Audio Tape 2 Side 1

MF: We was at the point of just about dropping from Malaria Fever, Dysentery, and a lack of food and medical supplies. If we'd have had food and medical supplies they never would have took Bataan. They could not have took Bataan if we'd have had food, medical supplies, and ammunition. There wadn't no way in the world they'd ever took us.

AK: Too tough, huh?

MF: Thats right. Time and time again they let them break through the line and they just run through that line, then they'd close it up and it was like killing fish in a barrel. And they done that to the Japanese time and time again. The Japanese were good soldiers, don't get me wrong. They had too much discipline. And what I mean by that, if the NCO got killed they didn't have nobody that would assume responsibilities of taking charge of the platoon. So if you could kill the officer or the NCO you had the rest of them. They'd fight till they died but they wouldn't re-group, retreat and re-group and come at you again. They'd stay right there until you killed them!

AK: And you'all did.

MF: Thats exactly right.

AK: Did you ever see any of that close in fighting?

MF: Well yeah! It was just about all that front-line fighting was close in. We was right on the lines and it went on.. They was crazy. They would spend a half a day crawling to our lines. Within about 50 yards they'd get up and here they'd come standing straight up with a rifle over their head. And you could imagine what happened to them.

AK: Did you ever see them do that?

MF: Yeah!

AK: Did you see that battle where they... You know they landed down here on the west side, a pretty good size formation, maybe about 2000.

MF: There were barges?

AK: Uh hm..

MF: No, I just heard about that, I never...

AK: D company went down there, or some of the troops in D company. Kenneth Hergin (sp?) went down there...

MF: Yeah, they sent some tanks in there, but I never...

AK: You didn't get into that.

MF: No. I had my maintenance setup over around over here. I don't know whether they got Cabcaben on there or not.

AK: Yeah, here's Cabcaben right here on the very southeast...

MF: Yeah, it was right on the tip, and I had my maintenance setup there. We'd go from there, see.

AK: That was after they made that first withdrawal onto the second line.

MF: Right.

AK: When they made that big penetration up there, were you aware of that?

MF: When the Japs infiltered?

AK: No, when they made that big penetration there, you know, the line got pretty bad shape. Were you aware...

MF: Yeah, I knew about it. In fact, they just got two main lines here right?

AK: Did you ever hear about the "Battle of the Big Pocket"?

MF: Yeah, I knew about it.

AK: Do you know where it was? I'll tell you Grover Brummit (sp?) fought in it, but he couldn't remember if it was up on the Agnew River or whether it was down in Bataan.

MF: No, it was on Bataan.

AK: And there is a big pocket right there, you see.

MF: It was on Bataan. Yeah, I recall that.

AK: Was it called Big Pocket?

MF: I don't know.

AK: Thats what it looks like. There was a penetration there where they were in maybe three or four miles.

MF: What happened I can recall. I wadn't involved any way, shape, form, or fashion. But my motor sergeant was named Wallace Denny (sp?), he was from down MacAfee (sp?) outside of Harrodsburg. He went to the Phillipines, armied and become a second lieutenant. And in this deal, this big deal here, the Phillipine army, they just throwed down their arms and moved out. Thats what I heard. Thats what the guys told me. Denny was in that area and he got killed somewhere up in that deal right there.

AK: You motor sergeant, he volunteered to go with them and he got a field commission and took over..

MF: Yeah, I could've went too. I said "No thank you, buddy!" I said "Denny, you crazy!" He said "Oh naw!" Oh, he was gung ho anyway, see. I said "You're crazy for doing that." He said "Naw Naw!". I said "OK, buddy." He said "You got the reins to the company now!" I said "Ok, no sweat." I had them anyway. I think I seen him one more time after that. That's where he got it. They got overrun. They killed him and the whole, I don't know how many Phillipinos.

AK: Mount Senat's (sp?) the name of the high ground there included in that pocket.

MF: Yeah. Up there on that mountain they got a big cross on that thing.

AK: It was off to the west of Orion. They never did contain that pocket. Did they drive them back up that pocket?

MF: uh uh. That was it.

AK: When they got into that pocket, that was it.

MF: Old man said we was going down fast. After that month delay they had... For a month there it was quiet. Lets see, June, July, April...

AK: Its the first of January, April's when they surrendered, 7th, ninth, somewhere in there...

MF: March. April 9th's when Bataan fell. So somewhere last of February and March.

AK: I think it might have been a little before that where you had your delay... but I'm not sure.

MF: We had a long time. Wadn't nothing happening!

AK: They pulled some of the forces out, s'what they did. Took them to another place. Took them off the island, as a matter of fact. And then they reinforced, see, and that was up here.

MF: Well we killed a whole lot of them people. Right up here on this road coming right down here? They killed so many Japanese that,... there was a Jap tank there also. They killed so many Japanese there that there got to a point where it stunk so bad. And our line wadn't that far away from it, really. It stunk so doggon bad that you couldn't hardly stand it. Right here,

AK: You're talking about just north of Orion?

MF: Yeah, right in there. We knocked out one of there tanks and our battalion, they went in there and got that Japanese tank. You talking about shooting-em-up charlie... But they got it! They went in and hooked that thing and pulled it out of there. And all they wanted to do was,... our ordinance, we had 17th ordinance, then we had the higher echelon ordinance that just the 17th. And they wanted to study that tank, you know, for weak spots and things in it.

AK: They went in and got it where they had those bodies.

MF: Yeah, went in there and pushed some things out of the way. They even called a lull there for a day or so, so the Japs could come in there and get their bodies, get them Japaneses bodies out of that place. There wadn't no shot fired on either side. They come in there and cleared their... The reason for that is that this road ran right through rice paddies. The rice paddies then the bay. Then on this side was more rice paddies. They had rice paddies mined and barbed-wire...

AK: "They" meaning the American forces or the Japanese forces.

MF: Ours. We had barbed-wire entanglement. The only way they'd get to us was come down through this road here. For quite aways across here. They were determined to get down that road and thats why they got so many people killed. They just stacked up ...

AK: You talking about that lateral road, that road that went east-west? The delaying line was right behind that.

MF: Yeah. Right in this area right here...

AK: See, here's Orion and then here's the town called Pilar where this road. It was south of Pilar.

MF: It was right in here.

AK: Right in there. They stacked them up to where the stink was something you...

MF: Yeah. It was so bad that you couldn't hardly stand it. We had halftracks that had 75's mounted on the front of them. They put them halftracks in there and fired point-blank up that road.

AK: Company D men?

MF: No, it was Phillipine scout artillery unit. At that time. We had artillery and tanks. They was all deployed right along together.

AK: Direct fire.

MF: Yeah, thats right. Them 75's shot straight out. Point blank firing.

AK: I got two questions along this line with Company D. Company D fight in that delaying action back? Dr. Pilot (sp?) said there wadn't any infantry there at all. But he saw it and he saw all these different places. Do you recall if there was infantry in support of the tanks generally coming down through there?

MF: No, they was behind us. Thats right, they retreated.

AK: I mean, almost all the way from up around Agno river all the way down there just wadn't any infantry there at all?

MF: Until Bataan, thats right.

AK: Until Bataan, absolutely none. Or very few.

MF: Naw. Non-support.

AK: Not in D company anyway.

MF: Thats right.

AK: Now in headquarters company, I think, in the 192nd, there was some. You were around every vehicle too, you were just about all over that place weren't you?

MF: Yeah...

AK: I guess you were probably in more different places than almost anybody being the motor sergeant, going from one vehicle to the other.

MF: Like you say, I went all over, wherever the tanks was. In fact, I stayed with them right up until the jumping off place, when they actually got into combat. Thats when I moved out smartly and got away from them. Me and my maintenance section, a lot of times just me, because I had a motorcycle and I had a few tools and things that I could, something I could do real quick. Sergeant Denny, he was still the motor sergeant. My job was to stay with the tanks. Thats why I rode that motorcycle. If I couldn't take care of it then I'd radio or get the tank to radio the maintenance...

AK: So that statement that there wadn't any infantry with D company fighting the delaying action back into Bataan, as far as you were concerned, is confirmed. You were there, you saw them...

MF: Yeah.

AK: All right. On the contribution of D company to the delaying action, They were usually the last ones out or the only ones there to begin with. Is that what you're saying?

MF: In a lot of cases, yeah.

AK: All right. How much fighting and destruction of Japanese forces did they do? Were they involved in several times where they had their 75's or there automatic weapons into a big charge where they killed numbers and numbers of them?

MF: Yeah. yeah.

AK: Could you kind of elaborate on that a little bit? From you've heard and from what you saw.

MF: Well, the only I can tell you about it, when everything happened, the Japs assaulted us like that, normally I had to get cleared out of that place, see. What I'm saying is that the tanks crewmen would tell me all this stuff and they'd talk about... They'd pull back maybe move the line back a little bit, let them break through. They would be on the right and left and center, and they'd let them run through there, let them get through, then they would start shooting. What I'm talking about is like killing fish in a barrel. They'd just move out and let them come in...

AK: Make a little horseshoe...

MF: Thats right.

AK: and then they'd get them in the crossfire.

MF: The tanks would sit in here and it was like the old saying, killing fish in a barrel.

AK: Did they use that saying themselves? Did you get that them or is that something...

MF: From them, I got... I never... They... I was... Platoon leaders, platoon sergeants, and all that. Like I say, I knew everybody and they would laugh and joke and tell about this. They done that more than one time. They done that lots and lots of times.

AK: Coming down from the Agno river, until you get into Bataan.

MF: Even back here on this line. They still... Well not always us, but all the rest of the units. Platoon leaders, company commanders, that was a big deal.

AK: I guess I'll put.. Let me phrase the question this way. Company D's contribution to the war effort in that early time, in the delaying action, how much combat was there and how much destruction did they do to the Japanese? And how did they fight?

MF: They killed a lot of people. They destroyed a lot of the Japanese equipment. All through the years, of this, that, and the other, I've seen of people in combat, they did done as good or better than anything I ever seen. They stayed right in there and fought as long as it need, and like the old saying, if artillery and stuff got hot on them, they'd do a little evacuation and get thereself in position to go again. They killed a lot of Japanese. They wounded a lot of Japanese. Lt. Gentry (sp?), I don't know whether you ever heard of him or not, Captain Gentry...

AK: Yeah, I know him, I've talked to him.

MF: I don't know if he ever told you or not, but he shot a zero down with his tank. Did he ever tell you about that?

AK: No. I haven't interviewed him, I'm going to...

MF: He come back from after World War II, from what I understand, he got back a long time before I did. He made a lot of statements, that people asked him, was so-and-so alive? yeah.. After all was said and done, a lot of these people that he said was alive had been dead for a long time. The people, the parents, they really got down on him for that. He talked too fast, not knowing really what he was saying, see. He hit a plane and forced it to land and then he run over it with his tank. I don't know whether he'll tell you that or not.

AK: I heard this story. Somebody else told me.

MF: Yeah. There was a lot of that, them zeroes would get down there. They guys would crank that old weapon around there, just as low as they could and start banging away. If they got him, good. If they didn't, what'd they have to lose? Another thing I did, on our company, was... ...the 50 over in the turrent stand on the floor.

AK: On the tank? You modified it to make it an anti-aircraft weapon?

MF: Yeah.

AK: You did it yourself?

MF: Yeah, well me and my maintenance section. We had to take the mount off, we'd turn it around...

AK: Whose idea was it?

MF: I don't know. I don't know whether it was mine, or a crewman, or... I don't really know. It may have been mine, I don't know.

AK: Don't remember. How many did you do that way? Several?

MF: The whole company.

AK: This is how long after the war had been going on?

MF: It was after we'd moved back from Bataan. It didn't take to long to do it, we just taken them off, we had to do a little reinforcement, move a couple of, move one of the mounting brackets.

AK: If you were going to estimate how many tanks they knocked out, would you have any idea at all?

MF: Japanese tanks?

AK: Yes. I've heard of two or three of them.

MF: Oh I'd say, one day they knocked out three. All I can really confirm and say, I know they got three, three Japanese tanks. Thats all I could say. I'm sure they got more, but...

AK: And aircraft, they shot down some aircraft between them.

MF: Yeah, yeah. The only one I really know about was one that Captain Gentry (sp?) got. I know that one for a fact.

AK: Grover said he shot one down up at Lingayan. He was with headquarters company. He was the only one then. He sent one of the tankers down to see about it. Said "yeah its down there, its on the ground."

MF: We had a cook shoot down one too. With a...

AK: From D company?

MF: From headquarters company. Blan Moore (sp?). You remember him?

AK: Where's he from?

MF: He's born and raised down around Cornishville (sp?). Around Harrodsburg, Bergen...

AK: He was an original member of the company D?

MF: Yeah. He shot one down with a, he was a cook, they was taking the chow to the tanks and this zero got after them strafing the daylights out of them, and the Grand, the old M-1 Grand, he leaned himself up against a tree and he knocked that bird out of the sky buddy. He put it to him. And the fact, where he was at the day I was, we was, my maintenance section was real closed by there when it actually happened that day. If I hadn't of seen it I wouldn't have never believed it. Thats right.

AK: You wouldn't have believed it. This was Blan Moore (sp?)?

MF: Yeah.

AK: Did he get back?

MF: Oh yeah, yeah. I think he lives down in Florida. I think he bought him a condo or something down there. He was in sheet metal work for years and years and years and he retired. Then he took up some other business and I think he's retired completely now. I think, he did live in Bergen, you know where Bergen's at?

AK: Right.

MF: Then he moved to Danville, then from Danville I think they, he bought a condo down in Florida and I believe that's where he's living now. But he is in good shape.

AK: So the fighting of D company was effective and, you know, they displayed courage, I guess you'd say?

MF: Yeah, oh yeah.

AK: And a good deal of creativity in dealing with the situation?

MF: Yeah, like the old man said, it was a point of survival. We done things, like you say, that we had to do. Like I've always said, we started out fighting for our country, then we started out fighting anything we could, then we had to fight to survive. I don't know exactly thats the way it went, but, we was fighting to live in other words.

AK: Right, sooner or later it was a personal battle to survive.

MF: Yeah thats right.

AK: Is there anything else we want to talk about on this combat situation, fighting in Bataan before we start getting you up to the point of being captured? That was unusually or significant?

MF: Well, like say, on April 9 Bataan fell, we give orders to destroy all our equipment, which we did. Burn up our trucks and jeeps and buried all our ammunition, all our machine guns, put them in the foxhole and covered them up. I didn't get off of Bataan until the evening of the 10th.

AK: Where were you when you got the word that...

MF: We was back on Bataan. I was right here at Cabcaben, here. I went from there over to, not quite to Mariveles and went back in this area here. The whole company assembled, D company assembled down in there and we destroyed all our equipment. What we had left of it.

AK: So D company assembled south of the road between Cabcaben and Mariveles and pretty close to the bay there, Manila Bay, and that's generally north of Corregidor (sp?). So they all assembled, you'all were coming in, what were you'all seeing about that time? What was going on between the heads and so on?

MF: Yeah. We knew it was a sad day. We knew that the troops, the people that we'd had wounded, people that was killed, thats from everybody.

AK: Is this just a company D assembly area or is this the whole 194th?

MF: Everything.

AK: Is this the whole armor?

MF: Well, D company, we all try to get in one area and then the whole battalion...

AK: Are you talking about all armor?

MF: Everything, yeah. Now, not the 192nd, they had an assembly area over in this area.

AK: But the 194th's assembly area was south of the road that connected, that went between Cabcaben which was in the southeast corner, and over to Mariveles. But you were south of that road.

MF: Yeah.

AK: Assembling there was the 194th. Was just about all of them there or were some of them still scattered around.

MF: Well, I tell you the honest truth, I know we gathered in that thing all night long and just about all the next day. As they come in there they'd burn up, you know, set their equipment on fire. People was just going in all directions. The word we had everybody is on his own.

AK: All right. When did you get the work that everybody is going to be on their own?

MF: About the morning of the 10th.

AK: That was the day after they said you were going to surrender.

MF: Yeah, day after the surrender. About the morning of the 10th. Said we go to the hills, or do whatever we needed. Everybody was on his own, more or less.

AK: Before you get to that point, as you get orders to assemble, somewhere, somebody must have given you orders to assemble down at that point.

MF: Yeah, yeah. We took it on the radio, God I don't have no idea. I guess battalion or company commander...

AK: Just before the surrender, as that line up there breaks, as you move off the first line down to the second line, and you're getting thinner because you're not eating properly, your getting malaria and all that stuff, what are you'all saying, whats the troops saying, you're getting around to all of them? What are they telling you? What are you'all talking about?

MF: To be honest and truthful, we always thought we could hold out.

AK: You thought your gonna hold out until hell came?

MF: Thats right, yeah. If we still had faith that we would get supplies and ammunition, medical supplies, we didn't really feel the pinch of it until we actually knew that Bataan was surrendered. That was, like the old saying, that was one of the feelings that I can't express. It was terrible.

AK: Try to express it, make an effort.

MF: I felt like committing suicide, but I didn't, I just couldn't, I couldn't do it. I don't know of anybody that did commit suicide but it was the point... you know, it was awful. It was just, it was disgusting.

AK: Were you mad at somebody? Who were you mad at?

MF: Yeah. We was mad at, because we didn't get any reinforcements...

AK: Who were you mad at? You mad at General MacArthur, you mad at General Wainwright, President Roosevelt?

MF: We was mad at just about everybody in particular.

AK: You were mad at the powers that be? Would that describe it?

MF: Thats right! Maybe even our government because they didn't get somebody in there to help us out.

AK: You felt let down.

MF: Yeah, thats right.

AK: You felt severly let down and neglected.

MF: Yeah. We'd always, all the time... over the radio...

AK: Thought you were going to be reinforced.

MF: We got Usake (sp?) Radio Forces. They was always telling us about convoys going here and convoys going there.

AK: You were hearing that right up to the bitter end?

MF: Yeah, right up to the last day. In fact, they was always in hope of getting supplies. Submarines did come in there, that I understand it, with medical supplies, ammunition, they didn't bring much food.

AK: Before you assembled there, as you were visiting these guys, you're not going to be talking about surrender because you'all don't believe you're going to surrender until you get the word.

MF: That's right.

AK: Then thats when you're crushed.

MF: Absolutely.

AK: And your crushed feeling is 1) you've been let down; and, what's the other feelings?

MF: Well, we just felt terrible. Our other feeling was that, we had the word that the Japanese took, they didn't take any prisoners of war. We'd all be killed.

AK: Was this back when you were assembled?

MF: Yeah.

AK: Are you'all going to get together now as say the 94 of you, or whatever, the hundred of you, and lets talk about this thing, or you gonna be talking with one of your maintenance, maintenance gonna be off to one side, or are you going to be in little bunches, in this assembly area?

MF: No. When we assembled back there and destroyed our equipment, everybody went there own way.

AK: You'd already been told to go your own way.

MF: Yeah. You're on your own. Move out.

AK: All right. What'd you do?

MF: I took my maintenance section, I had about 6 or 7 guys, I had one boy, name was Boden (sp?) from Oklahoma, and he said "By god, he'd went far as he was going, he wadn't going no farther." And I talked the rest of the guys, I said "you want to try to get to Corregidor?" Said "yeah." I said "OK." So we went down and got in the edge of the water and all the around Bataan, clear down to Mariveles, this was about 12 o'clock. We went around the edge here.

AK: This was on the 10th. Right along the beach, right on the very south side.

MF: There were people from everywhere trying to get off of there to get to Corregidor.

AK: You run into a lot of people...

MF: Yeah, a whole lot of people.

AK: Now you don't have your weapons now do you, or do you?

MF: Oh yeah. We still got our weapons.

AK: You'd been told to destroy those too, hadn't you?

MF: We destroyed all our crew serve weapons and tanks and all that, but personal weapons, we didn't destroy them. Our sidearms and sub-Thompson machine guns.

AK: So as you're walking along that beach, now, is come pretty much down to the beach there in the south and southern part?

MF: Yeah, its right down to it. Time I got my maintenance crew and we went down through there, there was about 20 of us all together. From D company. One boy named Clyde Hopper (sp?), he's our company supply sergeant, he lives down in Jackson, Tennessee, and he didn't go with us. He said "I'm gonna swim across there." He got him a piece of log or something and he started swimming to Corregidor. I thought to myself, "well, thats the last seen of old Clyde." We went on around there...

AK: Was he from Harrodsburg?

MF: No, he's from Tennessee.

AK: Oh, but he was in company D.

MF: Yeah, he was our supply sergeant.

AK: He was a draftee.

MF: Yeah. I thought to myself "thats the last I'll see of him." Anyway, we went on around and we found a big yacht in a cove. Everybody was in such a rush, a scramble, it wouldn't run and nobody took any time to try to fix it. We wadn't in no rush. There wadn't no use being in no hurry. Me and this boy named Claude Likens (sp?), lives down here in West Point (Ky), between here and Louisville.

AK: A Draftee that was in company D?

MF: Yeah. And Joe Annis (sp?) and, I don't know, Jack Wilson, a whole bunch of us. Me and old Claude got on there, I think it was full of fuel, had two big marine engines in it, I mean, it was a nice, really a nice yacht. We got on that and started tracing it out...

AK: Your old maintenance skills coming in handy now!

MF: Yeah. Somebody had goofed up the ignition wiring on it. Me and old Claude we decided "we can fix this thing." We worked it over and bypassed the ignition switch and fired up them big old engines on that thing, "Oh man, we in business!" By the time we got ready to pull off shore late in the afternoon, oh I'd say about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, there was great big cliffs, high cliffs up here see, and the Japanese was up there. They was firing at us with small arms down across there. It was pretty far up. We loaded that thing up and about 75 people loaded on that thing and went across the bay from Mariveles to Corregidor.

AK: Who was captain and driver?

MF: There was a Swedish guy, a civilian, and he said he knew that channel through there and he'd drive us across there. He took off and made a straight line to Corregidor. We run through mines and everything else, but that thing didn't draw enough water to reach them mines, see. Our own mines, that we had put in there against the Japanese. We went straight to Corregidor and they bomb shelled us all the way across there and never did hit us.

AK: They're bombing and shelling you as you're going on that boat?

MF: Yeah.

AK: All right. Tell me who's on there from company D. Especially those from Harrodsburg.

MF: Well, there's me and Arnold Lawson (sp?), Jack Wilson, Elsie Annis (sp?) I believe, ... its so hard to try to remember..., lets see, Hergin (sp?)...

AK: Was Hergin (sp?) on that boat?

MF: Yeah, Horrace, not Horrace, Kenneth...

AK: Kenneth was on that boat? You're gonna go to Corregidor before you go to Fort Drum?

MF: Yeah. He was on that. Lawson... I don't know... Van deVeer (sp?), he was on there, in fact he was on Corregidor and then, no no no, he was on that boat but he stayed on Corregidor.

AK: Ok.

MF: And Jack, Jack went with us the Fort Drum.

AK: Jack Wilson?

MF: Yeah.

AK: Ok, that's close enough. Come up with any more we'll put them on the record, we'll get them on the record. All right, so you land on Corregidor. Then how'd you end up at Fort Drum?

MF: Ok, we landed on Corregidor late in the afternoon. The reason we landed there we had a bunch of infantry guys, out of the 31st infantry. We started out and somebody hollered "Pull in here. We want to go with you." We wadn't going to pull in and we heard the bolts and guns went click click click, and we decided it was time to pull in. We pulled and a whole bunch of infantry, 31st infantry got on there. A lieutenant said "I don't care where you go, take us to Corregidor and from there you can go anywhere you want to." Said "Ok." So we went to Corregidor and landed north mine docks. About the time we got there an air raid went off. So we run in a tunnel there right close by and after the raid was over we went out and we didn't have any boat left. That took care of that. We went up middle side where the big barracks was at and just stayed around out there for two or three days. They had mess lines setup out there that... after the raid was over they come back out of them tunnels and setup mess lines to feed, they had the mess lines setup to feed all the time, see. We wadn't doing nothing. Me and my maintenance section, all of us, I mean we stayed together and we went in a tunnel up there, one day, stayed about 20 minutes and there were guys in there were stir crazy and crying and laughing. It was terrible. We said we'd rather be outside and let the bombs get us than go in them durn tunnels where them guys sitting back there, some of them laughing some were crying, some were just sitting there staring into the wall.

AK: Where the stress had overcome them and they were suffering combat fatigue and...

MF: Some army, some Navy, some Air Force...

AK: what they call "thousand mile stare?"

MF: I guess so, whatever you want to call it.

AK: You decided that wadn't any way to ...

MF: Not for us. We said "No buddy, we ain't going there." We was dirty, raggedy and beard down to our... I guess we looked awful, cause we hadn't shaved and slept in about a month. No bath...

AK: Skinny too weren't you?

MF: Yeah. We went back outside and went to Poolside (sp?) barracks. There was a rec-hall in there. It had all been bombed and when we'd have a bomb raid we'd get under them old pool tables. Rock and stuff would fly all over the place. About the third day we was there there's a guy come out of that tunnel and said he wanted 21 or twenty-some-odd volunteers to go to Fort Drum. Me and the rest of them guys, we was happened to be standing just a short ways from there and we walked up and said "We volunteer!". And I never heard of Fort Drum. I didn't know what it was! He said "Ok, meet me right here at midnight." At midnight we met him there and he took us around down by the south mine dock they called it, and he had a tug and a barge. We got on this tug and away we went. We got there to that concrete battleship. ...... at midnight on the south mine docks they called it, south side of Corregidor. We still didn't know what Fort Drum was or where we was going. We got out there chug, chug, chug, chug, chug and away we went. About two hours later we pulled up beside the biggest thing that I ever seen. I mean, we couldn't believe it! We had never heard about Fort Drum. We pulled up to it and across the rear, to the stern of that thing, was open. They had little cranes out there where you could get in a basket and they'd take you up and swing you around inside the salad port they called it. They picked us all up and brought us up in that thing.

AK: Describe it.

MF: Fort Drum looks just like a ship. It had a stern on it, a bow, starboard, portside.

AK: Its a concrete, big concrete...

MF: It had a concrete, its ...

AK: Did it float? Is it float?

MF: Naw. Its built on a coral reef.

AK: OK. It has 4 ...

MF: Three stories. Its one below the waterline, one about half under the waterline and half up, and then one more story up. Three stories.

AK: And the weapons, the armorment...

MF: Weapons on that thing, well, let me go back to that night we landed on it. We got on that thing that night and we hadn't been eating. I know we looked awful. And the guys, there's about 200 guys on that. We got on there and the first thing they done was give us clothes, kahki shirts, kahki pants, shoes, socks, underwear, everything. Because all our was just plain shot. Razors. We went to the showers and took showers and shaved and really cleaned up. We come out looking like, I mean, we really felt good! Then they took us down in the mess hall and we eat all we could eat. I'll never forget it, it was rice and brown gravy and beef and something else. And we was getting fat like pigs. Two or three days on there I took malaria fever and for about a week I was out of my head. I was delirious so I didn't know what was going on. Once I got over that then they put us, our job, there was 21 of us, our job was rotating on top deck of that thing, had 4 station of twin 50 caliber machine guns that was anti-aircraft. Our job in the daytime was to guard the top of that thing from airplanes from getting in too close to us. And thats what we done.

AK: Were you attacked by air while you were there?

MF: Yeah. Oh yeah, every day. One Saturday we got lucky. I was fortunate to be one of the gunners that day. We knocked 3 out of 5 down that day.

AK: The gun you were on?

MF: The 4 of us. There were 4 guns. Twin fifties each.

AK: 4 guns, twin fifties, 8, and you were one of the crew members, and between the 4 of you, you knocked out 3 out of 5.

MF: Knocked 3 out of 5, thats right.

AK: What were they? What kind?

MF: We called all the fighters zeroes. As far as we're concerned thats what they was see.

AK: Were they zeroes?

MF: Yeah, I think they was. Anyway that broke them from doing that. But they still came over with these high bombers and dropped bombs at it. When them high bombers'd come over and start dropping bombs we'd just vacate the top of that thing, get down inside of it, and let them bomb it. It didn't make any difference. That thing was... It had about 14 foot of concrete and they said it had a 14 inch steel plate all the way around it and on the top under that concrete. And on the left side...

AK: If a bomb hit it would it not bother it, not hurt it?

MF: Just knock a little concrete off, that'd be all.

AK: Did it get hit some by bombs?

MF: Oh yeah. It got hit a whole lot. Over at Kabethie (sp?) they had a 240 artillery setup and they shelled the port side of that thing till the point where it went in further enough that you could see that steel plate.

AK: How deep in was it?

MF: It was about 14 foot.

AK: The steel plate was in 14 foot? And you could see the steel plate where they'd shelled it with the 240 mm? Which was one of our artillery pieces or one of theres?

MF: Yeah. yeah. No, one of theirs. They got on Kabethie (sp?) up on the high mountain and they fired off at an angle at that thing.

AK: Where were you standing underneath the deck? Were you on the first floor, second floor?

MF: Second floor in the middle floor.

AK: When they bombed it and when you were down there could you hear, did it jar your feet a little.

MF: Yeah, it vibrated a little bit, and made a chunk, just a chunk sound like.

AK: But you felt pretty safe in there.

MF: Oh yeah! They didn't have nothing that would ever would come the wall or anything. It's still standing just like you see it right there right now.

AK: Its main armament and its main mission was what?

MF: To protect the entrance of Manila Bay. That's what its there for.

AK: It had two turrets...

MF: Yeah, it had two turrets with two 14-inch guns.

AK: With a range of how far?

MF: I think they said it was about 25 miles. Thats what they said, I don't know really how far they would shoot. They would rotate 360 degrees. They could fire any direction they wanted to, see. On each side of it, on the port and starboard side, they had two 6-inch guns and they'd rotate about 45 degrees from center, either way. Something like that. That was on each side. Then on the stern they had 1 8-inch gun. It rotated about, I don't know, about the same amount, something about 45 degrees, something like that. They did, before they got blowed away on top deck, had 3 anti-aircraft guns on it. It didn't take long for the Japanese to blow them away. There wadn't nothing on top deck except they had sandbags all the way around the outer edge of that thing. That was on there in case they tried to attack it, the Japanese, to land on it. If they did that's when everybody inside would come up...


End of Audio Tape 2 Side 1