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Journal of Commodore Ramon A. Alcaraz

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1 Journal of Commodore Ramon A. Alcaraz
November 1941 Journal of Commodore Ramon A. Alcaraz

2 November 3, 1941 My friend, Lt Sidney L Huff, our Naval Advisor, once told me that since Gen MacArthur assumed CG,USAFFE he had repeatedly requested Washington to beef up Air Units in the Phil. Today, the encouraging development is the arrival of Maj. Gen. Lewis H Brereton, USAAC, who will assume a new and bigger command named Far East Air Force. This new command will replace the US Army's Phil Department Air Corps under the command of Brig Gen Henry B Clagget USAAC who became the CG, V-Interceptor Group. Lt Huff also mentioned to me during our lunch today about a cable sent by US Ambassador to Japan, Joseph Grew, to the US State Department in Washington DC, warning of "possible secret attack by Japan on US positions."

3 November 4, 1941 Complimenting the good news yesterday about Maj Gen Lewis H Brereton, USAAC assuming command of the new USA Far East Air Command are the arrivals today from USA of the 19th Bombardment Group with 35 B-17's under Major John F Woodbridge USAAC; as well as the 24th Pursuit Group with 30 P-40's under Major Orrin L Grover, USAAC.

4 November 4, continued USAFFE Hq also announced today the activation of the following Major Forces: Northern Luzon Force under the command of BGen Edward P King, USA with three Phil Army (PA) Divisions (11th, 21st & 31st). US troops included the 26th Cavalry (PS), One Bn 45th Inf (PS), Battery A of 23rd FA (PS), Batteries B & C of 86th FA(PS) and 66th QM (Troop) Pk (PS). Southern Luzon Force under the command of BGen George M Parker, USA with two PA Divisions (41st & 51st). US troops included Battery A of 86th FA (PS). Visayas-Mindanao Force under the command of Col. William F Sharp USA with three PA Divisions (61st, 81st & 101st).

5 November 11, 1941 The re-election of Commonwealth President Manuel L Quezon and Vice Pres. Sergio Osmena for another term was announced yesterday which means that after the expiration of this term, the promised "independence" by USA will be expected. Eight large submarines arrived at Cavite Navy Yard to bolster the strength of the Submarine Force, Asiatic Fleet under Adm. Thomas Hart USN. Manila News mentions prominently the appointment of Maxim Litvinov as the new Soviet Ambassador to USA. Meantime, British Prime Minister Churchill announced that the British will join within hours "in case Japan and USA are at war".

6 November 17, 1941 The special Command and Gen Staff Course (CGSC) in Baguio City that started last Sept. 1, graduated its students of Senior Army Os for asgmnts to the ten Divisions being moblilized, after a two and a half months schooling conducted by USA Os Cols Clifford Bluemel as Comdt, assisted by Clyde Selleck, William E Brougher and Albert M Jones.

7 November 17, 1941 As of this date, the following Os are assigned to their respective Divisions as Div Commanders and Div Chief of Staffs: Division Division Commander Div Chief of Staff 11th Col William Brougher, USA Col Juan Moran, PA 21st Col Mateo Capinpin, PA Col Nemesio Catalan, PA 31st Col Clifford Bluemel, USA Col Pastor Martelino, PA 41st B/Gen Vicente Lim, PA Lt Col Tomas Domaoal, PA 51st Col Albert Jones, USA Lt Col Ricardo Poblete, PA 61st Col Bradford G Chenoweth, USA Col Juan Quimbo, PA 71st Col Clyde A Selleck, USA Col Salvador Reyes, PA 81st Col Guy O Fort, PA Lt Col Calixto Duque, PA 91st Col Luther R Stevens, PA Lt Col Jaime Velasquez, PA 101st Col Joseph Vachon, USA Col Eustaquio Baclig, PA

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

9 Brig. Gen. Vicente P Lim Commanding Gen, 41st Div USAFFE Commanding Gen, 31st Div USAFFE USMA 1914 Classmate of Eisenhower

10 November 24, 1941 The US 16th Naval District Hq at Cavite Navy Yard welcome today the arrival of four large submarines to augment the Asiatic Fleet under Adm T. Hart USN. Eight days ago (Nov. 16) the 28th Bombardment Squadron of B-17's under Maj William P Fisher USAAC arrived to reinforce the Far East Air Command of Gen. Brereton. The runaway of the Malabang Airfield in Mindanao was lengthened to accommodate these B-17's. In the re-surfacing of the runaway, volcanic cinders was used. Manila news stated that serious talk is going on in Washington DC between the US State Department under Sec Cordell Hull and Japanese Ambassadors Nomura and Kurusu. The Japanese is proposing status quo (they will halt their military campaigns but retain what they already have) if the US will lift the embargo against Japan.

11 November 24, continued Aforementioned are what I knew then. What I knew later based on records of the Japanese Navy, is that by Nov 24,1941, the Japanese Imperial Navy under Admiral Yamamoto have not only completed a comprehensive plan but also rehearsed the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Hawaii Task Force under Admiral Nagumo was secretly anchored at Hitokappu Bay in Etorafu Island waiting for the go signal. Admiral Nagumo had completed the briefings aboard his flagship "Akagi" where he announced Pearl Harbor as their objective. By this time also, the US had broken the Japanese Diplomatic Code and could de-cipher their messages.

12 November 27, 1941 I perceived diplomatic talks in Washington between Japan and USA is not progressing well after Adm. Thomas Hart USN Commander of Asiatic Fleet issued today an "Alert Warning" to all his surface units, copy furnished 1st Q-Boat Squadron and C,OSP which substantially stated "all surface units in port shall be at their assigned anchorage before sunset with no three ships in line." Immediately following this "Alert Warning," Major Jose V Andrada, Chief, OSP issued an order not only to implement Adm Hart's directive but also to place the 1st Q-Boat Sqdn on "War Footing" by requiring all Q-Boats to be fully reprovisioned in fuel, food, armaments and ammunitions.

13 November 27, continued Today, I had my Q-112 fully refueled, and started checking on our food requirements, status of torpedoes, depth charge throwers and depth charges, AA Guns and ammo. Q-111 under Capt Alberto Navarrete '35, and Q-113 under Lt Santiago Nuval '38 also started putting their units under war footing. Above are what I knew then but what I know after WW II based on records, is that at 0600H Nov 26,1941 Adm Nagumo's Hawaii Task Force secretly departed from their anchorage at Hotokappu Bay, headed east via the northern route under radio silence for Pearl Harbor. Provision was made that in case diplomacy succeeds in Washington, Adm Nogumo's mission would be aborted. Meanwhile, USN that broke the Japanese Code was reading their diplomatic messages and 1of the 8 decrypting machines was with a USN Intelligence Unit in Corregidor. It was strange Pearl Harbor did not have this machine.

14 Lt Ramon A Alcaraz Commanding Officer Q-112 “Abra”

15 Capt Alberto Navarrete Squadron Commander & Commanding Officer Q-111 “Luzon”

16 Lt Santiago Nuval Commanding Officer, Q-113 “Agusan”

17 November 28, 1941 Today all Q-Boats completed re-provisioning-- fully refueled, torpedoes fully charged, depth charges all set, AA guns with the required ammo and adequate food supplies to comply with the directive on "war footing.“ Effective yesterday, all boats dispersed with Q-111 at Pier 3, Q-112 at Pier 5 and Q-113 at Pier 7 before sunset throughout the evening, returning to Muelle del Codo 0700 following morning. USAFFE Hq also made some reshuffling of Commanding Generals for Phil Dept USA & Northern Luzon Force, USAFFE. Maj. Gen Jonathan Wainwright USA turned over command of the Phil Department with Hq at Ft McKinley to Brig Gen Maxon S Lough USA. Gen Wainwright took over as the new Comdg Gen Northern Luzon Forces USAFFE from Brig Gen Edward P King USA who became the Chief of Artillery for USAFFE.

18 November 28, continued Today, the transport, President Harrison, is proceeding to Chingwangtao, China to get the remaining 16 officers and 178 Enlisted Men EM detachment captured by the Japanese that belongs to the US 4th Marines.

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