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Young to Fly MacArthur.....
Enough To Die Fighting.
December 7, 1941, the 19th Bombardment Group was an impressive example
of American military power and industrial capability. The big
four-engine B-17 "Flying Fortresses" could make long-range
strategic bombing raids to drop tons of bombs on a distant enemy.
Three squadrons were based in the Philippine Islands, two of them (19
bombers) at Clark Field on Luzon and the remainder (16 bombers) farther
south at Del Monte Field on Mindanao. Shortly after noon on
December 8 (ten hours after the Pearl Harbor attack), only one of the
nineteen bombers based on Luzon remained. Before the air-war in
the Pacific even began the Far East American Air Force had been cut in
The 19th Bombardment Group (Heavy)
began arriving in the Philippines in October 1941 when the first squadron
of B-17s were flown to their new duty station at Clark Airfield on
Luzon. In November two more flights arrived bringing the Group to a
strength of three-dozen bombers, and making it the largest 4-engine
American bombing force outside the United States. Among the pilots
who ferried the bombers to their new airfields in the Pacific was
Lieutenant Harl Pease, Jr.
The 24-year-old officer was born and
raised in Plymouth, New Hampshire, where his father was a well-known car
dealer and his mother played the organ in the church he had attended in
his boyhood. Following high school Pease enrolled at the University
of New Hampshire, graduating with a degree in Business Administration in
the spring of 1939. On September 29 he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air
Corps. He earned his wings at Kelly Field in San Antonio, Texas, the
following year on June 21. Permanent duty followed with
assignment to the 19th Bombardment Group's 93rd Squadron at March Field in
On May 31, 1941, airmen of the 19th
Bombardment Group piloted a flight of B-17s from Hamilton Field near San
Francisco to Hickam Field in Hawaii. The aircraft made the 2,400
mile flight in 13 hours and 10 minutes. It was the first-ever mass flight
of land-based aircraft to an overseas base. For his role in that
mission, Lieutenant Pease was awarded the Air Medal.
the summer the 19th Bombardment Group opened an "aerial highway"
across the Pacific, then in October relocated to the Philippine
Islands. Lieutenant Pease's 93rd Squadron was based out of an
airfield in the middle of the Del Monte Pineapple Plantation on the southern island
of Mindanao, while the other two squadrons operated out of Clark airfield
Within hours of the December 7 attack
at Pearl Harbor the 19 bombers at Clark Field were airborne. They
returned to the airfield at noon to refuel and arm for a bombing attack
against Formosa. Meanwhile bombers based out of Del Monte were
airborne and flying north to provide cover for Clark Field. By the
time these arrived over Manila Bay it was too late; eighteen of the
nineteen Flying Fortresses based out of Clark were lying in ruin on
The heroes of the early air-war in
the Pacific seemed to be found most often in fighter pilots like
Lieutenant Boyd Buzz Wagner who became America's first ace of World
War II going man-to-man against Japanese fighter pilots. For the men
who flew the lumbering B-17s the mission assignments may have lacked such glamour,
but they were certainly not without equal risk...or valor. The day
after the attack at Clark field the pilots of the 19th Bombardment
Squadron began reconnaissance and bombing missions against the Japanese
invasion force. Three or four B-17s were put together from the
wreckage of multiple bombers at Clark. On December 10 Captain Colin
Kelly bombed a Japanese ship steaming with the invading enemy army towards
Aparri. Then he valiantly tried to repulse enemy Zeroes on his return flight
home. His death and the loss of his bomber only five-miles from
Clark Field was one more crushing blow to the American Army Air Force in
the Far East, but it gave our nation its first air hero of the war.
days later a flight of six B-17s were dispatched from Del Monte to attack
Japanese invasion forces in the harbor of Legaspi. One of the five
was piloted by Captain Hewitt T. Shorty Wheless from Texas.
(As a child he had been nicknamed Nun by his classmates because he
was so small that there was "scarcely none of him at
all.") It was destined to be the biggest single raid against
the Japanese so far in the war, but it was a mission that seemed doomed to
failure from the start. The lead bomber piloted by Lieutenant Jim
Connally blew a tire during takeoff and was forced to remain behind while
his five comrades flew north.
En route Captain Wheless' B-17
developed engine trouble and fell behind as the formation passed through a
storm about 200 miles out of Del Monte. The remaining bombers proceeding
to target, but only half-an-hour from Legaspi one of them was forced to turn back
due to engine problems . Before the attack commenced the lead bomber
under Lieutenant Coats, who had replaced Lieutenant Connally back at Del
Monte, was also forced to turn back by a faltering engine. Only two
of the original B-17s remained to conduct the mission, each dropping their
bombs on a line of enemy transports, then withdrawing through a screen of
The enemy was now on full alert but
that did not deter Captain Wheless, who was still struggling at the
controls of his lagging bomber and trying to complete his mission. What
happened next was recounted three weeks later in a radio broadcast back in
the United States:
|"By the time
(the B-17) arrived over the target, the other four* Flying
Fortresses had dropped their bombs and stirred up the hornet's
nest of Japanese Zero planes. Eighteen of these Zero
fighters attacked our lone Flying Fortress. Despite this
mass attack, our plane proceeded on its mission.
"As it turned back on
its homeward journey, a running fight between the bomber and the
18 Japanese pursuit planes continued for 75 miles. Four
pursuit planes of the Japs attacked simultaneously at each
side. Four were shot down with the side guns. During
this fight the bomber's radio operator was killed, the engineer's
right hand was shot off, and one gunner was crippled, leaving only
one man available to operate both side guns. Although
wounded in one hand, this gunner alternately manned both side
guns, bringing down three more Japanese Zero planes.
While this was going on, one
engine in the American bomber was shot out. Out of 11
control cables, all but four were shot away. The rear
landing wheel was blown off entirely, and the two front wheels
were both shot out.
"The fight continued
until the remaining Japanese pursuit ships exhausted their
ammunition and turned back. With two engines gone and the
plane practically out of control, the American bomber returned to
base after dark. The mission had been accomplished.
The name of that pilot was Captain Hewitt T. Wheless.
"I hope he is
January 1941 Radio
President Franklin D. Roosevelt
*Actually, prior to Cpt.
Wheless' arrival, only 2 of the other bombers reached target to drop
When Captain Wheless managed to nurse
his crippled bomber back to Mindanao for a crash landing, ground crews
counted more than 1,000 holes in his Flying Fortress. For his
courage in completing his mission, then fighting an out-of-control bomber
all the way back to Del Monte, he was awarded the Distinguished Service
Cross. Any bomber that made it home, no matter how badly shot up,
was a needed asset. Somehow the ground crews would find a way to
patch it up and get it back in the air, or in the worst of cases, at least
find serviceable parts for other bombers. On the day that Wheless
nursed his own crippled bomber home the 19th Bombardment Group had only
14 aircraft remaining of its original thirty-five.
The fate of the Philippines was now
obvious to all. Japanese troops were landing at the north end of the
island and sweeping south. It was only a matter of time before the
valiant war being waged by the Philippine Scouts, a few Americans, and
some Philippine reservists on the Bataan Peninsula, would be crushed.
It was equally obvious that the American bomber force could not operate in
the enemy-controlled skies around Luzon, and that even the airfield far
south at Del
Monte was vulnerable. On December 17 those bombers of the 19th
Bombardment Group that had survived the first ten days of the war were
flown further south to operate out of Batchelor Field, 45 miles south of
Back in the Philippine Islands
things continued to worsen as the Japanese invasion force overwhelmed
the north side of Luzon and pushed south. On January 1, 1942,
Manila fell. On the Bataan Peninsula the forces under America's
oldest active-duty general, 59-year-old Jonathan Wainwright, struggled
valiantly to stem the onslaught while awaiting the promised
reinforcements from the United States. Amazingly they stopped the
Japanese advance at the Abucay line
and held it for 12 days.
General Wainwright's boss, General
Douglas MacArthur, directed his army from inside the Malinta Tunnel on
the fortified island of Corregidor. Meanwhile plans were underway to slip
Philippine President Manuel Quezon out of harm's way via submarine.
--On January 25 the Japanese
invaded the Solomon Islands.
--On February 15 Singapore fell.
--On February 19 Japanese aircraft attacked Darwin, Australia.
Three days later the U.S.
submarine Swordfish prepared to take President Quezon and his
family out of the now-endangered Island of Luzon, to San Jose on the
island of Panay. General MacArthur loaded some of his own family's
personal possessions in the hold of the sub in a footlocker addressed to
the Riggs National Bank of Washington. His instructions were that it should
be held until claimed by his "legal heirs". The top
American general in the Pacific had chosen to remain at Corregidor.
As the popular Philippine President
reluctantly boarded the submarine Swordfish for evacuation he
removed his signet ring and placed it on MacArthur's finger. "When they find your body," he told his old friend,
want them to know that you fought for my country." Remaining
on the island with General MacArthur was his wife and 3-year old son.
On the day after President Quezon
departed, a cable arrived at Corregidor from Washington, D.C. advising
MacArthur to proceed south to Mindanao and then to fly on to
Australia. General MacArthur balked. Despite the man's
oft-argued character flaws, Douglas MacArthur was no coward.
Indeed the man had earned six Silver Stars in the First World War and
been nominated for (but denied) a Medal of Honor for actions early in
the century in Mexico. This ordered departure came from the
President himself, after he had agreed with Army chief General George C.
Marshall that the death or capture of MacArthur on Luzon would be the
final straw in a series of bad news reports coming in from the Pacific
Unable to refuse to obey an order
from the President himself, MacArthur reportedly wrote up a letter of
resignation with the intent of becoming a civilian volunteer to the army
on Bataan. His Chief of Staff, Major General Richard Sutherland,
argued against the concept. He pointed out the closing lines of
the President's cable...that MacArthur was to leave Corregidor for
Melbourne "where you will assume command of all United States
troops." MacArthur's departure was not a retreat,
Sutherland pointed out, but the first step in defeating the
Japanese. The forces on Luzon were pitifully small in the face of
the massive force pushing south under Japanese
Lieutenant General Masaharu Homma. MacArthur was NEEDED in
Australia in order to build and lead the army that would ultimately drive the
enemy out of the Philippine Islands.
In the end General Sutherland's
logic swayed MacArthur, and he set in motion a plan to extricate
himself, his family, and key members of his staff from Luzon. Had
he departed the previous day with President Quezon, it would have been a
simple matter. The departure now became far more complex.
Back at home the American media was
reporting on events on Luzon. Their stories that left no other conclusion than
that the Philippine Islands were lost to the enemy. The only
unknown element was how long the defenders could delay the inevitable.
These same newspapers speculated that General MacArthur would be whisked
out of Luzon before the end came. In Japan the war planners took
note of these stories. As had the American President, they
realized the psychological blow the death or capture of MacArthur would
have on the already battered American psyche. An entire destroyer
division was immediately dispatched to prevent MacArthur's evacuation. In Japan, Tokyo Rose filled the airwaves with her
own speculation...that MacArthur would be captured within a month.
The nearest submarine was the Permit
which could not reach Corregidor before March 13. MacArthur was
running out of time and turned to a most unconventional escape measure.
the early days of World War II the Navy's MTBs (Motor Torpedo Boat later
called PT Boats) were an unglamorous duty assignment for any
officer who yearned for his own ship. The small 70-foot, plywood
speedboats were viewed as courier craft, not fighting vessels.
All that changed in the opening days of World War II thanks to a
swashbuckling young lieutenant named John Duncan Bulkeley. As commander
of MTB Squadron 3 in Manila, Bulkeley had a command that consisted of
six boats, each crewed by about a dozen men. From December 8 to
March 11 these flimsy craft became the fighting navy of the Philippine
Islands. For his heroism and leadership Bulkeley would earn the
Medal of Honor, the Navy Cross, TWO Distinguished Service Crosses and
two Silver Stars.
Bulkeley's MTBs established a solid
record of accomplishment in their early defense of the Philippines,
which had not gone unnoticed by General MacArthur. By March the
Squadron was down to four badly scarred and battle-worn boats, but
MacArthur believed they could somehow ferry him safely out to
Mindanao. On March 11 MacArthur turned command of the
Philippine Forces over to General Wainwright, then boarded Bulkeley's
PT-41 along with his wife and son.
When the squadron pulled away from
Corregidor at sunset it carried some of the most important
military leaders and specialists on the island. Bulkeley later noted: "Rank
made no difference. Washington had ordered MacArthur to bring out
the most valuable of his men, and so they were all specialists--there
was even a staff sergeant, who was a technician, along with us, while
thirty-odd generals were left behind on Bataan.
Those who were left behind may not
have envied those who were attempting to break out in Bulkeley's small
PT boats. With Japanese planes scouring the area for any sign of
an escape attempt, with enemy patrols increased to all-time highs around
the islands, and with a destroyer division steaming their direction,
Corregidor set MacArthur's chances of escape at fifty-to-one.
The plan called for Bulkeley's
fast-moving PT boats to carefully wend their way through the myriad of
small islands that stretched out between Manila Bay and Mindanao,
traveling only at night to avoid detection from the air. Once the
boats reached Mindanao MacArthur and his party would travel inland to
Del Monte Airfield to fly on to Australia. Before departing
Corregidor on March 11 MacArthur phoned his air chief, Major General
George Brett in Australia, to order that three B-17 Flying Fortresses
be flown to Del Monte Airfield on March 13 to meet him.
The story of MacArthur's breakout
from Corregidor was published before the end of that same year in a book
titled They Were Expendable. This was subsequently made into a movie
starring Robert Montgomery as Lieutenant Bulkeley (called Brickley in
the movie) and John Wayne as his second-in-command. After 35 hours
of skilful maneuvers throughout 560 miles of enemy infested waters,
Lieutenant Bulkeley arrived at Mindanao on the morning of March
The subsequent accounts of that
mission reveal it to have been fraught with danger. Close calls were
encountered from both enemy aircraft and adverse weather throughout nearly every
mile. The accounts detail how many of the Army passengers
were seasick to the point of near unconsciousness. A Navy
admiral who escaped in Lieutenant Robert Kelly's PT-34 told the skipper
of the small wooden speedboat, "I've sailed every type ship in
the navy except one of these MTB's, and this is the worst bridge I've
ever been on. I wouldn't do duty on one of these for anything in
the world--you can have them."
(a.m.) we sighted the light on the point at Cagayan's entrance (on
Mindanao). We slowed to let the 41 boat lead the way, as it
had the channel charts."
"General (William F.)
Sharp, commanding officer of the island of Mindanao, was down
there to meet us, and as soon as we could see the pier we woke up
General MacArthur. He shook the salt water out of his gold
general's cap, flipped it on his head--somehow it always lands at
a jaunty angle, seems to go with his cane--and looked around with
his jaw set--a fine figure of a soldier.
"Then he said to me,
'Bulkeley, I'm giving every officer and man here the Silver Star
for gallantry. You've taken me out of the jaws of death, and
I won't forget it."
LtCdr John Duncan
They Were Expendable
If MacArthur was well pleased with
Lieutenant Bulkeley, he was not so happy with General Sharp.
Mindanao's army commander lined the route from the harbor where
MacArthur stepped off PT-41 to the airfield at Del Monte with soldiers,
advertising the General's presence to any Japanese pilot flying
Young To Fly
Two days earlier General MacArthur
had departed Corregidor in a battered, 70-foot plywood speedboat to traverse
more than 500 miles of sometimes open seas, waters controlled by the enemy and
patrolled from the air. Having endured all that, one might have
thought the General prepared for anything. He was not, however,
prepared for what happened at Del Monte Airfield when he arrived with
his entourage to board the B-17s he had requested for the flight to
In his own account Lieutenant
Bulkeley hinted at the problems by writing: "We arrived on
the thirteenth (of March). Four flying fortresses from Australia
were supposed to have met the General. One cracked up on take-off,
two came down in the Australian desert, and the one which finally
arrived had supercharger trouble and had to turn around and go back
without any passengers, so MacArthur didn't get away until the
MacArthur biographer William
Manchester provided a little more detail, noting: "The
best (General) Brett could do was to send one of his old Fortresses (to
Del Monte). Ground crews lugged away the movable trees which camouflaged
Del Monte's crude airstrip, and the plane coughed and wheezed down in a
wobbly landing. The General (MacArthur) took one look at it and
radioed blistering messages to Washington about 'consigning the whole
party to death.' He demanded 'the three best planes'
The bottom line was that, just as Lieutenant Bulkeley's PT boats were battle-torn
and capable of continued
missions only through the courage and ingenuity of their crews, the
B-17s that were now flying missions out of Batchelor Field in Australia
were in equally bad condition. Most were remnants of the 19th Bombardment
group that had survived the action at Luzon and relocated to Australia the
In the interim they had been flying
bombing and reconnaissance missions out of Batchelor Field, thanks to the
diligent efforts of the ground crews which patched up the holes and
found ways to keep the propellers turning. Since arriving south of
Darwin, few of them had made the 1,400 mile flight back to the
Philippine Islands. On January 26 an LB-30 and a B-24 had managed
to fly into Del Monte to deliver an emergency request for medical
supplies. A second such mission was flown on February 3rd.
On March 11 as General MacArthur
was boarding PT-41 at Corregidor, three battered but patched up B-17s
departed Batchelor Field to fly additional medical supplies to Del
Monte. One turned back and another reportedly crashed. The
remaining B-17 was piloted by Lieutenant Harl Pease, whose own Flying
Fortress was being held together with "bailing wire and
Under the dim lights that
cautiously marked the airfield at night he came in for a landing,
despite the fact that he had no brakes. After a bumpy landing he
offloaded the needed supplies, then boarded several stranded technicians
to fly them out of harm's way and back to Australia. He was later
awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroism in completing
this dangerous mission, one made all the more hazardous by the lack of
brakes and a badly war-damaged bomber.
Two days later Lieutenant Pease was
one of three (some accounts say four) B-17s dispatched under orders from
General Brett to meet General MacArthur and fly him to Australia.
One of these was forced to turn back due to mechanical
malfunctions. Captain Henry Godman's B-17 was unable to complete
the flight, crashing in the sea near Mindanao with the loss of two of
his crew. (Captain Godman was later awarded the DFC for this
mission.) Again, only Harl Pease remained to fly into Del Monte, where
General MacArthur waited with his family and staff.
The ground crews back in Australia
had done their best to repair Pease's bomber after his mission two days
earlier, but he was now experiencing hydraulic problems that challenged
his landing at Del Monte. Aviation historian Peter Dunn gives an
account not previously included in the writings of Bulkeley or
Manchester: "(It) had to be ground looped to stop it in
time. This did not impress MacArthur, and he was even less
impressed when he saw the young pilot of the B-17, 1st Lt. Harl Pease,
slide out of the forward hatch of the aircraft. MacArthur was
reported to have muttered,
'He's only a boy'."
"After that, MacArthur just
absolutely refused to fly with Pease," recently recounted Dick
Graf who flew into Del Monte three days later to finally evacuate
MacArthur. "Pease unloaded his cargo, filled his plane
with technicians trying to get out of there, and flew back without
MacArthur. The general simply didn't want to have anything to do
with the beat-up old bomber."
It was then that MacArthur
contacted General Brett to demand the "three best planes"
available be dispatched to Del Monte immediately. Ironically,
these B-17s came from the Navy's inventory and were part of its task
force at Townsville, Australia. On March 14th they were absorbed
into the 19th Bombardment Group as the 40th Reconnaissance
Squadron. Three days later three of these B-17s departed
Townsville to carry supplies to Del Monte. Until they landed
none of the pilots or crew were aware they would be returning with
Lieutenant Harold Chaffin's Flying
Fortress was forced to return due to mechanical problems, but two of
the big bombers managed to land at Del Monte shortly before
midnight. Captain Frank Brostrom's lead aircraft made the trek
despite an overheated supercharger. He gulped coffee while the
mechanics worked quickly to repair the defect. Overloaded with
General MacArthur, his wife and son, and several key staffers, Brostrom
managed to become airborne in the early morning hours to fly to
Darwin. Behind him flew the second B-17 piloted Captain Lewis and
his crew of seven, including radio-man Dick Graf.
"One thing I don't think
anyone has ever mentioned," Mr. Graf said in the recent phone
interview from his home in Australia, "is that we had a
stowaway. Everyone on the crew knew it, he snuck into the tail
section. The interesting part is, when I went to the B-17 Fiftieth
Reunion in Seattle in 1985 I was visiting with a member of Lieutenant
Brostrom's airplane and found out they had a stowaway too. Two
unauthorized men made it out on that flight. I guess, someone
might have said they were deserting in the face of the enemy. But
there was nothing more they could do at Mindanao. I guess we kind
of though it was ingenious...stowing away to get out of there. We
never told anyone, not even the crews of the other aircraft...until
The following day Lieutenant
Chaffin's repaired B-17 managed to reach Del Monte and safely return to
Australia with the remainder of MacArthur's staff. From then on
very few Americans made it off the island before the Japanese took control.
Two Navy PBYs managed to evacuate about 50 key persons from Corregidor
in the early spring, and one aging B-24 affectionately called Old
Bucket of Bolts made nocturnal runs into Del Monte prior to its
On April 9th the Bataan Forces
Major General Edward King surrendered and were forced into a horrible
captivity, prefaced by the infamous Bataan Death March. Two days
later Brigadier General Ralph Royce led a
force of B-25s in a series of three bombing missions out of Del
Monte. The targets were Japanese positions at Nichols Field near
Manila and at Cebu City. During the Royce mission the attack on
Nichols Field was conducted by three B-17s of the 19th Bombardment
Group. One of them was flown by Lieutenant Harl Pease, the daring
young man that General MacArthur had refused to fly with.
In retaliation the Japanese launched a
major assault on Del Monte, destroying one of the B-17s (probably
Pease's bomber) and damaging the
other two. When enemy ground forces were within 24 hours of Del
Monte General Royce ordered his aircraft back to Australia, leaving
Pease and his crew behind. In the
last week of April five submarines evacuated what personnel they could
from the islands. One report indicates that the Seadragon
left with four officers and 20 enlisted men of the 19th Bomb
Group...including Harl Pease.
On May 6 General Jonathan Wainwright
sent a cable from his headquarters at Corregidor to Washington, DC:
is a limit of human endurance and that limit has long since
been passed. With out prospect of relief, I feel it is
my duty to my Country, and to my gallant troops, to end this
useless effusion of blood and human sacrifice. With
profound regret and continued pride in my gallant troops, I
go to meet the Japanese commander.
As is the case in any
major wartime activity, dates, places and chronology become
muddled with time and retelling. The exact chronology of the
B-17 missions to rescue General Douglas MacArthur, the dates
aircraft arrived at Del Monte, the number flown, etc. are
different in various accounts. The best information is
perhaps derived from the DFCs awarded to the five pilots and their
crewmembers who flew those missions. They are:
- 1LT Harl Pease for his flight
on March 11, 1942 when he landed without brakes
- Capt. Godman for his Flight
on March 13 when he crashed in the sea off Mindanao
- 1LT Bostrom for his flight of
March 17, 1942 to fly General MacArthur to Australia
- Capt. Lewis for this same
flight to evacuate MacArthur's staff
- 1Lt Chaffin who made a
similar flight the following day after repairing his B-17
The above indicates that Lt. Pease
must have flown into Del Monte TWICE, once on March 11 when he
landed without brakes and again two days later when MacArthur
witnessed his landing after he experienced hydraulic problems and
refused to fly out with him. Perhaps there may have been
only one flight. If so it would have to have been on March
13. Dick Graf is firm in recounting that Pease indeed landed
at Del Monte on March 13 while MacArthur was waiting and that "MacArthur
refused to fly out with him. I never met Pease myself, but
we all knew that story."
Australia was no safe haven when General
MacArthur flew there on March 17. Originally his destination was the
city of Darwin, but when Lieutenant Brostrom's B-17 approached with the dawn it
was to find Darwin under attack. The flight diverted further south to
land at Batchelor Field.
The battle for Australia actually began
on January 23 when Japanese troops landed on New Britain Island northeast of
New Guinea. The eastern half of New Guinea and nearby New Britain Island
the administrative rule of Australia. The small garrison near Rabaul at
the north end of New Britain was quickly overwhelmed by 5,000 Japanese
soldiers under Major General Tomitaro Horii, and within weeks a series of
major airfields were established from which the Japanese hoped to control the
region and cut off communications between the United States and Australia.
This immediate threat to Australia moved
the Pacific war up a notch in the Allied war plans. No longer could
turning back Japanese aggression in Asia and the Pacific be treated as
secondary to winning the war in Europe. To compound matters, three
Australian divisions had been committed to support Britain's war effort in
Europe. With the Australian homeland threatened, these were needed back
home. Winston Churchill realized if he was to have help from Australia
to defeat Hitler, he would have to first assure them that they would be
secured from a Japanese invasion.
By mid-April the Japanese controlled the
west end of Dutch New Guinea and had fortified 1,200 miles of coastline
along the north end of the large island. The only thing standing in the way of
taking complete control of the landmass was the foreboding Owen Stanley Range
that split the Papuan Peninsula on the east side of new New Guinea. It created a buffer between thousands of Japanese in
the north and the Australian defenders in the south. From their
airfields at Lae and Rabaul the Emperor's troops easily controlled the Solomons and were close
to cutting off all communications between Australia and the United States.
The key to defense of New Guinea, and therefore
by extension Australia, was the important city of Port Moresby. It was
here that General MacArthur established his headquarters after departing
Luzon. Meanwhile Allied aircraft including American bombers from the
19th Bombardment Squadron began flying missions out of Batchelor Field south
of Darwin, and out of Townsville on Australia's eastern coastline, to hit
Japanese airfields and bases on New Guinea and at Rabaul.
The Japanese strategy for control of the
Pacific was based around a three-phase operation designed to accomplish two
primary objectives: to complete the destruction of the American Pacific Fleet,
and to isolate Australia so that it could be quickly and easily taken for the Emperor.
Phase 1 labeled Operation Mo,
called for the invasion of Port Moresby (and Tulagi, the Solomons' capitol
to the north of Guadalcanal), enabling the Japanese to build airfields
from which they could easily attack Australia.
Phase 2 called for the capture of an
American strategic position the Japanese referred to in their codes as
"AF", along with a nearly simultaneous attack on Alaska's
westernmost Aleutian Islands.
Phase 3 would follow with the seizing
of New Caledonia, Fiji and Samoa, thereby effectively isolating Australia from
any out-side assistance.
Mo became operational in early May
when the Japanese dispatched the 5th Carrier Division which included the large
carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku, under Vice Admiral Shigemi Inouye,
to the Coral Sea. These and their accompanying battleships served
as escorts for two landing forces that were to invade Tulagi and Port Moresby.
Meanwhile the U.S. Navy's Task Force 17
was operating northeast of Australia in the Coral Sea. Under the command
of Rear Admiral Frank J. Fletcher, Task Force 17 included the aircraft carrier
USS Yorktown, 67 carrier-launched aircraft, three heavy cruisers, six
destroyers and two fleet tankers. Back at Pearl Harbor American cryptologists
had broken enough of the Japanese code to be forewarned of the planned
invasion. Admiral Chester Nimitz immediately sent Rear Admiral Aubrey Fitch's
Task Force 11 to reinforce the Yorktown. Based around the carrier
USS Lexington, Task Force 11 added 69 airplanes, two heavy cruisers and
six destroyers to the naval presence assigned to turn back the invasion.
On May 4 the operation began with the
landing of Japanese troops at Tulagi, just north of the larger but relatively
unknown island of Guadalcanal. Because the Japanese code had been
broken, the landing was not unexpected and pilots from the American task
forces were sent to meet them. Flying low, bombers from the American
air craft carriers braved enemy fire to turn back the landing.
Lieutenant John J. Powers, a dive-bomber pilot from the Lexington,
scored a direct hit on a Japanese gunboat and narrowly missed two
others. Even so, by nightfall Tulagi belonged to the Japanese, though the American's
had drawn first-blood in the enemy offensive. Admiral Inouye now turned
his force west for the all-important invasion of Port Moresby, acutely aware of the
American presence in the Coral Sea.
Powers returned to the Lexington elated at his victory and determined
to send more enemy ships to the bottom. In order to accomplish that
however, the American pilot first had to find Admiral Inouye's battle
group. For two days scout planes sought them out while Japanese scouts
vainly tried to locate the American warships. It was a deadly game of
hide-and-seek. When at last they found each other it signaled the
opening of what would be called the Battle of the Coral Sea, a historic change in naval
warfare. At no time in the two-day engagement did the vessels of either
side make ship-to-ship visual contact, or fire directly at each other.
The carrier forces battled from afar using only their airborne armament.
On the morning of May 7 the Japanese drew
blood before noon when they sank the American destroyer USS Sims
(DD-409) and left the oiler Neosho (AO-23) drifting in ruin. The
important tanker was south of the American carrier task forces, having been
ordered to remain at what Admiral Fletcher hoped would be a safe distance
during the battle. The Sims fought bravely against three waves of
enemy airplanes before it was ripped in half and sank in less than a
minute. Simultaneously, seven enemy bombs struck the Neosho
setting it afire and leaving it drifting aimlessly while the Japanese bombers
of the Sims that survived the sinking floated at sea for ten days
before they were rescued. Only sixty-eight survived.
The deck of
the floundering Neosho was littered with dead and badly burned crewmen
as fire swept through the damaged, but still-afloat, oiler. Below deck
survivors struggled to save their ship. Among the rescue crews was Chief
Watertender Oscar V. Peterson, badly burned but still valiantly leading his
sailors in trying to put out fires in the boiler rooms. A volunteer was
needed to close the bulkhead stop valves in order to reduce the pressure that
might otherwise cause an internal explosion that would deal a death-knell to
Rather than ask one of his men to perform this dangerous
task, and despite
his own painful injuries, Peterson did the job himself. He suffered additional
painful burns in the process that were ultimately fatal. His sacrifice
contributed greatly to the fact that the Neosho remained afloat for
four days until it could be found by a rescue destroyer. For his
sacrifice, Chief Watertender Peterson was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
While Japanese pilots were attacking
the Sims and Neosho, American scout planes were looking for Admiral
Inouye's task force. What they found was the light carrier Shoho.
Torpedo and dive bombers were dispatched from the Yorktown.
Lieutenant John J. Powers circled high above while the torpedo bombers went in
first. Normally his dive-bombers would follow to rain destruction from
high above. When his turn came however, Lieutenant Powers dove within
1,000 feet of the enemy carrier to release his payload from a dangerously low
level. His courage paid off, scoring a direct hit and inspiring the
other American pilots. When their aircraft turned back toward the Lexington
at 11:36 a.m., Lieutenant Commander Bob Dixon radioed "Scratch One
Flat Top! Dixon to carrier. Scratch One Flat Top!"
It was the best news to come out of the Pacific in months. Though the Shoho
had been only a secondary target in the Battle of the Coral Sea, when it sank
below the surface of the ocean, American pilots had gained their first major
naval victory of the six-month old war.
When night fell the American Task Force
was still frustrated in its search for Admiral Inouye's invasion force, and
deeply saddened by the loss of two American ships. Aboard the Lexington
Lieutenant Powers lectured his squadron in anticipation of more combat the
following morning. His subsequent Medal of Honor citation noted his
"That evening, in his
capacity as squadron gunnery officer, Lt. Powers gave a lecture to the
squadron on point-of-aim and diving technique. During this discourse
he advocated low release point in order to insure greater accuracy; yet he
stressed the danger not only from enemy fire and the resultant low
pull-out, but from (their) own bomb blast and bomb fragments. Thus his low
dive bombing attacks were deliberate and premeditated, since he well knew
and realized the dangers of such tactics, but went far beyond the call of
duty in order to further the cause which he knew to be right."
On the morning of May 8 as the pilots of
the Lexington's Bombing Squadron 5 assembled for take-off, Lieutenant
Powers reminded them of the importance of their mission. "Remember,
the folks back home are counting on us," he said. "I am
going to get a hit if I have to lay it on their flight deck."
Hours later his pilots at last found the
enemy task force. From 18,000 feet they could see the large armada
below, containing the big aircraft carriers Zuikaku and Shokaku.
The sky was filled with enemy fighters and anti-aircraft fire when Lieutenant
Powers put his Dauntless into a steep dive. Heedless of the explosions
around him he focused on the flight deck of the Shokaku, riding his
screaming plane ever closer until nothing but her metal deck could be seen through
his cockpit window. From only 200 feet he released his bomb, certain
there was no chance it would miss from that altitude. His fellow pilots
watched in concern and awe as Powers pulled back and tried to come out of the
dive. Below him the bomb he had released crashed through the deck of the
Shokaku and erupted in a mighty explosion. It was an eruption so fierce and so
close that it engulfed the Dauntless that had initiated it.
Lieutenant Powers and his pilots were attacking the Shokaku and Zuikaku,
Admiral Inouye's own pilots were locating the American task force.
A fierce air battle followed as the enemy dove in waves to strafe, bomb and
torpedo the two big American aircraft carrier. Lieutenant (j.g.)
William Bill Hall was a Dauntless pilot who had played an important
combat role in sinking the Shoho the previous day. Now,
though greatly outnumber, he valiantly fought to turn back the waves that
threatened his own ship.
Lieutenant Hall repeatedly counter-attacked
the enemy in actions during which three enemy aircraft were shot down. When the
enemy bombers retreated, despite his own serious wounds and the fact that his
Dauntless was literally shot to pieces, Hall managed to safely land it. He
was the only one of four men awarded the Medal of Honor during the Battle of
the Coral Sea, to survive to wear it.
The Japanese torpedo planes and dive
bombers returned to their own carriers, not only because they had expended all
their ordnance, but also because they had inflicted the damage they had set
out to achieve. The Lexington was ablaze from direct torpedo hits
and struggling to remain afloat. The Yorktown also had been hit
by both bombs and torpedoes, and was badly damaged.
Late in the afternoon explosions erupted
deep within the Lexington, signaling the end of the great aircraft
carrier. The crew was ordered to abandon ship and by nightfall the
U.S. Navy had suffered the first total loss of an aircraft carrier in the
Yorktown listed heavily as it tried to limp back to Pearl Harbor, a
gaping hole in her flight deck. The great carrier would survive to fight
one more important battle only because of the determination of what remained
of her valiant
crew. Among those who did what was necessary to save their ship was
Lieutenant Milton Rickets, a Naval officer from Baltimore, Maryland.
Ricketts was the engineering officer working deep within the Yorktown
when a bomb had crashed through four levels of the ship to explode beneath the
hangar deck. Sixty-four men were killed instantly and Lieutenant
Ricketts was mortally wounded.
Before he succumbed to his injuries
Ricketts found within himself the strength and will to organize a damage control party,
back the flames that engulfed his compartment. Struggling against
extreme pain, he picked up a fire hose and directed it at the worst of the fire,
remaining at this position until he collapsed and died.
Statistically, the Japanese won the
battle...one American aircraft carrier sunk, another badly damaged. In
destroyer Sims had been sunk and the Neosho was helplessly adrift at sea.
Strategically however, it was
a turning point for the American forces in the Pacific. At the Coral Sea
sank their first enemy carrier and badly damaged two others. More
importantly, because of that damage, the invasion force headed for Port
Moresby had to turn back. It was the last time in the course of the
entire war that the important port on the southeast side of New Guinea would
be threatened from the sea.
The Battle of Midway is often called the
turning point of World War II. It was a desperate gamble proposed by
Admiral Yamamoto shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack, and then given new
credence by the Doolittle raid on Tokyo. To wrest control of the
American outpost at the edge of Japanese-controlled waters, the Japanese
commander put together a fleet that dwarfed anything seen by either side to
that point in the war. Consisting of 8 carriers, 7 battleships, 20
cruisers, 60 destroyers, 15 submarines and 30 auxiliary ships, the Japanese naval force
was further augmented by 16 troop transports.
Because much of the Japanese code had
been broken, American war planners knew that something big was
happening. The one piece of vital information missing was exactly WHERE
the attack would occur. Intercepted enemy communications referred to "AF"
as the target.
At Pearl Harbor the cryptologists knew the "A" stood for "American"
but had not yet determined what American base the "F"
represented. Some strategists believed this indicated an attack on Alaska,
which in fact Admiral Yamamoto was planning in conjunction with his major
strike at Midway. Still others feared it might signal attacks on America's west coast. Admiral Chester
Nimitz was convinced that "AF" stood for Midway, the
2-square-mile atoll that was the only American station between Hawaii and
To confirm this belief, in mid-May the
commanding officer at Midway was told to send a message in the clear advising
Command that the distillation plant on the atoll was damaged,
and that he had only enough fresh water for 10 days. As expected, the
Japanese intercepted the un-coded message and advised their own commanders in a coded message that "AF is short of
water". Midway was now confirmed as the primary target of
Yamamoto's vast armada.
Midway was quickly fortified with
hundreds of aircraft from large B-17 bombers to Navy sea planes. The USS
Hornet and USS Enterprise, recently returned from the Tokyo raid,
were quickly armed at Pearl Harbor and sent to reinforce Midway. Admiral
Yamamoto's intelligence information erroneously placed these carriers somewhere in the
Solomon Islands, so their presence near Midway would offer him a deadly
The USS Yorktown, limping slowly
back to Pearl after the Battle of the Coral Sea, offered yet one more
surprise. Yamamoto believed Yorktown had been sunk along with the
Lexington. The big ship's unexpected survival might have been a moot point as it was
estimated that it would take 30 days to repair her and
return the carrier to fighting condition. Admiral Nimitz ordered the
impossible...repairs in THREE days. Somehow the workers at Pearl got the
job done and the Yorktown sailed out of Pearl in time for Admiral
Fletcher's Task Force 17 to join Task Force 16 at a point 300 miles northeast
of Midway Atoll on June 2. When all American naval assets were assembled, in addition to the
three carriers Admiral Nimitz had 8 cruisers and 14 destroyers. There were no
battleships for all had been sunk or damaged on December 7. What mattered
most however, was that Admiral Nimitz had the element of surprise.
At dawn on June 4 the Japanese carriers
launched more than 100 fighters and bombers to attack American positions at
Midway. An American PBY spotted the enemy fleet at daybreak and warned all
aircraft at the Atoll to get in the air while the ground forces prepared to
defend their position. Major Lofton Henderson was soon airborne from
Midway with his squadron of Navy bombers, struggling through a wall of
Japanese Zeroes to lay his deadly bombs on the carriers below. In
minutes fifteen of his twenty-five SBDs (Slow But Deadly) Dauntless
bombers were shot down. Major Henderson's plane was hit and burst into
flames as he dove towards the large aircraft carrier Akagi. Realizing
he was doomed in his flaming coffin, Major Henderson continued his attack all
the way to
from the cockpit of his own SBD was Captain Richard Fleming, a Marine Corps pilot who had
survived Pearl Harbor. He had spent the following months flying endless patrols
around Midway. Upon seeing the death of his commander, Fleming put his
own airplane into dive, screaming through a hail of enemy fire to drop his
bomb. It narrowly missed the Akagi's deck as the frustrated young
man pulled out to head back to Midway. Both Fleming and his gunner were
wounded and when he landed, the ground crews counted 179 holes in his
Dauntless. Despite his wounds and that damage Fleming was determined to fly
again. This time he
Though the opening hours of the historic
battle were both
unproductive and disastrous for the dive bombers from Midway, before noon
aircraft from the Enterprise swooped in from high above. In less
than an hour the Japanese carriers Akagi, Soryu and Akagi were
in flames and sinking. The Japanese fleet had been totally unprepared
for the snare Admiral Nimitz had laid for them.
The remaining Japanese carrier Hiryu was
all that remained to strike a blow against the American fleet. The
flat-top managed to
send twenty-five bombers and fighters to attack the already battered Yorktown.
While these were attempting to finish the job left undone
in the Coral Sea, dive-bombers from the Enterprise found and bombed the
Hiryu. Seven hours later it sank, while farther away in the
distance the crew of the battered Yorktown tried once again to keep
their ship afloat. By nightfall the Japanese had
lost four carriers, damaged one American carrier, and failed to take
Midway. The loss was humiliating and Admiral Yamamoto ordered his
surviving ships to withdraw to Saipan.
In their panicky withdrawal on the
morning of June 5 the Japanese cruisers Mogami and Mikuma
collided, damaging each other. The US submarine Tambor witnessed
this and radioed Midway to scramble bombers to finish off the two
warships. Leading the flight was Captain Richard Fleming. Again
diving in through a hail of enemy fire, Fleming was determined to be close
enough to the Mogami to ensure a direct hit. From only 350 feet
he released his bomb. He was too close to pull out of the dive.
Later the skipper of the damaged Japanese ship recalled, "I saw a
dive-bomber dive into the last turret and start fires. He (the pilot)
was very brave."
Unlike the Battle of the Coral Sea, the
Battle of Midway was both a statistical and a strategic American
victory. The one tragedy was the loss of the Yorktown which was
finished off by a Japanese submarine the day after she was bombed by aircraft
from the carrier Hiryu. Marine Captain Richard Fleming was the
only man to earn the Medal of Honor during the Battle of Midway, and his would
be the last Medal of Honor earned for more than two months. The next
would belong to an Army Air Force pilot...the man too young to fly General
General MacArthur's experience back at
Del Monte Airfield had been the final straw for his air chief, Lieutenant
General George Brett. The supreme commander had always been somewhat
dubious of the role of air power, and even less confident in the man who
commanded it from Australia. (Similarly, many airmen had a strong
distrust of MacArthur, often speculated to have dated back to MacArthur's role
as a judge in the court martial proceedings against Billy
Upon arrival in Australia MacArthur wired
Washington that he wanted his air chief relieved, and a new commander sent to
organize his air force. While awaiting the arrival of General
George C. Kenney, the man Hap Arnold selected to replace Brett, General
Kenneth Walker arrived and began a tour of the American Air Forces. A dedicated
proponent of the value of strategic bombardment, he spent considerable time
visiting with pilots of the 19th Bombardment Squadron at Townsville on
Australia's east coast. From there, as well as from Batchelor field
south of Darwin, pilots continued near-daily missions northward against targets on New Guinea, at Rabaul, and in the Solomons.
By the time General Kenny arrived on July
28 to take charge of his new 5th Air Force, some semblance of structure and
order began to take shape. Missions were laid out with a careful view of
tactical planning and a sense of purpose. Even General MacArthur developed some
degree of a new appreciation for what his airmen could accomplish in support of
ground operations. They became vital that same month when reconnaissance
flights in the Solomons revealed that the Japanese were constructing a new
airfield on an island just south of Tulagi...an island called Guadalcanal.
Hastily a plan was drafted to land
American forces on Guadalcanal. That task was assigned to General
Alexander Vandegrift, whose 1st Marine Division was scattered throughout the
Pacific. It consisted largely of untrained, untested Marines, and Vandegrift
initially expected to have six months to prepare his men for combat. The
appearance of the airfield on Guadalcanal reduced his time to six weeks.
An invasion was scheduled for the night of August 6-7, and would ultimately comprise the
first American ground offensive of the war.
To prevent the Japanese from launching
air attacks on General Vandegrift's Marines, General Kenney prepared a large
flight of his
B-17s to launch a massive early-morning bombing raid on Rabaul. On
the day before the invasion he planned to conduct a diversionary attack
enemy air base at Lae in order to draw enemy fighters away from the Guadalcanal
landings. Both missions would be flown by pilots of the 19th Bombardment
Squadron, which would be staged forward of their airfield at Townsville and fly
out of Port Moresby.
Harl Pease, recently promoted to Captain,
was assigned the early mission against Lae. Shortly after taking off at
6 a.m. an engine failed, forcing him to turn back. Since there were no
facilities to change his faulty engine at Port Moresby, Captain Pease nursed his Flying
Fortress over 600 miles of open water to return to Townsville. There
he looked around for another bomber. If he couldn't complete his mission
against Lae, he would certainly try to bomb Rabaul. The members of his crew eagerly volunteered to do what
was necessary. U.S. Marine lives hung
in the balance.
The only bomber remaining at Townsville
was a battered B-17 no longer suitable for combat, and now used only for
training. For this reason much of the bomber's armament, as well as the electric
fuel-transfer pump, had been robbed for other airplanes. Pease and his
crew quickly installed a bomb bay tank and improvised fuel transfer with a
hand pump. The process took three hours. Had anyone in command
realized the poor condition of that bomber Captain Pease would have never been allowed to take off.
No one noticed however, so Pease and crew flew back to Port Moresby.
After flying all day Captain Pease and
his crew arrived and made a night landing at Seven Mile airdrome at Port
Moresby near 1 a.m. on August 7. There they managed only three hours
rest before the morning mission briefing was to begin.
The B-17s were scheduled to take off in
the early morning for the long flight to Rabaul. Almost immediately fate
turned against the mission. First, one bomber crashed on take off.
Then, two more
were forced by mechanical problems to return to base.
The remaining B-17s flew northward towards their target, Vunakanau Air Field
Eleven miles from target the incoming
American Flying Fortresses were attacked by a large formation of 30 enemy
Zeroes. There was no shortage of Japanese aircraft on Rabaul, which
boasted an estimated
150 fighters and bombers at Vunakanau alone. For the remainder of the
flight into the target these fighters attacked the bombers while the American
gunners fought back. Pease's crew shot down several before they were
over their target and released their bomb load.
With his mission accomplished, Captain
Pease turned back towards Port Moresby. Again enemy fighters attacked in a
running battle that lasted nearly half-an-hour. Pease's B-17 sustained
major damage and began falling behind as the lead bombers ducked into an
opportune series of storm clouds for cover. The last that was seen of
Captain Pease and his Flying Fortress was the burning bomb bay tank he
jettisoned from his doomed airplane.
Captain Harl Pease's posthumous award of
the Medal of Honor recalled his determination to complete a mission in spite
of the many reasons that could have excused him. It says in part:
performing this mission Capt. Pease contributed materially to the success
of the group and displayed high devotion to duty, valor, and complete
contempt for person danger. His undaunted bravery has been a great
inspiration to the officers and men of his unit."
On December 2, 1942, President Franklin
presented the second Medal of Honor earned by an Army airmen of World War II
to the parents of Harl Pease. The accompanying citation gave a true
picture of the man's courage and tenacity. Every effort is made to
insure that any citation for an award as dignified as the Medal of Honor is
both accurate and honest. The only error in Harl Pease's Medal of Honor
citation can be found in a single sentence:
"Capt. Pease's airplane
and crew were subsequently shot down in flames, as they did not return to
Of the B-17s that conducted the
bombing mission against Vunakanau Field at Rabaul on the morning of
August 7, 1942, only one did NOT return. Two Flying Fortresses
reached their airfields with a casualty among the crew from the running
battle over New Britain with the Japanese Zeroes. The B-17 with
tail number 41-2617 was one that should never have been included in
the mission. It crashed on New Britain near the confluence of the
Mavlo and Powell rivers where a group of natives found the bodies of
seven of the airplane's 9-man crew. These were buried behind a
kiln in a Christian mission where they were located after the war, and exhumed in 1946 for burial by their
living comrades. They were finally last laid to rest on their home
soil, with full military honors.
Two of the stricken bomber's crew
had managed to bail out to safety, only to be captured by the
April 30, 1942, Father George Lepping, a Catholic Missionary
in the South Pacific, was taken prisoner at Bougainville
by the Japanese. Five months later he was transferred
to a prison camp on Rabaul. There he found five
American airmen, one of whom was Sergeant Chikowsky, a
crewman from Harl Pease's last flight. Another of
the American prisoners was the man the Japanese called
"Captain Boeing" because he had once piloted a
Boeing B-17 bomber. That man was Captain Harl Pease,
well respected by fellow prisoners and captors alike, for
he was a man of strength and integrity.
In the 1980s Father Lepping's wrote
the final chapter in the life of Harl Pease when he recounted meeting Sergeant Chikowsky
and Captain Boeing in that prison camp on Rabaul. He
also told how on the morning of October 8, 1942, the two
survivors of B-17 #41-2617 were taken into the
jungle with a work detail consisting of two other
American and two Australian prisoners. Their task
consisted of digging a shallow grave wherein all six
unarmed prisoners were buried after their execution by
sword. The returning Japanese murderer told Father
Lepping, "You go tomorrow."
Fortunately that night American
B-17s bombed the camp, wounding the Japanese leader who
had made the threat. His replacement didn't know
that Father Lepping was marked for similar murder and he
survived the war to finish the story of Captain Harl
author is please to express sincere appreciation to Mr. Dick
Graf for his invaluable contribution to this story. Mr.
Graf was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross as the radio man
on the B-17 piloted by Captain Lewis when it flew into Del Monte
Airfield on March 17, 1942 to fly Douglas MacArthur and his
staff from the Philippines to Australia. Mr. Lewis
graciously granted a detailed phone interview from his present
home in Australia in the preparation for this story.
Cerasini, Marc, Heroes: U.S. Marine Corps
Medal of Honor Winners, Berkley, 2002
Frisbee, John L., "Rabaul on a Wing and a Prayer", Air Force
Valor, Vol. 73, No. 7, July 1990
Manchester, William, American Ceasar: Douglas MacArthur, Dell, 1983
Manning, Robert, Above and Beyond, Boston Publishing Company, Boston,
Meilinger, Col. Phillip S., Airmen and Air Theory, AU Press, Maxwell
AFB, AL 2001
Murphy, Edward F., Heroes of World War II, Pesidio, 1990
Thomas, Lowell, These Men Shall Never Die, John C. Winston Company,
White, W. L., They Were Expendable, Harcourt, Brace and Company,
Part II - World War
A Very Special Thanks to Author/Historian Barrett
Tillman for his special assistance and creative support in the
development of this series.
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