Cletus J. Schwab

[Audie Murphy like in Asia]

World War 2 War Stories- My Hero

This is the story of my uncle Cletus J. Schwab spelled SCHWAB

Cletus was the younger brother of my mother and my hero.

Uncle Clete were drafted during World War II and these following awards:

Two Brown Stars

Three Purple Hearts

Good Conduct Medal

Combat Infantry Badge

Philippines Liberation Ribbon

Seven Overseas Service Bars

American Defense Service Medal

Asiatic/Pacific Campaign Ribbon

Pacific Service Medal

Victory Medal

Filipino Awards Medals

Two Presidential Citations

This is his story.

Cletus was drafted into the Army on January 21, 1941 at Toledo, Ohio.

He was sent by train from Toledo to Shelby, Mississippi. There were 39 men from Henry County and over 200 for northwestern Ohio on the Troop train.

It took two days to make the trip. They arrived late one evening in the cold, rainy weather. The quarters consisted of tents. Strong winds with gail like force met them. They slept on cots and were issued two blankets a service mattresses and covers.

Reveille sounded at 6 AM. Followed by roll call and breakfast. They were called at 7:30 AM and issued a new army clothing.

Since there were not enough uniforms to go around some of the men were issued World War I uniforms and some continue to wear their civilian clothes until they were issued current uniforms about three months later.

Rifles were ration there, too. About every other soldier was issued a 1903 Dash 0383 bolt action rifle.

The rest of the day was spent getting shots, meeting their officers and getting their company assignments. Clete was assigned to the fourth Platoon, Company L-148 infantry Regiment, third Battalion, 37th division.

After two months basic training he was now a “Private,” and $21 a month.

Basic training was typical of most of the service half the time you were running or sleeping in a foxhole in the ground during field exercises…however, every day the training got a little harder with sharp salutes.

Standing at attention, close order drill and long marches where the order of the day. The army was good at keeping a man in good physical shape. While at the rifle range, after six weeks of camp Shelby, the first sergeant was looking for volunteers for a machine gun training.

My uncle and a man named Hackman volunteered and they started training in two weeks.

End of third month he was promoted to private first class with a pay increase to $30 a month, in April 1941.

As training continued, it was common to do marches of 30 to 40 miles with 50 to 60 pound backpacks plus your rifle and ammunition. Additional training in hand to hand fighting, throwing hand grenades , one my uncle favorite and the use a gas masks.

After six months they got a weekend pass and a 10 day leave. When was your turn to go home for the 10 day leave, you had to considered your a thousand miles from Ohio and so that was out of question until Christmas in December 1941

In March 1941, he was promoted to corporal with the pay increase of $36 a month. He was put in charge of a squad of 6 to 8 men and then on December 7 1941, it happened Japan started to War in the Pacific.

After a 10 day leave over Christmas holidays, Clete went home. Upon returning to base, he was promoted to sergeant and which included a pay increase to $48 per month. His responsibility included a squad of 25 men. Training continue to intensify daily.

On February 20, 1942, the 37th division was ordered to move to Indian Gap, Pennsylvania, to train for mountain welfare.

“It was expected that our unit would go to Europe, where this mountain combat training would be necessary. He arrived at Indian Gap by train and begin their training in the mountains of Pennsylvania. They trained there until May 1942”.

Clete was promoted to staff Sergeant, second in command, in charge of a section consisting of several machine guns, and 42 men. His salary increased to $78 per month.

New orders arrived which change their combat assignment from the Europe to Pacific. The ship on which their division was scheduled to move to Europe had have been torpedoed, on his return from Europe; so they reassigned the to the Pacific theater instead.

He traveled 10 days by train to San Francisco where they boarded the ship and began their journey to the Pacific. In June 1942, his Company arrived at the Fiji Islands close to New Zealand. The Japanese were 300 miles north on Ellice Island.

They were close to New Zealand. Our command was anticipating a Japanese invasion on Fiji. In preparation of the defense against the invasion, they began training and living in the jungle. It was hot most of the time with a lot of rain. At night it would cool off since they were close to the ocean. They were in Fuji Island until October 1942.

New orders sent them to Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, where they fought the Japanese until July of 1943.

The landing on Guadalcanal was made on August 7, 1942, by the first Marine division, reinforced by the second Marine division. This caught the Japanese by surprised. They did not expect the landings that soon. There were only about 1000 Japanese soldiers station to protect Henderson Field. It was still under construction by the Japanese and island laborers.

Japanese were slow to react to the American seizure of Guadalcanal. Reinforce reinforcements were on the way to try and get the island and airstrip back into the Japanese hands.

At the Japanese Army Command Headquarters at Rabaul, Lieutenant General Hyakutaka was given the responsibility for clearing the Americans off Guadalcanal. He had about 8000 combat troops for the operation. He set his advanced force, a 1500 man combat team to Taiuu to the east of Henderson Field.

Uncle Clete was attached to the 148th infantry Regiment of the 37th Division and sent west to support Henderson Field and the anticipated fighter planes. The field was located over five or more miles from sea to the airbase. The third Battalion took over for the Marines, the area east of the airbase. It was a large area to cover; with two companies on the front lines facing the ocean and the remaining part of battalion was put in reserves should their flank be overrun. Most of the remaining Japanese were in the jungle nearby. There were also snipers. So every day they sent patrol out to locate any Japanese. At night the Japanese ships would shell the area trying to hit the airfield. They would dig fox holes for two men and larger bunkers for machine gun and Mortar units.

“About every other day, air raids from Japanese planes would come to bomb. But our fighter planes would shoot them down. Some Japanese bombers and fighter planes would hit the airbase. Not too much damage was ever done to the airstrip as it was always in use by US forces.”

Uncle Clete was in charge of Company L machine guns. Three 30 caliber air cooled machine guns and about 20 men in the unit. The rest of the company was made up with three rifle Platoons each with 40 man and a headquarters platoon of 15 to 20 men.

The American Marines were ready and in a battle along with the Iiu river, most of the Japanese units were killed. Only about 100 made it into the jungle.

At this time the Japanese had dominated the sea and air power around the Solomon Islands. Yes , the Japanese and American fought each other, but the real problem on Guadalcanal was the jungle. It was covered with a fantastic tangle of vines, creepers, grasses, quicksand, lizards, snakes, insects, all kinds of roots, and giant hardwoods. This made any movement much slower and the visibly only a few yards. There were also giant ants, 3 inch wasps, big spiders, leeches and malaria mosquitoes. This caused more casualties than the Japanese. The living conditions were hell and low on food, fuel and ammunition. Reinforcements for the man and supplies were never to soon.

By the end of August 1942, the Japanese landed another 6500 man on the island and plan to attack. There was a low Ridge at the end of the jungle, 1000 yards from Henderson Field it was called ‘Bloody Ridge.”

It was defended by a Battalion of Marines. The attack came on September 13, during the night. Twelve times the Japanese hurled them selves against the Marines lines, shouting “Bonsai, Bonsai” and “American you will die.” Slowly, the battalion pulled back to the final knoll the ridge. There they held. The last Japanese charge ended in a bloody mess. At daylight the Japanese, or what few of were left, made it back into the jungle. Over 360 Marines were killed and or were wondered with 1500 Japanese that were thought to be killed or wounded.

During the next four weeks, the Japanese continue to bring in reinforcements. Americans also needed more men and supplies. Finally on October 13, 3600 Army troops of the 164th Infantry Regiment with their jeeps, trucks, ammunition and other supplies landed landed at noon. The Marines were glad to see help come at last. The Army unit was to be put in charge of the south flank of the airstrip to reinforce the Marine Battalion who had a large front to cover. The Japanese counter attack was expected.

Then on the night of October 23, during a pouring rain, savage fighting developed all along the south perimeter as the Japanese sought to breakthrough. A few positions were overrun, but quickly recapture. As the battle develop, the elements of the 164th Infantry, 3rd Battalion were fed into the Marine lines. By morning, the Marines had discovered that the Army unit was really good fighters.

The Japanese tried again the next night, but were beaten back. After two bloody nights fighting the Japanese retreated back into the jungle. American losses were on 300 dead and 800 wounded. The Japanese lost over 4000 that were dead or wounded.

The rest of the Japanese went back in to the jungles to wait for more enforcement arrive. In about a week, 3000 more Japanese landed on Guadalcanal.

Fighting continued on Guadalcanal for another month. Then on December 9, the 25th and the 37th Infantry Division of which Uncle Clete was one, the United States Army arrive to relieve the Marines and the rest were sent to New Zealand for rest, re-strengthen and training their division.

By January 10, 1940, about 40,000 US fighting men advanced on Guadalcanal plus a lot of Air Force and over 200 airplanes. The Japanese patrol soon discovered that this was close to the end . Japanese directed an evacuation of Guadalcanal. Then on February 1943, the the Japanese evacuated about 11,000 men, leaving only a small group to attack the US patrols. This went on for another month. By March 15, most Guadalcanal was secured.

The might Japanese army that rolled over Malaya, New Guinea, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Burma and many islands in the Pacific, was finally stopped.

The Battle of New Georgia.

After the fighting was over in Guadalcanal, most of the Japanese forces fled north to the island of New Georgia, about 200 miles from Guadalcanal.

The following position of the forces was to secure an airstrip in New Georgia called Munda, was being used by the Japanese to attack our supply ships and Henderson Field airstrips. The island was about 30 miles wide and 60 miles long. Nearest ship to be taken was located in the southwestern part of the island.

The swiftness of allied forces, moving from Guadalcanal to New Georgia caught the Japanese by surprise. Part of the 37th Infantry Division and Regiments of the 43rd Infantry Division attacked the island. The Munda airstrip was to be taken as quick as possible.

On the night of July 3, they landed on the southern southeast side of the island. Our forces included the 145th and the 148th regiment with the 129th to land on the beachhead after it had been secured. This would be a fierce battle as a Japanese forces were estimated between 10,000 to 15,000. It was with a 3rd Battalion with about 1500 men to hit the beach on the north of the Rice Anchorage.

Almost immediately, any advance were blog down. Daily tropical downpours turn the primitive jungle trails in the mud that mired down jeeps, trucks, and even bulldozers. Even more serious, it soon became clear that the American ground forces the New Georgia lacked the strength to overcome the resistance quickly. Also, the Japanese were able to push ground reinforcements through to their frontline units. Bad weather slow down Army forces. Part of the 43rd division was moving westward towards Munda airstrip and the element of the 37th division was moving south west towards Munda”.

The troops fought in a maze of hills and valleys which crisscross with rocks – strewn draws, gullies and swamp lowland that did not appear on the maps. This terrain was covered with all most incredible tangle of vines, creepers, and the typical jungle of Solomon islands. The ever present heat and humidity was another factor to add to the soldiers misery.

 Sickness, malaria, and other tropical diseases felled more of our men then did the Japanese. Soldiers had chronic disease like chronic diarrhea that steadily drained of energy out of them and put them out of the action. The unit of the 43rd Division had at least 5 miles to Munda and the 37th Division had nearly 6 miles. Also they’re running out of food and other supplies.

After about 26 days. Forces kept getting nearer to the Munda airstrip. Now the fighting really got bad. The Japanese were in pillboxes and bunkers. Lots of hand grenade, mortars, and flamethrowers had to be used to reduce the Japanese units. Fighting was very heavy every day. Finally by August 5, the US troops overran Munda. Destroying the diehard enemy. Now the sea was close, where are many men enjoyed their first bath in a long time.

Some of the fighting went on for two more weeks before the island became secure. The struggle for New Georgia was long and bloody. The two month battle cost the lives of about 1000 Americans in another 4000 were wounded. At least 3000 Japanese were killed in many more wounded.

At this time, Uncle Clete, was a Technical Sergeant and a Platoon leader of the Heavy Weapons Platoon of L Company, 2nd Battalion, 48th Regiment of the 37th Infantry Division. Normally, a platoon was held by a Lieutenant but Lieutenants with combat, especially this branch were few and the number, Lieutenants with heavy weapons experience were fewer still. Clete had been a platoon leader since Guadalcanal and except for a short amount of time on Bougainville, [where he had three different between leaders] he would be and continued to hold the rank of a Sergeant, and lead the Weapons Platoon of L Company through combat.

The invasion was planned for the 3rd Battalion to stop any Japanese from coming from nearby northern Ireland to supply New Georgia. The Marines had the same order. On a 148th Regiment, and the First and Second Battalion and a Regiment from the 43rd Division where to attack to the airbase at Munda. On July 4, 1943, they attack the Japanese estimated between 10,000 and 15,000. Clete was with the 3rd Battalion and had about 1500 men when they hit the beach on the north of Rice Anchorage. Two Army Battalions and a Marine Raider Battalion also landed.

At 2 AM in the morning of 4 July, destroyers offloaded the landing forces into rubber 10 man rafts, rowed by several Navy soldiers. They were offloaded at sea from troopships on to Navy Destroyer as troopships were too slow in getting in and out to the landing area and especially getting them selves back out.

The Japanese controlled seas around the Islands and the destroyers were needed to get in and out and get the troops unloaded quickly as possible. Each destroyer had a load of one company of soldiers about 200 men and their equipment. That night they climb down the cargo nets carrying their packs and weapons into rubber rafts and left for the beach.

However, the Navy fouled up by putting most of the forces ashore well ahead of the plan landing area. When a Platoon got to the beach, they were half a mile away from the rest of the company. Because of the wide separation of forces, the Japanese patrol were able to get in between the units and we were on unable to link up with the company. Most of the other Companies had similar problems.

One ship of the Navy landed the whole battalion of Marines a mile from their planned landing area. They were the nearest major force to to Clete unit, but his unit fought as an independent unit for three days. They eventually linked up with he Marines and fought with them for about three weeks.

The night they landed, they had to cover about 100 yards of sand from the water to edge to the jungle before they could find cover. They faced a Japanese 20 caliber machine guns, small and large mortars and .75 mm artillery fire before they could even gain any kind of cover. During the night, they dug foxholes and set up a perimeter while the destroyers landed in more supplies. At daybreak, field hospital was set up for the wounded with the worse were taken back to the ship for treatment. Before dawn. The main Japanese forces retreated deeper into the jungle and hills, but left behind a large number of strong controls and many snipers.

They landed with 10 days of the rations, and munitions which should’ve been adequate if they could’ve been re-supplied by the ships. But the Battle of the Coral Sea had begun a massive Sea battle between the Japanese and American forces for Control of the Seas. This battle was unknown to them at the time. The U.S. Navy at the time of the landing on the New Georgia, had insufficient forces to protect the ships which carried there supplies. Three days after the landing, Uncle Clete anticipated that we wouldn’t get there supplies and had all the ration collected from each man. He anticipated that they wouldn’t get their supplies and had all the men’s ration collected from each man to put into a single amount. He put the men on a meal a day and put a Sergeant in charge of the food.

As luck would have it we were not re-supplied for 21 days. Later they found that the other platoons had counted on getting re-supplied and had not quickly conserve their rations and had suffered a great deal from a shortage of food. They were re-supplied by air with ammunitions and several cases of chocolate bars. He remember that some of his men got sick for eating too much chocolate. During this time they overran a Japanese Battalion that had left sacks of rice and dried fish behind, so we mix chocolate bars and rice with water and cooked it in our helmets. One sergeant told him that he never like rice but this sure tasted good. Three weeks after landing they finally got their rations. He never forgot the 18 day living on half rations, jungle plants, and Japanese rice and fish.

“Several days after landing, we linked up with the first United States Marine First Raider Regimen, Lieutenant Colonel Liversedge commanding the Marines. With the Marines, they advanced about 4 miles from Swamp and jungle towards Munda airfield. One day the Colonel, told us that he wanted an Army unit to attack the Japanese fortification ahead. But, the next day, the word came down not to make the attack, as the Japanese had superior forces. Heavy fighting made progress slow. On 4 September 1943, now a full Colonel Liversedge, received a commendation for a little leader ship in this battle. Colonel Liversedge passed a copy of his combinations to the USA 148th Infantry Regiment to be included in the official records of each officer and man who had contributed so much to earning his commendation. It said in part “In the face of heavy odds, your forces carried the fight to the Japanese relentlessly and with superb heroism “

“On July 12, 1943, we ran into reinforced Japanese patrol and had a pretty stiff fight. Uncle Clete got hit in the back again with the mortar shrapnel. The man pulled several 3 inch long red hot steel slivers from his back, they patch him up and he continued fighting along with his men. That was one of his first Purple Hearts in the war. He believe that more men were out of action do to jungle disease, dysentery and insect bites then had been taken out by Japanese snipers and mortar fire.”

On July 16, almost 2 weeks after landing, they finally connected with a Company L. US forces took Munda airfield and mostly enemies withdrew from New Georgia and he thought they were the same fighters in Bougainville. The Marines had orders to position themselves against a possible Japanese counterattack in the rear of the year coming up from the ocean. With the battle of New Georgia about over or so it seemed. That was short-lived because the Japanese got more in reinforcements from Bougainville and they look for another attack at the airstrip.

So what was the main Objective at New Georgia?

The high command of the Army and Navy considered of the island would be taken in two weeks. However they underestimated the power of the Japanese at the time.

Uncle Clete 148th regimen of the Ohio 37th Infantry division and the Regimen of the 43rd Infantry Division plus one Marine Battalion were to take the island. “However, the Japanese had fortified the south end of the island and they we’re gonna stay.”

The plan was to stop the Japanese from coming from the north to supply the island. The Marines also had the same order. The Ohio 37th Infantry with 148th Regiment and the First and Second Battalions and the Regiment from the 43rd we’re also to attack the air base.

Clete’s platoon of 50 men along with a platoon of Marines spent 10 days trying to locate their company . The plans laid out paper had failed. Nothing they planned went right. The jungle and the swamps made it extremely dangerous fighting especially staying connected with their own forces. His Battalions spent for over two weeks with the Marines. On July 16, they finally made a connection with their own company, Company L. By the time every thing is going his way …He get hit in the back with the mortar shell… his first Purple Heart. He would go and get patched up and return to fight.

Another story to remember

“So it began one night at one of our observation post. There was another storm of a rifle and machine gun and mortar fire in coming from the direction to the company out post. This was another attempt to break through their lines. Snipers moved in on him. They had filtered along the ridge during the dark of night and began firing with rifles, machine guns and mortar fire. They heard the Japanese firing weapons from all different directions. They were all around. The rifleman and machine gunners were firing along our company front trying to break through where the barbwire on the front lines. Snipers were shooting at them from all directions. They really all around and they had their hands full.”

“Colonel Gaull, called for more man and to support the front. They needed more ammunition and grenades. There were a large group of Japanese on the left, on the ridge and in the jungle; we were surrounded.”

Uncle Clete had placed a firing line of men along the ridge facing those groups of Japanese. While they were only protected with jungle grass. Japanese were firing at them from the cover of the jungle. One of his sergeants reported to him that they were six or seven men that had been hit by machine guns or mortar and two were dead.

“In the jungle at the foot of the ridge, our gunners were firing, as well as the Japanese. The main Japanese attempt, down on top of the ridge, and failed. There was a bunch of Japanese on the other side to hill. We had a find a way to get them.”

“Then another bunch of our men were attacked by the Japanese. Six Japanese kept saying “Bonzai” and used suicide charges with their bayonets. They were all killed. “

They finally stopped the Japanese attack for a time being. About 2000 Japanese had tried to storm the ridge and another 1000 tried to break through from the jungle. It was estimated at about 800 or 900 Japanese were killed or wounded. The main force finally pulled back in to the jungle, but left a lot of snipers around.

“The next day the patrol said that there were 40 or 50 Japanese were laying dead in the Barbwire fence. Uncle Clete company lost 12 dead and 50 men wounded. Fighting continued“.

“Of the three main battles he was in with a Japanese. “We were lucky” “We stopped them every time.” said Uncle Clete, ” But it cost my platoon several lives and several more wooded.”

Uncle Clete platoon of 42 men had fought alongside Marines and we were separated for weeks from his own Company L. The invasion plan had proved to be poor. Nothing was planned. The jungle swamp made it extremely terrible fighting. Fighting was bad on New Georgia for a number reasons. Initially, because the landing was fouled up, the forces were disorganize and poorly supplied. The climate and terrain was also terrible. The swamps were everywhere and they were constantly wet and couldn’t dry out. Insects were a constant problem.


“They were huge and they were hungry. Because of the swampy terrain we’re unable to carry our heavy machine guns and heavy mortars with us and therefore, the Japanese from a forced position could use their heavy mortars against us from any position. Since they were well prepared in advance of our evasion. Our only artillery was from the Navy gun ships offshore. “

“Finally the Japanese fighters they were not easy or to put it another way,they were dam tough”. For example, to get across barbwire some of the soldiers would throw themselves down in front of the wire the barbwire and the following soldiers would run over them like a bridge.”

Clete had 42 men and a platoon at the battle of New Georgia, when it started at the end he had 20 men that were either dead or severely wounded.

By mid August, the battle New Georgia was over and replacements and arrived to hold the island. His regiment headed back to Guadalcanal for rest and get new man to replace the dead and wounded. Many of his soldiers were thinking “ If I ever get out of this place …live longer than I ever thought I would… and the next big shell will be coming soon. “In November 1943, it was off to the island Bougainville.

Philippine Islands

Who remembers the names of the Islands ….those who fought there.

The 37th Division landed at Lingayen Gulf January 9, 1945. Orders were to attack a Manila as soon as possible. Japanese forces were estimated at 35,000 to 40,000. Most Japanese forces move towards Manila when we landed.

We landed in New Guinea to train for a securing of a beachhead in Luzon in the Philippines. We left there on Christmas day, 1944 and landed in Luzon at daylight on the January 9, 1945. There were ships as far as the eye could see possibly 10,000 to 12,000. Approximately 180,000 to 200,000 men hit the beaches that date. We had 135 miles of intense fighting with the Japanese until we reached Manila. Towns taken on our push to Manila during the next 30 days of fighting were: Camiling, Farlac, Fort Stotsenburg, Angeles and San Fernando.

These next few Chapters described some of grim details of Battle of Manila.

After landing, the first and second day, three of his men were killed, and six more were wounded. His platoon of 36 men got smaller each day. Street fighting was real hell. The Japanese would make a stand, one block at a time. They kept retreating east towards the Pasig River, by the way, came from the north and then emptied into Manila Bay.

“It was one of these early days that I had a chance to meet one of the greatest generals in our history. We are pushing the Japanese towards Manila Bay. We were about to be attacked on a right flank when one of my Sergeant yelled that General MacArthur and his escort are coming up the street. The same street we were fighting on. I hurried back to stop them because it was too dangerous. I reported to the general my name and rank and the reason I stopped him and his escort. He want to know how long the Japanese could hold out. About that time all hell broke loose it was about a half an hour to an hour before the general and his escort could leave and retreat to the Safety.”

Most of the buildings were set with mines as the Japanese retreated, causing tremendous damage and fires throughout the city. They, finally re-treated across the river after about 10 days of fighting.

The allied campaign to retake Manila City began on February 4, 1945. Our engineers build temporary bridges across the river to allow our companies to advance. We experience heavy mortar and machine gun fire as we cross the bridges. Third Battalion of the 148th Regiment lead the 37th and Victory Division east across the Pasig River into Central Manila.”

“Company L, 3rd Battalion, was the first to cross over on a 3 foot wide pontoon bridge. The bridge was built during the night of February 4, by a company of engineers under cover of darkness, and during Japanese mortar and machine gun fire.”

“Many engineers were lost during the building of this bridge across 100 yards span of the Pasig River.”

“At daybreak, the 2nd platoon were the first to advance, one man at a time. Our mortar and machine guns fired across the river to drive the Japanese back, who are trying to shoot our men while they were crossing the river.”


Next, the 3rd platoon crossed over, and then, the 1st Rifle Platoon crossed over. Then Clete’s platoon, the weapons platoon, was next. As they hit the east river bank, the Japanese begin firing from their right, about 100 yards away.

“The rest of the Japanese had withdrawn to second and then to third streets beyond the east bank. Their headquarters platoon was next to follow.”

Uncle Clete’s job was to attack those Japanese to on the right, so it would be safe for their Company’s Headquarters platoon to cross.

This went on for about one-half hours, then he took six men with him to see if any Japanese were alive, on his right.

When they got there, four Japanese were still alive and then they counted 20 more Japanese dead. Their two machine guns and two mortars were destroyed by our fire power. Our last platoon crossed, the river.

“My weapons platoon set up to 60 mm mortar’s and two 30 caliber machine guns to fire at the enemy pillboxes. We shot about 30 rounds of mortar fire and two 50 round belts of .30 caliber rounds with our machine guns.”

“The rest of Company L went on to drive the Japanese back two more streets east of the river. A bigger bridge was built to get our trucks, every equipment and supplies across.’

“By Sunday afternoon, February 4th, my patrol was at the San McGill Brewery. The Filipino employees were pouring out free beer for the GIs. They would pour beer into our helmets as we went by. One of my sergeants said, “What if it’s poison?” “He replied. “What difference does it make”? said I.

“We drank all of it and went on our way . Several days later we got into a fight with the Japanese in a hotel. We killed them. One of our men and found some liquor stored in the basement. “

Uncle Clete put a sergeant in charge to guard the whiskey- Keesler and Imperial, about two cases. He sent one back to his Company and Battalion, but kept three bottles, one for Mesco and myself, and the other two for his platoon of 6 to 8 men.

After crossing the river, the 37th Division joined the 1st Cavalry Division coming from the north and the 43rd Division coming from the south. The remaining Japanese forces were pinned in the Walled City near Manila Bay. It took another three weeks to secure Manila, on March 4, 1945.

Back to the Fight

At daybreak, on February 7, 1945 Company L, started to cross the Pasig River in Manila. They were the first company of the 3rd Battalion, 148th Infantry Regiment to cross, Company L, 2nd platoon went first, then Clete’s Company, the 4th went in after that. Japanese mortars and machine guns began to fire at daylight. His Company made it OK without many getting hurt. They were lucky to make it with only light losses. But I Company, who followed them weren’t so lucky and they had many losses. Company L, the first cross the river, cleared away the way to the river and drove the Japanese back several streets from the crossing. However, K Company came along and got hit hard from the Japanese mortars further up the river dyke. They were only able to advance four blocks into the city that day.

“Then on February 8, the Japanese attacked us with mortar and machine gun fire. Mortar fires were extremely heavily that day… one of his sergeants was hit in the head, another sergeant took it in the chest, and three privates were all hit by mortar fragments.”

His new platoon was held up: they were pinned down behind a dike by two Japanese machine guns and many Japanese mortars. They had been held up waiting for some new replacements. They were dug into the side of the dick by the river and it was hard to get a direct fire into their exact location. The only way to get the fire to them with our mortars and machine gun was to expose the target, was buy direct observation to zero in on their location. Uncle Clete felt that dangerous task belong to him, sense he had the most experience with fire control of their heavy weapons.

The only way to get a clear view of the dug in target was just stand in the clear view on top of levee and direct the 16 mm mortar fire and two 30 caliber machine gun’s at the enemy position 100 yards away.


“He knew the general location, but couldn’t tell exactly where. To knock out emplacements, he needed to actually observe where the fire of the mortars were landing. He got up from his position and stood on the levee exposed himself to enemy fire and directed 30 rounds of mortar fire on the enemy. It took about 15 or 20 minutes to destroy them with the mortar and machine gun fire. He was lucky he was not to killed “.

However the day was not over..in fact it just started and it not even noon.

He continues…” I had been partially shielded by a street curb when a mortar hit, but my left leg and foot were exposed and took a multitude of steel slivers, which cut through to the flesh and veins. Our first aid man did a great job patching up my wounds and gave me a tetanus shot that hurt as much as the wound.”

“The first aid station received all the wounded. “Dr. Downy worked on me getting all of the shrapnel pieces out, then wrap my leg good and I was fortunate I didn’t have to lose too much blood like many others. I stayed for for five days but then I wanted to get back into the fight”. Doc Downy said “You should stay here and get more rest …you are going to stay a few more days. “Yes”….But that’s not for me.” Clete remebered.

” I guess I should’ve should have followed his advice. Releasing me at my insistence, the doctor said that I should have a first aid man change my bandage every day. Following his advice, my leg and foot regain their mobility for me to stay with my men.” His status would soon change.

“After fighting the Japanese just before noon, I got the word that I was wanted back at Company Headquarters. I found Company L Headquarters after a half a mile walk. When I reported to the Sergeant, who said, “you are wanted that Regimental Headquarters. That Jeep driver will take you there “it was about 5 miles to 148th Infantry Regiment.”

“As I got there, Captain Bookhammer, the adjutant, told me to shave and gave me new clothes and new shoes. General Beighter wanted to see me!”

” I cleaned up, change clothes and went to the General’s tent. After I reported to the General, he said “Sergeant Schwab, you have been Platoon Sergeant for the past two years in Company L, doing an officer’s job in combat with your platoon. Now I’ll make you a Second Lieutenant. He swore me in as a Commission Officer, pinned to gold bars on my shirt and said “You are now a Second Lieutenant; report to Colonel White for your new orders. I thank the General, saluted and left to sign the paperwork, which discharged me as a technical sergeant and commissioned me as a Second Lieutenant. I reported to Colonel White.”

“When I saw Colonel White, he said “you will be going to Company B, for they only have a captain and two lieutenants currently so they need you badly, { A company normally has five lieutenants one for each of the four platoons, another for a company executive officer and a captain as a company commander.} I return to Company L to continue fighting with my platoon. Several days later a jeep driver took me to Company B, first battalion. It took me over an hour to find Company B. Reported to Captain Ferris and he said, you’ll command the 3rd Rifle Platoon and the 4th Weapons Platoon. You also have additional duties as this Company Mess Officer and will be in charge of transportation and supplies for the company. “

“Earlier in the war I was recommended to return to the States to go to officers candidate school: [OCS] for commissioning. At that time I felt my place was with my man that I had trained with and fight since the beginning of the war. As a combat experienced NCO, I felt I had greater responsibility to stay with those who knew me rather than be out there fighting over three months in the status as an OCS. However, I realized that if I excepted the battlefield commission as it would give me an opportunity to extend my combat experience to a greater number of soldiers and I could remain in combat area where I was best trained in jungle warfare.”

“After a short commissioning ceremony with a number of others similarly advanced, I was sent back to Company B, first battalion as a platoon leader. I felt bad leaving Company L and the man with whom I had fought and lead for three years. Army policy was to send battlefield commission officers to different units then that in which they had been non-commissioned officers. It was believe that it would be easier for them to command troops where they did not have ties or personal friendship. In theory this may sound to be appropriate but I never saw that there was a problem growing out of the team loyalty. In fact as a sergeant, I was appointed to command platoon as an enlisted man because we were short Combat Officers.”

“Making tough decisions. As a platoon leader was no difference for me as an NCO than it was later as a Lieutenant. You make the decisions to achieve the mission with most efficient use of men and not for personal reasons. We all knew that the best chance to get out of this war alive was to use good common sense. You led to win. Playing favorites for friendship or any other reason would lose your respect and trust of the men you led.”

“My leg began to heal but it took another month for most of the strength to return and I still wonder whether I should have stayed longer to recovered at the first aid station. I would be taking blood thinning medication today to avoid blood cots in my legs, if I had taken more time to recover. I don’t know now and I didn’t think about it then. I just wanted to defeated the Japanese and I wanted to be there to help to do it. I was only concern about the men and how soon this war would end and that’s where my thoughts were. I quickly became acquainted with other officers and men of Company B.

“Combat quickly sort through the inconsequential and focuses on the essential.”

“After leaving Company L, and the 148th Infantry, as a Sargent, I was then sent to Company B as a platoon leader . Finding them in another part of the city of Manila. I reported to Captain Ferris, Company Commander. He assigned me to be platoon leader of the 3rd Rifle Platoon and also of the 4th Weapons Platoon. Lieutenant Hutton had the 1st Rifle Platoon and Lieutenant Willett had the 2nd Rifle Platoon. The company was short three lieutenants and the Company had 160 men left.”

“On this day, we were about a mile from the bay when one of my scouts reported to me that many Japanese were in the next block guarding a bank building. I thought it was strange to have that many Japanese in one area. The tactics at the time were to place many individual snipers and small machine gun units throughout the building to slow us down and inflict as many casualties as possible rather than then fight unit-size pitched engagements. I thought possibly it might be a command post. So I had about 20 rounds of .60 MM mortar fires placed on target. We then attacked the position with hand grenades, rifle fire and machine gun. As we came near the building, I saw the door of the building have been blown off. We continued to throw more grenades and maintained rifle fire. After our long fire fight it appeared that the opposition was overcome. I sent a 10 man rifle squad into the building to kill the rest of the Japanese. After sending more men into the building including myself. It turned out to be a Japanese command post. Four Japanese officers and a dozen men were all dead inside.”

“Here I took American army, colt .45 caliber revolver and a saber from a dead Japanese officer. The other Japanese sidearms were sent back to company headquarters. In a fight to wipe out the command post, I lost three men killed and six wounded. The Japanese total was about 35 to 40 men killed “about two dozen outside and 12 soldiers and four officers dead inside “this was my big day’s work.”

The following day

“In another fire fight, we were fighting building by building, fighting block by block. At this time, we are across the river and when where the other side of it near the Center of Manila, about 5 or 6 miles from the Bay. We were walking up to Main Street on the way to the Bay and had just passed the Paco Railroad Station. Our company was in the lead and we had already passed the Station. Unbeknownst to us, the enemy had allowed us to penetrate their lines and now they were behind and to the side of us. About 5 o’clock in the afternoon and we thought we had the enemy stop that day. Suddenly, the Japanese hit us with 150 to 250 Men. We hit the streets only with only cover of a high street curb trying to find a little spot we could avoid being hit. They hit us so fast, that we did not have time to seek good cover.”

“The situation was so desperate that my chief machine gunner, PFC Edward Higgins, was unable to place a gun on a tripod and besides didn’t have the cover to get a good angle fire. Fully expose the to the enemy Higgins stood up, holding the machine to run across his left arm and begin firing. Higgins like all machine gunners , wore heavy elbow high asbestos gloves because the barrels will get so hot in rapid fire that the gunner needed special protection to switch out overheated gun barrels. However, in giving full automatic fire at the enemy, the barrel of a gun become so hot it burned through those the heavy gloves. As Higgins continued to fire a full 250 round belt of ammo, the barrel burn into the flesh of his muscle in his arm. A first aid man wrapped his arm, but Higgins refused to leave the line and continued fighting with his platoon. He save the lives of 20 or 30 men during this heroic action.”

“During this engagement, we receive heavy mortar fire. The conclusion of the mortar explosion was so large and so close to our bodies we were lifted from the ground and were exposed to shrapnel in the air from other mortars exploding at the same time. I was behind a high Street curb when a mortar a concussion lifted me up and my leg got hit by shrapnel which I still carry today “this is got me my second Purple Heart quote.”

” Sergeant Finks, a good soldier, lost the top of his head to a mortar attack. I believe that it was our own side which lay down the mortar garage since the Japanese would not have fired on their own mortars while they were making the attack on us. While throwing back the attack, I believe we killed 50 or 100 of them. I didn’t notice that I had been wounded at the time. As a desperate as this action was, it only lasted 15 to 20 minutes. “

“We were so busy fighting Japanese in Manila, that it took a few weeks before I had a chance report to Regional Headquarters to sign all the papers. By March 6, the fighting was done in the city. Shortly after the battle for the city, we receive new replacements to make up for loss in dead and wounded. They would go through a short combat training course, to get them ready for the jungle welfare. About three weeks after finding our way to victory in the streets and the building in Manila we were at it again, in combat. Until the end of the war, we would be attacking the Japanese in jungled Philippine hills and valleys on route to Baguio in later into Aparri where the enemy had significant forces range for indifference.”

After we threw the enemy back one of my sergeants asked “What is the matter with you? “I looked and there was blood on my legs, and I haven’t fell anything. The back in the legs were punctured with his many pieces by shrapnel splinters. I felt that my high boots had protected me from the worst. I had gotten high paratrooper boots when my old boots wore out. The supply sergeant had a pair and he was trying to get rid of them, as no one wanted them because because they were big and heavy and they were size 12. I took them and wore double pairs of socks and it still had room. The first aid man patch me up. The next day the doc from battalion looked at it and said “by rights, You shouldn’t be in battle, but we need men so badly I’m going to send you out. Get your legs redressed every two days by the aid man.” “My legs finally healed enough that was able to lead patrols all the way to Baguio.”

“It took until March 4, before Manila was secured. At that time many of our officers had had all been wounded, including myself I got my second Purple Heart February 15, 1945. I was patched up by the first aid man return to duty with our men. By the time the battle of Manila was over, my company had only 60 men left and over a 100 were lost do to death and battlefield injuries.”

“They say that bad luck is better than having no luck at all. Six weeks later I got hit again, but this time in my right leg but not as bad as when I was hit in the left leg. The aid man fix me up and I kept right on fighting . I now had two platoons to command the 3rd and the 4th Platoons of Company B. By May 1, I had made 1st Lieutenant. We are advancing up the alley to a city called Baguio and we were in constant contact with the enemy with lots of fighting going on.”

“It was reported that there were a lot of Japanese taking up defensive positions in the city. When we were about 25 miles away from Baguio, strategy was formulated to attack the enemy from east, south and west. The 148th Regiment and a Regiment from the 129th would attack in a few days. Our battalion would enter from the east. Other units were attacked from the south and the 129th Regiment would attack from the west. It was reliably estimated that there were 10,000 Japanese were defending themselves in the city where five or six thousand Filipino civilians lived. Our intent was to save the city and the people living there so it was directed that we use mostly small arms of fire rather than using heavy artillery to bombard the enemy positions.”

“On April 17, one of our airplanes observers reported a large Japanese movement on our regiment’s left front lines. Our Battalion, on the left, was assigned to find out what the Japanese were up to.”

“Lieutenant Colonel Gaull, Battalion Commander, ordered me to take a large patrol north into the jungle. We would leave at 4 AM. Our mission was to check the strength of the enemy in the hills and the mountains and report positions to their troops. He wanted us to report back as soon as possible, so that the mortar bombardment of their positions could begin.”

“I returned to the company and hand picked 60 man patrol. Our forces consisted of two 30 caliber machine gun, two .60 mm motors, eight bar men, riflemen, ammo carriers, the radio crew and a first aid crew. This was a very large patrol, but in case the enemy attack, it was better to have a larger force. Colonel Gaull said “have plenty of men. You won’t know how many Japanese you’ll be going in and then coming back out “

“We left at 4 AM, taking an old logging trail. We would walk for 50 minutes and then rest for 10 minutes, due to the heavy equipment that we were carrying.”

“As the daylight approach, we had traveled approximately 5 miles. We had to drop back behind the regular forces and then we went out and hooked up and then around and behind enemy position. The jungle is very thick so I sent Sergeant Smith, a rifleman in advance 100 yards or so. At the all clear, we would advance. Sergeant Smith return during one of the days of early advances and reported that there were still approximately 250 yards to our left. He said , “he would try to reach the top and get a better look at the area.” In about an hour, he returned and reported that the enemy was located on the other side of the hill. He estimated their forces to be approximately 2000 with lookout surrounding them.”

“One of our Bar [Browning automatic rifle] man Sergeant Ginalski, got a trigger-happy and that’s when we got into trouble-we were getting information only and were not to start the battle. Ours scout came back, and said “at least a battalion of Japanese are down there “. The Bar man had followed the scout. When scout returned, the Bar man stayed there and then open up on them. All hell broke loose”.

“The Japanese area patrol hit us on all slides all the way back and then the main force “which we had scouted “ hit us about halfway back. Patrols were the ones that really gave us the damn trouble. I didn’t call for heavy mortars because I didn’t want problems. I said, “Half of all of it would fall in on our own men.” During the heavy fighting, we called for air support. The fighting continued until we reached our lines at 4 PM that afternoon.”

“I was fortunate that I had excellent men for the mission. We could have been all wiped out. Our casualties 3 dead and 11 wounded. The enemy suffered 30 dead and many more wounded. Our wounded were given first aid and then transferred to hospital. The next day report showed 50 enemy have been killed from that fight in and around that area. The threat of an attack on our battalion had been stopped.”

“The Bar man Ginalski, got hit bad on the way back but he’s survived- still in the hospital recovering at the end of the war. Ginalski was a Japanese killer, like to fight and battle. He wouldn’t lay down his Bar on a tripod but stood up.” I told him he would get it like that”. Instead of 6 clips he would carry 16. “He didn’t wanna run out”. Whenever we stopped, I would have him set up-he was a little too bold though, like Lt. Lyons..”

‘The second Bar man, Sergeant Bennett, was not a bold as Ginalski, but was a good Bar man. He was a good shot with a Bar, he love the Bar and not the M1 rifle. He felt better with the extra fire power. Bennett was older. “One time I asked what A 40-year-old man will be doing in the army?” He said, “I didn’t like civilian life and I volunteered for combat. “The Bar weighed 15 pounds with the tripod. The 20 round clips weighed about 5 pounds each. Sergeant Ginalski, was 6 foot 6” and 250 pounds. Sergeant Bennett was only 6 foot but was strong.”

Silver Star

“I was again called to Lieutenant Colonel Gault, Battalion Headquarters. He wanted the written report on the recent patrol. He complemented me on the job well done. He would’ve not rather lost any man but said it worked out OK. He’s going to recommend me for a Silver Star but I thought the paperwork got lost. I got it in 1945. But I didn’t receive it until 1986. I didn’t receive the medal, just got the ribbon. “

” Our battalion pushed on towards Baguio old the next day. Going slow due to the sporadic attacked by the enemy in the rugged terrain leading into Baguio.”

“It is early May, of 1945 and of fighting with slowing our progress every day. We will be within 5 miles of Baguio when our company had been stymied by an enemy mortar and machine gun fire. Captain Miller came to me and said “we have to get to that high ground on the left before dark . Or, the Japanese will be coming through our lines all night. “ I took the 3th and the 4th Platoon and I made a large circle to the north and surprise the enemy by an attack from the rear. Two machine gun nest and two motors were wiped out. The enemy suffered 22 dead. With some escaping into the jungle. Our company was again able to proceed to Baguio and a hot meal.”

“I was one of the better hand grenade throwers. I had pitched in high school and also in the semi pro league. Eighty percent of the time I could hit a Japanese pill box, mortars or machine guns. One, two, three, four, and boom. Most of the time, I hit the target. I could accurately throw a hand grenade 60 feet, since I threw them like a baseball and not the regulation over hand tossed that they talk to you in basic training. During the fighting in Georgia or New Georgia, Bougainville, and then in the Philippines… I drew over 100 hand grenades. I would say that most of them did some damage with the enemy.”

“Colonel Gault called me in with orders to take Company B at 6 AM and then attacked Baguio from the west. Company A and Company C would attack from the south.”

“The next morning we moved out at 5:45 AM. It was about 2 miles cross country and 1 mile by road to Baguio. We came within the sites of the houses in the town. It was only lite sniper fire from a few houses. To our surprise, most of the Japanese had moved out during the night and within a few hours Baguio was taken. The Japanese had moved to higher ground in the jungle. We stayed in Baguio until we were relieved by another unit 10 days later. It was a lot of Japanese in the eastern part of town and the battalion had an all day fight. We return to Manila to refit it and restart the drive up to the Argan Valley”

“The 148th Regiment and the 37th Division was fighting in the Philippines. My battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Gault, ordered me to take a patrol out on the way to Baguio. and air patrol had spotted a large force the Japanese about seven or eight miles north of our front lines. Usually, the Japanese were in smaller groups of 50 to 100 men. Current goal for me was to find out why there was such a large force in the valley. We thought it could be for a surprise attack on our troops.”

“So, on the morning of April 18, 1945, I led my patrol and started out at 4:00 AM. I chose a large group on men to come on this patrol in case we ran into like forces of Japanese, and then I would have plenty of fire power. We had two 30 caliber machine gun’s and crew. We had to two .16 mm mortars and crew. Also, a rifle platoon of 30 men. Also eight bar team, two first aid men, three scouts, and a radio man. I was the second lieutenant and had one one Tech. Sergeant, one Sergeant and two PFTs. All in all I had over 60 men.”

We walk north in the direction where the Japanese were last seen. We would walk 50 minutes, and then rest 10. It was very slow to the jungle and then had to cross two Rivers, and emerge into a thick brush to get to higher ground. I sent two scouts and a Sergeant out first, and then I followed up with with my messenger and my bodyguard. The rest of the platoon followed. Technical Sergeant Meeks, who was second in command, was in a rear of the patrol. After we stopped for lunch at noon, canned meat and some real hard bread, we wash it down with canteen of water. After a 30 minute break, we moved on, but it was slow going,”

“We came on the high foothills and a valley. I sent Sergeant Smith to the highest spot to review the valley. He returned in a half an hour and informed me that there was a large Japanese force in the valley with many guards all around. Now, to get back to our lines would be a rough situation. We were sure to be seen by the enemy and we have only gone about a half a mile when we were attacked by two Japanese Patrol’s. The bush and the jungles were so thick that we had to use our bayonets and small arms to cut through. I kept firing both .45 caliber handguns and one pistol. The one of .45s, I had taken from a dead Japanese officer in Manila.”

“We kept fighting and moving closer to our lines. I had one machine gun to protect our rear. We use the two Bar teams to man the machine gun, 250 rounds aimed at the Japanese coming from the valley. I pull back about 200 yards to set up another machine gun. Just then the Japanese attack from the road, but now, they were hitting us from all sides. This fight continue on to 4:00 PM… when we got back to our lines.”

“I then order bonds from the incoming aircraft to be fired at the large Japanese force in the valley. that is -all that were left of them. Though out this ordeal, this was the worst bayonet fighting that I every experience during all of my fighting days. Lost three men and 11 were wounded. I would’ve guessed that we killed 40 or 50 Japanese and wounded that many more. We carried our dead in wounded back to the lines and applied first aid, but some of them died later. I never knew really knew how many men died in that engagement. If we had not had a big group of good fighting man , none of us would’ve survived.”

“Today, when I reported to Colonel Gaull, he asked for a full report of what all had happened. He complimented me for bringing most of my patrol back alive. “I am, for this assignment, going to go recommend you for a Silver Star “for a job well done” . I was also promoted to from the Second Lieutenant to the First Lieutenant. It was then my duty, to write up all my men for awards. The dead and wounded would receive Silver Stars and all the others would receive Bronze Stars.”

“As we continue, the Japanese were still trying to stop us from getting the Baguio. Captain Miller, Company B commander had assign me job to led he company with my platoon at the point of the Battalion.”

“I put two scouts out front, then sergeant scout, followed by myself, a BAR team of gunners, two ammo carriers, a rifle squad of a sergeant and 8-10 riflemen with M1 rifles, plus grenades with a corporal second-in-command of a squad. In the center of our advancing line was a machine gun squad. This unit had one .30 caliber light machine gun with a gunner, assistant gunner and four ammo carriers. Each carrier had for 250 round belts of ammo. Two additional men carried spare parts for the machine gun, especially the spare gun barrels.”

“This lead force was followed by another rifle squad and one .50 mm motor team, composed of a Sergeant gunner, assistant gunner and six ammo carriers, each with eight .50 mm of mortar rounds. A corporal was second- in-command. We were followed by Lieutenant Hutton’s rifle platoon in between, and another .30 caliber light machine gun squad. The rest the company was composed of Lieutenant Willett’s Rifle Platoon of about 40 man and the Company Headquarters platoon of about 20 men. Our rear and flanks was guarded by two rifle squads and a .30 caliber machine gun. As the platoon leader of the Weapons Platoon, I distributed mortars and machine guns along the advancing platoons for best effect.”

“We were advancing in the north eastern direction. About a mile up the road, about noon when a 20 or 30 man Japanese force jump us, on the left front. Everybody took cover as we were attacked by the Japanese rifle machine gun and mortar fire. After seeing all my man or in the right position, I returned report to Captain Miller. I reported the Japanese were in a strong defense of position and that I thought a final attack against them would be too costly in a loss of our man. He told me to take all the men I needed and attacked the Japanese from the rear.”

“I formed a reinforced rifle platoon of about 50 men: four rifle squad, three bar team, a lot of grenades, one .30 caliber machine gun squad and two scouts. To get adequate screen covering, I withdrew force from our main group about a quarter of a mile to the rear of the main company. We turn left in advance then to north a mile. And then again we turned east one third of a mile, and flanked the Japanese position and coming up on them from the rear. I sent scouts ahead and they turned about half an hour later. They reported that the Japanese company had about 150 men among the ground near the road near our main company and they were advancing. I ordered three rifle squads and two BAR teams to make a front lines with the machine gun squad in the center of the line.”

“Slowly and as quit as possible without making any noise. We fixed bayonets and got within 50 yards of the enemy before the Japanese saw us. The surprise attack from the rear fooled the Japanese. They were looking for frontal attack up the road where the main company of the advance occupied fast and soon were within grenade range of about 50 or 60 feet. Twenty or thirty hand grenades were use plus rifle and small arms fire. The machine gun Bar teams took care of the rest trying to get away. Some did get into the heavy brush and escape. The fight lasted for about a half an hour. It was very costly for them. Two Japanese mortar and heavy machine guns were destroyed by our gun crews. Our losses were two men killed, eight wounded that were quickly cared for by our first aid man.”

“As we were leaving to re-join the main company, I turn back to check rear. As I look back I saw a Japanese soldier had pulled his pistol out of a shirt to shoot me in the back as I was walking away. I shot him two times of my .45 caliber revolver, “this was the weapon I had taken from an educated Japanese officer after an attack of the enemy command post during a battle for a Manila City: I walked back to check him and found out he was a Japanese officer. I also found him with US$100 bill. It was also a picture of Annie Shirley, and [American movie star at the time,] Walther .32 caliber German made a gun and his own military service pistol. He did not carry saber as did most enemy officers: neither did he have an officers insignia. He was just like he was dressed like an enlisted man . I took the Walther automatic pistol and carried it, the .45 caliber revolver and my service . 45 pistol to the end of the war. I brought three weapons home with me. I carried a .32 caliber Walter with me when I was an assistant Sheriff Deputy in Henry County.”

“In June 1945, on the drive to a Aparri, after the battle of Baguio, Lieutenant Colonel Gaull had me transferred to Company D, since Company D had no officer trained in heavy weapons and I was very experience, beginning with my training at Camp Shelby in United States. Combat experience officers was almost zero and Second Lieutenant replacements were not available.”

“We were continuing to press the attack to Aparri under heavy fire when we were hit with a mortar barrage. We all hit the ground off the road and it was there I got my third Purple Heart. I was again hit in the legs by mortal shrapnel. Also, like some mortar attacks in Manila, I suspect it was US friendly fire. I got patched up by an aid man and we continued to Aparri.”

“In the morning, Captain Tobias said, ” I have lots of jobs for you to do: Company Executive Officer, Platoon Leader of the 3rd Machine Gun Platoon, Platoon Leader of the 4th Weapons Platoon, Platoon Transport Officer, and Mess Officer.” I asked Tobias, “”What was he going to do?. He said “I’ll see you do your jobs” .“Tobias never turned out to be the officer I thought he was. He wasn’t the same leader as the Captain that he was as a Lieutenant in combat. I knew him in New Georgia. I asked Colonel Gaull about it and he said, “he noticed the same thing“. I don’t know what caused it? He didn’t do his job to tell his platoon leaders what he expected of them-he left it up to you. That’s not the combat way.”

“The 148th Infantry Regiment started their drive up to IIagan Valley towards Aspire . 1st Battalion would start the drive, with the 2nd and 3rd Battalion following to protect our rear. It would be another 200 miles of valley, jungles, hills, rivers and streams to cross. The Japanese would try to stop us whenever the terrain was hard for our forces to travel . On this first day of our march up the road, only a few snipers gave us a little trouble. Then, in the afternoon near Santa Fe, a large Japanese patrol hit us hard. We had to fight until dark. During the night the Japanese went back into the hills and jungles.”

“In the morning, we counted 56 Japanese killed. Our losses were 10 killed and 21 wounded. On June 3, again back on the road and it was slow going. Lots of Japanese around. We only made a few miles that day. On June 4, B Company took the point of our battalion. Going was slow and the roads were tough and rough and it had a lot of curves. We had lots of Japanese snipers firing at us most of the day. We lost of three men and six wounded. We only made 5 miles that day. On June 5, near the town of Bayombong, a large Japanese forces attacked our company. We stopped and dug in for the big battle. It lasted most of the day. By nightfall, we stay put until the next morning. At daylight, most of the Japanese had moved further into the hills. Only a few snipers around. The Japanese lost 50 men killed and we lost 8 men and 12 wounded.”

“On June 6, we moved up the road towards IIagan. We only went a few miles when the Japanese hit us again. We were hit again from all sides and it for an all day battle. An enemy had a thousand men hit use every thing they had. Company B dug in right away and saved a lot of lives. By night time, the fighting stop, when darkness game. In the morning of June 7, the fighting started again and another extremely long day . We were lucky this time. We lost six men and 25 wounded. The Japanese loss about 300 men and as many as 500 and maybe many more wounded.”

“The 1st battalion was making a drive up the valley for a week now. So the 3rd Battalion came and took over for the 1st and now we would guard the rear of the Regimen. For one week and the 2nd Battalion would take a point and the 3rd would go to the rear and the 1st would protect our sides. Going up the valley was slow, as the Japanese would hit us somewhere everyday to try and stop the drive. The 3rd Battalion lost men, wounded was about the same as the first day. It was now on the 15th and the big battle was going to happen at IIagan. A large Japanese force attacked us again. Fighting lasted for about a week. Japanese losses of really heavy and were about 50 dead an 100 wounded.”

“On June 20, I receive orders to leave Company B and report to Company D. This was a Heavy Weapons Company and larger than a Rifle Company. I am now Second in Command of the Company and have a lot of other duties because they are short short officers. The company at full strength has a Captain in command, eight Lieutenants, and 250 men. We have only four officers and 200 men-short because the men being wounded or killed. The Company has six platoons: Headquarters, First Platoon, Second, Third, Fourth and Motor Pool Platoons. The First and Second are Heavy Machine Gun Platoon. Each has six water-cool .30 caliber machine gun and two air cooled .50 machine guns. The Third and Fourth platoons are heavy mortar platoons with four .90 mm mortar’s per platoon.”


“This makes lots of fire power for the company. This company sends reinforcements to the rifle company whenever needed.”

“The company also has 20 trucks to carry heavy weapons, but when the road conditions get real bad, the men carry some of the equipment on foot. This is very hard and slow moving. We had some trouble crossing rivers and the thick jungles. Most of the time, the trucks could get through. It was now July, and the fighting was still going on every day. Some days light and other days were extremely heavy.”

“On January 15, 1945 Captain Tobias, our Company Commander, left for the hospital with a stomach condition. I’m now in Command of Company D. On August 15, we were now in Tuguegarao. We set up a base camp there and we are waiting for the Japanese surrender of the war is over summer rental companies are on the way to Aparri. Yet still some fighting going on.”

Who remembers the names of the Islands ….those who fought there.

One more story

General MacArthur Returns

Yes, I talked earlier about meeting General MacArthur, when I told him it was not safe for him and his party to be there. The Japanese antitank gun and mortar begin firing on my platoon and we all hit the ground and we look for cover. The general and his party were lucky none got hit. I had two men killed and three men wounded that day. The General left and got back to his Regimental Headquarters.

In August 1945, I was on guard duty at Ridley Regimental Headquarters. When again I felt proud to meet the General. I saluted to the General and said “Good morning,General”. He said, “Good morning Lieutenant Schwab”, “How are you today?” I said ,”Just fine General. Colonel Schultz is his office”. This was six months since talking to the General he still remembers my name. I could hardly believe that of all the people he came in contact with he still remembers my name.

His aide it was General Cooper and I also told the General Cooper about meeting General MacArthur six months before and what had happened. General Cooper you told me the General MacArthur would call me by name if it is to be one or five years later. General Cooper said, “ the General has a great mind remember people when he meet anyone.” It sure was a great surprise to me. No wonder General MacArthur was one of the greatest generals of all time.

Bataan Death March

Over 120,000 American and Filipino POW died in the Bataan Death March and from prison camps brutally, lack of food, water and rest and also in the hot sun and heat.

When the US forces in Filipino Army were defeated by the Japanese in April 1942, over 600,000 American and Filipino prisoners were captured. American POWs died mostly from starvation, forced hard labor and brutality.

The two largest camps were all O’Donald Prison and Cabanatuan Prison Camp, along with other small camps and hospitals. Care in the hospitals were bad, lack of food and medicine with very poor living conditions.

Most prisoner had nothing to eat for seven days, with only a little rice and very few sardines. On occasion, the Japanese give the American prisoners three chickens for 500 men and another three eggs for 50 men. They were forced to work with a little food or water. Sometimes 50 to 100 would die in one day. Filipino soldiers died 200 to 500 a day. It was hard to find men a strong enough to dig graves to bury the dead. Men lost weight from 200 pounds down to 100 and some to 90 pounds. They were human skeletons. The Japanese promise medicine and a better living conditions but it never came

Some made the death march of 85 days in six days on one mess of rice. Other Americans made the “march of death” in 12 days without any food whatsoever. Americans were marked through Manila presenting a worst appearance possible. Bedraggled, hungry, thirsty and many so weak from illness, they can hardly stand. The soldiers wore same clothing without a change for two months.

The Philippine People

In addition the people of the Philippine fought behind the scenes. Starting from scratch the people were quick to respond offering what they had freely and generously parts from broken-down automobiles, lubricating oils, firearms, wrapping paper, gunnysacks, bolts and nuts by the hundreds, curtain rods, scraps of metal anything that could be of use to an army.
Even printing money, from the engraver,to the ink made of glycerin and lampblack, some of which was printed on wrapping paper but it looked and smelled by money,but it passed for money.


Communication was depended on runners but stringing barb wire was used for telegraph wires.


Needing gasoline, they built and operated stills to make alcohol out of palm juice and got 6 miles to the gallon and of course you could drink it for a purpose for which it not intended.

The first guns were made to two pieces of water pipe one inside the other. The bullets were made old of old curtain rods and the powder came Japanese sea mines, sulfur, saltpeter and antimony. Three inch pipes were in great demand because they could be converted into canon with a tapered Marlinspike for a firing pin and rope 30 yards long for protection in case it blew up. But it was the people themself and the help of our soldiers that trained the men in guerrilla warfare and carrying out night patrols, making map, setting up booby traps to protect the flank. It was faith in the people themselves that proved immense value to restoring victory.

The Japanese eventually permitted the Red Cross in Manila just send medical supplies but after they arrive, they were not unpacked for days. During this time, many more died. The above went on until February 3 and fourth 1945, when all pruner camps and hospitals were liberated by the Americans Forces. Manila was secured by March 1945.

Over 100,000 Americans died in the Philippines from December 1941 through February, 1945.

Atomic Bomb

On August 6, 1945, at about 8:15am Japanese time, the US aircraft Enola Gay dropped atom bomb nicknamed “Little Boy” over Hiroshima. 

Hiroshima was immediately flattened.

The explosion killed 70,000 people instantly; by December 1945, the death toll had risen to some 140,000.

On August 9, 1945 the second Atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan by the United States, The bomb was dropped at 11:02 a.m., 1,650 feet above the city. The explosion unleashed the equivalent force of 22,000 tons of TNT.

On August 15, Emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s surrender, and on September 2, the surrender was formally signed, bringing the hostilities of World War II to a close. 

Going Home

“Orders came to board ship on December 1, 1945. When we left Lingayen Gulf in the China seas on December 2, 1945 to bring to begin our way home to the USA. This should take about two weeks.”

“About December 4, I got sick and sent to sick day on the ship. Our army doctor and a navy doctor said I have a bad case of yellow jaundice and manila fever. I was really sick for a week. The next day, we stopped at Hawaii for a few days. I finally got out of sick bay to go ashore. I was very tired and weak, so I did not do much but lay on a cot.”

“We are on our way again. In four days we landed in San Diego California. I was sent to an army camp to get new clothes. It was winter at home. After a week, I was on a train headed for Camp Attenberry, Indiana. Here I got my discharge papers and was sent home to New Baveria, Ohio.”

“I made it home Christmas. 1945.”

The power of the atomic bomb would usher a change in geopolitics that still reverberates to this day, with several countries currently vying to acquire this technology.