“Baby of Bataan” Memoir of a 14 Year Old Soldier in WWII By Joseph Quitman Johnson (31st Infantry)
Chapter 7 – Recruit Training Page 85
…Other days we would do the same routine with the .45 automatic pistols. We learned about the hand grenade. Eventually each squad was given a Garand M-1 rifle. As a heavy weapons company, we did not carry rifles, but we learned how to take one apart and reassemble it and how to use it. All in all, our platoon was shaping up quickly and doing well. It was obvious that Sergeant Metcalf was now taking pride in his platoon.
“Hero of Bataan” The Story of General Jonathan M. Wainwright Duane Schultz
They reached Pierce’s C.P. without further mishap. The newly promoted cavalryman was limping, having been wounded three days before. He told Skinny it was an “ignominious wound.” One of his toes had been shot off. The worst part to Pierce was that the bullet had ruined a perfectly good and expensive cavalry boot.
While Wainwright was there, a Japanese sniper was reported to be nearby. That was all the two tough old soldiers needed to hear. They grabbed their weapons and headed down the trail together, two generals in their fifties, tired and undernourished, Wainwright with his cane and Pierce with his bad foot, both delighted to be soldiering, doing what they loved best.
They had not gone very far when they were fired upon. Skinny raised his Garand and raked the tallest tree with automatic fire and the sniper fell to the ground. As they walked back to the command post Clint Pierce said he was going to recommend Wainwright for a Distinguished Service Cross. Skinny grinned and said he’d do the same for Pierce. Neither general received the medal. An officer on the promotions and decorations board on Corregidor confirmed that Pierce had indeed recommended Wainwright for the medal, but Wainwright’s recommendation for Pierce never showed up!
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The 10th of March dawned clear and hot, typical of Bataan at that time of year. Wainwright and his staff were up early. Because he did not have to leave for Corregidor until noon, he had time to make another inspection tour of the front. This would be another routine visit to the line, Skinny thought, but he came close to death that morning, almost missing his historic meeting with MacArthur.
Wainwright corralled his aides – Dooley, Champlin, and Pugh – but before they all piled into the open scout car he handed Champ his Garand rifle, the one Skinny carried with him wherever he went. As they drove toward the front, Champ recalled, Wainwright “indulging in his favorite pastime of quizzing his aides on military strategy in general and cavalry tactics in particular. Except for distant firing, the war seemed far away.”
Champlin slipped on his dark glasses to shield his yes from the dazzling glare of the sun. He looked up at the sky and saw, “directly in front of the sun, a black speck was hurtling down in a direct line towards us and as I looked, the speck grew larger, second by second, and it grew wings, and the wings were dipping from side to side.”
“Get the hell out of this car!” Champlin yelled. “Everybody out! Quickly!”
Wainwright, Dooley, and Pugh turned to look at him in surprise. Champ shouted at them again and leaned over to release the catch on Wainwright’s safety belt. He leaped out of the car, carbine in hand, and ran for the cover of trees just beyond the road. The others were right behind him. A stream of bullets from the Japanese plane sliced up the road, tearing into the scout car.
“Bastard!” Champlin yelled. He fired the carbine until the clip was empty.
When the plane was gone, the others raised their heads and came out from behind the bushes. Tom Dooley went to examine the riddled scout car and counted seventy-two bullet holes in it. “Jesus,” he said, “that was a close one.”
Champlin glanced at Wainwright. The general had “an amused expression on his face and the twinkle in his eyes could not be mistaken.”
Well, you let off some steam, didn’t you, son,” Skinny said. “You kind of like that gun, don’t you.”
“It’s yours, son. Take and thanks for spotting that plane. He’d have gotten us if you hadn’t spotted him coming in out of the sun.”
“But General,” Champlin said. “This gun is ordnance issue.”
“Who’s fighting this war?” Skinny said. “The pencil pushers in Washington or you and I? Keep it, son. It’s yours.”
Wainwright took a small notebook out of his pocket, wrote a brief note on one of the pages, tore out the paper, and handed it to Champlin.
“If you get out of here,” Wainwright said, “take that gun with you. When you get home, hang it over your fireplace and put these words on it.”
Champlin did what the general asked. On the stock of the Garand is a brass plaque with the words Wainwright wrote down on that day on Bataan: “To Malcolm McGregor Champlin, United States Navy, from Lieutenant General Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright, United State Army, for saving my life in a strafing attack by a Japanese ‘Zero’ fighter on Bataan, March 10, 1942.” *
(* Champlin used Wainwright’s rank as of the time the plaque was commissioned; Wainwright was a major general at the time of the incident.)
------------ Personal comment: I love Wainwright. He was a soldier's general!
This is not necessarily proof but this is a photo of cavalryman Dan Figuracion of F Troop, 26th Cavalry PS. When I took this photo in May 2011, he was telling us about his fondness for the garand and that it was what they carried in battle from Lingayen to Bataan. In this photo he was demonstrating to us how he made sure that the rounds were evenly seated into the clip, by tapping it on to the rifle's stock.
“One Out of Eleven” Robert S. Kramer (14th Engineers PS)
Page 31 --excerpt—
But back to food for a minute… One day, maybe Saturday as we had left on Thursday 9 April, somebody spotted a wild pig as we were walking through the jungle forest. At a signal we stopped, all standing quietly, and I pointed to Lt. Jorgensen as I knew since he was in C Company that he had been on the rifle team at the University of Nebraska. The pig cooperated and Jorgensen sighted his M-1 rifle and bagged it with a single shot. Incidentally, our division, the Philippine Scout Division, was the only one in the Far East Forces armed with the M-1. The other divisions all had the Enfield as their basic rifle, considerably older than the M-1 and less accurate, with a slower rate of fire. We were all 11 carrying M-1’s plus a .45 pistol and as many clips of ammo as we could put in our strip packs. That was all I was carrying in the pack except for a change of clothes and toilet articles. I had lost my precious air mattress when we went into combat as infantrymen and now didn’t even carry a blanket. Luckily the temperature averaged around 75 at night and 90 during the day and it was not too humid as we were in the dry season in April.
Last Edit: Sept 11, 2013 12:34:45 GMT -5 by VeeVee
"Corregidor" The American Alamo of WW2 By Eric Morris
Pages 270-271 (Abucay Hacienda battle)
Garleb rolled into a deserted foxhole, and a man with a Garand followed. The young soldier, who was shaking with fear, threw the rifle at him. “I can’t stand it anymore!” he cried. “My buddies are dead!” He begged Garleb to shoot him through the hand. Garleb felt disgusted and revolted; he wanted to shoot him through the head.
Just at that moment Garleb heard a noice behind him and the fire of a heavier-caliber weapon. Garleb grabbed the Garand, turned to the back of the foxhole, clipped off the safety catch, and curled his finger around the trigger. In close country such as this the Garand was an ideal weapon; it didn’t have the bolt action of the Springfield but instead could be pumped like a submachine gun… <omitted text>
The bushes parted and out stepped two American officers and a Philippine Scout. The latter wore a canvas vest that had pockets bulging with drums of ammunition; in his hand he carried a .45 caliber Thompson.
“Racing the Sunrise” The Reinforcement of America’s Pacific Outposts 1941-1942 Glen M. Williford
This excerpt talks about how MacArthur requested garands for the Philippine Army but was turned down. There was not enough to go around even for the US Army. The US Army combat units get priority for any new garand shipments. Again, it says that the regular US Army combat units were issued M1’s.
“Battle for Bataan – An Eyewitness Account” Originally titled “The Naked Flagpole” By Col. Richard C. Mallonee (senior military adviser to the 21st Division, Philippine Commonwealth Army)
We loaded Hendry, his ten men, and the four of us on the command car and started out. Bonner had Harrison’s tommy gun, I had a Garand, and all the gun crew had rifles, so I felt a little easier going out than I had coming in.
We went cautiously until we hit the main road and the area of the small arms firing, then Harrison gave the old boat hell. We came through advancing Japanese elements on both sides of the road. They were firing sporadically, but I think entirely at shadows.
The 26th Cavalry Regiment (PS) was, in respects, the elite unit of one of the most unique institutions of the interwar Army, the Philippine Scouts. Formed in the aftermath of the War with Spain, Scouts were authorized by the Philippine Department in 1901, proving to be extremely effective during pacification operations throughout the islands with their local knowledge and language ability. Organized into local native company sized units officered by U.S. Army personnel, Scouts were tough and reliable, with two earning the Medal of Honor. After the First World War, Philippine Scouts were the mainstay of the islands meager defenses against both internal and external threats. Long serving regulars, it was not uncommon for Scouts to serve in the same company or troop for 30 years. Formed in 1922, the 26th Cavalry, “Our Strength is in Loyalty,” was one of the remaining horse mounted cavalry regiments in the U.S. Army by 1941. Organized into two squadrons of three troops each, with service and machine gun troops, the 26th was smaller than Horse Cavalry Regiments stateside, and did not possess mortars or anti-tank weapons. The regiment did, however, possess scout cars and motorized assets, to include 4 ton semitrailers or large trucks for long range transport of mount and man, and was relatively well equipped in small arms, with troopers armed with the modern 8-round semi-automatic M1 Garand rifle, M1928A1 Thompson submachine gun and the M1911A1 pistol.
Post by rickthelibrarian on Nov 30, 2013 8:55:45 GMT -5
Wow! Nice excerpts. Wouldn't you like to have that Garand with the brass plates? As I've said before the author of "Racing the Sunrise" sent me documentation from Nov.-Dec. 1941 that indicated about 7200 M1s were present in the Philippines.
26th Cavalry PS veteran Dan Figuracion, talks about his first encounter with the Japanese when they invaded the Philippines in 1941. He believes he was the first one to fire the M1 Garand in ground combat in WW2. (I posted a picture of Trooper Dan Figuracion earlier in this thread holding the M1)
His squad of seven men from Troop F, 26th Cavalry was sent on a patrol north of the town of Damortis in Luzon while the Japanese was landing at Lingayen gulf. His squad was ambushed by the Japanese but he escaped because he was 100 yards away on flank security. None from his squad got off a shot as they were gunned down. He was the only one that was able to return fire with his M1. Thus to this day he believes he was the first soldier to engage the enemy in ground combat in WW2 using the M1 Garand, since these were the first shots fired during the Japanese invasion.
There were about 7000 M1 garand rifles in the Philippines at the outbreak of WW2. They were issued to US Army units particularly the US 31st Infantry, the 57th and 45th Infantry Philippine Scouts, the 14th Engineers PS, and the 26th Cavalry Philippine Scouts.