“In Pursuit of Truth!”

 

 

THE BEAT GOES ON:

 

It would be better if the "beat" were replaced by myths, untruths, outright knowing lies, misleading relatives.

 

Our founder, Major Richard Gordon and I, plus many other Bataan Veterans have often discussed this. Our BBB Motto is "IN PURSUIT OF TRUTH". After 65 years, "The Beat Goes On". We still receive inquiries from next of kin, families, and friends that were told their relative was on the Bataan Death March. We even received them from some that were in Europe!! Most of the time, 99.9% of the time, we can verify such claims or disapprove it. We expose such "wannabees" without mercy. Why so many want to claim they were on the Death March is very puzzling to us. As one BGen wrote, it amounts to stolen valor. It degrades those that were on the Bataan Death March and is an insult to the memory of those we lost on the March and at O'Donnell. 

 

Today there are laws against claiming awards that are false, but people can still lie about where they served or, even if they were there, and what they did.  Believe me, most reporters, who interview these veterans, never check for the facts.  Most reporters become upset with the BBB (Battling Bastards of Bataan) when we tell them the TRUTH.  History should not be what you want it to be. 

 

One Service Organization, I believe it is the VFW, has a special unit that checks claims and when proven to be false, CALLS THEM LIARS. Such information is published in their Magazine. There are a lot of "wannabees" in today’s conflicts as well.

 

For years the ADBC QUAN has been and still is one of the worse perpetuators of these untruths, etc… Apparently, there is no Quality Control (QC) in what is printed in the Quan.

 

THREE RECENT EXAMPLES:

 

In Vol. 61, Number 3, November-December 2006 issue:

 

World War II Death March Survivor Honored Sparks, By John Tyson.

 

Notes that the LAST survivor of the BDM was honored. An OUTRIGHT FALSE STATEMENT AND ANYONE THAT WAS THERE BY A GLANCE WOULD KNOW IT WAS FALSE.

 

The person so honored, George Small, came to my F CO, US 31ST INF, in early February 1942, shortly after our Abucay Hacienda battle. He is not even close to being the last survivor of the BDM.  He is not even the oldest, close maybe, but we had a 98 year old at BAMC that had not even had his POW Protocol Exam!! .

 

The story goes on that the Japs killed thousands of AMERICANS on the BDM. Wrong again. The best figure, based on personnel reports and the number that made it to O'Donnell, that about 730-750 Americans died on the BDM.  And, that is too many…  Thousands died in one way only if one included the 4,000 + Filipino Soldiers who died on the March. THERE WERE NO ROSTERS ON THE BDM.

 

"60 years after the March" by Andrew Sirochi

 

Reads in part, “they about 4,000 strong ---on Bataan----and were marched to MUKDEN. Only 700 alive… 3 years later!” WOW!  From Bataan to China!!! And we thought the trip from Mariveles to O'Donnell was long!!! This is so bad it needs no explanation!! What a classic example of gross miss-information!!!

 

"Bataan Survivor tells story to Students”

 

This story implies that ADBC PNC Ed Jackfert made the BDM. He was not quoted as saying he was a Death March Survivor, but the article implies he was a Death March survivor. Ed, a Member of the 19th Bomb Group went to Mindanao before Bataan Fell and he did not make the BDM.

 

This has been a very old problem with the Quan.  They refuse to edit the articles they publish in the Quan, therefore we can only assume that nothing which we read in the Quan can be trusted. 

 

These are only three examples AND "THE BEAT GOES ON."  My friend, Dick (Gordon) told me more than once, "Till, we will never stop this kind of ‘stuff’" (used a different word). I am beginning to believe he was correct, but, as long as the BBB exists we will be "IN PURSUIT OF TRUTH".

 

AS I SEE IT OR SO IT APPEARS:

 

Our plans for restoring the San Fernando Train Station into a museum has hit a snag. Key persons, Indira and her husband Al Kane, have moved from the city of San Fernando to Angeles City.  Indira and Al have been very loyal members of the BBB and they have tried very hard to combat the red tape and stubbornness they encountered with the city of San Fernando and the Philippine National Railroad. They were our people in San Fernando who had the contacts with the city government.  As we left the project, the city of San Fernando had to get the title of the train station and it’s surrounding property, transferred from the Philippine National Railroad to the city.  Ownership of the train station and it’s surrounding property was first and foremost important prior to investing money to have the train station restored and remodeled into a museum.  The status of this title transfer is unknown by this writer.

 

This is of great concern to us because not only do we wish to restore and preserve the Train Station, but Indira and Al also found one of the Boxcars used to transport the Death Marchers from San Fernando, Pampanga to Capas, Tarlac.  Our plan was to move the Boxcar into a protected enclosure right next to the Train Station after the station was restored.  Now, it appears both of our plans are up in the air.

 

I never thought I would ever again see one of those torture chambers again.  It really got to me when I received a photo of the Boxcar from Indira. Chills went all over me when it hit me, this might be the one I was in and it still does now as I write this.

 

 

I'd like to see it protected, moved to O'Donnell with a covered shed placed over it until we resolve the Train Station situation. We, the BBB, can and will raise the funds necessary to move the Boxcar and build the Shed, but we need access to the Boxcar. 

 

This Boxcar is such a very vital part of the Bataan Death March, it’s history, and how it happened. For those of you who do not know, this Boxcar is a WW I French vintage, used to carry 40 Men or 8 Horses, thus the American Legion 40 et 8 got its name. The Japanese went further, no horses but 100 Men packed in each car with closed doors, no food or water, in intense heat, no ventilation. You bet. This car is important and needed as part of the story of the Bataan Death March. Perhaps Colonel Rafael Estrada, DBC Commander in Manila will get it going. I know he can and he is one of us, a Bataan Death March Survivor. Something positive needs to be done soon, to us, time is of the essence.

 

We were planning a trip in April 2007 to Manila with our main objectives being the SF Train Station and the Boxcar plus ceremonies at O'Donnell and hopefully Mt Samat. Of course we would go to Mariveles, Subic, Cabanatuan, Olongapo and who knows.  That trip has been canceled.

 

We have a supporter in Illinois, Harry Canterbury, who has become a staunch supporter of the BBB.  Harry has his own Radio Show and magazine. He is knocking down doors to get funding to set up a trip. He wants to take a crew over there with two cameras and shoot a documentary. Let's hope he does it.

 

Many of you wonder about the BBB. Yes, we have lost three Board of Director members, but our commitment and dedication prevails and we continue to provide info and pursue the truth and will do so for a long time.

 

An item of interest perhaps: On 5 Feb 07 I spoke to the LAFB NCO Academy, 200 Students for an hour. I speak when asked. Since I had so long I showed them a 39 minute video (edited from a 2:08 video that I went to the RP and shot in 2001-2 with James Litton as my expert director. As they say "a picture is worth a thousand words".

 

OUR BBB MEMORIAL FUND: This fund (trust) maintains our Memorial at Camp O'Donnell. Due to an apparent miss-understanding, the balance is not what we thought it would be. It is a long story, so I will not detail it. For the present we are okay but it is the future we are concerned with. Fred is juggling with some ideas to raise funds.  Only time will tell. Our BBB Memorial is very special, very dear to us that were there, to families, friends and to Jimbo, who oversees upkeep.  There are 1771 names of Americans that perished in that "hellhole" in a very short time and we MUST preserve their memory in their HONOR. As most of you know, NO US GOVT NOR ANY VETERAN ORGANIZATIONS FUNDS WENT INTO THIS MEMORIAL. This fund is maintained by FAME in Manila.

 

Another Item of Interest – Facts!

 

We received an article from the SA E/N paper published on 9 April, 2006. It was sent to us by one of the Volunteers at the ALM VA. Let's look at some FACTS regarding this article.

 

This article concerned BG Lewis Beebe, G-4, USAFE and his "Lost" POW Diary. The heading of this article infers that Beebe was on Bataan. NOT TRUE. He was on Corregidor. The ONLY time Beebe set foot on Bataan was when he accompanied Skinny (Gen Wainwright) to Bataan to surrender the forces on Corregidor. Bataan and the Bataan Death March was over by then, by almost a month.

 

Beebe wrote that "our" troops were not doing well due to lack of training and discipline.  Beebe, nor any one else on Corregidor, including MacArthur, had the slightest idea of just how bad matters were on Bataan.  They only knew what they were told. Documented FACTS support this. It is true the Philippine Army had very little training before the War hit us in the Philippines. We, the 31st Infantry, would see them training with wooden rifles.
They were not issued their weapons yet!

 

BUT, consider this, Japan's time table for taking the Philippines was 4-6 weeks.  It took them over four months to take Bataan and then only after calling in more troops from across the Empire. DISCIPLINE. The only time that problem happened in numbers was towards the end, and this writer was/is a personal witness to that (and not from Corregidor) when my US 31st, the 45th, 57th, 26th Cav. PS and supporting units were ordered on a counter attack on Mt. Samat. Frankly, the Troops on Bataan did exceedingly well, fighting on 1/4 rations, (Beebe, as G-4, had order 1/2 rations in January '42), antiquated equipment, no ammo for new equipment, quinine had run out, no air support, wounded men still fighting (those that could), and the Troops on the Front lines got even less food.

 

On 24 Jan '42 orders were given to WITHDRAW ALL SUPPLIES FROM BATAAN.  Beebe was one of the few that knew of this SECRET order. The Troops on Bataan had to fight on until April '42! Consider, when the FACT that they were blowing up "chow" and ammo dumps in the rear of Bataan just before the fall. This writer was a personal witness to this. It appears “they" had already given up on Bataan.

 

Beebe wrote that Wainwright had ordered King to launch an attack that he believed was never given. That is TRUE except  the order came from MacArthur. It also reveals that they had no idea of the condition of the Troops on Bataan, who were weary, starving, and sick.  General King knew that his Men were in no condition to continue.  II Corps was just a number by then and I Corps was almost the same. Beebe attempted to by-pass General King on this, calling General Jones, I Corps Commander, who told Beebe he had received no orders from General King. Beebe told Jones he would be receiving such orders soon. Whereon, an angry King, on being told of this, called Wainwright through Beebe and Wainwright assured King he was still in Command of all Forces on Bataan.

                  

Beebe wrote that King wanted to surrender Bataan to prevent the battle from reaching the Hospitals where 5,000 patients were. NOT SO. King knew the situation that his Men were fighting on "guts" alone and the end was near. He wanted to avoid a "blood bath". That is the main reason.  He confirmed this to several Bataan veterans in his suite at a Convention in Philadelphia, PA in '47-48.  I was present at that suite with Gen. King.

 

On the Hospital patients, Dr. Browe, who was at the Hospital stated that the Japanese actually treated them okay when they observed how well they were taking care of the Japanese wounded. General King also told us. If he had known or had any idea that the Japanese were going to treat us like they did on the March and at O'Donnell he might have had second thoughts about the surrender.

                  

Beebe wrote that some Troops swam to Corregidor. If so, they would have to have been in great shape, "Tarzan quality" due to the very strong undercurrents that funnels in the channel between Bataan and Corregidor. It is estimated that about 3,000 did get to Corregidor, mostly rear echelon Troops, by boats or holding onto boats or other means of flotation.

 

COMMENT:

 

Isn't it amazing that so many of these afterwards claimed they were on the BDM. Some even claim they were on the 2nd BDM. Another falsehood! Wannabees!

                  

On 29 March '42, Beebe asked his G-4 if there were any supplies on Corregidor that could be sent to Bataan. This decision was up to Gen Moore, CG of the Harbor Defense. Four days later the reply was “no,” but there were 10,000 pairs of shoes, in different sizes, that had been sent FROM Bataan that could be sent back to Bataan.  On 4 April '42 Beebe asked King if he desired these shoes. There is NO recorded reply from Gen. King.

 

Comment:

                 

Speaking for our US 31st Infantry Troops, I can tell you what we would have told Beebe and Moore as to what they could do with those shoes.

                  

Speaking of Rations

 

We knew that our guys in the rear were eating better than we were on the front lines. When we managed to visit them, while in a holding status, (they used the Philippine Carabao Division for attacks and to plug holes in line in the Mountain Jungles) we visited the 200th and 515th CAC.  We made good friends there and, yes, they had better and more food than we did, but we were not bitter about it.  Trucks were hi-jacked heading to the front lines with rations for the Troops there, especially when they had cigarettes.

 

We were convinced that Corregidor fared much better. Although meals on Corregidor had been reduced to two meals a day, which the troops on Bataan had been on since January ’42, they had "luxury" items, such as bacon, ham, fresh vegetables, coffee, milk and jam.  FOODS THAT HAD LONG SINCE DISASPPEARED FROM THE  BATAAN DIET SINCE DECEMBER '41.

                  

The above disparity between Corregidor and Bataan was sharply raised when Bataan MPs stopped a supply truck taking food to the two AA Batteries from Corregidor that were on Bataan doing search light duties but receiving rations from Corrigidor and receiving issues from Bataan also! The Batteries were E and G of the 60th CAC.

 

SPECIAL NOTE HERE FOR CLARIFICATION: THESE UNITS WENT BACK TO CORREGIDOR BEFORE BATAAN FELL AND THERE NEVER WERE ANY 59TH CAC UNITS ON BATAAN.

                  

The items listed on this shipment for Batteries E and G included " a case of Bacon, 24 cans of Vienna sausage, one sack of cracked wheat, 24 pounds of raisins, 33 lbs of lard, 24 cans each of peas, corn, tomatoes, potatoes and peaches, 24 bottles of ketchup, 50 cartons of cigarettes and 600 lbs of rice.

 

COMMENT:

 

NOW AS FRED TOLD ME, I SEE THE PROBLEM, WE WERE NOT PART OF THE HARBOR DEFENSE!

                   

The opinion and actual statements were, "the equal distribution of food between 74,000 Men, the Filipinos and Americans on Bataan, and 10,000 Men on Corregidor could NOT have saved the Men on Bataan and would only have led to the weakening of the Men of the Harbor Defense.

 

Never mind that it may have helped the Bataan Troops better endure the hell of the Bataan Death March and possibly reduced the fast number of deaths at Camp O'Donnell and in the early months on Cabanatuan.  While still engaged in hostile actions against the Japanese, the Filipino and Americans on the front lines of Bataan were being starved to death.  This clearly explains the great discrepancies in the death rate between Bataan men and everybody else who became prisoners of the Japanese.  This food deal was all under Gen Beebe's control as Chief of Staff.

 

By October ’42, only six months into their captivity, nearly half of the Americans captured on Bataan had already died, on the Death March, in Camp O’Donnell, in Cabanatuan, and on the Work Details.  The death rate to our Filipino Brethrens was nearly eight times higher. 

                  

RE: The Surrender of Corregidor; At 6 AM, 6 May 1942 Gen. Beebe stepped up to the microphone of the "Voice of Freedom" and in a tired but clear tones read a message to General Homma. It was from Gen Wainwright and contained his offer to surrender.

                

Comment:

 

Let's make it perfectly clear, once and for all, NO Corregidor Troops made the Bataan Death March regardless of a few that claimed to have done so in one way or another. The only Men (no Nurses had to, thankfully) that made the Death March were most of the troops on Bataan.  Not all them had to walk, some rode, some drove trucks for the Japanese, but most did it by foot.

 

Not all started from Mariveles, another group started from Bagac on the western part and met at Cabcaben, the crest of Zig Zag Trail, and joined many more that had been taken there (at Cabcaben).  From Mariveles the trek was about 114 KM, including the "Death Train” ride from San Fernando to Capas, Tarlac, and then another 2.3 mile trek into Camp O'Donnell.

 

In Beebe's article he stated, they (on the Death March) were four abreast, mixed with Filipino soldiers. Not so in most groups.  We straggled and struggled.  We were in no condition to march in a "Parade" like fashion.  It is believed that we lost more troops on the Zig-Zag Trail than the rest of the hike. These seven kilometers was a hellish hike, going almost straight up on a sharp angle, on a narrow curving dirt road, with Men trying to avoid the Japanese soldiers coming up and down the road in trucks, doing their best to put a "notch" on their belts by killing a Filipino or American POW. Many succeeded.

                   

Comment On Corregidor:

 

They had their own story. Nothing stated is intended to take away from their honorable fight. BUT, it is well documented, not just an opinion.  The men on Corregidor did not have to survive the conditions in Bataan, the Bataan Death March, including the Train ride, and Camp O'Donnell. After that, the treatment was essentially the same, depending on which Camp you were in plus the connections you might have had and your rank.

                 

Corregidor troops were in much better physical condition than Bataan Troops.  It has been written that they were shocked at physical appearance of the Bataan men when they saw them come to Cabanatuan from O'Donnell. It is well documented that the mortality rate for Bataan Men was much higher than for Corregidor men. One cannot help wonder - could this be because of the decisions made by those in authority regarding the Men on Bataan vs those on Corregidor? Who knows, but the documented FACTS are on record.

                  

In the opinion of most, if not all Bataan veterans, Major General Edward P. King is long overdue and overlooked for the Medal of Honor that he so richly deserves. Remember, under the leadership of General King, the forces on Bataan far exceeded what was expected and what they were capable of, and doing so under conditions no other American force has ever come close to having to endure. Historians are just recently beginning to realize what King accomplished on Bataan, stalling the Japanese on Bataan, long enough to save Australia and completely disrupting Japan's time table for conquering the southwest Pacific.  Yes, Edward King deserves the Medal of Honor.

                  

A REMINDER:

 

Memorial Certificates are available for Active Members. Those that have received them were very complimentary including how impressed they were with the appearance. For any other Bataan veteran that is not an active member, a Certificate will be provided for a fee to cover the costs. For Active Members there is no charge including the cost of mailing.

 

NEW MEMBER:

 

JAMES H. STEED JR SON OF JAMES H. STEED SR. CO H, US 31ST INF.

 

                  

"THE BATTLING BASTARDS OF BATAAN STRONGLY RECOMMENDS IF YOU WISH TO VERIFY A PERSON'S CLAIM THAT THEY ARE A BDM SURVIVOR OR ANY OTHER STORIES THEY May CLAIM, PLEASE CONTACT OUR WEBMASTER.  WE WILL RESEARCH IT AND TELL YOU THE TRUTH TO THE BEST OF OUR ABILITIES. 

           

Until next time, take care of yourselves.

 

Tillman J. RUTLEDGE

CO F, US 31ST INF

COMMANDER/ADJUTANT

BATLING BASTARDS OF BATAAN                 

IN PURSUIT OF TRUTH

 

Contact Our Commander

Tillman J. Rutledge

 

 

Webmaster’s Notes:

 

We have recently received a copy of a DVD with a documentary titled “Manila 1945: The Forgotten Atrocity.”  The documentary was produced by Peter Parsons, son of Chick Parsons, who Gen. MacArthur appointed to manage the various guerrilla units in the Philippines during the war.  The Battling Bastards of Bataan strongly endorses this DVD.  For more information, please click on this link:  “Manila 1945: The Forgotten Atrocity”

 

The civilian internees of the Philippines are planning a reunion next February 3, 2008.  You are welcome to join the reunion which will be, tentatively, held in Fremont, California.  If you wish to join them, please contact Sascha Jean Jansen.

 

Finally, this is very important, please enter this website and support “The Lolas”, the Filipina women who have survived to tell their stories as to how they were kidnapped by Japanese soldiers and used as sex slaves, or comfort girls.  Please go to this website and show your anger at this injustice.  Here is the link:  “The Lolas.”

 

 

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