Corregidor: After the War

These photos were taken in Color, but I felt they didn’t really reflect the horrors of war or the destruction that took place on Corregidor Island. Therefore I converted them to Black and White.

I am a third generation Military Veteran.  My grandfather, father, uncle and 2 brothers all served.   Though during the last years of the Viet Nam Conflict (they don’t call it a war), I did not see war myself, but my grandfather did in World War II and one of brothers did in Viet Nam.  I have never known a veteran who has seen war, who came home, without scars, mental, emotional and/or physical.   I can only imagine the horror that lives on in their lives, forever scarred.  I did not see war but did experience a few “challenging situations” that are never forgotten and never talked about.  I was a photographer in the US Navy.

I am also interspersing between the photos a few quotes from General Douglas MacArthur and President and General Dwight D. Eisenhower.   Just food for thought in today’s world.  War is hell!  It should never be worshipped as a thing of glory, but should never be forgotten for the sacrifices of the few for the many.  I will leave the photos un-captioned for the most part, so the images can speak for themselves.

On December 7th, 1941, 10 hours after the Japanese attacked and bombed the Pearl Harbor in the US Territory of Hawaii  (It was not yet a state) they invaded the US Territory of the Philippine Islands.  General Douglas MacArthur (January 26, 1880 – April 5, 1964) had retired from the US Army in 1937 to become Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines.  He was recalled to active duty in 1941 as commander of United States Army Forces in the Far East. When the Japanese invaded the Philippines, the combined US Military and Filipino military were out manned and outgunned.  They were equipped with only World War II weapons for the most part and had few resources.    Japan had planned to Occupy and control the Philippines before the end of February.   Their goal was to take control of Manila Bay and use it as a staging ground for the invasion of Australia.

This is a synopsis and may not be 100% accurate to some.  It is close enough to actual events and my best effort with the resources at hand. 
MacArthur made the decision to consolidate forces on the Peninsula of Bataan and Corregidor Island in order to defend Manila Bay. Some believed he should have dispersed them across the islands, but in retrospect while he may have continued the fight for a time, Manila Bay would have fallen sooner and the Japanese may have been invading Australia before any counter-offensive could have been launched.  Of course that is all theory.

The troops of Bataan held out until April 9, 1942.  They had been nicknamed “The Battling Bastards of Bataan“.  The survivors were then subjected to the infamous Bataan Death March before reaching various Japanese Prison camps throughout the island of Luzon.

Troops on Corregidor (AKA Fort Mills) held out until May 6, 1942.  Corregidor was an armed fortress equipped with an air base, port and numerous big guns and defended the entrance to Manila Bay.  The famous Malinta Tunnels also comprised a fortress inside a mountain, including a 1000 bed hospital.  The Japanese could not utilize Manila Bay as long as Corregidor was held.  By delaying the Japanese occupation, by 2 months and forcing the Japanese forces to utilize large amounts of military and support resources, to take Bataan and Corregidor, they bought time for the Allies to muster in Australia and allow the surviving US Navy, especially the carriers to strike at Japanese forces throughout the Pacific.   MacArthur did not want to abandon his men on Corregidor but was ordered out by President Roosevelt to go to Australia to organize Allied counterattacks against the Japanese.   US forces had not been able to pierce the Japanese blockades to get food, medicine or armaments to the US Forces holding off the Japanese.   — For those wanting to learn more, I recommend google.  The sacrifices made were immense.

The Philippines suffered immense sacrifice and damage during the occupation of the Islands by Japan, and hey would suffer as much or more again during the Allied liberation of the Islands.  The second battle for Corregidor took place 16–26 February 1945.  Japanese sources estimate that there were about 6,700 troops Japanese troops on the island during the American Liberation.  Only 50 survived.  Another 19 were taken prisoner and after the war, about another 20 were found hiding in the Jungles.

The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.
– General Douglas MacArthur.

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.
~ President and General Dwight D Eisenhower

In war, you win or lose, live or die – and the difference is just an eyelash.
– General Douglas MacArthur.

I have known war as few men now living know it. It’s very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered
it useless as a means of settling international disputes.
– General Douglas MacArthur.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft
from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

~ President and General Dwight D Eisenhower

Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose.
~ President and General Dwight D Eisenhower

One of the many branches of Malinta tunnel where Japanese defenders at the end, would gather
and blow themselves up, rather than surrender.

Bombed out base Movie Theater.  What wasn’t  destroyed or damaged during the Japanese capture and occupation was then destroyed by shelling and bombing during the American retaking of Corregidor.

This world of ours… must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead,
a proud 
confederation of mutual trust and respect. 
~ President and General Dwight D Eisenhower

Mile Long Barracks. Actually ⅓ mile in length, but it was named “Mile Long” because the officers stationed there would run the length of each floor, adding up to a full mile.

It is part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred
in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear.
– General Douglas MacArthur.

The pot marks seen on the barrels and carriages of these mortars were caused by Japanese aircraft strafing and bombing  attacks.

We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.
~ President and General Dwight D Eisenhower


War is hell.  A sometimes necessary hell, but hell none the less.  It is not to be glorified.  It is always a nightmare of suffering and loss not only for soldiers but also for the millions of innocents who get in the way.

Rather we should honor and remember all those who willingly laid down their lives for what they believed to be a greater cause for the good of all humankind.  May their sacrifices never be forgotten.  I would encourage you to also see my post on the Manila American Cemetery and WWII Monument. 

I am a military Veteran.  I am not a pacifist.  However like MacArthur and Eisenhower I pray for a day when humanity may find a better way to resolve differences, and the massive war machine grinds to a halt.  I may not see it in this lifetime, but I still hope and pray.

For those who hate reading, and need a more entertaining approach to learning, the movie MacArthur can provide a more entertaining view, though not necessarily accurate.  For instance in the scene where he is trying to convince Roosevelt that his plan, is the best, they show a map, with a line from a bay to Manila and he talks about landing at Leyte and then going to Manila.   The problem there is that they Bay they are showing and that Gregory Peck points to is Lingayen Gulf, not Leyte which is quite a ways south.  Now Lingayen Gulf did play a vital role.  It was the first place US troops landed, as a diversion initially, to distract from the major operation at Leyte.  It worked, maybe better then planned.  Troops landing at Lingayen did drive south against Japanese resistance towards manila.   And succeeded in diverting Japanese resources and troops away form Leyte.   My Grandfather was on the Beach at Leyte with the Army Engineering Corps when MacArthur landed on the beach and he thought it was all too much show.  But then it was.  MacArthur did go to the beach sooner then many wanted, he never shied away from danger, but he was so popular back in the US for his successes, that there was a constant, large group of PR professionals and cameras that followed his every step.   It wasn’t all MacArthur but he did know how play to the cameras and to give a good speech.

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