January 6, 1941
200th Coast Artillery - Anti Aircraft,
formerly the 111th Cavalry of the
New Mexico National Guard, was inducted
into federal service for one year
of active duty.
I was raised on a farm six and one
half miles northwest of Field, New
Mexico, and did nearly everything
there was to do with farming. I worked
for about one dollar a day when I
wasn't in school. I went to school
at Field and played baseball and basketball
in high school. After I got out of
high school in 1939, I went to work
at Field, New Mexico, for Mack Johnson,
at a [store that sold] grocery, hardware,
gas & oil of all kinds. I worked
there until April of 1941 when I got
was sent to Santa Fe, New Mexico,
first, then hauled on a bus to Albuquerque.
We got on a train at Albuquerque and
went to El Paso, Texas. I was put
in Battery E of the 200th Coast Artillery.
We were issued army clothes. Nothing
fit very good. There were five men
to a half tent and the bottom half
was wood. Our drill field was dirt
with rocks to stump your toe on. I
think the wind blew every day! James
Hamilton from Clovis was our First
Sergeant and when he said something
he meant it.
T.B. Bryant, Staff Sergeant of the
Motor Pool, later asked me if I wanted
to drive a truck. I said, "Yes,
anything is better than this."
We would go out at night on maneuvers.
There would be fifty or sixty trucks
all blacked out. It was rough traveling
thirty or forty miles an hour with
only black out lights at night. After
we completed all of our training,
they cooked up a trip for us over
New Mexico. About 1,800 men and a
lot of trucks went first to Deming,
New Mexico, T. or C., Albuquerque,
Roswell, and Carlsbad. It was a rough
trip but we enjoyed it. We were gone
about a week.
I got into the National Guard in 1939.
Well, you know in those days that
was during the Depression. And we
got 3 or 4 dollars for the week when
we went on maneuvers and meetings,
just like they do now. And then, of
course, that was the old cavalry -
the old 111th Cavalry to begin with.
They consolidated all the National
Guards of New Mexico to form the 200th
Coast Artillery. And I knew that sometime
I was going to be drafted. Since I
was farming, I could have gotten a
deferment to stay and farm. Three
times the doctor told me I wasn't
fit to go. I was underweight, flatfeet,
and I don't know how many things were
wrong with me. I told him I wanted
to go. The third time he told me,
"Well, if you really want to
go, we can fix the papers so you can
go". I said, "Go ahead."
February 22, 1941 I was swearing in
to go into the service.
200th CA was ordered overseas, destination
unknown. They didn't know they would
be stationed in the Philippine Islands
until they had sailed passed Hawaii.
got our orders after we returned to
El Paso, Texas, and shipped out the
first part of September 1941. We didn't
know where we were going when they
put us on a train going west. On arriving
in San Francisco, California, they
put us on barges and took us to Angel
Island [in San Francisco Bay]. It
was not very far from San Francisco.
We were there about a week and then
we were gone again. We boarded the
President Coolidge, a wonderful liner,
but we still didn't know where we
were going. We made it to Hawaii and
was there about a day before going
After we left Hawaii, for the first
time I heard the name of the Philippine
Islands. One of the men who worked
on the ship said, "A lot of you
guys have got a one way ticket over
here." He sure knew what he was
talking about and he was sure right.
enlisted September the 7th, 1940,
7 th Cavalry at Fort Bliss. We were
issued everything except the horse.
We got up one morning and checked
the bulletin board and it had volunteers
for overseas duty. It had Alaska,
which we thought was gonna be too
damn cold; they had Panama, that was
too close to home; Hawaii, we didn't
like the sound of it; Puerto Rico,
didn't like it, and the Philippines.
So we figured that was pretty far
away. At this time the war was getting
pretty strong in Europe. We said,
"Well hell, we'll go to the Philippines.
Nothing going [on there]."
So we shipped out of Fort Bliss. We
got aboard the Sunset Limited to San
Francisco. In San Francisco, we was
taken out to what they call Angel
Island. That's the depot for overseas,
and was there about a week, or a week
and a half. Had to go through a bunch
of tests and shots - this, that, and
the other thing. Finally, they said
we were gonna ship out aboard the
US AT Grant Troup Transport.
We got to Pearl Harbor and I had to
stay aboard. Most of the guys got
off or half of the guys. I think there
was maybe about 400 on the ship going
to P.I. [Philippine Islands]. I got
my pass the next day [and went to]
the old pineapple factory. I got sick
on pineapple juice and went into a
bar and grill called the Squeeze Inn.
[I] looked at all kinds of stuff on
the menu and spotted octopus and I
said "What the hell's an octopus?"
So I asked for it. It tasted good
but the damn thing, you had to chew,
chew, chew, you know?
We sailed outta there. We had to cross
Dateline. And the officers had
a big to-do about it, you know, big
party and pollywogs, what have you.
And we crossed it, of course you lose
a day when you cross that thing. So
we hit Guam, they had us stand out,
anchor out of bay. I think they dropped
off a bunch of people there. Then
we went on into some other islands.
We hit the Philippines in Manila in
October, about the middle part of
October, I think. And we had to stay
quarantine out in Manila Harbor, in
the bay for 24 hours. Then they brought
us into Pier 7 and Manila Bay and
unloaded there and then they put us
onboard some small inter-island vessels
is about approximately a mile high
and, I forget how big around, it's
pretty good size. So we landed at
Bottomside, put us on some street
cars and they stopped at what they
call Middleside. Left a bunch off
there and took us on up to Topside
and unloaded us there.
think they knew that war was coming.
After we trained for about six, seven
months at Fort Bliss, they shipped
us overseas to the Philippines to
defend Clark Field.
I remember very distinctly because
it was on September 16, 1941 that
we arrived in the Philippines and
the Filipino band started playing
South of the Border. At that time,
it was a very popular song and they
thought we were from Mexico.
the day, when we first got there (the
Philippines) we would train a little
bit, but it had to be during the morning.
We always had the afternoon off because
of the heat. We had to get acclimated
to the weather.
a surprise attack, Pearl Harbor is
bombed by the Japanese. The raid leaves
19 ships sunk or disabled; 188 planes
destroyed; 2,403 people dead, including
civilians; and 1,178 wounded. "Remember
Pearl Harbor" becomes a call
to arms across America until the surrender
of Japan in 1945.
for President Roosevelt's speech to
congress declaring war on December
8, 1941, or here
to view the Declaration of War document
in a new window.
December 8, 1941
a few hours after the attack on Pearl
Harbor, the Japanese bomb Clark Field
on the main island of Luzon in the
Philippines. Because the Philippine
Islands are across the International
Date Line, though, the attacks take
place on December 8. After the war,
the 200th was recognized as the first
artillery unit to fire against the
Japanese in World War II when Juan
Manuel Chavez of Cochiti Pueblo manned
his gun alone during the first bombing
wave at Clark Field.
The 200th is split to form a second
regiment, the 515th Coast Artillery.
The 515th is sent to defend Manila.
to view a map of the Philippines from
the Department of Defense.
attacked Pearl Harbor in the morning,
around 8:00 o'clock in the morning,
and they announced it on the radio
that they had attacked Pearl Harbor.
We thought it was just part of the
training - just to get us used to
war, in case there would be war.
We were laughing. We thought there
wouldn't be war. When we saw the planes
coming, we thought they were American
planes. We saw this white cloud of
Navy planes coming over. We started
waving at them. At that time, they
started dropping these black things.
Thinking they were leaflets, we started
running toward where those black things
were coming down. They were bombs
and started bursting. They sounded
like when you pop popcorn. Boom, boom,
boom! We went crazy. We didn't know
what was going on. We didn't know
anything about war.
day we were bombed, which was the
same day as Pearl Harbor, only over
there it was the 8th because of the
International Date Line, myself and
several others out of my battery were
at Fort Stotsenberg hospital, with
We were listening to the radio and
listening to what was going on in
Pearl Harbor. One of the guys came
running into the ward at the hospital
and said, "Hot dang, you know
you ought to see the navy planes coming
We went out and looked and saw that
red dot on the wings and [I] said
" Hell, that's not the Navy at
all, unless they've changed insignias."
Those bombs just walked right down
the runaway, where all the B-17s were
parked. In fact, the B-17s hadn't
been parked for more than a half hour
'til they came in and they just destroyed
all of them. There were two or three
P-40s that got off and that was it.
barracks were a half-mile plus from
the runway. We were used to being
called out to practice day or night,
but this day seemed different. We
moved out right after breakfast to
a position between Clark Field and
Fort Stotsenberg. Fort Stotsenberg
was a Filipino cavalry post. I guess
we were supposed to give what air
protection we could for both the airfield
and cavalry post. About a mile and
half separated the post and airfield.
filled my gun belt about the time
the first wave of bombers came over.
They were out of range of anything
we had, all we could do was watch
them destroy Clark Field, fires were
burning where planes, barracks, P.X.
used to be. Many casualties, mostly
Air Force at this time.
After the last wave of bombers were
gone, the Zeros came in, the air was
full of them. They were diving, strafing
everything they could see. But it
gave us a chance to shoot back. Lt.
Kemp, myself, four or five others
were standing beside a barracks. I
don't know what the others were doing.
We should have been looking for cover,
but this was new to us. All we wanted
to do was fight back. The Zeros were
coming in so close; you could see
the pilots' faces looking down.
All I can remember feeling was rage
at what they were doing. When a plane
got close, I would empty my 30-06,
reload and wait for another. I remembered
to give a little lead, like shooting
ducks. Lt. Kemp was right behind me
and he kept asking, "Do you think
you hit him?" All I could say
was, " I don't know." My
rifle barrel got pretty warm.
Then they were gone. We had a chance
to look around. It looked pretty hopeless.
Our motor pool hadn't been hit quite
as bad, so we still had some trucks
running. Taking what we could carry
in our backpacks - our rifles, ammunition,
canteen, mess kits - we loaded up
in trucks, leaving everything else
behind. Sometime after dark, we pulled
into Manila, to a warehouse where
we worked most of the night cleaning
up equipment. By daylight we were
set up and ready. On a beach at the
edge of Manila, we were in full view
of Manila Bay, Corregidor, and in
the path of Jap planes heading for
Cavite Naval Station.
got to the Philippines in September
'41. We were there as protection for
Clark Field. Of course, when they
came in and bombed it, they moved
us into Manila for protection of the
city from the bombers. We stayed there
for about ten days and then they shipped
us all into Bataan. The equipment
we had was old and when we got into
Bataan we didn't have near what we
They didn't have the food sent down
like they were suppose to. We ended
up on short rations pretty quick.
In fact, before we got captured we
were on one meal a day and most of
it was red rice with monkeys, and
[Note: by surrender in April of 1942,
the men were subsisting on fewer than
1,000 calories per day. According
report by an Army surgeon, "The
nature of the terrain in which the
defense of Bataan was conducted required,
conservatively estimated, an energy
output of from 3,500 to 4,000 calories
per man per day. By 1 March, serious
muscle wasting was evident. The ration
was deficient in vitamins A, B, and
C and beriberi became universal. This,
in combination with malnutrition,
was the cause of thousands of hospitalizations."]
two weeks before the eighth, somewhere
in the latter part of November, they
moved us out into positions around
Clark Field. We dug in, dug our guns
in, and never did go back to our barracks
On the evening of the 7th one of our
guys out of our battery went into
Angeles and brought back two or three
bottles of rum or gin. We had a drinking
party on the 7th and woke up with
hangovers on the 8th to the bad news.
thought they were going into danger,
there's no doubt about that. We were
all young kids. The idea at that time
was that no one could defeat us and
the Japanese really wouldn't declare
war on us. And if they did, we'd whip
them in 30 days.
We had tents out in a sugar cane field.
They had scraped the field off, and
it was really just dust. We had 24
fighter planes and a tent city set
up in Del Carmen.
Our commander went over to Clark Field
and he came back and he said, "There
will be war in 72 hours. The Japanese
have 800 planes on Formosa and they
will attack. Get out there and dig
holes and maybe half of us will go
And so, we didn't really take that
too seriously but then on the other
hand we certainly listened. It happened
almost to the hour.
Dorothy Still Danner, NC, USN
Wednesday the 10th (of December),
the Navy Yard was bombed. It was wiped
out. This raid lasted about an hour.
After the raid, we rushed to the hospital,
and patients were all over the place.
There were Filipino women, children,
and men and our own people from the
Navy Yard. It was really a shocking
scene. The power to the hospital was
knocked out. It was a pretty hectic
afternoon. Triage was impossible.
You just tried to find out which were
the worst ones to go to surgery and
were there on the perimeter of Clark
Field when the Japs hit us. Very shortly
after that, they split the regiment.
I was one of the people that was split
off. They hauled us into Manila where
we took over the equipment for another
regiment. The personnel hadn't arrived
so they issued us this greasy, cosmoline
equipment. We cleaned it up and organized
stayed in there in position in Manila
along the Pasig River until the 24th
of December. On the 24th, they moved
us out to Calumpit. Calumpit had several
bridges, critical bridge crossings,
from Northern Luzon down into Manila.
We were set there to protect those
bridges so they could evacuate Manila,
which was declared an open city. We
had Christmas dinner there, such as
it was, C-rations.
Clark Field, we started retreating
toward the Bataan Peninsula. Bataan
is the peninsula in Luzon Island.
The reason we had to retreat is because
we didn't have enough troops to stop
the Japanese who were coming at us
at a ratio of five to one. The peninsula
of Bataan is like a tongue that goes
into the bay and they had more troops
to stop the Japanese. The peninsula
was narrow and that's where we had
four months of intense fighting until
we ran out of food, out of ammunition,
out of medicine, out of everything.
Earlier they had cut down our food
to one or two meals a day, up to the
day that we were surrendered. We were
eating water buffalos and mules. The
horses that were left from the cavalry
were also killed for food for us,
and whatever else they could find
to feed us.
Christmas Day, 1941
Douglas MacArthur's instructions were
to hold off the Japanese for as long
as possible. His strategy was to abandon
Manila and to spare the citizens of
that city a long siege. Across the
bay from Manila was the jungle of
the Bataan Peninsula, with rocky,
mountainous, terrain. Americans dug
into Bataan had a chance of holding
out until American reinforcements
could reach them by sea, although
they would be cut off by land from
supplies in Manila. During the withdrawal,
the 200th Coast Artillery Unit guarded
the bridges at Calumpit as U.S. troops
crossed to dig into positions on Bataan.
From Bataan, U.S. troops could also
protect Corregidor, the island headquarters
of the American forces that guarded
the entrance to Manila Bay. On January
1, 1942, General Wainwright ordered
the bridges at Calumpit demolished.
American troops were safe from a Japanese
invasion from land for a while, but
utterly cut off from the rest of Luzon.