GEN. DOUGLAS MCARTHUR: I HAVE RETURNED

Following the relentless Japanese invasion in the first quarter of 1942 and the Fall of Bataan on 9 April 1942, the horribleness of Japanese assault did not cease. Instead, Imperial Japan afterward elected to raid the other American fortress known as “The Rock” or Corregidor island, one of the four guardians of Manila Bay, where the Japs met a barrage of mortars from the battleworthy personnel in Battery way. However, after twelve hours of defending the once vibrant island, prudent Allied Forces opted to surrender to the invaders to mitigate casualties on 6 May 1942.

Mr. Stephen A. Kwiecinski, the author of Honor, Courage, Faith: A Corregidor Storybook, who is the son of a former American POW, elucidated the plights of those soldiers who survived the bombardment of the Japanese Forces but faced harrowing ordeals as prisoners of war. Thus, this memoir has enticed and inspired readers to visit this old battlefield and former Spanish penitentiary in the 19th century.

Likewise, the renowned island is where General Douglas MacArthur, the symbol of the war American effort, alongside his Bataan Gang, slipped through via Lorcha Dock aboard young Navy Lt John Duncan Bulkeley’s Patrol Torpedo (PT-41) Boat, one of the four PT Boats, which ran faster than a speedboat. However, rough seas battered seasick General MacArthur and his entourage along the way, on 11 March 1942 en route to Mindanao Island about 580 miles South and expected to catch a flight via B-17 Bomber to Australia.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur then promised the crew of Lt. Bulkeley the silver star of gallantry as they took the General and his entourage out of the jaws of death. Because of the poor condition of the remaining B-17, Gen. MacArthur instead demanded airworthy planes on the spot. Thus, Major General George Brett, commander of USAAF in Australia, dispatched two B-17E Flying fortresses for the General and his entourage on the way to Darwin, Australia.

Author’s depiction of Leyte Gulf Landing on 20 October 1944

On 20 October 1944, General Douglas MacArthur, who pledged that he would return, along with six other officials, went back via an amphibious landing to retake and liberate the Philippines from the clutches of the Japanese Imperial Forces. The amphibious assault, which launched in Palo, Leyte, famously known as the Leyte Gulf Landing, is considered as the most massive naval battle of World War II wherein the amphibious invasion also recorded the greatest maritime fleet sunk in the history.

Since 12 July 1977, the MacArthur Leyte Landing Memorial National Park has been the country’s protected national park by virtue of Letter of Instructions issued by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

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