WWII DIARY OF

COMMODORE RAMON ALCARAZ

MAY 1942

 

 

May 10,1942.  I learned today that even if Gen. Jonathan Wainwright attempted to surrender only Corregidor and the surrounding Fortresses at Caballo, Carabao and El Fraile Island, (Forts Mills, Frank, Drum & James) he was forced by victorious Gen Masaharu Homma to surrender USFIP all over the Phil.  Accordingly, the hapless vanquished commander issued surrender orders to key USFIP Commanders with the following officers directed to serve said "Surrender Orders," Lt Col Kalakuka USA to Lt Col Guillermo Nakar '32, Comdr 14th Inf, in Cagayan Valley; Col Jesse T Trayvick Jr USA to Maj Gen W F Sharp, CG Vis-Min Forces; and Brig. Gen Guillermo B. Francisco '08 to Southern Luzon & Bicol Regions.  These representatives of Gen Wainwright are accompanied by ranking Japanese officers and provided adequate land and air transportation.

 

Wainwright's surrender orders became a favorite topic of private discussions among officers at Malolos POW Camp.  To the question, if you were Col Nakar, and you received the written order, will you surrender?  I am happy to note that after heated private discussions, all Philippine Military Academy graduates were unanimous in disobeying the order.  Two reserve officers have strong reservations that if they disobey the "lawful order of their superior" they can be liable for court martial later.  It will be interesting to find out how those concerned actually reacted later.

 

As a lasting tribute to the courageous gunners who manned those big guns at Corregidor and also to immortalize the names of the twenty batteries that fought valiantly against the enemy for 26 continuous days and nights since the Fall of Bataan, here they are in alphabetical order:  Batteries Chenny; Crockett; Cushing; Geary; Gruggs; Hamilton; Hanna; Hearn; James; Kysor; Monja; Maxwell; Morrison;  Ramsay; Rock Point; Smith; Stockade; Sunset; Way; and Wheeler.  My everlasting Salute to both Comrade Gunners and Batteries!!!.

 

May 15,1942.  Since the Fall of Bataan, several small group of guerilla units started organizing in Central Luzon led by escaped Bataan USAFFE officers according to Judge Roldan.  It is an indication of the people's resentment against the invaders and unshakeable faith on MacArthur's promise to return.  The most active and best organized at present strangely, according to him, is that pre-war socialist peasant group under Pedro Abad Santos, reorganized under the leadership of one, Luis Taruc, renamed Hukbo Ng Bayan Laban Sa Hapon, known as HUKBALAHAP with Hq at Mt Arayat.  At the start of the war, they took advantage of the confusion and increased their firearms and ammo supplies from those thrown away or discarded by retreating USAFFE units to Bataan.  They are active in selective ambuscades.  However, their Socialist philosophy have changed to Communism.

 

I remember the Commando Unit smuggled into Zambales on the night of March 11, by Q-113 of Lt Santiago C. Nuval with instructions from USAFFE Hq to start guerrilla organization and operation that early.  When I told this to the Judge, he said that is perhaps the guerrilla unit under a certain Col Thorpe operating from Mt Pinatubo and some of his officers are former Cavalry Officers from Ft Stotsenberg that managed to escape from Bataan Death March such as Lts Ed  Ramsey and Joe Barker.  They were joined by Filipino volunteers from Zambales willing to continue fighting the Japanese.

 

The Judge also mentioned a small guerrilla group somewhere in Rizal led by former PMA Cadets Mike Ver and Terry Adevoso.  I remember Adevoso, a member of Class '44 disbanded with Class '45 at Santo Tomas University last Dec and told to go home while Classes '42 & 43 were commissioned and became a part of the 1st Reg Div of Gen Fidel Segundo that saw gallant action in Bataan.  I saw Adevoso in tears disappointed when told to go home and unable to join us to Bataan.  Judge Roldan surprised me when he got from his pocket a clandestine one page mimeographed anti-Japanese Newsgram circulated from Manila.  Now I know the Judge has underground connect.

 

In Bulacan, an unidentified USAFFE Captain that managed to escape the Death March from Betis, Pampanga is reportedly organizing a guerrilla unit at the foot of Sierra Madre Mountains. This is perhaps the unit my younger brother, Narcy, joined.

 

May 20,1942.  LCol Nakar's unsurrendered USFIP Unit in NL were remnants of 11th & 71st Div cut off from Bataan, reorganized per Gen MacArthur's order as 14th Inf under LCol Everett Warner USA last Jan 24 to operate as guerrillas in Cagayan Valley.  When Bataan surrendered, Warner and fellow USA Os gave up so Gen Wainwright appointed Nakar '32 as new CO, with Maj Manuel Enriquez '34, my TacO at PMA, as ExO.  Other Os with him are Lts Ed Navarro '40; Melito Bulan '41; Tanabe, Nery & Quines all '42.

 

Today, I learned from Judge Roldan that LCol Kalakuka USA travelling under a flag of truce accompanied by a ranking Jap O located Nakar in Cagayan Valley and tried to serve the surrender orders from Gen Wainwright.  Nakar directed my classmate, now Capt Ed Navarro to meet Kalakuka in Bayombong.  Instead of following Nakar's orders, Navarro went to Enriquez and together saw Nakar in Jones, Isabela. Navarro convinced Nakar and Enriquez that after Gen Wainwright surrendered, he lost his authority completely.  And so Nakar agreed with Navarro, his Unit did not surrender and managed to report accordingly by radio to MacArthur in Australia.

 

Judge Roldan also informed me that the former mobilization center facilities of the 91st Div in Cabanatuan is being prepared for the transfer there of the American prisoners in Camp O'Donnell thereby leaving only Filipino POWs in Capas.  With the kind of info I am getting from the Judge, I am convinced he has underground connect - a brave and patriotic Judge.

 

May 25,1942.  LCol Jesse T Trayvick USA, Wainwright's emissary traveling under a flag of truce accompanied by a representative of Gen Homma, did not find difficulties delivering the "surrender orders" to Visayas-Mindanao USFIP CG, W F Sharp who, in turn, immediately issued written surrender orders to all his subordinates:  B/Gen Albert Christie, Panay; Col Roger Hillsman, Negros; Col Irvin Schraeder, Cebu; Col Arthur Grimes, Bohol and Col Ted Caroll, Samar-Leyte.  It is reported that all USA personnel and a few hundred Filipinos surrendered in compliance with Gen Wainwright's orders but many PA units led by their Os, specially in Panay and Negros refused to surrender.  In Panay where the bulk of the 61st Div is assigned are my classmates Lts Amos Francia, Ramon Gelvezon and Pedro M Yap who believe Gen Wainwright had no more authority to give orders after he became a POW.  Apparently, they were able to convince their Philippine superiors like Majors Macario Peralta and Nick Velarde and so when their Div Comdr Christie told them about the surrender at Mt Baloy, Peralta and Velarde categorically replied their refusal stating their plans to continue to fight the enemy.  Gen Christie seemed to understand and even left the remaining funds to the Div Fin O.  Meanwhile, in Negros my classmates there are Lts Uldarico Baclagon, Abenir Bornales and Epifanio Segovia and they also were able to convince their superiors, Captains Ernesto Mata and Salvador Abcede, to disregard the surrender orders of Col Hillsman.  In Southern Luzon and Bicol Area, surrender emissary B/Gen G Francisco delivered the orders and like in the Visayas, only the Americans and a few Filipino USPIF members complied and surrendered.

 

May 31,1942.  It is reported that the transfer of the about 6,000 surviving American Bataan Death Marchers from the POW Camp O'Donnell to Cabanatuan is about completed.  The new POW Camp in Cabanatuan was the former mobilization and training center of the USAFFE 91st Div before the war and have better facilities.  Judge  Roldan informed me the Corregidor POWs that were transported by ship to Manila were paraded and marched to their destinations.  Filipino POWs marched to Tutuban Railroad Station, loaded in the train for Capas.  The about 3,000 American   POWs marched from the Pier to Bilibid Prison in Azcarraga where they are temporarily detained but gradually transferred to Cabanatuan.  Judge Roldan speculated that the Americans were transferred from O'Donnell to prevent them further seeing the distressing 500 Filipino POWs dying daily adjacent to their Camp.  American POWs death rate in O'Donnell is reportedly much lower at 60 per day.

 

Our situation at Malolos POW Camp is comparably better than Capas.  We were originally 20 POWs last April 10,and increased by 3 to 23 later.  Although there were few malaria and dysentery cases, the provincial health officers took good care of us-no death so far.  Our camaraderie is stronger and morale good.  Our hope for ultimate redemption springs eternal.

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