Charlie's War-Philippines


We sailed from Morotai Island and soon found ourselves in a large bay with many ships. We wondered what was going on and where we were going. One evening a Japanese sea plane came in low approaching the ships. The Naval search lights soon picked him up with their guns and blew him out of the sky. As this task force grew, I was assigned to an LCM, (Landing Craft Mechanized). My LCM, as many others sailed into a large Naval Ship called LSD, (Landing Ship Dock). This ship sinks down into the water and opens the stern to allow small landing craft to enter. Once loaded the doors are closed and the sea water is pumped out. We were going to the Philippines.

The evening before the invasion a large number of Japanese aircraft appeared to attack the task force. Dog fights between Naval fighters took place while puffs of black smoke filled the air. A kamikaze headed directly for our ship as our guns made a direct hit. A Japanese plane crashed into the stern of a ship in front of us. As the evening grew dark we noticed a small Aircraft Carrier burning and listing to one side as we sailed past it.

During the night this massive flotilla of Naval ships entered Lingayen Gulf.  As dawn broke you could see the thousands of ships that joined the Lingayen Gulf invasion fleet. The air was filled with the explosions of the naval ships bombarding the area. While this was going on we were sailing our LCM’s out of the LSD. One by one, we pulled alongside troop ships, and solders climbed down rope ladders into the LCM’s. Once the signal was given, the LCM’s then headed for the designated landing beaches. I remained on the beach hoping to locate the Headquarters Command Post. The LCM’s all returned to pick up another load of troops, as wave after wave hit the beaches. While on the beach, in an area of no landings I heard the sound of an aircraft coming from inland. I knew from the sound it was not an American plane. Just as I looked up I saw the red ball on the wing as it cleared the palm trees. It flew directly out to the ships as the Navy gunners kept firing at it. The Jap crashed the plane on the bridge of a battle wagon and it was said to have killed the Captain.



This tiny village was the site that Headquarters set up camp. Tents were erected, cooks began cooking and make shift showers installed. In February 1945, I went with an advanced party by LCM to Manila. This was to locate a suitable location on the waterfront to move the 544th to. As we sailed into Manila Bay past Corregidor we remembered all those who fought and died there. Closer to Manila the harbor was full of all kind of sunken ships, destroyed by Navy aircraft. Manila was a shambled of destroyed buildings, still smoldering. We had located a suitable piece of property on Dewey Boulevard near Rizal Stadium on the waterfront. The entire area had been mined by the Japs and had to be cleared. By March 7th the Regiment made the move to Manila.

The Regiment rapidly set up operations and the Boat Companies loaded supplies from ships in the harbor. The Shore Companies repaired damaged piers and cleared beach areas for incoming supplies. We lived in tents and missed the palm trees that protected us from that 130 degree heat. There was very little for our Communication Group to do in Manila. I was lucky to assist in the evacuation of the civilian Prisoners of War from, Los Banos University Prison. On another occasion we went with Company C and F to northern Luzon to the village of Aparri. It was there that I operated a depth recorder on a J Boat. This was to see if the Cagayan River was deep enough to bring supplies down to central Luzon. Returning back to Manila was my first plane trip on a C-47 to rejoin my outfit. On August 14 we received orders to move out of Manila.


Arlngay Philippines was now our new home, on the water’s edge. Massive amounts of troops were already here and more arriving daily. No doubt this is a staging area for our next operation, the invasion of Japan.


JAPAN SURENDERS September 2, 1945

With the end of the war, the operation is now known as, “Black List”. We are now slated for the occupation of Japan.


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