It had been more than two years since General Douglas MacArthur was ordered to leave the Philippines as the Japanese captured the islands. At the time, he promised to return, and he fulfilled his word on October 20, 1944 when he waded to the shore of Leyte. Back on New Guinea, the 312th Bomb Group and other units began receiving lectures and booklets about the Philippines. It wouldn’t be long before they would pack up and move to the islands.
Below is some footage from the landing as well as Gen. MacArthur’s speech to the Filipino residents.
Have you watched any of the World War II bomber aircraft training videos on YouTube? If not, we can help you get started with this A-20 training video, which was uploaded by Jeff Quitney. Today, Lewis Air Legends Collection flies the only airworthy A-20.
The title and written content of this week’s post come to you from the 63rd Squadron, 43rd Bomb Group’s history. Once again, we’re focusing on that August 19, 1945 flight that stopped over in Ie Shima on the way to Manila to discuss the Japanese surrender.
On August 19th, the men on Ie Shima witnessed history in the making, as at 12:30 p.m. two white Jap Bettys approached the island escorted by hordes of P-38s, 2 PBYs, two B-25s and other elements of our efficacious air force. After making two trips around the island, the Bettys landed gracefully on Mocha strip which was lined up with M.P.s and thousands of curious soldiers. As the ships taxied down the runway, their bespectacled engineers stood half out of their open top hatches. They were bedecked in most elaborate flying attire—leather jackets, flying helmets, and goggles. One couldn’t help but think how uncomfortably warm they must have been, because the afternoon was torrid. The contrast of these Japanese flying personnel to our airmen who usually wear nothing more than a T-shirt and sun-tan pants, was certainly sharp, but on this particular day, the little guys were perhaps salvaging the last remnants of that imperialistic pride so completely stifled by their defeat.
Upon reaching the end of the runway, the planes did an about-face and taxied to the other end of the runway as hundreds of soldiers with cameras made a mad dash in that direction. At this end of the strip were parked two C-54s, resplendent in the afternoon sun. These were to take the Japanese emissaries to Manila.
Not much time was wasted, and within 15 minutes the emissaries with their entourage boarded one of the giant cargo planes and were off to General MacArthur’s headquarters.
We also went digging around YouTube and found part of a newsreel from that day’s events.
Want to read more about this point in history? Check out The 345th’s Final Show.
We found another interview to share with you this week. Here, Fergus Anckorn recounts his time as a POW in the Pacific Theater. His multiple brushes with death during World War II played a major role in the shaping of his perspective on life.
Allen T. Long served in the European Theater during World War II. Listen to his stories, courtesy of the WWII Veterans History Project.
From the US Embassy to Belgium comes an interview with a World War II veteran who was on the shores of Normandy in the heat of battle on June 6, 1944.
Little is known about the Japanese Americans who served during World War II and we realized we hadn’t shared any videos of these veterans talking about their experiences. This YouTube video, posted by Heather Wokusch, is a 2012 interview with Kazuo “Fred” Yamaguchi, who served in the U.S. Military Intelligence Service.
We also want to take a moment to recognize everyone who has served in the armed forces over the years. To those veterans, thank you for your service.
We wanted to highlight another one of the many interviews with World War II veterans that have been uploaded to YouTube. Here, WTNH News8 interviewed Anthony Pegnataro, who fought at Okinawa.
This week, we wanted to draw your attention to an interview done by YouTube user PhotosInMotion with Iwo Jima veteran Glenn M. Stroven. He talks about his life before, during and after World War II.