airraids by the Japanese consisted of 3 flights and 27 bombers forming a total of 81. The USS Canopus was moored along side Pier 7, and experienced many raids. The ship took a 500 lb. bomb down her shaft alley, wrecking her engines and putting her shaft in such a shape, that after repairs of bomb damage, the ship could only be made to do 6 or 8 knots at the most. Consequently, she would make easy prey for the Japanese planes or submarines.

The grand old Canopus was selected to stay and help any U.S. submarines damaged that would be put into Manila.

"The USS Sea Lion and another submarine were in Cavite Navy yard being overhauled when a heavy force of Japanese bombers raided the yard and damaged the U.S. submarine Sea Lion so badly that she had to be blownup!! The other submarine had hundreds of shrapnel holes in her hull, but the crewmen from the submarine tender USS Canopus succeeded in repairing the damaged hull under trying conditions and frequent airraids. The repaired submarine was able to reach Australia.

"The men in the Cavite yard did a magnificent job under trying conditions to get all craft out of the yard that would float and could be towed to other docks not blowned up.

"Many Navy men were lost in one of the largest airraids on Cavite Navy yard Thousands of Filipinos lost their lives and many service personnel were killed.The Filipinos were totally unprepared in regard to the proper procedure for taking cover from the Japanese bombers.The raids were so large and swift nature that the Cavite Navy yard was almost blown out of existence!!

"The enemy flew from altitudes varying from 15,000 to 23,000 feet and did a thorough job. It was many days before the huge fires started by bombs burned themselves out.

"A few days after the raid, the Commissary store was salvaged by various ship's crews from ships in the harbor, which consisted of nothing bigger than gunboats and minesweepers. The rest of the ships had left for parts unknown in the earlier part of December 1941.

"Right after Christmas, high officials decided to abandon Manila and Cavite, as the Japanese were very close to Manila and had sent messages to U.S. Army headquarters demanding that the city be surrendered to Japanese forces. Finally, after a consultation by the high command, Manila was declared to be an open city. Even then, the enemy still bombed Manila and killed many Filipinos.

"All guns were ordered to be abandoned and civilians had been requested to offer no armed resistance when the Japanese forces entered the city.

"The U.S. Army had to abandon a large lot of 8-inch rifles and over 1 million tons of powder and ammunition which were located in Sunset Beach. To destroy this large amount of ammunition would have been an impossibility as the explosions would have blown Manila right off the map. Also, to try to transport the huge 8-inch rifles, weighing hundreds of tons, would not have been possible as there was no ship available to take them to Corregidor.

"It was said that Corregidor had food and ammunition to last for 20 years. It was also said that no enemy ships would ever be able to get by the Fortress of Corregidor, which later proved to be true. Not one ship got into Manila Harbor till Corregidor had surrendered. By losing Manila, the United States Forces Far East lost millions of dollars in supplies and equipment that could not be replaced.

"The Manila harbor and the shores of Cavite and Bataan were studded with wrecked and burning ships. United States Forces Far East retreated to Bataan, Corregidor and other small islands.

"General MacArthur's headquarters was changed to Corregidor and there he directed plans for the American and Filipino forces to fight against the "Devil Dwarfs" (the Japanese).

"On January 2, 1942, the Japanese occupied Manila. Many Filipinos were killed while the women were forced to entertain the Japanese soldiers. The Filipinos were frequently put to death by being dragged to death through the streets of Manila. The Japanese love their bayonet and like to use it. Many Filipinos felt the cold steel passing through their bodies.

The Japanese command decided to take over the Y.M.C.A. Secretaries were driven out of the building and were not allowed to take anything with them. All contents of the building were either destroyed or stolen by the Japanese. All records were lost, except the records of safe-keeping deposits which the brave Y.M.C.A. secretaries had the foresight to make lists of and at the risk of their lives hid from the Japanese all during their internment at Santo Tomas and Los Banos. This was a very noble thing to do as it enabled many servicemen to claim their deposits after the war though probably most of the depositors would have lost their claim tickets.

"Many retired servicemen in the Philippines lost their homes, cars, businesses and their families through Japanese bombing raids.

"The Japanese rounded up all American nationals and they were put in various camps. Some were treated fairly; others were subject to brutalities. Winning Manila, the enemy decided to stage gala celebrations and parades in honor of their great victory. All Filipinos were forced to attend under pain of death. Plenty of pro-Japanese were available, and they cooperated to the fullest extent. Later, many collaborators were found with their throats slashed in various alleys.

"All the banks were seized and later re-opened under Japanese bankers who extolled the Filipino people to place their savings in the new banks. Also all theaters were required to keep open day and night and the best seats were reserved for the Japanese military. The famous million-dollar ai lai stadium was taken over and remodeled for entertainment purposes to suit the enemy.

"Shops were entered upon and the proprietors handed over goods for the worthless occupation money. To refuse meant severe punishment or possible death. Most of the Filipinos hid their savings, but a few put their funds in the Japanese banks. After a while, an order was issued by the Japanese military requiring all Filipinos to change their currency for Japanese military yen at the local banks.

"The Japanese soldiers gorged themselves on food and drink and all Filipino girls were forced to entertain any wishes of the drunken and brutal solders, who were more than beasts.

"Nearly all the railroad engineers, streetcar operators and other public utilities employees had fled into the mountains and transportation was practically nil. The Japanese military had a plan to bring them back and that plan would be put into effect later.

"All lights in Manila burned brightly every night, as the enemy was confident that they had destroyed all American aircrafts and did not anticipate an air raid. "Through Filipinos who were pro-Japanese, they had ascertained that the U.S. forces had only five or six P-40s left and would only be able to carry a small bomb load and that surely Japanese fire would destroy them if they ever tried to bomb Japanese-held Manila. [Next]


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