544th Wadke to Morotai

 Wakde Island to Morotai August 1944

Once the regiment had all arrived safe from that long trip from Buna to Wakde Island, we started training with infantry on beach landings. Judging from the activity on the island there was definitely something big being organized here. By September 11, 1944 a large task force was assembled for a large scale operation, somewhere.

The day arrived as we were combat ready. We were loaded on a Navy LCI (Landing Craft Infantry Ship). At some point an officer said that we were to take the Japanese held island of Morotai. This island is one of many in the Dutch East Indies. Charts were shown of the landing beach zones we were to land on. Familiarization books were given out describing the native population.

D-Day Invasion of Morotai Dutch East Indies September 15, 1944

Once the shelling of the large naval gun’s had stopped, our LCI, as well as all the landing craft, started towards the beach. As our LCI headed towards the landing zone, the sailors lowered cat walks on both sides of the bow to exit from. When we were within 150 yards of the beach, the boat got stuck on the bottom. Orders were given for us to hit the beach. I noticed the men in front of me were up to their chins in water and struggling to walk ashore. We all made it to shore, somehow. I would say that the Navy’s LCI was the worst landing craft I ever been on.

Historians might say we should have bypassed this island. Why then did the Japanese bomb us every night? We moved offshore to an island to avoid those bombing attacks which were doing considerable damage to supplies and aircraft on the ground. Historians might say that this island was not strategically important, then why did the Japanese bomb us 186 times? By January, 1945 it was time to move and prepare for another operation, the invasion of the Philippines.


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