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Chapter 07: Bataan, Philippine Islands

Most American troops were evacuated from Manila and Cavite Naval Yard to Mariveles on the Bataan peninsula on December 24, 1941.

Pacific Naval Air Base, Mariveles, Bataan
Photo Courtesy US National Archives

Richard A. Beam - USS Biloxi Interview with Tommy English - 20 Sep 1945 - All Rights Reserved

The nite of December 24 we were evacuated from Manila to Mariveles Bay. We stayed at the quarantine station a few days and then we were sent on to the Pacific Naval Air Base.

When we arrived here, we were assigned to act as firemen. I was assigned to drive for the Supply Officer Lieutenant K. R. Wheeler. I drove for him and then later I took over the Supply Room of the USS Canopus.

We learned that the Japanese had made a landing on the southern side of the island, the China Sea side, so we sent an investigative party there and learned that the Japanese were pretty well dug in. That was when the first Naval Battalion was formed.

We took this Naval Battalion and attempted to drive the Japanese from their positions, but because of inexperience of the sailors in the knowledge of jungle and land fighting we lost several men. We were later reinforced by Cavite and Shanghai Marines, who also lost quite a few men.

Finally Filipino scouts dropped back from the front lines and they took over the fighting, relieving our men who had not had any sleep in days.

The Filipino scouts cleared the Japs out in short order for they were well trained in jungle fighting.

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