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USS Bataan (LHD 5)

 

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USS Bataan had the honor of hosting Mr. Dan Crowley, a Battle of Bataan survivor and POW, Ms. Nena Mims, the widow of Mr. John Sims, a Bataan Death March survivor, his family members and other military veterans from the Bunny's Restaurant breakfast group, during the ship's 76th Bataan Death March Anniversary Remembrance on April 20.

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Did you pay your taxes? Have you spent your refund yet? Mass Communication Specialist Leonard Weston hit the deckplates asking Sailors these very questions.

Man on the Street- Tax Day

Did you pay your taxes? Have you spent your refund yet? Mass Communication Specialist Leonard Weston hit the deckplates asking Sailors these very questions.

Posted by USS Bataan (LHD 5) on Thursday, April 19, 2018

Congratulations to all those that recievied awards or earned their warfare qualification and reenlisted.

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USS Bataan Chief Petty Officers celebrated the 125 birthday of the Chief Petty Officer rank April 12, 2018.

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Today we close out our remembrance of this horrific period that of the 75,000 captured POWs approximately 15,000 of them returned home.

The Bataan Death March is a significant event in American and Filipino history. Not only was it a big loss for the U.S., but it was the largest surrender in American history. All the prisoners of war under the Japanese were used as slaves, barely surviving in poor conditions and with little food.

As we close our remembrance, take this time today to reflect of the hardships each of those 75,000 POWs endured.

When you’re drinking clean water, remember how some soldiers went mad trying to get just a drop while walking 65 miles in the scorching hot sun.

When you’re eating a hot meal, remember how if they were lucky they got a cup of rice to eat for the day after an intense day of manual labor in a brutal concentration camp.

Laying in your bed tonight, remember that only 15,000 soldiers returned home at the end of the war. A death rate of 40 percent compared to the allied POWs held by the Nazis and other axis powers during World War II which suffered a death rate of about three percent.

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April 9 marked the 76th anniversary of the beginning of the Bataan Death March so Mass Communication Specialist Leonard Weston went around talking to Bataan Sailors, and the commanding officer, Capt. Brad Busch, asking them about the Bataan Death March and our special guest coming to join our Bataan Death March Rememberance Ceremony.

Man on the Street- Bataan Death March Anniversary

April 9 marked the 76th anniversary of the beginning of the Bataan Death March so Mass Communication Specialist Leonard Weston went around talking to Bataan Sailors, and the commanding officer, Capt. Brad Busch, asking them about the Bataan Death March and our special guest coming to join our Bataan Death March Rememberance Ceremony.

Posted by USS Bataan (LHD 5) on Friday, April 13, 2018

Missed out on our March 2018 edition of the Gator Growl? Don't worry, you can still read it online: https://issuu.com/ussbataan/docs/vol._6_issue_3

Elias Coloma:

Elias Coloma was a radio operator for the Philippine Scouts during World War II and the surrender of Bataan. This is his memory during that time.
At first it didn't seem so bad, Coloma says. The Japanese told me I could walk home so I followed the endless line of men in the road. We began to realize it was really different when the weak people were pulled off the side of the road and shot or bayoneted.
Those who asked for water? Sometimes the guard would open their mouth with a weapon and shoot them.
We marched without sleeping, in the hot sun we marched and at night we marched. No food and no water. No rest.
In July 1943, the Japanese transferred prisoners from the camp Coloma was in to another camp.
And that's when a stranger saved Coloma's life.
A crowd of Filipino civilians waited outside the gate to watch the prisoners pass, he says. One civilian pulled me out of line, threw a clean shirt over me and snuck me away.
They took me to a village until I was home in Guimba, in central Luzon. Then I said, 'I am free.

After Coloma recuperated he joined the resistance group as guerilla fighter led by Army Maj. Robert Lapham against the brutal Japanese occupation throughout the war. After the war ended Coloma re-joined the U.S. Army, which promoted him and brought him to America. Coloma retired from active duty in 1962 as a master sergeant. You can read more about the resistance and guerilla fighting in the book Lapham’s Raiders: Guerrillas in the Philippines.

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Seventy-six years ago, during the fight against the Japanese in World War II, the U.S. surrendered the Bataan Peninsula on the main Philippine island of Luzon to the Japanese. Approximately 75,000 Filipino and American troops on Bataan were forced to make an arduous 65-mile march to prison camps. The marchers made the trek in intense heat and were subjected to harsh treatment by Japanese guards. Thousands perished in what became known as the Bataan Death March.

Starting today, until Friday we will post stories of survivors of the Bataan Death March and as POWs.

Jose Calugas

The Philippine Scouts were an army of Filipino soldiers commanded by American army officers and equipped with American arms. The Philippine Scouts were assigned to the Bataan Peninsula as part of a fighting retreat. Units were ordered to establish strong defenses to challenge the Japanese attacks and allow other units to leapfrog behind them. The Filipino and American forces that passed through the lines would then create new defense lines and let the forward units leapfrog to these defense lines.

Jose Calugas, the namesake of our ship museum was a Philippine Scout that served with the 24th Artillery Regiment. He was the first Filipino to receive the Medal of Honor for his actions during World War II.
On January 16, 1942, Mess Sergeant Calugas established an 88th Field Artillery field kitchen near the village of Culis. After serving lunch to the Scout artillery unit, the mess crew was cleaning up. At this time the area came under heavy Japanese fighter and artillery attack. The Japanese force located the 88th Field Artillery's 75-millimeter guns in the woods 1,000 yards north of the kitchen. The artillery fire was on target and causing deaths in the enemy column. By 2 p.m. the Japanese were still attacking, but the Philippine guns had gone silent. Mess Sergeant Calugas found some soldiers to go with him to check out the guns. They had to cross 1,000 yards of open space while under attack by the Japanese. On the way, all the volunteers except Calugas were killed or just disappeared.
Alone, Calugas got to the gun site. He discovered that the gun had taken a bomb hit and was sitting next to its emplacement in a bomb crater. Even though Calugas was a mess sergeant, he had been trained in artillery. He worked together with injured crewmembers and gunners from other guns to upright the gun and make it serviceable.
Calugas and his crew fired the weapon at the Japanese forces and killed a number of soldiers, forcing the enemy to halt. The enemy then refocused their efforts on destroying the gun. Calugas and his crew fired several rounds and then hid in the adjacent woods. The Japanese forces were unable to locate or destroy Calugas's gun. The effective fire of this gun stalled the Japanese advance. While the Calugas artillery piece held up the enemy advance, the 88th Field Artillery withdrew. That evening, out of ammunition, Mess Sergeant Calugas found two trucks, one to load the gun and the other his field kitchen. He reached his unit late that evening and proceeded to prepare them a meal of beans and rice.
On April 30th, 1945, Major General Richard J. Marshall, an aide to General Douglas MacArthur, draped the Medal of Honor on the neck of Jose Calugas in a special ceremony. Following the award ceremony, he was offered U.S. citizenship and a commission in the United States Army as a second lieutenant. Calugas retired from the U.S. Army as a captain on May 6, 1957.

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April 9, 1942: THE FALL OF BATAAN. Shortly after midnight, Major General Edward P. King decides to surrender as further resistance is useless. Emissaries go forward under flag of truce at dawn, followed by King himself at 9 a.m. Firing stops mid-morning. Of the 76,000 on Bataan, 2,000 escape to Corregidor. Bataan's fall is the largest surrender in U.S. history.

May 6: Corregidor falls after four weeks of shelling and a Japanese invasion on the night of May 5. The island's infantry defenses centered on the 4th Marine Regiment, which put up a determined but ultimately futile fight.

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April 8 1942: Bataan's last stand. Major General Edward P. King orders destruction of supplies and stores. MacArthur directs a counterattack, but King ignores the order. Navy scuttles ship in the Manila Bay and last armed forces planes fly out. Army and Navy nurses evacuate to Corregidor during the night.

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Not all prisoners of war were male during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. The Angels of Bataan, also known as the "Angels of Bataan and Corregidor" or "The Battling Belles of Bataan were members of the United States Army and Navy Nurse Corps who were stationed in the Philippines at the outset of the Pacific War and served during the Battle of the Philippines. When Bataan and Corregidor fell, 11 Navy nurses, 66 Army nurses, and 1 nurse-anesthetist were captured and imprisoned in and around Manila. They continued to serve as a nursing unit throughout their status as prisoners of war.

Nurses would sneak out of the camp at night, forage for food and beg anything they could from friendly locals then return to camp to continue to take care of dying men. Nurses commonly shared their meager rations with the men they treated. Using home remedies like crushed charcoal to treat dysentery, they worked medicinal wonders with little more than their wits and the will to keep their Soldiers alive.

After years of hardship, they were finally liberated in February 1945. Upon returning to the Army and Navy, the nurses were awarded among other decorations, the Bronze Star for valor and a Presidential Unit Citation for extraordinary heroism in action.
The Angels of Bataan were pivotal to Women’s history and military history for a few reasons:
• They were the first large group of American women in combat.
• They were the largest group of American women to be taken captive and imprisoned by an enemy.
• During World War II, the captured nurses were portrayed to motivate recruitment of additional military nurses. By the end of the war, 59,283 Army nurses volunteered to serve; more than half volunteered for and served in combat zones. Sixteen nurses were killed by enemy action.

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April is Month of the Military Child and Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Leonard Weston hit the deckplates asking parents aboard USS Bataan (LHD 5) to give a shout out to their kids.

Man on the Street- Month of the Military Child

April is Month of the Military Child and Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Leonard Weston hit the deckplates asking parents aboard USS Bataan (LHD 5) to give a shout out to their kids.

Posted by USS Bataan (LHD 5) on Friday, April 6, 2018

April 6, 1942: Major U.S. counterattack fails; last reserves are in, and a continuous line across the peninsula is no longer possible.

April 7: Pursued by Japanese, U.S./Filipino forces fall back down Bataan's east coast. The Army's 26th Cavalry, 31st Infantry, and Philippine Scouts cover the withdrawal.

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March 29, 1942: The lull ends as Japanese (now reinforced) make aggressive probes between now and April 3.

April 3 (Good Friday): Final Japanese offensive on Bataan opens. Over the next 72 hours Japanese forces make a huge lodgment into defenses.

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March 17, 1942: MacArthur flies to Australia via B-17; shortly after landing, he issues a statement: "The President of the United States has ordered me to break through the Japanese lines and proceed from Corregidor to Australia for the purpose, as I understand it, of organizing the American offensive against Japan - a primary object of which is the relief of the Philippines. I came through, and I shall return." The Filipino people take this promise as gospel, and redeeming it drives MacArthur throughout much of WWII.

March 19: Army Lieutenant. General Jonathan Wainwright is formally appointed as MacArthur's successor as the commander in the Philippines. Major General Edward P. King assumes command on Bataan.

March 29: MacArthur is awarded the Medal of Honor for the defense of the Philippines. He becomes part of first father-son Medal of Honor awardee duo. MacArthur accepts on behalf of the men and women he left behind in the Philippines.

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*** Ombudsmen Opportunity ***
Are you a spouse of a Bataan Sailor and looking for an opportunity to be more involved with the command? Want to help Bataan families be more informed? Good news! We are looking for a new Ombudsman. Ombudsmen are volunteers appointed by a commanding officer to serve as the informational link between command leadership and family members. Ombudsmen are trained to disseminate official Department of the Navy and command information, as well as informing family members of command-climate issues and lcoal community opportunities. Ombudsmen also provide resource referrals and are instrumental in resolving family issues before they require the command's attention. Are you interested? Do you have what it takes? Command Master Chief Ryan Lamkin is taking applications now! Email cmc@lhd5.navy.mil by April 20th.

February 20, 1942: Philippine President Quezon evacuates from Corregidor via submarine. As he leaves he gives MacArthur his ring and says "When they find your body, I want them to know you fought for my country."

February 22: MacArthur is ordered out of the Philippines by direct order of President Roosevelt.

March 11to 13: Four Navy PT boats commanded by Lieutenant John Bulkeley sprint MacArthur and select staff from Corregidor to Mindanao 530 miles through enemy waters.

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January 29 to February 15, 1942: Battle of the Pockets; this time period covers all fighting to Japanese withdrawal.

February 9: Philippine President Manuel Quezon proposes neutralization of the Philippines; President Roosevelt responds by binding the U.S. and Philippines together for the duration.

February 16 Feb to March 29: There is a lull period on Bataan. Japanese pull back to lick their wounds. U.S. forces consider counterattack, but supplies are too short.

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On April 4, 1943, ten American prisoners of war and two Filipino convicts executed a daring escape from one of Japan’s most notorious prison camps. The prisoners were survivors of the infamous Bataan Death March and the Fall of Corregidor, and the prison from which they escaped was surrounded by an impenetrable swamp and reputedly escape-proof. Theirs was the only successful group escape from a Japanese POW camp during the Pacific war. Escape from Davao is the story of one of the most remarkable incidents in the Second World War and of what happened when the Americans returned home to tell the world what they had witnessed.

Davao Penal Colony, on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, was a prison plantation where thousands of American POWs toiled alongside Filipino criminals and suffered from tropical diseases and malnutrition, as well as the cruelty of their captors. The American servicemen were rotting in a hellhole from which escape was considered impossible, but ten of them, realizing that inaction meant certain death, planned to escape. Their bold plan succeeded with the help of Filipino allies, both patriots and the guerrillas who fought the Japanese sent to recapture them. Their trek to freedom repeatedly put the Americans in jeopardy, yet they eventually succeeded in returning home to the United States to fulfill their self-appointed mission: to tell Americans about Japanese atrocities and to rally the country to the plight of their comrades still in captivity. But the government and the military had a different timetable for the liberation of the Philippines and ordered the men to remain silent. Their testimony, when it finally emerged, galvanized the nation behind the Pacific war effort and made the men celebrities.

Over the decades this remarkable story, called the “greatest story of the war in the Pacific” by the War Department in 1944, has faded away. Because of wartime censorship, the full story has never been told until now. John D. Lukacs spent years researching this heroic event, interviewing survivors, reading their letters, searching archival documents, and traveling to the decaying prison camp and its surroundings. His dramatic, gripping account of the escape brings this remarkable tale back to life, where a new generation can admire the resourcefulness and patriotism of the men who fought the Pacific war.

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January 27 1942: First Japanese attacks on the Orion Bagac-Line near Trail 2. Additional attacks over the next week are repulsed, except in two places where Japanese forces get surrounded (aka the Pockets).

January 23 Jan to February 12: Battle of the Points; this time period covers first landings to hunting down of the last Japanese survivors.

January 27 to February 4: All attacks around Trail 2 are defeated. This is the first major discovery of Japanese battlefield atrocities.

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Petty Officer Leonard Weston walks around the deck plates to ask Sailors what their plans are for the Easter holiday weekend.

Man on the Street: Easter

Petty Officer Leonard Weston walks around the deck plates to ask Sailors what their plans are for the Easter holiday weekend.

Posted by USS Bataan (LHD 5) on Friday, March 30, 2018

January 15 1942: MacArthur assures the troops that "help is on the way from the United States."

January 22: After severe losses and failure to stem Japanese advance, MacArthur orders a retreat halfway down the peninsula to the Orion-Bagac Line, where he will "propose to fight it out on this line to complete destruction." The withdrawal occurs January 23 to 26.

The night of January 22 1942 into January 23: Japanese flank landings on Bataan's West Coast. Navy PT boats scatter the landing forces, and they come ashore in three places (aka the Points) on Bataan's West and South West Coast. Troops composed of grounded Airmen, hastily-organized Sailors, Marines and Soldiers, and other scratch forces contain the beach heads. These forces are reinforced over the next fortnight.

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Sailors and their families enjoy Bataan Day at Harbor Park watching Norfolk Tides vs. Baltimore Orioles in an exhibition game, March 26.

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We are approaching the 76th anniversary of the Bataan Death March, which began April 9, 1942. During the fight against the Japanese in World War II, the U.S. surrendered the Bataan Peninsula on the main Philippine island of Luzon to the Japanese. Approximately 75,000 Filipino and American troops on Bataan were forced to make an arduous 65-mile march to prison camps. The marchers made the trek in intense heat and were subjected to harsh treatment by Japanese guards. Thousands perished in what became known as the Bataan Death March.

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, on December 7th 1941, American and Filipino Army, Navy and Marine service members began a three and half month battle on the Bataan Peninsula, the main Philippine island of Luzon against the Japanese.

We start the timeline January 7 1942: An estimated 104,000 U.S/Filipino troops on the Withdrawal into the Bataan peninsula, including 26,000 civilians. The defenders go on half rations this day; two more food cuts come in March. By April the troop’s diet is 1,000 calories a day.

January 9 1942: First contact with Japanese patrols.

January 10 to 23: Japanese offensive opens on Bataan's east side. Fighting on the east and west coasts are known as the Battle of Abucay.

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