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Journal of Commodore Ramon A. Alcaraz December 1941.

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Presentation on theme: "Journal of Commodore Ramon A. Alcaraz December 1941."— Presentation transcript:

1 Journal of Commodore Ramon A. Alcaraz December 1941

2 December 1, 1941 Today, as diplomatic talks in Washington between Japan and USA are going on, British Far East Commander Admiral Sir Tom Phillips RN arrived in Manila to confer with US High Commissioner Francis B Sayre, USAFFE Commander Gen. Douglas MacArthur and US Asiatic Fleet Commander Adm Thomas C Hart USN, regarding the Defense Plans for the Far East which includes the Philippines. All naval surface ships in Manila Bay ports remain under the alert warning of last Nov anchor before sunset at assigned berths with no three ships in line.

3 Gen Douglas MacArthur

4 December 8, 1941 I will not forget this day as long as I live. Although my Q-Boat was on "war footing" condition since last Nov. 27, the seriousness of its implications did not hit me till early today when I first heard the radio announcement of the Japanese surprise attack against the US naval and military facilities at Pearl Harbor. From my calculations, the attack started about 0800 Dec 7 Hawaii time which was about 0300 Dec 8, Manila time. I can not believe Japan will do this as I have great faith in the US military strength. Before noon, a large number of high flying Japanese planes bombed Camp John Hay, Clark Field and Iba air facilities. Late in the afternoon, I heard a radio news that a state of war with Japan was announced by US President Roosevelt. From 1800 to 2200H, Q-112 patrolled Paranaque - Navotas coastline 2 miles offshore.

5 December 10, 1941 I heard over the radio the stirring "Day of Infamy" speech of Pres Roosevelt before the US Congress that ultimately declared war against Japan, Germany and Italy. It was a forceful speech that unified America with that sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. The isolationist disappeared. Filipinos have high morale. Pres Quezon pledge support and loyalty to the cause of freedom and democracy. We have great confidence in our military leadership led by Gen. MacArthur.

6 December 10, continued News report today tells the havoc in Pearl Harbor - four battleships sunk, three badly damaged -- backbone of the Pacific Fleet disabled. Other ships were sunk or damaged and other naval facilities bombed. Military facilities, planes and equipment of the USA Hawaiian Department were devastated. More than two thousand lives were lost. Battleship Arizona capsized virtually taking all hands with her. I wonder how this happened when we were placed on war footing Nov 27. Admiral Husband E Kimmel USNA '04 is CinC US Fleet while Maj Gen Walter C Short (U Illinois '02 not a West Pointer) is Comdr USA Hawaiian Department, at Pearl Harbor.

7 December 10, continued The results of the bombings two days ago of Clark and Iba Air Fields were also devastating that virtually destroyed all our planes there. The remaining planes of Far East Air Command are transferring to Mindanao. The big ships led by USS Houston, Marblehead and Boise of the Asiatic Fleet under Admiral Hart steamed south to avoid enemy air power. What remained among the surface fighting ships are the nine torpedo boats (3 Q-Boats and 6 PT-Boats).

8 December 10, continued Today, the first enemy landings are reported in Northern Luzon at Cagayan and Ilocos Sur. Before noon, enemy planes bombed Nichols, Nielsen and Zambales Airfields, Camp Murphy, Port Area and Cavite Navy Yard. Luckily, our OSP facilities were missed but I personally witnessed the bombings at Cavite Navy Yard from Q-112 in Manila Bay. Twenty seven Japanese bombers flying at high altitudes beyond the range of our AA guns dropped their bombs with great accuracy at Cavite. I felt so helpless watching as there were no USAFFE planes to challenge them. This is a bad day for us. The enemy have air superiority. I hope the Northern Luzon Forces under Gen Wainwright can handle the enemy landings reported.

9 December 12, continued Japanese landings in Legaspi and Davao reported. Ft Wint and Olongapo also bombed. I am saddened when my boss and idol Maj Andrada USNA '30 turned over his OSP command on orders of Gen MacArthur two days ago to his ExO Captain Enrique L Jurado USNA '34. I thought Andrada's relief is unfortunate. He placed the Q-Boats on war footing last Nov 27 on his initiative. His new assignment is as Ft Wint Comdr. The Q-Boat Squadron is assigned to patrol inside Manila Bay waters while PT RON 3, the China Sea Approaches to Corregidor and assist the Harbor Defense Command of Gen Moore. The approaches to Manila Bay west of Corregidor are mined. A narrow channel serves as entrance and exit to Manila Bay an one of the PT jobs is to guide those vessels not familiar with that channel.

10 Col. Jose V Andrada USNA 1930 Chief OSP & , Pioneered OSP

11 Capt Enrique Jurado USNA 1934 Chief, Offshore Patrol

12 December 12, continued During the Japanese landings in Northern Luzon, Capt Collin Kelly of the FEAF is credited with bombing and sinking an enemy battleship. He was killed after his plane was shot down. Pres Roosevelt promised that Capt Kelly's one year old son will be eligible to enter West Point when he comes of age, his Dad's alma mater.

13 December 15, 1941 Our Manila Bay Q-Boat Patrols continue, nothing unusual to report - no hits, no runs, no errors, so to speak. Our general situation is "lumalaon bumubuti, sumasama sa dati" as we say in Bulacan. The Japanese forces gained a foothold in Aparri, Vigan and are expanding them. For as I see it, the enemy now have superiority in the air and at sea. Enemy systematic bombings since Dec 8 have decimated our planes. Jap planes are virtually unchallenged. The big ships of the Asatic Fleet are gone, only nine torpedo boats remain to support the USAFFE. However, morale of the people specially the military remain high due to Pres Quezon and Gen MacArthur as our leaders. We have faith in them. And in America.

14 December 15, continued Several Air Force personnel made up for our many setacks. Aside from Capt Kelley's bombing a Jap battleship during the Northern Luzon landings that made him our first war hero, our PAAC pilots have their share of accomplishments to be proud of. Captain Jesus Villamor PAAC Comdr, 6th Pursuit Squadron, is credited with shooting down two enemy planes todate and was cited by Gen MacArthur. Lt Alberto Aranzaso PAAC, also a member of the 6th Pursuit Squadron of Villamor, is also credited with shooting down a Jap plane and was awarded the Silver Star.

15 Capt Jesus Villamor PAAC Commander, 6 th Pursuit Squadron P-26 Pilot

16 Awarding of Silver Star to Capt Jesus Villamor and Lt Alberto Aranzazo by General MacArthur

17 December 15, continued Unfortunately, during the enemy strafings of Nichols Field, Lt Cesar Basa who had just landed his plane and was running for cover was fatally hit in the head. Lt Victor Osias who was nearby came to the rescue to no avail. Lt Basa died in the arms of Osias. I know Lt Basa personally during our Os basketball league rivalry. He was the star of the PAAC Team while I played for the OSP Team. Another Atenista, Jose Syjuco played for the ROTC Team. Lt Cesar Basa was an Ateneo basketball star before he became a pilot. He died a star, a hero.

18 Lt Cesar Basa 6 th Pursuit Squadron PAAC P-26 Pilot

19 December 17, 1941 The disaster in Pearl Harbor resulted in the silent quick relief of its top commanders. Today without ceremony in his office, Gen Walter C Short, USA Hawaiian Departmental Commander read his orders relinquishing command to Maj Gen Delos C Emmons, USAAC. Likewise, Adm Husband E Kimmel USN CinCPAC relinquished his command quietly to VAdm William Pye USN, as temporary Commander. In the Philippines, our military commanders knew immediately when Pearl Harbor was bombed and yet some ten hours later when a hundred Japanese bombers escorted by Zero fighters came over Clark Field, all of FEAC B-17 bombers except two, and 90% of its P-40s were destroyed. It was a tragedy! The only saving grace is PAAC's 6th Pursuit Squadron of P-26 under Capt Jesus Villamor whose exploits are becoming legendary. The remaining two B-17 were moved to Mindanao.

20 December 17, continued By night time, the tragedy was compounded by the sinking of SS Corregidor in our own defensive minefields guarding the entrance to Manila Bay west of Corregidor Fortress. SS Corregidor is one of the best among our inter-island commercial vessels with civilian and military personnel aboard bound for Visayas and Mindanao. Loaded also are Artillery pieces, equipment and supplies of the 101st FA, and other Vis-Min Units. From initial scant report I got from my Mistah Alano, ExO of Q-111 that participated in the rescue, he said the ship hit a mine and sunk so fast virtually all passengers went down with the ship including her Captain. There were very few survivors. The mined area is under the responsibility of the Harbor Defense and PT RON 3. I should know more details about this tragedy after I talk with some of my comrades on duty then at PT RON 3.

21 This 17 Dec 1941 entry has special although sad, significance to me personally. My late father, First LT Carlos G Agustin XC CE aboard the SS Corregidor. We moved to Davao in 1940 when he was appointed Asst City Engineer, but shortly he was CAD in the Corps of Engineers, PA. He became CO of the Second Davao Cadre training recruits for the war, and was in Manila when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred on 7 Dec There were no airlines operating on domestic routes so the only way back was via surface. After induction, he got booked on the Corregidor, sailing out of Manila harbor on 17 Dec When Davao was invaded, we moved out to the hills, toward Mt Apo, where we stayed for a few months until my mother thought it was safe to return to the city. Our newly-built house was occupied by the Japanese, so we rented a small house near the court and jail, and my mother sold stuff in the market to support four children and a teen aged brother-in-law, who helped her out. We managed also to move back to Manila in 1943 via inter-island vessel (flying the rising sun). We never knew what happened until after the war, when his death was duly established. The fate of SS Corregidor Commodore Carlos Agustin (PMA/USNA60)

22 December 19, 1941 Today is a historical day for the OSP. The whole OSP command was inducted into the USAFFE this morning and two hours after the ceremonies at Muelle del Codo, the Japanese bombed Port Area. OSP Hq was spared but Engineer Island where eight hulls of new Q-Boats are about to be completed was a direct hit and our hopes for those additional boats are gone with the wind. I feel sorry for my former boss, Maj Jose V Andrada (USNA 31), who fought vigorously for locally made Q-Boats since last March after the successful test of locally made Q-113. I suspect his relief as C,OSP had to do with his issue against Gen MacArthur.

23 December 19, continued Today is also a historical day for my alma mater PMA. Through its officers and cadets, it was reborn from an academic institution and activated as an instrument of war renamed, First Regular Division, with Col. Fidel Segundo (USMA 1917), the Superintendent, as Div Comdr at UST Campus. The Div was inducted into the USAFFE also today. Lt Col Santiago Guevara, Comdt of Cadets, became the Div C/S; Asst Comdt Capt Alfredo Santos became Comdr, 1st Regmt; former PMA Instructors took most of the senior staff jobs. Among my classmates in this Div are Lt Job Mayo as S-1; Lt Alfredo Filart as S-2; Lt David Pelayo, & Lt Jose Javier, Co Comdrs.

24 Brig. Gen. Fidel V Segundo USMA 1917 Commanding General, 1 st Division

25 December 19, continued It can be recalled that after Baguio was bombed on Dec. 8, PMA went down and settled later at UST Campus in Manila. Five days ago, Classes '42 & '43 were graduated and '44 & '45 were disbanded and sent home disappointed because they wanted to fight for their country. One of the plebes, Eleuterio Adevoso tearfully expressed to me his disappointment. Japanese forces are poised to attack and land in Hongkong which is defended by the British Forces.

26 December 22, 1941 I had lunch at USAFFE Hq today with my friend, Sid Huff, and was surprised about his conversion from Lt (SG) USN to Major US Army now Aide to Gen MacArthur. The latest info he gave me is about an armada of Japanese invasion ships heading for Lingayen Gulf. Another enemy group is heading towards eastern Luzon. Apparently, the earlier reported enemy landings in Aparri, Vigan, Legaspi and Davao were diversionary recon in force. I also talked with Ens George Cox, CO PT 41 on duty when SS Corregidor sunk five days ago. He said PT 41 was leading the ill fated ship at the channel but suddenly, all at once, the SS Corregidor veered course towards the minefields and his efforts to stop her were to no avail. There was a loud explosion after hitting a mine, the ship sank so fast virtually all aboard went with her including the ship captain. There were very few survivors.

27 December 22, continued The newly activated 1st Regular Div reported to South Luzon Force under Gen. Parker two days ago. Also, effective Dec. 20, all Div Commanders who are not generals were promoted to Brig Generals which included Fidel Segundo, Mateo Capinpin, Guy O Fort and Luther Stevens -- all PA Officers. Camp Murphy is crowded with hundreds of civilian volunteers - drivers, students, laborers, etc - for the USAFFE. I am told the same is happening in all mobilization centers, a commendable manifestation of willingness to fight against the invaders. Seeing many so eager and enthusiastic makes me proud of our people. Late in the afternoon, the 1st Q-Boat Squadron got an "Alert Order" for a possible mission whose details are being spelled out. With our training and preparations, I personally feel we are ready to perform whatever it will be.

28 Brig. Gen. Mateo M Capinpin, Inf. Commanding General, 31 st Div USAFFE Philippine Scouts 1917; rose from the ranks Pioneered the Philippine Infantry

29 Col. Guy O Fort USA Commanding General, 81 st Division Attended Command & Gen Staff School (CGSS)

30 Col. Luther R Stevens USA Commanding General, 91 st Division Attended Command & Gen Staff School (CGSS)

31 December 24, 1941 News and what happened today are devastating. I learned that the simulteneous Japanese landings two days ago in Lingayen Gulf and Lamon Bay were not difficult considering the enemy have superiority in the ar and at sea. They are expanding their beach gains and my thoughts are with my classmates Lt Ed Navarro wth the 71st Div in Lingayen Gulf area and Lts Job Mayo, Fred Filart, David Pelayo and Joe Javier with the 1st Reg Div in Lamon Bay area. The Alert Order given for the Q-Boats two days ago was rescinded and the new order is to escort the SS Mayon to evacuate ranking officials of the Phil govt led by Pres Quezon and US High Commisioner Francis B Sayre from Manila to Corregidor as the new seat of govt. Gen MacArthur declared Manila an Open City and USAFFE Hq is also transferring. SS Mayon docked at Corregidor north wharf safely at 2000 H today under the protective eyes of the three Q-Boats. The US Navy 16th Naval District Hq had moved to Corregidor three days ago.

32 December 24, continued USAFFE Hq also ordered that War Plans Orange 3 (WPO-3) be enforced. This old plan was opposed by MacArthur and I am surprised the order came out. It is a defense plan of the Philippines in case of invasion, the country generally believed to be indefensible. The plan calls for the withdrawal of troops to Bataan, defend Luzon by delaying tactics for six months with support from the Asiatic Fleet and USAAC until needed relief from USA reaches the Philippines. At present, we have no Asiatic Fleet nor USAAC. Only nine Torpedo Boats are available. What now?

33 December 27, 1941 C,OSP conscripted a 40 ft boat, armed her with two 30 Cal MGs christened "Danday", Mrs Jurado's namesake, for use by the OSP Lamao Beach Defenders of Bataan. Today my ExO, Lt Abraham Abe Campo (USNA 40) was reld to be CO, "Danday" and to replace Lt Campo, I selected Lt Manuel Gomez '41, my former classmate at MIT before we entered PMA. The bulk of OSP shore personnel transferred to Lamao, Bataan after Manila was declared Open City three days ago and so the beach defense of Lamao eastern Bataan becomes an OSP responsibility. The 1st Q-Boat Squadron found a suitable place called Sisiman Cove east of Mariveles Bay that conceals our boats from the air. One mile up Sisiman River is our Support Gp - Engineering under Lt Jose Zulueta; Torpedoes, Depth Charges, Ordnance under Chief William Mooney, USNR; Adm, under Lt Carlos J Albert (USNA 39). Since Christmas, our mission is primarily ferrying VIPs from Manila to Corregidor, the seat of government.

34 December 27, continued Today, all PAAC planes are gone. The planeless PAAC is organized as PAAC Provincial Regiment that is proceeding to Bataan. My province mates Capts Pelagio Cruz and Eustacio Onrobia as well as my classmate Lt Vic Osias are among with this Regiment. Also, the 700 PAAC Cadets were organized as an Infantry Battalion under Maj Jose Francisco (USNA 31) and proceeding to Corregidor. My classmates Lts Bartolome Cabangbang and Alberto Aranzaso are among in this Battalion The Jap invasion forces from Lingayen Gulf and Lamon Bay are slowly advancing towards Manila. They have to fight every inch of ground despite their air superiority. And if you think our situation is bad, Hongkong is worst. It was a sad christmas for the British in Hongkong. The British garrison retreated to Kowloon but after intense bombings for three days Gov Sir Mark Young of Hongkong gave up easily and surrendered to Japanese Gen Sakai on Christmas Day.

35 Brig. Gen. Fidel V Segundo USMA 1917

36 December 30, 1941 I was privileged today, Rizal Day, to witness the oath-taking ceremony, for their 2nd term of Pres Quezon and VP Osmena before Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos outside the Corregidor Tunnel entrance. It was a solemn but brave ceremony for only yesterday, Corregidor was bombed by 54 enemy planes for an hour before noon and some of the craters are visible from where we sat. Quezon's Yatch "Casiana" anchored off North Wharf was a direct hit and sunk but the Philippine flag still flies from her mast above water. I was caught halfway on my way to the Tunnel, jumped to a ditch, endured an hour of bombings with those scary hissing sounds. I was badly shaken by the experience with many killed or wounded in the area where I was. Quezon made a stirring speech exhorting our people to fight the invaders.

37 December 30, continued Aside from the Quezon family, the MacArthurs and the Sayres, among those I saw in the ceremony were: Lt Col Andres Soriano, Majors Carlos Romulo & Sid Huff; Capts Jess Villamor, S P Lopez & J B Magluyan; Lts F Isidoro, L M Guerrero, N Reyes, B Cabangbang, & A Aranzaso. After the ceremony, I ordered my crew to retrive the Phil flag still flying on the mast of the sunken "Casiana" because Pres Quezon expressed a desire to have it. While near the "Casiana" I noticed her auxiliary boat "Baler" under water. I decided to salvage the boat, towed it to Lamao and suggested to Capt Magluyan who was with me to have it fixed to augment the "Danday." Magluyan is one of the Lamao Beach Defenders in Bataan under Capt Jurado, C,OSP. Late in the afternoon, I got a copy of directive saying "effective Jan. 1,1942,the Q-Boats will be under operational control of G- 3, USAFFE HQ, Ft Mills."

38 Pres Manuel Quezon and Gen Douglas MacArthur

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